Birding May Day

May 1, 2010
April had been a very busy month, so I was really looking forward to this weekend because (except for getting the newsletter finished) I would have some spare time to go birding. Yay! :) And I did so – despite the crummy weather forecast. I was up early this morning, and under some heavy threatening skies I headed for Prince Edward Point. Only a madman, I thought, would go birding on such a morning. And when the rain started falling (as I drove through Rossmore) I was even more convinced that my insanity was real. :) It seemed to me though, that the sky was looking brighter along the southern horizon, and that was good enough. So on I drove, and I was rewarded as the weather did generally improve the further south I went. As I passed through Milford, the sun was shining, I could see some swallows zig-zagging through the air near a barn at the corner of County Road 10 and Royal, and something flew across in front of me that looked like a Killdeer, so I pulled over to take a look. It was a good decision. There were several Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows, and definitely a Killdeer in the meadow – and as an added treat a Killdeer hatchling was darting back and forth just on the other side of the fence. The little fellow made it very difficult to get a shot – and here’s the best I could do:

Isn’t he/she a cutie? I also took a short video to show Elaine, then I got back into my car and continued on to the Point. I reached my destination by about 9:30, and the sun was shining enough to provide very adequate lighting, and there was lots to see. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring extra batteries for my camera and my spirit sank briefly when I realized that this excellent time may be cut short. Just then I noticed a medium-sized bird fly into a nearby tree. Its wings were black and white, and as he landed on a nearby branch I could see the bright red bib that was diagnostic of this beautiful Rose-breasted Grosbeak. He landed in a tangle of branches and it was difficult to get a clear shot.
Seeing the grosbeak improved my mood instantly, and I was determined to not think about how much time may be left on my camera’s batteries, and just enjoy the excellent birding for as long as it lasted. There were Mergansers and Long-tailed ducks on the water, and a very low flying Turkey Vulture circling over head. I took a few shots and then headed to the trails in the Point Traverse woods. Along the side of the road there was a leafless tree and just as I got to it a Brown Thrasher landed on one of the higher branches and started calling. The sun was behind the bird so the shot didn’t turn out the way I’d have liked.

Next it was into the woods in pursuit of the warblers. I spotted quite a few, but only managed to photograph the Yellow and the Yellow-rumped – two of the more common of the Dendroica warblers. It was a great time, and the best day of birding I’ve had for quite a while. At 11:00 o’clock the camera died :(  and at almost the same instant Elaine called :) . I told her I’d be home by noon, and was looking forward to showing her the photos and videos I’d taken. It was sad to have to leave so soon, but I was thankful for the time I had had. I highly recommend going to  Prince Edward Point this month. It is a guaranteed great day of birding! Talk again soon, Garry – www.birdingandmore.com

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