Thursday 31 May 2012

Iberostar shines this morning

I visited Kenidjack this morning to see the Iberian Chiffchaff.  This singing male was found by Phil Clark and is just the fourth record for Cornwall.  The previous records are a singing male at Dunmere Woods in May 2000, a singing male at Windmill Farm in May 2004 and a male at Rame Head in May 2011.  The Kenidjack male was singing well this morning with a wide repertoire of song.  It always stayed in the high sycamore canopy in the copse near the green engine shed.

Apart from the female Rock Thrush in April, the Iberian Chiffchaff is the only other real highlight this Spring.  Well done to Phil Clark who's having a brilliant time - he's also found Night Heron and Black Kite!

Singing male Iberian Chiffchaff at Kenidjack

Ad male Sedge Warbler at Nanquidno today - just for Nigel Wheatley (52 today!)

Ad male Common Whitethroat at Nanquidno today.

Monday 21 May 2012

First Dingy Skipper for the year

The warm conditions prompted me to visit Goss Moor tonight.  I was hoping to see Dingy and Grizzled Skippers.  I only saw the former - three of them near the railway track.

Dingy Skipper. Nikon D3x, 200mm F4, flash and diffuser, tripod mounted.

Back to Cornwall with a bump

After being spoilt beyond all expectations in Canada last week, Cornwall is experiencing what must be one of the quietest Spring migrations in recent years.  The highlights this week have been a Woodchat at Land's End, a Bee Eater at The Lizard and a Roseate Tern in Mount's Bay.  None of these desirable birds came my way; the best I connected with were a Linnet and Common Whitethroat!

Thursday 17 May 2012

Black Terns at Marshville, Point Pelee

These rather intimate shots were taken on Monday this week at Marshville.  There are over twenty Black Terns (American) at this marsh but these two were getting a bit cosy last week.  They were seen swapping fish.  But on Monday things had advanced a bit more.   That old fish must have done the trick as she now seemed pretty receptive, as can be seen by the images below.  The final image made be smile as he flies off into the distance.

Monday 14 May 2012

Birding at Point Pelee, Canada, last full day

Today was our last full day at this very special National Park.  Migration is my favourite aspect of birding and this place is perfect for it.  My wife and I have spent ten days here, often up to twelve hours a day in the field.  Totally exhausted, but well worth the effort.  The people are friendly and polite and the Canadian culture is very different to ours.  The birding of course is second to none and I would have no hesitations in recommending this place.  At the time of writing, I haven't completed a full list but it must be in the 200's.  My main aim was to see North American leaf warblers and with one more today (Golden-winged Warbler) our total is now 27.

Below are some of the images taken today in the park:

Tree Swallow - common species

Black-billed Cuckoo - scarce passage migrant - three seen today

Blackpoll Warbler - only three seen all trip, two today.

Fem Cape May Warbler

Ad male Bay-breasted Warbler - four yesterday and two today were the only sightings.

Ad male Common Yellowthroat - very common.

Black Tern, 22 seen today. The two birds above were pair-bonding with gifts.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Birding at Point Pelee

Today has been the quietest day of the two week trip.  Last night was a clear night and there has been a massive clearout of numbers of passage migrants.  Birding has been quite hard work with another eleven hour effort.  That said, I still managed three lifers and one good personal find in our second Orange-crowned Warbler, on the Tilden Woods trail.  Cerulean Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler and Swamp Sparrow were all new today.  The warbler total is now an impressive 26 species.

This might seem incredulous, but to the local birders, this was a quiet day:  4 Bay-breasted Warblers, 2 Parula's, 5 American Redstarts, 3 Black & White Warblers, male Cerulean Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Canada Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, numerous Yellowthroats, 6 Swainson's Thrush, 2 Veery's, 2 Scarlet Tanagers (males of course), 2 Indigo Buntings, 2 Red-eyed Vireos, Blue-headed Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird plus many other "commoner" species too lengthy to mention!

Below are some images taken over the last couple days:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectaring from a feeder

Swamp Sparrow

Ad male Common Yellowthroat

First summer male Indigo Bunting

Ad female American Redstart

Cedar Waxwing, one of a flock of ten.

Catbird, fairly common in the park.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Birding at Point Pelee - top day

Today we have had a good day!  Not only have we seen Prothonotary Warbler, but the female shown below collected nesting material within 15 feet of us and then looked at the camera for several seconds.  Perfect.  In addition, we have seen Worm-eating Warbler as well.  As can be imagined, there was a massive rugby scrum to see this bird.  I didn't get any images though, as I would not have been the most popular Cornishman in Canada.  We also saw Black-billed Cuckoo, Sora Rail, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Bald Eagle, Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, Orchard Orioles, and many Baltimore Orioles.

