Monday, 21 August 2017

Common Tern - Protective Parent

I was a little mystified why this bird was so agitated by my presence. As far as I knew at the time there weren't any nesting terns in the area. Then I noticed a juvenile, not in the immediate area but close enough that I guess its parent saw me as a potential threat. In recent days I've been in the same area among adults and juvies and they've been very passive. I suppose they become less protective as the young ones age and learn to fend for themselves.

Saturday, 19 August 2017


This was my first day this summer taking pictures of shorebirds. I found a good variety, the most interesting of which was this lone Pectoral Sandpiper.

 There are always numerous Short-billed Dowitchers in the area. This species along with Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers are probably the most common. The Least is not pictured here.

 I can't forget to mention Yellowlegs which are also very common. The bird pictured here is a Lesser Yellowlegs.

 I was treated to a spectacular sunset the best of which occurred after I made my way back to my car. I regretted not sticking around longer to capture that. July 22, Mattthew's Lake.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow and Habitat

I went out specifically looking for this species on this day. They are not particularly hard to find if you know the type of habitat they prefer. Typically this bird prefers salt marshes of which there are no shortage of in the Matthew's Lake area. During the breeding season they can be seen and heard singing from the highest point around which in a lot of areas is just the top of the highest stalk of marsh grass. In this case it was from the top of a stack of driftwood piled up as a makeshift blind by duck hunters. 

To be fair to other sparrows, the song - if you can call it that,  is more of a buzz than an actual melody. When they are not singing (or buzzing) you can often find them at the edges of the many little ponds similar to the ones pictured below looking for bugs. I was treated to an interesting sky at the end of the day which I hope was part of the reward for putting up with the hordes of mosquitoes that also prefer the same habitat. July 6, Matthew's Lake.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Red-eyed Vireo

It's not hard to tell from these photos why this bird is called a Red-eyed Vireo. They are more often heard than they are seen.  This species has a reputation for singing incessantly during the breeding season even during the middle of the day when many songbirds are silent. They can be hard to see once the trees are in full foliage since their olive green plumage blends in well with their habitat. So if you hear a bird singing non-stop in the trees near where you live consider the possibility it may be this one. Many people are familiar with the song of the American Robin - vireos have a similar repetitious song. June 4, East Jordan.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bald Eagle in Flight

I haven't had a lot of luck getting shots of this species especially the adults. There aren't many outings where I don`t see one these days but getting close is another matter. 20 or 30 years ago it was a rare occurrence to see one, now they are commonplace to the detriment of other species in some cases, the Osprey being one since Bald Eagles will often usurp their nesting sites. May 31, East Jordan.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Few May Warblers

These are all photos shot in the last week of May close to home. Top to bottom they are male Magnolia Warbler, male Black and White, Palm Warbler ( sexes are identical), male Black-throated Blue Warbler, and another Magnolia Warbler. The last bird is likely a second year male since he lacks the stark black, white and grey facial pattern of the adult in the top photo. May 25- May 31.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Least Sandpiper

I don't often see these guys in the Spring possibly because I don't  go to the areas where they're most likely found. We don't get large numbers of shorebirds passing through until the "Fall" migration which for these birds begins around the first of July. There are only a handful of shorebirds that breed here including the ubiquitous Willet and the rare Piping Plover. Least Sandpipers are not on that list so this lone bird was likely headed to their breeding grounds much north of here. May 22, East Jordan.