Monday, May 29, 2017


Photo from
Rob and I rarely "chase" rare bird species reported in Ontario, mainly because we work different shifts, and it's almost impossible for us to. But, a report came in Thursday night that we couldn't ignore.

When we visited Cape May a few years back, seeing a Blue Grosbeak, was at the top of my most wanted list, but it didn't happen. So when one was reported in High Park it was hard to ignore that "twitch" to go see it.

Rob texted me Thursday evening to tell me about the sighting. At first I was, "you should try to go see it in the morning." One of us should see it, but then I got to thinking. The sun is up by 6am, I don't start work until 7:30am. If Rob's willing to go early, we can both go try to see it, as High Park is only a ten minute drive from our home!!

So, we were in High Park shortly after 6am on Friday morning with fingers crossed we'd see the bird. The directions to the location to where the bird was seen were very good, and we found the area easily. There we two other birders there, and they quickly let us know the bird was there by pointing up. I know I would not of spotted that bird on my own, with the early morning light he blended in with the leaves well, looking more black than blue at that time.

We stayed for about 45 minutes before I had to leave for work. The bird got bluer as the light got better. Here is Rob's best photo from the morning. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo by Rob Mueller 
Word got out about this sighting Thursday evening, and the crowds grew through-out the day Friday and over the weekend. As you can see from the map, he was quite out of his range.

 A few of our birding friends got to see the bird on Friday as well. Their pictures are used with their permission, and I thank them for that.

Photo by Monika Croydon 

Photo by Joanne Muis Redwood

We did go back again Saturday to see if we'd see the bird again, and we did, but he was further away. It was fun seeing all the people that came to see him, and we had some rare sightings of birding friends we don't see often enough, so it was still worth the the trip.

Photo by Barbara Canney 
   This blue bird caused quite a bit of excitement over the weekend, and I'm glad to have been a part of it.

  • Twitch: The act of traveling a long distance to see a rare bird. Synonymous with chase.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Birding around Port Rowan.
Rob and I were on vacation for two weeks starting May 8th. We had booked a cottage in the Long Point/Port Rowan area months ago, long before I broke my foot. We decided to still go, even though I wouldn't be able to be out for hours a day like previous May vacations, but we made the best of it.

The cottage we rented was at Bayside Vacation Resort, recommended from a friend who works at Bird Studies Canada. It was the perfect location, just a few minutes from the Long Point Bird Observatory, Bird Studies Canada, Backus Woods, and many other great birding locations in the area.

I was kind of surprised at how few people we ran into during our 3 night, 4 day stay. I know Point Pelee and Rondeau are more popular birding spots during Spring migration, but honestly, the Port Rowan/Long Point area is great too, and without the crowds. We've already booked for next year!

We had just under 90 species during our trip. I noticed this trip that Rob spent more time looking through his binoculars than his camera lens. A testament to how relaxed he was? He did manage a few photos though.

 Please enjoy a few photos from out trip.

View from our cottage.
It was enjoyable watching the terns while having morning coffee.
This bunny lived under our cottage and welcomed us home every evening.
A great place to observe migrating birds. 
Palm Warbler.
Black and White Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Oven Bird
Magnolia Warbler
I watched this Carolina Wren sing for quite a while.
This Blue-winged Warbler was a surprise at the Turkey Heritage site, we saw two.
Mute Swan and a mix of Swallows on the Bay at sunset.
Always a treat to see Eastern Bluebirds in our travels.
Virginia Rail
I loved seeing all these gorgeous birds, but the high-light for me was FINALLY hearing the call of the Whip-poor-will! It has been on the top of my birding bucket list for almost a decade. We went out every night we were there, but finally on the 3rd night, our last night, the night of May 10th, and a full moon, with some advice from some birders who live in the area, it happened! You can hear a bit of what we heard by clicking the link under the moon picture. It was amazing! We were surrounded by 5 or 6 birds calling.

The trip was the perfect mix of relaxation and birding.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Wrapped up my boot cast in a plastic bag due to muddy areas in the park.
Rob has to book his vacation for the year by the end of February, and I do the same, so we know we'll have the time off together. So after being back to work for 2.5 weeks I am now on vacation for 2.5 weeks.

May is usually all about birding, up before the sun, on our feet for 12 hours and crashing early to do it all over again the next day. Not this year. Little did we know when we booked our 2 weeks off in May that I was going to break a bone in my right foot the first day of Spring. My ever positive hubby says, "We'll make the best of it."

It's been 7 weeks today since I broke my foot, and am at the stage now where I am allowed to start weaning myself off the boot cast. I am allowed to wear a supportive runner at home, but still have to wear the boot cast when I go out. So far so good. I go back to the fracture clinic on May 23, and I am hoping to be boot cast free for my return to work on May 24th. But enough about my foot, let's talk birds!

Yesterday morning I braced up my bad left knee, put on the boot cast and off we went to a local favorite park, Colonel Samuel Smith Park. I had many first of year sightings; Palm Warbler, Oven Bird, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wood Thrush, Veery and Black and White Warblers,

There were many Black and White Warblers to be seen.
We have been visiting this park for many years but I have never seen the amount of warblers in the trees like I witnessed yesterday. They were filled with Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black and White, and also Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Lots of other warbler species were mixed in, you just had to look
Black-throated Green Warbler.
Wood Thrush, I only wish he had of been singing.
        I was on my feet for about 2 hours, and even though I was feeling it, it was hard to leave.

All photos taken by Rob on Sunday, May 7th, click to enlarge. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Our sleepy two year olds. 
Our much loved and spoiled kitties turned two years old on April 30th. I used their birthday as an excuse to try out a new bakery, Jenny Bean Sweets. She's in our neighborhood and bakes out of her home.

The cake looked awesome! And it was delicious too!

We let them sniff it, but they have no interest in human food.

They did however enjoy the box it came in!


They did get some real presents too.

Though they had no clue what day it was, we enjoyed celebrating their birthday for them.