Friday, August 21, 2009

Extreme Weather Condidtions in Durham Region

Yesterday, as some of you may already know, tornados hit land all across Durham Region, Ontario. I apoligize for the lack of pictures because I did not expect this, here is the story on how it affected us. It started when I was about to call my friends, the weather got extremely hot and humid, with temperatures over 30 degress celcius and a humidex of over 90 %. Although we still decided to met them to go fishing. As we started driving the temperatures droped but the humidex stayed high and it started to get windy, so we listened to the radio for the weather. The sky started to get darker and the radio said there was a tornado watch. We called our friends we were about to meet and apparently the weather there was even worse, so we told them we would meet another time which I don't regret because as soon as we turned around, the sky turned nearly pitch-black behind us. Half way back to our house we heard tornados were hitting ground not far from us and then the sky did turn completely black behind us and it started to thunder loudly. We quickly pulled in the driveway and went inside, it started to poor and lightning flashed everywhere! Our friends called and they said tornados near them were destroying houses! We took the necessary safety precautions and got some flash lights. The power suddenly went out and about an hour later the sky turned green, orange and red but the thunder and lightning stopped. Unfortunately for us the power stayed out until morning so we had trouble getting to bed.
Have you ever experienced a tornado or any other severe storm?
If so, please share your information about it in the comment box, thank you.
Goodbye,
Birdman

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bronta Creek Provincial Park/Lake Simcoe

Me holding a Largemouth Bass that I caught at Lake Simcoe
My friends and I telling jokes
My family and friends enjoying shade


Last week, our friends booked us a campsite beside their own in Bronta Creek Provincial Park. On Friday we all met and unpacked and in the evening my friends Zack, Noah, my brother Jesse and I did some stunts on our bicycles and watched a evening show about wildlife in the forest. On Saturday my friend's dad gave me some very useful tips on playing baseball, which is going to help me allot for next year when baseball season starts again. Then we took the Queen Elizabeth Highway to a 1.8 acre pool and played catch in the water with a football. After a few hours of this we went back to our campsites and relaxed, roosting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate by a campfire. On Sunday we met some other friends of ours and went to their place to go swimming and fishing. Swimming was fun but fishing was even more exciting. We bought some worms and dropped our fishing lines in by a small cruise liner, apparently it was a great fishing spot. We used a size 8 hook with a live worm, jigging near the bottom. My friends caught about a dozen Pumkinseeds, but they released them because they were too small to keep. We were about to move when suddenly, I felt a strong pull on my fishing rod! I quickly set the hook and adjusted my drag appropriately, since I didn't cast very far from shore the fight didn't last long. Although it was fairly difficult to land it was worth it because it was about 2 kg. This Largemouth Bass was so strong I also had a difficult time holding it. I didn't fish as much after that, instead I examined it for parasites, diseases, etc. Fortunately it had none of these except a scare on its caudal, but it didn't matter because we probably aren't going to eat it, we're probably going to mount it on my bedroom wall for remembrance. How did you spend your weekend?
Total Names of Birds Seen:
Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Crow
Total Number of Birds Seen: 8 species of birds

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Manitoulin Island: Cup & Saucer Trail Pictures

Staghorn Sumac
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Adult Male Foraging
Bracted Honeysuckle?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Manitoulin Island: Bridal Veil Falls

My brother, Jesse and I admiring Bridal Veil Falls, Major Waterfall from below
Jesse standing under Bridal Veil Falls Major Waterfall
Me walking along Kagawong River


I found Bridal Veil Falls very interesting, in fact many of the locals at Manitoulin Island consider it to be one of the "7 wonders of Manitoulin". This falls is actually part of the Kagawong River, (connected to Lake Kagawong.) During the day this water can be comfortably warm and great for swimming, attracting tourists from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, from southern U. S. A. to northern Canada, this place brings people from all over North America. Also, not just a swimming area but a great view from both above and below, many tourists just enjoy standing there and admiring for perhaps hours. This is indeed a "must stop" for anyone that comes to Manitoulin Island.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our Cottage Trip

