Saturday 2 June 2012

100km to see 1 bird

... by bike!

I biked 107.6 km today just to see one bird. In fact, I saw the exact same individual bird on July 10th of last year. It was a Prairie Warbler. A rare breeding bird in this region of Ontario, and this one has returned to the same location for the second year, despite not finding a female last year (at least I assume he didn't find one).

It was my 27th species of warbler for the year. Not bad, considering that I've been mostly birding in Waterloo (where I've seen 22 species of warbler so far).

Anyway, I had a few other species in mind while riding down that way. I was hoping to add Grasshopper Sparrow and Blue-winged Warbler to my Waterloo year list as well.

Well, on my way to Grass Lake, I got lost in an industrial area and happened to hear a Grasshopper Sparrow singing. Turns out there is a small colony in the area.

Not long after that I had found my way to Grass Lake. I've been there a few times already this year. Today I was hoping to hear a Virginia Rail. I had two reply to a tape, and one of them walked back and forth, right in front of me. Bob & Steve (2 Toronto birders) showed up and also enjoyed great looks at this rather secretive bird while a Broad-winged Hawk soared overhead.

Then it was off to the PRAW. It wasn't hard to find, considering it was singing from the exact same bush as last year!

 A House Wren checked me out nearby:

 It's amazing how many dead birds are on the roads:

A look at the primaries on this American Woodcock. They are shaped to make the twittering sounds while the male flies.

tuk tuk tizeeeeeeeeez

Chick out the orange streaks/spots on the back of this sex bomb: