January 2, 2020
Happy New Year everyone. Let’s hope we kicked 2020 out and slammed the door on that vile creature. Who needs to watch horror movies when we’ve been living through one for almost a year.
Well, we didn’t expect December to be quite like it was.
Of course we had lockdowns in the GTA, but also here in Essex County, and then the whole Province joined in with the fun. What a way to screw up the Christmas Holidays.
On the birding front, it was fairly quiet for the most part, but we still managed to get out and see a few things.
December started off with a beautiful snowfall, which brought in some Snow Buntings that came close enough to get some photos of. These little birds seem to follow the snow storms and pig out on the seeds in the fields. Always moving makes it difficult to photograph, and every few moments the whole flock flies into the air and land a few paces away. They are often found with Horned Larks and Lapland Longspur. We found the Lark but not the Longspur.
Shortly after that day we hung out with one of our birding friends and we were very fortunate to watch a number of Sandhill Cranes making their way along Lake Erie shores. These beautiful birds must have decided they don’t want to stick around for the snow. One flock that flew just north of our viewing area had almost 100 birds in it. We counted 35 in one flock and another 20 plus in a second flock as they passed overhead.
By the middle of the month we were hearing of some Common Redpolls that were hanging around at Point Pelee. If we hadn’t been made aware of what we were looking at, we might have misidentified them as another type of Finch or Sparrow, but these little ones are much prettier. The day we found them, they were enjoying themselves in the grasses on the west side of Point Pelee, with the winds blasting cold air straight across the lake, making it not only brutal for us humans to be standing in, but buffeting our cameras sideways as we tried to take photos.
Then we found out that everyone was trying to find the Common Redpoll’s elusive cousin, the Hoaries. After a few days of searching, we finally spotted a couple fly from the ground to a tree just as we arrived in the area. I quickly blasted a couple of blurred photos of them and they were gone over the trees. A few people have seen them afterwards, but they have evaded My Lady and I ever since.
As we went for a walk one day at Holiday Beach, I noticed a large bird fly into the trees across the way from where we were. Immediately the binos went up and we were very happy to see that it was a Great Horned Owl. Wonder if it was one of the little ones from our Osprey nest this spring.
Just before the end of the month My Lady and I were standing in line at Costco and I noticed a light coloured bird land on the lamp post ahead of us. Initially I thought it was a mature male Northern Harrier, so I wandered over to have a closer look. As I came around the proper side, I was Gobsmacked to see that it was the one bird that we had been searching 2 years for a close-up of. When I told My Lady, she rushed me off to get my camera out of the car, and I started firing off shots while moving all around the area for the best light and position.
A SNOWY OWL!!!
Not way out in a corn field allowing for tiny little dot photos that crop in terribly. This one came to visit US!
Just imagine seeing some crazy guy run out of line at Costco, who grabs a big long lens and camera out of his car and starts moving between parked cars, passing in front of people in line to get against the building, running back to his Lady, all the while smiling like a kid in a candy store (behind a mask, so no one could see that anyway) and taking photos.
I sent a blast out to our bird group and unfortunately just as we got to the front of the line, and one of our birding friends pulled in; it flies off and hasn’t been found since.
I got some great shots that I am very happy with, but we are going to keep on looking, hoping to get the classic perfect lighting while it sits on a fence post (or a stump), looking at me with wide open eyes (preferably a full white male, but the female is beautiful as well) photo. Am I asking too much? Might take a few more years, but we will keep on trying.
It was brought to my attention that on my last posting I misidentified a sparrow on a photo. Thank you Rick for pointing out that the White Throated Sparrow is actually a White Crowned Sparrow. It’s going to take a while for me to get these little ones right, even with the app.
Ok, how about my resolutions? Yup, More posts, More often.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA… …hahahahahaaaa… (wiping away tears from laughing so hard).Who am I trying to kid? Ok, maybe I should at least say that I’ll do my best.
Thanks for continuing to read this little bloggy thing. I will keep trying to improve the pictures, and change up the stories, especially if any really rare birds happen to show up in front of my lens.
Till next time, Stay Safe, Stay Heathy.