Solitary Sandpiper Juvenile Foraging
Bridal Veil Falls Minor Waterfall
Bridal Veil Falls Major Waterfall
Yellow Perch(left), Smallmouth Bass(right)
Left View From Outside of our Cottage
Right View From Outside of our Cottage
Dinning Room
Friend's "Bat House"
Sandhill Crane Lesser (Northern) Summer Adult Seeking Cover
Campfire
Common Tern Adult Breeding Plunge-Diving
Abandoned House in Open Field
Last Saturday morning we woke up, finished packing and drove off to our rented cottage by Lake Kagawong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. Our cottage was among the "family cottages" located near the bay of Lake Kagawong. It took us about seven hours to arrive there, we crossed the Swing Bridge and payed our rent fees at the Entrance Office. My brother, Jesse and I rode our bicycles the rest of the way, while our parents drove. When we were finished unpacking, we were greeted by our neighbours. Fortunately, it wasn't windy at the time so we started fishing off our dock. We caught lots of Smallmouth and Rock Bass. After a good fishing day we drove around the island sight seeing, it was a very rural place, some of the cities only had a population of approximately 1 500 persons. On our drive back to our rented cottage I spotted cranes foraging on a grassland. We stopped, got out and identified them to be Sandhill Cranes. This was very exciting for me because I never have seen this species for a few years, possibly never before. The next day, my dad and I went birding at the Cup & Saucer Trail. As we parked, we saw Turkey Vultures scavenging the savanna near us. The we started hiking, I heard "rolling call" and pointed it out to my dad, he identified it to be a Wild Turkey. We tried to see them, but they were concealed by the tall, dense trees around us. Then we continued hiking up the trail, the habitat quickly changed into a mixed forest, consisting of tall broad leaf and spruce trees. This place seemed to be very quiet at first but then as we went further, little by little more species of birds started becoming interested in our presence, both negatively and positively (territorially and following us for food.) But some just ignored us and continued what they were doing, like the many wood-warblers, but probably because we tried to make it less obvious we were here by talking less, this worked almost immediately, and the forest seemed to come alive with birds, so lesson learned, try to talk as less as possible when birding. Unfortunately this was more of a hiking trail than a birding trail so more persons came and the trail came closer to a construction site. We turned back and went to our rented cottage. We didn't do much more that day but relax, so I will skip to the next day... All of us woke up early but unfortunately the wind was blowing toward our rented cottage, and we needed a way to get to the other side of the bay of Lake Kagawong if we were likely to catch fish. We visited the Entrance Office and rented pedal boats. Although these we very uncomfortable so we got a motor boat instead. My dad drove us to an island, the trees there seemed to shelter us from the wind fortunately. We didn't catch anything here so we went to a cove nearby. The trees there also sheltered us from the wind and we watched somebody land a Northern Pike successfully onto their boat, so we stayed and fished some more. Later on, my mom almost landed a large fish (about 30 cm., but there was too much slack on the line and it got off the hook just before I could get our fishing net. After that my dad had a bite but he didn't set the hook in time so it got off the hook as well. It started to get dark but the sunset was beautiful. That evening we all sat by our campfire and roosted marshmallows, enjoying the peaceful, calm lake directly beside us. The next morning we rented the motor boat for the rest of the week and once again drove to the cove we were the day before. It went similar to our last trip there so I will skip to later that day... My mom found out some of her friends were on the other side of Lake Kagawong, so we visited them and I saw a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds drink sugar water from their hummingbird feeder. Of course they were females because if more than one male drinks from the same hummingbird feeder, it will turn into a territorial fight, even during non-breeding season usually. The next day was our last day at Manitoulin Island so we tried to do the rest of fun activities there that we could... The day started with driving our boat up the Kagawong River to another part of the island. The river had many bird species, some very common and some I never saw or heard before, including sandpipers, kingfishers, kingbirds, etc. Then we docked our rented boat at the end of the river and went to chocolate factory, Bridal Veil Falls, had lunch and other fun stuff. Then we went to another friend's cottage of my mom's and had a campfire there. That night we went fishing for the last time, we decided to go to the cove...and we came back with a stringer of fish making 42 fish that whole week!
The End
Total Name of Birds Seen:
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Mallard
Surf Scoter (Check for Life List)
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye (Check for 2009)
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Broad-winged Hawk (Check for 2009)
Ring-necked Pheasant (Check for 2009)
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Sandhill Crane (Check for 2009)
Solitary Sandpiper (Check for Life List)
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern (Check for 2009)
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher (Check for 2009)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Check for 2009)
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Check for 2009)
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven (Check for 2009)
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Marsh Wren (Check for 2009)
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler (Check for 2009)
Bay-breasted Warbler (Check for Life List)
Cerulean Warbler (Check for 2009)
Ovenbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (Check for 2009)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Total Number of Birds Seen: 52 Species of Birds

