Friday, July 8, 2011

Long Point Provincial Park 2

Here is the second part of the Long Point post...

I spent one afternoon walking the campground and a bit of the beach in search of birds who were going to stay close enough to be photographed.  I wasn't terribly successful on that trek.  I did get to see a bird I had never seen before - an Alder Flycatcher landed for a brief moment a little ways away, though still quite far away for a 300mm lens (I cropped the picture significantly.)  It's not the greatest shot, but thought I'd put it in anyways.  I should mention that it's possible that it could be a Willow Flycatcher - according to one of the websites I use to figure out what I've seen, you can only really tell the difference by their songs - which I didn't hear and wouldn't have had a clue which one I was hearing.  Because at Long Point it's full of Poplars and Alder trees, I'm going to assume it was an Alder Flycatcher.

Alder Flycatcher a way out there.
I also saw Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler on this jaunt, but not close enough to get any great shots.  The ironic thing is, the rest of the pictures I got (except for some Oriole shots at the end of this post), were all right by the comfort station.  One of the Park Rangers noted, as I was standing their taking pictures, that every year they have multiple nests around both the main comfort stations at the park.  Interesting considering all the people and pet traffic around.

The most fun, but hardest to get a good shot of, was a tiny Yellow Warbler nest with four little ones.   No matter which side I tried to take the picture from, angling to get a view where the delivery of the meal would be in view, the bird would choose the other side of the little spruce the nest was at the centre of.  I did manage to get a few shots, but nothing straight on.

Yellow Warbler with plenty of bugs trying to stay just out of sight.

Somehow they know food is coming and jostle for position.

Two of the four young ones. They're about 50cm small at this point.

I did get this shot of a baby getting fed by a Yellow Warbler.  Only thing is, I'm not completely convinced this is a Yellow Warbler fledgling.  It seems bigger than the adult, and later on, I'm wondering if I saw a Baltimore Oriole trying to feed the same chick.  Anyone care to enlighten me who knows?

Yellow Warbler feeding .... ???

At the same location near the comfort station was this male Baltimore Oriole.  Although it was a day later, as I just noted, I believe it was feeding the same chick that I saw in the picture above.  I know that Cuckoos and Brown-headed Cowbirds are known to lay eggs in other bird's nests, leaving the nest owner to raise their young.  I don't think Baltimore Orioles do this though - I couldn't find anything on the internet which made me think so.

Baltimore Oriole with caterpillars.
One of our friends noticed a Baltimore Oriole nest high above in the trees near their site.  I have never seen one before.  Baltimore Orioles weave a hanging nest, the bottom a nice round ball, hollow in side with an opening on one side on top.  It's usually near the end of long branches for added protection.  Baltimore Orioles song sounds somewhat like a cardinal's, both in tone, and sometimes, somewhat in it's melody.

Baltimore Oriole nest.
The nest was quite high up in the tree. Having been treated to getting close at the Yellow Warbler nest, I tried to get closer by standing up on a picnic table - likely looking foolish to the rest of the group.  Oh well.  At least I stopped at only one table, and didn't stack another.  Amazing though how such a little bird has been given the ability to create such a masterpiece with pretty much a completely round nest.  I wonder how they get it started.

Male Baltimore Oriole feeding young - you can
just see the beak of one on the bottom of the nest.

Female Baltimore Oriole

I made one trek into the long grass lands towards the inner bays where there are acres of marshy areas, to see what there was to see.  Pretty dumb of me though.  Long Point is known for its ticks.  Lyme disease is known to be spread by female Deer Ticks which are found there.  Although it's apparently not quite the certainty that some make it out to be that you'll get it easily, get sick, and die; it's quite easily treated if you catch it early....  I went out and thought, as long as I keep moving, surely they won't have much time to climb up my shoes and legs, etc.  Well, as you can see from the two pictures below (no birds, only flowers), I obviously did stop, and though not for that long, it was long enough.  At one point I looked down and found, without exaggerating, at least 10 ticks climbing up my legs.  They all came off rather easily, and I was confident they were all Wood Ticks (or dog ticks) as earlier that day we had found one similar on one of my sons, and the Rangers assured us it was not a Deer Tick but the former.  Deer Ticks are half the size, and easy to distinguish with a reddish body and black near and including it's head.  However, you should still be careful, and even though I was walking on a mown path, obviously they still were getting on quite easily.  Lesson learned.

At the price of 10 Ticks... some shots of flowers which I cannot name.  My dear mother is the wild flower expert in our family. Maybe she will be able to identify these.  The first one looks like almost an orchid they way the flowers are arranged on the stem, and the long leaves in the background of the picture.

Wild Sweet Pea.
(Thanks to Karen for the info on the flowers!)
I'm guessing this is some sort of wild iris?

Wild Iris

Even though we were by the beach, I saw absolutely no shore birds other than the very common Ring-billed Gull.  The beach there has shrunk considerably with what must be higher water levels and possibly some erosion from some storms?  Didn't leave enough room for some good beach volleyball.  

A great weekend - till next year?

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Sorry about the annoying word verification... I've been deluged with Spam comments lately and some have been offensive.