Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Crazy April...Part 1

I looked at my calendar today and couldn't believe that it was already the end of April!!  I have no idea how this month went by so quickly, but I guess time goes by quick when you are busy and having fun!

Everything is going full gear for field season coming up and starting next week.  It's intimidating (I'd lie if I said I haven't had a panic attack about it yet) but also so exhilarating!  It's amazing with a Masters how you can do so much work and yet it feels like you've done nothing at all when you look at your to-do list!

April 10th I left for 11 days to do some Bird Banding Training at the Long Point Bird Observatory.  The beginning of April had been pretty low bird wise, I imagine because it was so damn cold!  The first two days were pretty slow and cold.  I spent most of the time learning how to scribe data and how to set up and use all the different ground traps.  The sunrise on my first morning was absolutely jaw-dropping.  It was pretty cold, foggy, and the sun was a brilliant yellow.  I'd have to say this is probably one of my favourite photos from the entire trip.

One of the first birds we did manage to catch was a Morning Dove.  I'd never realized how beautiful they really were until this moment, seeing them up close changes everything.  Males have beautiful colours.  What I've always seen was a simple pinkish-tanned colour, when really there are amazing hints of purple and blues.  Below you can kind-of see that in the photo.

A second really awesome bird I got to see up close after the first day or two was a Brown Thrasher.  I remember learning what this was the previous year, but up until then had actually forgotten what they sounded like and had never seen one.  Once it's song was pointed out (bundles of random sounds, always repeated twice) it was impossible to forget, and they looked almost what I pictured them to be.

After the banding day was done there was always somewhere to explore.  After getting used to waking up again at 5:15 every morning, I didn't need an afternoon nap and took some walks out to the beach.  There is something so awesome about walking along a beach when there are still iceburgs out on the lake. I went quite a few times on a walk out here to just sit and try to find some different birds.  Unfortunately (but still fortunately!) the first few time all I could find was a Killdeer, who was very into posting for photos!

 When I wasn't at the beach, I often just sat around various areas of the LPBO property.  Sometimes it was at a picnic table while I was trying to get some field work prep done, other times in areas where seed from a trap was in view, or any other area where I could hear a lot of birds!  I had the chance to watch and capture a variety of birds finally out of the hand like Song Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes, Kingfishers, and Turkey Vultures....just to name a few!
Song Sparrow

Belted Kingfisher

Turkey Vulture

Hermit Thrush

Now back to getting some more work finished...But more photos coming soon!

Happy Naturing!

Another Long Point Sunrise.