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Neighbourhoud Garden

Northern Bedstraw
American Goldfinch Adult Female Breeding
Jesse planting Cucumbers
me planting Pumpkins
Jesse raking
Jesse raking
dad shoveling
A few weeks ago we found a neighbourhood garden and we were welcomed to join, so we went shopping today at "Walmart". We bought several seeds and a few plants; consisting of mostly vegetables and some wildflowers and fruit. Although most packages of seeds are usually only $1.79 we spent about $50.00 including tax just on seeds alone! When we came home, we brought all of our gardening tools and rode our bicycles to our garden. We moved the grass, tilled the dirt, leveled it out and planted the seeds for about 3 hours and we got almost half the amount of work done! Despite the time, we got a lot done.
Goodbye,
Birdman

Monday, May 18, 2009

Point Pelee National Park

Painted Turtle
Canada Goose Common Goslings (left) Adult Male (center) Adult Female (right)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Adult Male Breeding
Magnolia Warbler Adult Female Breeding
Canada Anemone
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1st Summer Male
Yellow Warbler Adult Male Eastern
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Adult Male Breeding
Common Yellowthroat Adult Male
Painted Turtle
Barn Swallow Adult Female
Yellow Warbler Adult Female
Wild Turkey Adult Male Eastern In Display
Wild Turkey Adult Male Eastern
Indigo Bunting Adult Male Breeding

Last Saturday we packed our supplies and started driving to Leamington, Ontario. We arrived there after four hours, unpacked at Pelee Days Inn and drove to Point Pelee National Park. We paid and stopped at the lookout. There was seven Great Blue Herons stalking the shallow marsh. We drove a little bit further and saw a bright flash of blue. We quickly stopped and heard a descending gobble from ahead. We turned around to see a Wild Turkey displaying at the vehicles. Then I saw the Indigo Bunting foraging on the tall grass. We then drove to the visitor center and took the "train" to the Tip Trail. It was about a fifteen minute drive, but it was worth it because we were welcomed by Barn Swallows in the ceiling of the gazebo. We started walking and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird flew by me. Then my mom spotted a Eastern Kingbird perched in the tree. Then various warblers filled the rest of the trail until we came to the tip. There I saw Double-crested Cormorants flying across Lake Erie. I also noticed various gulls and terns in the background, but they were to far away even with binoculars to identify. We took the "train" back and drove to the Marsh Boardwalk. There Jesse and I climbed a tree and got our picture taken. Then we saw Barn Swallows building nests and a pair of Canada Geese defending their goslings. Soon we came to the boardwalk, but we didn't see anything unusual until we came to the middle. There it was filled with common wetland-animals such as Black Terns, Common Yellowthroats, Painted Turtles, Bluegill Sunfish, etc. Although we didn't see and Wood Ducks or Northern Watersnakes. It was late evening we we finished the boardwalk so we ate dinner and went swimming, played pool, air hockey and arcade games. The next morning we woke up early, went swimming, ate breakfast and went back to Point Pelee National Park. We drove in and we were welcomed by the sound of warblers, tanagers and orioles singing proudly. We stopped at one of the trails and saw a Scarlet Tanager singing, in the treetop. Unfortunately the Visitor Center parking lot was full so parked at the West Beach Footpath. We got out, brought our cameras, binoculars and snacks and started hiking. We accidentally flushed a Yellow Warbler from its nest but it was back a few minutes later. The footpath was directly beside Lake Erie there were constant flocks of cormorants flying over head. After hiking for about 2 kilometers the trail started to lead away from lake Erie and there was less bird activity so we turned back. I noticed a unfamiliar warbler for me so I took a photo of it and remembered the song it was singing. We walked to the Visitor Center and I showed the manager my photo, described the the appearance and song and after about 10 minutes of researching we discovered it was a Magnolia Warbler. Then we went into the gift shop and bought Ruth (Body, soul and spirit) a Checklist of Birds of Point Pelee National Park. Then we checked the sightings map and the most current bird activity was in the Tilden Woods Trail. (I was still repeating the song from the Magnolia Warbler in my head, in case I heard it again.) Sure enough I did and as soon as we entered the trail too, along with our wood-warblers, icterids and mimids. I identified most of them but it was very difficult since very few of them were visible. Anyway the habitat changed from a dense canopy to a wooded swamp along with the bird species (grosbeaks, cardinals and vireos.) Then we finished the trail at about noon so we went to the Marsh Boardwalk again in search for the Wood Duck. Lots of fish were resting under lily pads and the wetland-birds were becoming more active. We spotted much more such as; sparrows, wrens and martins. Although we didn't see Wood Ducks we did see some species we'd never seen before. Then we drove home and edited our pictures on the way. Despite we didn't break our record of sixty-four species on this annual trip we still had lots of fun. Thank you mom and dad for making this possible and for your time and money.
Total Names of Birds Seen:
Canada Goose
Mallard
Wild Turkey
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture (Check for 2009)
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern (Check for Life List)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Check for 2009)
Red-headed Woodpecker (Check for 2009)
White-eyed Vireo (Check for Life List)
Red-eyed Vireo (Check for 2009)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin (Check for 2009)
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Check for 2009)
Bank Swallow (Check for 2009)
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
House Wren
Sedge Wren (Check for 2009)
Marsh Wren
Veery (Check for 2009)
American Robin
Gray Catbird (Check for 2009)
European Starling
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Check for 2009)
Magnolia Warbler (Check for Life List)
Cape May Warbler (Check for Life List)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Check for 2009)
American Redstart
Prothonatary Warbler (Check for 2009)
Common Yellowthroat (Check for 2009)
Canada Warbler (Check for Life List)
Scarlet Tanager (Check for 2009)
Swamp Sparrow (Check for Life List)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting (Check for 2009)
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow
Total Number of Birds Seen: 51 species
Goodbye,
Birdman

