Sunday, May 10, 2015

Official Week 1 of field work

Official Week 1 of field season is over!  By official I mean it's the first week for my assistants (two of them) and first week we took our occupancy videos.

Gravel pits and the Lakeshore are starting to be flooded with Bank Swallows once again!  Our lake site had them in the 100s and gravel pits were certainly climbing to be almost 100 at some sites!  I was surprised to see how many colonies had completely eroded since last year, making these little guys once again start digging from scratch.  They are working hard once again, and I am so excited to see how much work they will do in the coming week.

They're baaaaaack!
There were lots of other migrants coming through that we were able to see on our sites!  Many of them were first for the year for me, and often lifers for my assistants!

Out on the Lake, we were first treated to an Eastern Towhee singing away in a bush. There were quite a few other birds flying around such as Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Tree Swallows, and Song Sparrows.

Walking along the shore we spotted this fun little Grebe, a Horned Grebe!  I haven't seen one of these guys for a few years now, so it was quite the exciting bird to spot.

As we were leaving the Lake we spotted this maroon coloured bird, and all of us were quite stumped!  At first my assistants and I assumed Bay-breasted Warbler, because it was the only coloured bird we could think of. After a lot of field guide searching, we finally realized that it might be an Oriole of some sort!  Finally after searching through guides and my iBird App...we came across the Orchard Oriole, which is fairly uncommon to the area!   It was a lifer for all three of us and definitely set a good mood on the day! 

Gravel pits also provided their fair share of exciting birds and wildlife!  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera for one of the days...but on the last day I finally found a lifer sparrow, the White-crowned Sparrow!  Now I am sure that I had likely seen or heard them before, however I hadn't been at a level where I knew what it was. It was pretty exciting to have seen so many different species of sparrows this spring! So many times they are called "little brown blobs" and at one time I never really noticed them, but lately I'm beginning to really like Sparrows!

Another exciting little find was this adorable Spring Peeper!

There has been a massive influx of Yellow Warblers in the Peterborough area as well.  Every morning walk to campus and back I hear them singing away along the locks.  Finally on Friday I was able to get a photo of one and it didn't turn out half as bad as I expected!

Official Week 2 is starting in a mere 6 hours, so hopefully there are even more new species for all of us to see!

Happy naturing!