Has it really been a month already?

I guess every month might be the new norm for getting posts out.

It’s going to be hard to try to catch up nowadays.

The Tall Ships made their way through a few weeks ago. We had a small number of them in Kingsville for the weekend. Had a chance to go out and see them. I’m definitely not a sailor, but there’s something about the smell of the canvas sails, the strength of the wooden masts, and the thought of being out on the ocean travelling to new lands, that makes visiting the ships an enjoyable experience.

We had a friend down with us recently and showed her around our little slice of paradise. First night she arrived, we boogied on over to the Tecumseh Corn Festival. Nice little country fair. Enjoyed some corn on the cob, watched some people try to hang by their arms for 2 minutes to win a prize. Sadly nobody could. Checked out the vendors, wandered the midway and made our way back home. Next morning, it was off to some of our local birding sites. She was very lucky to have been able to see some of our feathered friends; Eagle, Ospreys, Green Heron, Snowy Egrets, and a rare Black Bellied Whistling Duck.

Soon we were on our way to Point Pelee. Took the tram to the tip and walked the path to the most southern end of mainland Canada. As we started back to the tram stop, we found ourselves in the middle of hundreds of dragonflies, of all sizes and colours. A couple allowed me to take their photos, but most of the time they just buzzed around all over the place.

Too soon, our friend had to return home, but not before visiting Fort Malden for the Arts by the River in Amherstburg. We spent a couple hours wandering through the vendors. It’s quite a large event, especially for a small town, and even though we hadn’t planned on spending any money, I ended up making a couple of purchases.

The following week, my lady and I went to the Harrow Fair. This seemed bigger than the Corn Fest, and offered much more to see. Of course there’s the midway, vendors and food, but we spent a fair time wandering through the buildings looking at all the contests, including; quilting, baking, photography, livestock and vegetables. And let’s not forget the Tractor Pull.

Harrow Fair Tractor Pull

As it turns out, the beginning of September is also the start of the Raptor Watch at Holiday Beach. Even though the Hawk Festival happens on the 14-15 and 21-22 weekends, the counting has already started. We have been to the tower a number of days already and have learned quite a bit about how to identify various raptors (not the Toronto Raptors, or the dinosaur). We all watch the sky for any movement, and even though it is a Raptor Watch, anything that seems to be migrating gets counted. Butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, various warblers, starlings, ducks, geese, swans, and so on, along with the kestrel, falcon, merlin, red-tail hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, vulture, harrier, osprey (quite a few locals who aren’t moving out yet) and eagles (also not moving out yet), plus many more.

Our backyard birds are changing as well. The House Wren is gone, but we have seen and heard the Carolina Wren once in a while. The Hummingbirds have left and the Orioles were only back for a very short time. The Starlings are starting to gather in the trees, and we have seen flocks moving through the fields. The Egret roost just a couple of minutes’ walk away is filling up each evening, the Blue Jays are slowly moving in and will be here for a couple of weeks, before they too go quiet.

Egret Roost

Soon, the season will change again, and if I am really lucky, or just diligent, I can start moving the pace of this blog up a bit, depending on what’s happening. But based on what I see on the Events Calendar, we are going to be pretty busy right through Christmas.

By the way, if you are in Amherstburg during September 14-15 or 21-22, try to stop by the Festival of Hawks at Holiday Beach. And on the weekend of September 27-29 we have The Uncommon Festival, Museum Ghost Tours, and the Essex County War of 1812. Not far down the road is the 40th Anniversary of the Ruthven Apple Festival on the 28-29, and what’s even better is that admission is FREE.

Thanks for reading and I’m glad you made it this far.

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Slowly Catching Up

The Fish flies have finally left us, and now we have another special treat when we go out at night.
Fire Flies, or Lightning Bugs, are all over the place. For some reason these little beetles make me happy. It could be because you don’t see them in the big city due to the lighting, and even when you are out in the countryside, they may not show up in your area. We were taking an evening drive a few days ago, and first noticed flickering lights out in the fields. A couple days later and it was almost like going warp speed in space and having all the stars whiz by. Unfortunately a few hit the windshield and their light slowly went out.

The lights of the fireflies

We have heard about flooding all over the place, and our area isn’t immune to it. The Detroit River is high enough to bury docks. Lake Erie has eaten away at the shoreline of Holiday Beach and the trails there are flooded out, so the only place to go walking now is along the roadways, and the Conservation Area has closed the beach. Hopefully the water will go down before the Festival of Hawks near the end of September. In Windsor the Lakeview Marina is closed for the year while they install a new floating dock system. This marina is where we go in the winter to watch all the Eagles over at Peche Island.

I have been going through more of my photos, and found one that I meant to share before. We had a Snowy Owl sitting in a corn field down near Point Pelee back at the end of April. It was pretty far out in the field, so getting a nice clean photo was not really an option. Hopefully we have better luck next year.

Snowy Owl in the corn field

 As mentioned before, we spent a fair bit of May down at Point Pelee and other birding sights in the county, and took thousands of photos. May 9 in particular was outstanding. A bit of backstory first. On May 8 we had a couple things to do in the morning, alright, we actually slept in a bit longer, and we didn’t arrive at Pelee until after 10. By that time all of the southern parking lots were filled, and we had to park about half way down and take a shuttle to the main visitor centre. We figured the next day we would get our butts out of bed and get down there at a good time.

Come the morning of May 9 and we are up nice and early, arriving at the tip by 6:30. Of course there are already hundreds of people there, so we stood near a couple of gentlemen that we knew from other outings, and listened as they pointed out all the different birds flying in and out from the tip. It got to the point where we truly didn’t know where to look, there were so many birds. It was amazing. Birds were flying in and out in what was being called a “reverse migration”. Others suggested they were orienting themselves with the coast after flying through the night. Didn’t matter to us what it was called, we were just giddy with what was happening.

We stayed at the tip for about 6 hours that day, and talked with some people who said that they had been coming every year and had never seen it like this in over 30, 40 or 50 years. We were floored to think that this was really our first true year of birding (stage 3 – see earlier blog post), and we were experiencing this spectacle.

Strange to think that we are almost in the middle of July and I am still working on photos from May.

Perhaps I need to stop being so trigger happy. Uh, no, I don’t think so.

Mind you, the birds have mostly moved on and the trees are nice and green, so even if they were here it’s getting harder to see them.

Hope you are enjoying seeing the photos and reading the stories as much as I enjoy putting this all together for you.

By the way, I noticed that there were some ads showing up on the site. I don’t know how they are getting there, but please ignore them.

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