Monday, September 19, 2011

Holiday Beach Festival of Hawks

On Saturday, September 17, I attended the annual Holiday Beach Festival of Hawks for the first time.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  It was nice to see and hear from very knowledgable birders!  I was especially excited to get to release a Black-throated Blue Warbler, thanks to the generous man who adopted the bird but allowed someone else to release it.  He initially offered a child standing near me and upon refusal, I got the opportunity :)  I found the Raptor Identification class put on by Bob Pettit of the HBMO to be quite informatitve.  I also learned two other things: 1) I really need a good pair of binoculars, and 2) an 18-105mm lens just doesn't cut it.  A gentleman standing next to us shot a picture of a Juv. Bald Eagle, as did my husband with my my husband's shot, the eagle is just spec on a blue background...the man beside us captured a fanastic close-up!  I will be looking into upgrading to at least a 300mm lens before spring.

As for counting "lifers"...what are the rules?  Most of the birds I saw at the Festival (all but the Turkey Vulture and Bald Eagle) were birds I had never seen before.  Do I count the birds in the demonstrations as lifers or do they have to be seen in their natural habitat?  In the meantime, I am not counting including them on my list because it feels like cheating.  I hope you enjoy the pictures :)

Barred Owl on display...beautiful!

Broad-winged Hawk on display

One of several kettles of Broad-winged Hawks that flew overhead.

Redstart that had been banded that day.

Northern Parula that was banded and now ready for release.

This is the Black-throated Blue Warbler I got to release :D

One of many Sharp-shinned Hawks that were banded.

An Osprey that flew overhead...those who kept their eyes on it saw it dive into the trout pond...I missed it :(

American cute :) 

Look at that face :)  Bander pointing out the baffles on his nostrils.

Eastern Screech Owl on display.

Gray-cheeked Thrush banded that day.

Red-tailed Hawk that had been caught at the Airport, but released at the Festival.

Red-tailed Hawk.  Notice the trachea in his tongue!

Female Peregrine Falcon caught at the Airport.  It had already been banded, but they didn't yet know where it was from.

Female Peregrine, again.

We saw this Bald Eagle on the way home, soaring over Ojibway Parkway.  My husband pulled over so I could get some shots of it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Labour Day Weekend 2011 (Ottawa)

My brother has lived in Ottawa for about 5 years, and in all our visits, we had never been to Gatineau Park.  We headed to Pink Lake with my brother and his family (he, his wife, his almost 8 year old son and just 3 year old daughter).  I suspect there were many more birds and critters around than we saw, but we made too much noise :)
Caterpillar on the boardwalk...had fun explaining the "fake head" to my nephew.
View of Pink Lake
My daughter, husband and myself (my son couldn't come.)
 This bird (below) is the only new bird I saw at Gatineau Park. I was initially thinking it might be a Hermit Thrush.  Not sure though....I can't make out the details well enough to count it as a life bird...

 This is the first time I had ever seen a milipede in the wild :)  Yup, they're gross!

On Sunday, it rained, so we did "indoor" things.  On Monday, we went to Brewer Pond to catch brother and the kids tried numerous times while at Pink Lake to catch the slippery suckers, with no luck.  They had better luck at Brewer Pond.  While there, we saw....
Lots of dragon flies.

A Garder Snake...
This Song Sparrow...which is actually a lifer...have seen them, but never identified them before...

And this Great Blue Heron!  My brother was basically standing next to it then spooked it trying to get my attention.

While sitting on my brother's deck, this Black Capped Chickadee came for visit :)

And these White-breasted Nuthatches (below) were busy on this stump most of the afternoon on Monday.  They were fun to watch!  Apparently, before cutting the tree down, it was frequented by Pileated Woodpeckers.  I was hoping to see one this weekend, but didn't.  The feeders at the window in the background were busy all day with Goldfinches, Chickadees, Nuthatches and an unidentified Woodpecker.
So, although not a birding trip, I was happy to get a couple lifers!