|Adult Great Blue Heron|
20 September 2014
18 September 2014
|Flowering purple plant along Chesterton Shores|
I don't know what the plant is; it's growing in a great deal of river-cobble dumped there are part of constructing the walkway and some artificial breakwaters as part of a really necessary conservation area and quite lovely walking path, because this pushes the lake a good fifty slow-eroding metres from some quite soft bluffs that were getting disturbingly close to the rail line. Most of the colonists of the cobbles are goldenrod, but some of it's this quite lovely purple stuff.
14 September 2014
|Northern Shoveller drake in eclipse plumage|
The marsh attending on the mouth of the Rouge, though; Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Blue-winged Teal, the inevitable Mallards mallarding about, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Northern Shoveller, late Double-crested Cormorant, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, Gadwall, Wood Duck, at least one and maybe two duck species too far from the platform to identify with binoculars, and grumpy bittern noises like a large bullfrog expiring in wrath.
That's five minutes as a break on a bike ride; must get back there with a scope sometime soonish.
|Adult Herring Gull still in alternate plumage with two late cormorants|
Also, that's a pretty good illustration that Herring Gulls are honking big; it looks larger than the double-crested cormorant. (They're not; Herring Gulls mass 800-1200 grammes, where Double-crested Cormorant masses 1200-2500 grammes. Posture and glowing white plumage affect perception.)
11 September 2014
The Windermere Basin in Hamilton is not a place I usually get. But I am extremely fortunate in my birding friends.
I was not fortunate in the weather; the wind was blowing straight at us above 50 kph, so using a scope without one's eyes watering unto uselessness was challenging. So was attempting to digiscope by holding a camera up to the eyepiece, but I almost managed.
|100 percent crop of the next image|
|70x scope view via baffled camera autofocus|
|camera still baffled, perhaps better profile on bird|
My notes say:
- lighter brown head
- brown shoulders, mantle
- darkens caudally
- black chin patch
- yellow strong bill as long as head and hooked
- dark legs (could be black)
- gull-shaped; heavy herringish
I was not at the time sure that the eye was yellow, or if the thing showing yellow was a nictitating membrane of some kind, but every single photo where the eye is visible has the yellow eye. So probably.
It's a large bird; there's a photo (not shown) with a Greater Yellowlegs for scale, and this bird is much, much larger, roughly mallard-sized. (Larger than the Caspian Terns on the other end of the little island.)
"Some sort of jaeger" is the obvious conclusion, but dark morph jaegers are supposed to have black bills. And while I have some good gull references, jaegers are not gulls and not in them.
Anybody recognize this bird?
31 August 2014
So I've been going out to the Bird Studies Canada High Park Nighthawk count (18h00 - 20h30, nightly, until 6 September 2014 on Hawk Hill in High Park in Toronto). Nighthawk numbers have been variable, but one gets reliable as distinguishing the distant nighthawk from the distant chimney swift and the sneaking ring-billed gull.
I have neither the skill nor the equipment to get good pictures of flying nighthawks; if there's light, they're high, and if they're low it's nearly dark, and they're always moving fast.
|Nighthawk kettle. All those dots|
|Centre of the nighthawk kettle|
|Single nighthawk in silhouette|