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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope - One of a Pair

This bird was one of a pair of Wilson's Phalaropes seen about a week after the earlier sighting of the lone individual. The other bird in the pair was an adult and wasn't as approachable. This is likely the same juvenile I photographed earlier although I can't say with any certainty. It was found in an area not far from the previous sighting but under different lighting conditions.  September 2, Matthew's Lake.



Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Black-bellied Plover

This species is quite variable in the plumage phases it exhibits when they arrive here during their migration South. I'm mostly guessing when I say that of the three birds shown here, two are juveniles and the other is a female moulting into Winter plumage. There are usually many birds that are sporting full breeding plumage (black breast and belly) but the ratio gets less as the season wears on. I'm not often lucky enough to get shots of the those birds. The bottom two shots are from September 2, the top is from mid August.




Sunday, 8 October 2017

Dunlin

 This was the first time I observed this species this year at the lake. They are always one of the last shorebirds to arrive after nesting in the high Arctic and one of the last to leave. This one is still sporting some of it's breeding plumage but will turn mostly grey and white later in the Fall if they haven't already. These were taken over a month ago.  September 2, Matthew's Lake.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Belted Kingfisher

I didn't have much luck getting close to kingfishers this year or letting them get close to me for that matter. This was about the best I could do. It takes a certain amount of dedication, time and luck to get good photos of this species and I had limited amounts of all the necessary ingredients. Well there is always next year. September 2, Matthew's Lake.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Late Summer Warblers

Cape May Warbler has been high on my list for a photo of a male in Spring breeding plumage. Unfortunately I haven't been lucky enough to get that shot but I was happy to at least get a shot of one in late summer, possibly an adult female, when they are still fairly bright in colour. This was part of a mixed flock of mostly Palm Warblers, the shot of the Palm Warbler here however was taken on a different day at a separate location. September 2, Matthew's Lake and September 9, East Jordan respectively.



Friday, 29 September 2017

Got One - Greater Yellowlegs

These birds are pretty versatile in their feeding habits. You often see them darting around in shallow water trying to catch small fish. They are aided by those long yellow legs relative to their body size.  It's not that often that you see them catch something or maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention. August 27.




Thursday, 28 September 2017

Close-up. Juvenile Great Blue Heron

This bird seemed like it had never seen a human up close before. It was more curious than afraid although eventually it flew off. In the second photo it is watching a plane fly overhead. The same plane I think that spent the next couple of days mapping the ocean bottom in the area. August 27, Matthew's Lake.




Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Three Plumage Phases - Ruddy Turnstones

I watched a flock of Ruddy Turnstones fly in and start preening one day at the lake. I found it interesting that among that small group of birds there were three very distinct plumage phases, the adult bird in the top two photos, a juvenile with its head tucked in  (middle) and what I think must be an adult already transitioning to winter plumage. (bottom)  The bird at the top is probably in the initial stages of moult as well, it's just not as obvious yet. It's easy to see why birders, myself included, can get easily confused when trying to ID birds when they're not in their breeding plumage. August 27, Matthew's Lake.
 





Monday, 25 September 2017

Wilson's Phalarope

 I was trying to get shots of a Black-bellied Plover one morning, patiently waiting for the bird to come my way when this bird flew in and landed nearby. As it flew in and I saw the white rump, at first glance I assumed it was a yellowlegs but closer inspection revealed it to be this Wilson's Phalarope. I believe this bird is a juvenile, they're actually a little more colourful than the adults at this time of the year. August 27, Mattthew's Lake.

If you're wondering, I lost all interest in the Black-belllied Plover and never did get a shot of that bird.



Sunday, 24 September 2017

Taking Flight - Adult and Juvenile Common Terns

I took these shots one day as the tide was coming in at Matthew's Lake. The birds were resting but the water level was increasing and they had to keep moving to higher ground. They probably weren't that interested in spending more time in my company as well.  August 20.



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Semipalmated Plovers, Worms and Sand

During the Summer months there are never any shortages of these birds at Matthew's Lake. Usually among the first shorebirds to arrive and one of the last to leave. There will be stragglers into late October in most years if memory serves. I have to admit I don't spend a lot of time in the places they frequent once duck hunting season begins. These shots were taken on August 20.



Monday, 18 September 2017

Juvenile Ruddy Turnstone

Two juvenile Ruddy Turnstones came walking towards me as they foraged for a potential meal. One bird found something interesting in the sand. I was able to get this profile picture and one shot of the bird with what it found. I'm still not sure what it was or whether it provided any nourishment. Possibly part of a lobster claw.  August 20, Matthew's Lake.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Diving Terns

There were several terns diving for fish near me on the day I took these shots. They didn't seem to be very successful in all their attempts. I only saw them come up with fish on a couple of occasions and only small ones each time.

I wasn't blessed with good lighting, it clouded over almost as soon as I arrived but at least it gave me the advantage of being able to shoot in any direction, the birds were unpredictable about where they were going to be from one moment to the next.

I included a composite in the final image showing several captures in one birds dive as it plunged to try and catch a fish. August 18 Matthew's Lake.

















Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Broad-winged Hawk - Juvenile

 There was a pair of juvenile Broad-winged Hawks hanging out in the trees in the building lot where I was working during the month of August. They were being very vocal as juveniles often tend to be. The following shots were taken on two days, four days apart with the bird landing in the same tree on both occasions.

 I can't say for sure whether it's the same individual on both days but it seems likely.  The markings look similar although the lighting was different, bright sun one day and some cloud on the other and you're seeing the bird from two different angles. It's probable that the bird's parents nested somewhere in the immediate area given that they seemed reluctant to leave, often perching directly overhead. August 10 and 14, Little Harbour NS.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Assorted Shorebirds

A few shots from several August dates at Matthew's Lake. First and last is a Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage.  Sandwiched in between are three peeps - Semipalmated, White-rumped and Least Sandpipers - in that order.






Hudsonian Godwit

By mid August there was a small flock of Hudsonian Godwits feeding at Matthew's Lake. I should probably be more meticulous in my record keeping but if memory serves it was likely six or seven individuals. That seems to be pretty typical for the area - there never seems to be many more than that, at least in recent years. 

They are in various stages of moult, some birds showing more of their reddish breeding plumage particularly earlier in the summer when they first arrive here from their northern breeding range. Those are usually the birds I try to photograph although I'm happy to be able to get close enough to any bird for a decent picture.

You can see in the picture below of the two individuals how variable the plumage can be at this time of year. The bird on the right is exhibiting more of the grey winter plumage than its companion. August 13.