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thickson Woods

Last Saturday I went birding with my dad at Thickson Woods. We saw many cars parked beside the conservation area. They were all birders, we got excited thinking they were here because of a rare, recent sighting, but they came because they thought it was a great place to bird. Everyone had the same field guide: A Field Guide to Birds East of the Rockies By: Roger Tory Peterson. First we went to the open field part, there we heard an extremely fast song, I soon recognized as the same bird I saw at my house recently, a House Wren. Also, Tree Swallows filled the area; catching bugs, mating and building nests. The last time I saw Tree Swallows was probably last autumn. Anyway, we walked on to the forest and a group of birders had their binoculars up, pointed at a tree. I looked and saw a small orange figure singing a fimiliar song to a robin. It was a Baltimore Oriole, when the group left an Orchard Oriole came! They have one of the most variable songs, but all birds are unique for something. I soon heard a kinglet in a nearby tree, so I aimed my binoculars and spotted it gleaning insects of branches (common behaviour of kinglets.) The trail lead to another group of birders watching a small thrush, so I came closer and identified it was an Ovenbird. It appeared to be flushed not knowing where to go as it was cornered, not singing just perched on a log. Is this common behaviour of under-leaf scavengers, or was it frightened, submit your ideas in the comment box (below this post.) I walked to the next part of the trail while my dad searched for the Ovenbird. The part of the trail I was now in was filled with warbler songs, they all song at the same time so all I could identify was a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Nashville Warbler. Both very secretive birds always high up in trees. I then met up with dad and we went to the marsh, there we watched a Short-tailed Weasel feed its young, baby rats. Soon other birders came still following the same Baltimore Oriole, but a small brown figure caught my eye in the cattails. I soon recognized the; brown crown, white supercillium (eyeline,) and off white breast from our previous, annual trip to Point Pelee National Park. It was a Marsh Wren and there was also Gadwalls, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds in the background, mixed between a marsh with dead trees and forest-floor-like habitat. This evening I went birding to the same spot with my mom, we parked got and we heard Cooper's Hawks, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, a Tennessee Warbler and everything on Saturday too. We didn't stay for long because it was getting dark so we left.
Total Names of Birds Seen:
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brown Creeper
American Crow
Mourning Dove
Gadwall (Check for 2009)
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Check for 2009)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Cooper's Hawk
Blue Jay
Dark-eyed Junco
Killdeer
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Mallard
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole (Check for 2009)
Ovenbird (Check for 2009)
Feral Pigeon
American Robin
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
European Starling
Tree Swallow (Check for 2009)
Mute Swan
Nashville Warbler (Check for 2009)
Tennessee Warbler (Check for Life List)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Check for 2009)
Hairy Woodpecker (Check for 2009)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Check for 2009)
House Wren
Marsh Wren (Check for 2009)
Total Number of Birds Seen: 42 species
I will show you prof of some of my sighting tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dyngus Day Dinner

