Monday, December 28, 2015

Presqu'ile throughout the fall

I'm on a rampage of writing here over the Christmas break.  Taking breaks from my thesis work to try and catch up on writing and posting photos before the New Year begins and I can have a fresh start of *hopefully* keeping up with what adventures the next year will bring.

This fall I spent quite a bit of time out at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, whether it was there to specifically bird, such as with our Ornithology class (a previous post), or go duck hunting and end up birding.  It's quite the amazing park and the more time I spend in it, the more I love going there.

The fall has been so mild that much of the duck hunting was stalled or incredibly unsuccessful due to migration numbers just not being what they usually are.  Ducks weren't there in as large numbers as usual, I would assume due to them trickling in as opposed to large fluxes of them being pushed by a large winter system.  While it was a little disheartening trying so many times and yet never bringing home dinner (at least in my case!), it gave me the chance to bird, take some photos, and further explore the park.

Owen's Point Blind, looking towards Gull Island

Due to the low water levels we often had our decoys beached!
During one of our hunting outings I carried my binoculars with me on our trip back to the car.  We had walked out to Gull Island to hunt at one of those blinds.  We had seen barely any ducks and decided to call it quits around 2:00 in the afternoon and instead bird a little bit.   I was SO excited to see that there was still a Dunlin around, and even more excited to see that along with it was my very first Purple Sandpiper.  It was...absolutely stunning.  Of course I had my camera locked away in our dry sac so that it wouldn't get wet, so the only thing I could take a photo with was my cell phone.

Our very last trip to Presquile was at the beginning of December.  This was the most exciting trip for me as I saw one of my favourite birds:  the Snowy Owl.  I had seen reports of this owl on ebird for the past month but never got the opportunity to spot it while we were out there.  While waiting in the blind I noticed that another blind in the distance had grown a little in height, but only on one side!   I took out my binoculars and was so excited to see that it was indeed the "local" Snowy Owl.  

About an hour or so later I decided to go on a little walk to see if there were any ducks anywhere else near us.  All we could see from our blind was a raft of Long-tailed Ducks about half a kilometre into the Bay.  As I walked around the Island I happened to spot that the Snowy Owl had moved from it's previous location and was almost right in front of me!   

I made sure to try best to keep my distance from the Owl while taking my photos.  I was happy to see that the owl was almost calmer than I was!  As a begun to walk away, he took flight and went back to his previous post.  

It was just such an exciting sight to see!  I hadn't seen one yet in the 2015 year and so it was amazing to finally be able to put this on my list for the year.  While I assume there would be many in the Chatham-Kent area (since there were so many the last two previous years), but you never know!

Heading back to the park office I was excited to also see a Hairy Woodpecker, close enough to me to take a few good shots of!  

It was so great this year to have been so close to such a great park to bird, hike, and duck hunt.  I look forward to spending more time in 2016 at this park to seeing all the amazing birds, brushing up on more photography skills and of course, painting my face camo again!

Few more posts coming your way in the coming days!   Happy birding!