Bobolink

One of my favourite summer birds in Ontario is the bobolink, generally found in native grasslands.  Bobolink numbers have decreased substantially over the last fifty years, and it is a bird of special concern to a number of conservation groups. I first heard of the bobolink in my days with Rio Tinto, which has an association with Birdlife International . At the time, I was doing work in Paraguay. The bobolink migrates between Argentina and Paraguay and grasslands of Canada and the northern United States. A farming friend in Kentucky reports that he sees the bobolink on his farm, on migration within one day of the same day, each year.  In 2017, we saw about 200 in a flock on a levee of the Mississippi River in Western Kentucky.  Exactly one year earlier, another observer reported on eBird seeing about the same number at the same location.

 

Birds in England

In late April, we had the chance to travel in south central England (Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire).  While most of the following birds are considered common in England, it was a pleasure to see these species of a different continent.

Grey heron

Black-headed gull

Mallard

Robin

Chaffinch

Bullfinches (female and male)

Great tit 

Gold finch

Coot

Blue tit 

Great-crested grebe

Wren (winter wren)

Tufted ducks (female and male)

Greater black-backed gull

Great spotted woodpecker

Ontario Warblers in May

Having been in Europe for the first half of May, I missed much of the warbler migration. Stops at Thickson’s Woods (Whitby), Prince Edward Point Nature Refuge, Long Point and Mc Gregor Point however still proved to be eventful. The following pictures were taken this month from those locations.  At long last I managed to see a golden-winged warbler, but unfortunately a photograph proved elusive as she hopped from branch to branch, behind branches in the foreground.

Black-throated green warbler, after banding at Long Point

Magnolia warbler (female)

Magnolia warbler (male)

American redstart (female or juvenile)

Chestnut-sided warbler (female)

Black-throaed green warbler

Northern waterthrush

Black and white warbler

 

From Vancouver

The Boundary Bay IBA and Reifel Bird Sanctuary (Ladner) are great places for bird watching, year round.  They are particularly good for ducks and raptors, at this time of year. Without exaggeration, I easily saw more than 100 bald eagles a day, and more than 50 great blue herons a day.  In addition, there were very large numbers of swans (tundra), back-crowned night herons, harriers, as well  as some short-eared owls (Boundary Bay).

Northern harrier

Northern pintail

Wood duck (female) 

Great blue heron

Wood duck (male)

Juvenile bald eagle

Bald eagle 

Ring-necked duck

Northern shoveler

Eurasian wigeon 

Snowy Owls

After many days of snow, followed by freezing rain, it was nice to drive out in the country today, in the sun!  Managed as well to see four snowy owls, including a very white male! Still hoping to manage to photograph them in flight! (Wellington County, Ontario).

Florida Birds

January is a great time for birding in Florida. The following pictures were taken at Merritt Island NWR, Ding Darling, NWR, St. Mark’s NWR, the Corkscrew Sanctuary, the Viera Wetlands and Marco Island.

American bittern

Peregrine falcon attacking bald eagle

American white pelicansWhite ibis

Turkey vultures

(Little) Blue heron

Loggerhead shrike

Painted buntings 

Florida scrub jay

Snowy egret

Reddish egret

Juvenile red-shouldered hawk

Green heron

Blue-grey gnatcatcher

Great crested flycatcher

Anhinga chicks with mother

Burrowing owl

Juvenile bald eagle

Black-crowned night heron 

Nest Building

Over the last week, I have had the opportunity to watch anhingas, great blue herons and bald eagles build or enhance nests. It has been noteworthy that this is a shared activity, but that the female is apparently the “boss” and “accepts” contributions from the male.