Dyngus Day, also known as Easter Monday is the day after Easter. To celebrate it we went to my cousins house. Aunt Lori, Uncle Bruce, Cousins Michael, Jason, Kira, Tyler, friend Jamal, Michael's wife Lacy, Jason's girlfriend Charyl and our family all had a family dinner together. Thank you Aunt Lori for preparing that delicious meal. Next we played baseball with some of Tyler's friends and then we went home. Then my dad and I went birding and heard a Ruffed Grouse for the first time this year.
Total Names of Birds Seen:
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
American Crow
Mourning Dove
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Ruffed Grouse (Check for 2009)
Ring-billed Gull
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Check for 2009)
Blue Jay
Dark-eyed Junco
Killdeer
Feral Pigeon
American Robin
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
European Starling
American Woodcock
Total Number of Birds Seen: 19 species of birds

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

On Maundy Thursday, Paul, one of Jesus' disciples made a deal to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver the next day. On Good Friday Jesus had his last feast with His disciples and said "This is My last feast with you, one of you will betray Me". Peter asked "Will it be me?", Jesus replied "No". Then Paul tricked Jesus to coming outside and several soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross, dissing Him and put Him in a tomb. Peter came and an angel told him "Do not be afraid, He will return". While Jesus was dead, He took the keys of **** from the devil. On Easter Day, the tomb opened and Jesus came back alive. He visited all of His disciples, then went to Heaven. Jesus died on the cross for us, and therefor we should thank him.
Goodbye,
Birdman

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lynde Shores Conservation Area

White-throated Sparrow White-striped Adult
Eastern Towhee Adult Male Red-eyed
Song Sparrow Adult Eastern
Blue Jay Dark Adult x Pale Adult Intermediate
Mute Swan Adult in Display Posture
Canada Goose Common Adult Laying Eggs
This morning I went birding with my dad at Lynde Shores Conservation Area. As we drove there we saw a Great Blue Heron and a small white bird flying over a pond. Then we parked, paid and started birding. First I saw a Blue Jay and a Northern Cardinal, then we walked to the pond. That "small white bird" was a Bufflehead, it was away from the rest of the waterfowl, foraging by itself. Then a Canada Goose came begging us for food, of course we didn't give it any, but it was funny! The place was filled with Red-winged Blackbirds singing "ok-a-reeeee" and displaying, but I still haven't seen a female Red-winged Blackbird this year, interesting. Anyway, next we went to the "Cranberry Marsh", there I heard a loud "chip" from a Least Chipmunk. Next Black-capped Chickadees came begging us for food, but we didn't have any seeds so we walked on. When we came to the marsh habitat I heard a bird singing "drink your teeeeeeeeee" from a low bush, then the bird came out, it was a Eastern Towhee. Then robins, sparrows and goldfinches filled the place with music for about 30 minutes. Then we saw an injured White-tailed Deer on the trail in front of us walk away. It appeared to be starving and shot several times. Then we went back through the field to the forest and we saw Swainson's Thrushes go in a brush pile, I was very excited because I never saw them before. Although I may have in New Brunswick when we went camping there last July. Mom, said she would prepare a breakfast soon, so we went home and discussed all the birds we saw.
Total Names of Birds Seen:
Canada Goose (5)
Mute Swan (2)
Mallard (9)
Bufflehead (1, Check for 2009)
Great Blue Heron (1)
Killdeer (1)
Ring-billed Gull (17)
Mourning Dove (3)
Downy Woodpecker (1)
Blue Jay (16)
American Crow (2)
Black-capped Chickadee (52)
White-breasted Nuthatch (3)
Brown Creeper (2)
Swainson's Thrush (3, Check for Life List)
American Robin (23)
European Starling (29)
Eastern Towhee (5, Check for 2009)
American Tree Sparrow (2)
Field Sparrow (1, Check for 2009)
Fox Sparrow (4, Check for 2009)
Song Sparrow (17)
White-throated Sparrow (1)
Dark-eyed Junco (2)
Northern Cardinal (11)
Red-wined Blackbird (78)
Common Grackle (50)
American Goldfinch (6)
House Sparrow (1)
Total Number of Birds Seen: 29 species
Goodbye,
Birdman