Fem Prothonotary Warbler

Ad male Baltimore Oriole

Friday 11 May 2012

The rarest and the commonest

Ad male Yellow Warbler
Below are a couple images of the rarest and the commonest leaf warblers in Pelee.  The Yellow Warbler breeds in the park and passes through as a passage migrant.  There are hundreds in the park.  In comparison, the rare Prothonatory Warbler (below) has caused quite a stir here.  A pair have been seen building a nest in the Carolininan forest, which is dark and wet; the only viewing access is from a boardwalk.  Add to that a couple hundred birders and you have a mad scene.  Not dissimilar to a big twitch back home.  There are only twenty pairs breeding in Canada, thus the locals are pretty excited.  That said, so am I, as this was one of my target birds to see. 

Female Prothonotary Warbler

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Birding Point Pelee

Wall to wall birding has meant little time for blog posts; some images from the last couple days are below.  Just for JRandSue, we are up to eighteen warbler species.  I don't think we will match your 34!  Today we saw Mourning Warbler, many Chestnut-sided's, scores of Yellow's and Myrtle's plus a few Black and White's and Cape May's.  Ovenbirds, Brown Thrashers and Blue Jays have arrived today in some numbers as well. (All images D800 and 300 f2.8).  On to Rondeau NP tomorrow.

Whip Poor Will
Ad male Chestnut-sided Warbler

Ad male Cape May Warbler

Fem Red-winged Blackbird

Monday 7 May 2012

Point Pelee, day 4

Today has been a quieter day than yesterday, but with quality instead of quantity.  There has been a big clearout of yesterday's migrants.  New arrivals have mainly been in low numbers.  We have spent eleven hours in the field and been rewarded with nine ticks including Sandhill Crane, Indigo Bunting, Tennessee Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, Field Sparrow, Summer Tanager, Eastern Towhee and Cowbird.  Vireos and Orioles have been obliging as well as eleven different wood warblers. Three male Blackburnian's together were very nice!  Photography is not the easiest as most species are high in the canopy. I wish I had my 600 but eleven hours carrying it would probably be my downfall.  Instead, all the images shown are taken with a 300 plus 1.4 tc.

Common Grackle - abundant

Baltimore Oriole - common with about 20 seen today

Male Blackburnian Warbler - three seen today (image above is cropped at 30%)

Male Scarlet Tanager - several seen today

Sunday 6 May 2012

Birding on Point Pelee, day 3

Today has to go down as one of my most memorable days birding ever. Mind blowing migration, and we didn't really arrive on site proper until 1pm.  The warblers and assorted passerines are the real headline grabbers.  We saw 12 species of warbler, three vireos and two tanagers plus another 50 species.

The warblers included:
1 Parula,
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler,
3 Palm Warbler,
40 Yellow-rumped Warbler,
2 Black-throated Blue Warbler,
5 Nashville Warbler,
40-50 Yellow Warbler,
1 Blackburnian Warbler,
2 Cape May Warbler,
6 Magnolia Warbler,
5 Black and White Warbler,
2 Black-throated Green Warbler,

Further highlights included: 10 Orchard Oriole, 14 Baltimore Oriole, 2 Great crested Flycatcher, 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 3 Scarlet Tanager, Blue-headed Vireo, 3 Red-eyed Vireo and one Warbling Vireo, ten Eastern Kingbird and a couple Cedar Waxwing.

Great-crested Flycatcher

Nashville Warbler

Fem Yellow-rumped Warbler

Saturday 5 May 2012

Ontario day 2

We spent the day around Niagara Falls, population 82,000!  Its a bigger place than we thought, just like a massive Newquay. Been there, done that.  The area is stunning though around the Falls itself and home to quite a lot of birds.  American Robins are numerous as well as some nice wood warblers.  Yellow-rumped Warbler and another Yellow Warbler are shown below.  On to Pelee...

Friday 4 May 2012

Ontario, Canada, day one

On our first full day in Toronto, we had a look around the normal tourist sites. By mid afternoon, we turned towards some birding.  We decided to check out a couple of public parks on the lake side.  We were not disappointed.  The weather has been very humid and thundery and I'm pretty sure there must have been a fall of passerines as the bushes and trees were bouncing.  We had eight warbler species within an hour plus many other spectacular migrants.  Below are a few images of Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Palm Warbler.  Yellow-rumped Warbler were numerous but we only saw one Black & White, one Canada and one Chestnut-sided Warbler.  I will try and upload images and information if and when I get access to the 'net.