Wednesday, June 6, 2018

VACATION ~ WEEK TWO

My favorite warbler, the Canada Warbler. Thrilled to see them while on vacation.

Our second week of vacation started May 13th. We headed down to the Port Rowan/Long Point area for a four day, three night stay. We had really enjoyed our stay the year before and were happy to be returning. We once again stayed at Bayside Vacation Resort, and had the same cottage as last year. Actually, we've already booked again for 2019! We really enjoy the area, and having the cottage makes it more "vacation like". There are many great birding spots a short drive from the cottage. But we were looking forward to this trip for a lifer sighting that had nothing to do with birds.

Rob and I have been Facebook friends with Tammie for about seven years. From early November to mid April her northern Ontario backyard plays hosts to a webcam run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology for Project FeederWatch. Her and her husband, Ben, had quite the Ontario road trip from Manitouwadge, visiting friends and family along the way. They stayed in the cottage next to ours for the nights we had booked, and as they had never visited the area before, we had fun playing tour guides. I know they had many lifers on this trip, and it was fun for us to have that experience with them. **Click on photos to enlarge them**

The stunning Scarlet Tanager - Backus Woods
A lifer for all of us! A Yellow-throated Vireo - Backus Woods
Hooded Warbler - Backus Woods.
Tammie was very excited about finally getting to visit the Bird Studies Canada head quarters in Port Rowan, and meet some people she'd been corresponding with for years!

We all enjoyed our visit and tour of the Bird Studies Canada office.
We spent a lot of time at "Old Cut",  good birds, great people!
One of the reasons I enjoy staying at Bayside Vacation Resort, is the birds you see just relaxing outside your cottage. We had a House Finch nesting on our deck, and a Killdeer was nesting across the channel. Forster's Terns, and Tree Swallows were always flying over the water, and we even had a flyover by a Bald Eagle. Many species of birds were seen from the cottage, too many to list here.

Our second night it rained heavily and the wind howled. I woke up at 2am due to the thunder and lightning. I was so worried about the Killdeer on her nest, I didn't really sleep well the rest of the night. I kept thinking there was no way her nest survived this storm. When I finally woke just before 6am, I could hardly wait to get outside. The storm had passed and there she was, sitting on her nest like nothing had happened! I was overjoyed, and a little dumbfounded. The memory of that storm and the happiness I felt that morning will stay with me for a long time.

Mama Killdeer on her nest the morning after the storm. 
Our second to last night there we once again went out at dusk to hear the Whip-poor-wills, and this year the Woodcocks were putting on a great show as well. We even had some bats flying about as we were leaving the area. Our last night there we enjoyed a steak BBQ, and lit a fire to roast some marshmallows. Tammie and Ben were leaving the area in the morning, as they had quite a drive ahead of them that day, and something about picking up a boat.... Something tells me that won't be the last we see of them.

A few of the birds we saw while in the area.

Tammie's jaw dropped the first time she saw a Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Beauty Purple Martin. 
Another shot of the Scarlet Tanager, so you can see his tail.
Black and White Warbler.
Magnolia Warbler.
Nashville Warbler.
American Redstart.
After goodbye hugs, Tammie and Ben were off to continue their road-trip, and Rob and I made our way back to "Old Cut" one more time. We were going to meet up with Bird Studies Canada's, Jody Allair, for a bit of birding before making our way back to the city.

Now, last year, Jody was instrumental in getting us to the right location so I could FINALLY hear my Whip-poor-wills. Click here to read all about that. Little did we know that we were in for an even bigger treat this year.

We all had been to Old Cut the day before and the trees were dripping Warblers! They were everywhere you looked! After a clear night for the birds to keep moving, it was a much quieter this morning. But still, we were looking forward to spending some time with Jody. We met up with him at 8am, and he was very excited about a reported Kirtland's Warbler in the area. He told us to get in the van, we were going "twitching" with Jody!

Rob and I had seen a Kirtland's Warbler in 2016 at Point Pelee, along with a big crowd of people. This sighting was very, very different. We had spectacular views of the bird and with a very small and polite crowd, including the President of Bird Studies Canada, Steven Price.

The huge crowd watching the Kirtland's Warbler.
There hadn't been a Kirtland's Warbler sighting in the area in 4 years, and the time before that was 10 years, so it was a pretty big deal, and was a lifer bird for many who came to see it. I do believe the Bird Studies Canada building emptied, so they could all come see it!

The star of the show, Kirtland's Warbler.
After that awesome experience, we went back to the banding station, Jody went back to work, and we headed back to Toronto after a delicious lunch at the Country Fork. If  you are in the area you have to eat here, trust me! It wouldn't be my blog if I didn't mention a fantastic restaurant.

The next bit of our vacation was enjoyed at home, enjoying our backyard, where we added another new yard bird, and the baby squirrels kept us entertained.

Four baby squirrels born in our Screech Owl box.

Another new yard bird, Bay-breasted Warbler!

TWO WEEK VACATION RECAP;

* 124 Species seen, including 2 rarities (Le Conte's Sparrow and Kirtland's Warbler)
*  4 Lifers for Rob and I ( Blue-winged Teal, Common Moorehen, Le Conte's Sparrow and Yellow-throated Vireo) 
* 6 New Yard Birds ( Brown Thrasher, Indigo Bunting, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and an Eastern Towhee)

You can read about our first week of vacation by clicking here.

Lifer - Common Moorhen, with a Painted Turtle. 
Lifer - Pair of Blue-winged Teals with a Mallard Duck for size comparison.

It was a great two weeks!

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