Friday, July 18, 2014

May 24 Weekend in Killbear

Well it's been absolutely forever since I have written on here...but I will try and play a little bit of catch-up from the past 2 1/2 months. I was debating about skipping writing about Killbear but I saw so many awesome birds, some firsts!, and some of my favourite photos too!

I wasn't able to stay for too long of a time , so we crammed a lot of birding and helping into such a short period of time. And it paid off!

We first saw a ton of Ovenbirds, Veerys, Hermit Thrushes, and we could hear tons of Wood Thrush but it wasn't until later in the weekend I finally spotted one.

Warblers were all about in the park! We saw countless American Redstarts, Black-and-White Warblers, and Black-throated Green Warblers. I was able to get surprisingly wonderful photos of these guys! We saw them multiple times throughout the weekend so it was a greT way to really drill their songs into my head. It's never more frusterating to follow a bird for a good chunk of time to's another redstart!

Other warblers of special mention was this Blackburnian Warbler we found in a more swampy area..

This Chestnut-sided Warbler that wouldn't stil still for the longest time! At first it eluded me only showing the gold on it's wing...but sure enough once I got a look at it's chestnut streak an crown it was an easy ID.

Close by to the Blackburnian was this Beauty in the photos below. I wasn't able to fully ID it in the field. Especially because it wouldn't sing (which is where I assumed it was a female of some sorts). After going through a few ID books and confirmation with some fellow bird nerds, I was able to settle on the ID of my first Bay-breasted Warbler!

Later in the weekend I was finally able to spot my first Wood Thrush. There were so many singing and it was just beautifully haunting. Along with these guys there were also Winter Wrens singing away and one even popped up close by for a photo and video!

A few Broadwinged Hawks were also spotted and I could hear one of my favourites, the Black-throated blue Warbler.  One of the evenings we took a walk to Sunset Rocks to watch the sunset and the walk home was amazing! We spotted about 3 Common Nighthawks flying overhead. Then, as we were heading towards the staff house, we heard one of my favourite sounds..."peeeent!" We staked it out and got to watch a Woodcock do it's mating dance AND be successful in getting a lady! 

 Our Sunday was spent going on Rattlesnake hunts. It was a fairly cold and wet weekend so snakes were not fully active yet, but we did manage to find a few sulking in some thickets!  We found one old snake as well as two new ones that we were able to bring back to the lab and pit-tag, colour its rattle, and do other measurements on before bringing it back.  Every time I see a Massassauga Rattlesnake I just fall in love all over again!  So many people are scared of them, but they are just so beautiful! 

There were a few other treats in store during this weekend. One included finding a grouse on its nest!  Luckily I had my zoom with me so I was able to get somewhat of a shot...good luck finding it in the photo!

We also got to see two deer walking around on the rocks. These little ones didn't seem to even care that we were nearby, walking towards them, taking photos, talking, anything!!  They did their own thing while we were able to watch them for quite some time.  

My final exciting moment for the weekend was walking along the Lighthouse Trail.  There were so many Redstarts here that it really almost drowned everything else out.  We spotted a Savannah Sparrow along the beach, Red-eyed Vireo up in the trees, and eventually came across a beautiful Pine Warbler.  A Pine Warbler who even would sit still enough for some photos!   I took way too many, but here are just two of my favourites.

I hope that everyone has been having a fantastic summer so far!  Migration has already started for me and my Bank Swallows, so now that things have...well slightly slowed down, I hope to catch up on a few posts and photos from the past two months!  Now I leave you with something that couldn't get much more beautiful...a Georgian Bay Sunset.

Happy Naturing!