Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Saturday Morning's "Work"

Continuing my narrative starting with sunrise pictures on VanWagner's Beach....

When Dave arrived, we headed over to VanWagner's Ponds, one of the locations I had thought might be a good birding location.  At least the OntBirds email list had said this was a good location.  We unpacked and set up our cameras to head down the path.  While we were getting set, a starling was chasing a cicada straight towards us, and last minute abandoned the pursuit as it came close.  Although it had been flying, the early morning temperatures must not have allowed the cicada to warm up enough yet, as it was somewhat sluggish still.

Well, after scaring out two herons we didn't realize were there, we really saw nothing else. The ponds have higher banks which were mostly filled in with bull rushes, not the greatest for trying photograph through without hipwaders.  We soon decided to head on over to another location I had also seen on OntBirds - Windermere Basin.  However, it was nothing like what the Google satellite view shows, as it is under some very major construction.  Again, we saw a few herons and shore birds, but none within range, and certainly not with an attractive backdrop.  

So, off we went to RBG, hoping the Henrdrie Valley area where we've both been a few times would provide better success.  On the way though, we stopped on Eastport Drive where there is a small strip of land in Hamilton Harbour which is a nationally designated bird sanctuary, mostly for cormorants.  This narrow portion of land has been populated by hundreds, if not thousands of cormorants, their feces completely killing any vegetation along it.  

Cormorant Nesting Tree

It's strange to see these water birds that normally sit so low it the water, perched in trees.

Double-crested Cormorant

Closer to the road, obviously not frequented by the cormorants was a treat!  Black-crowned Night Herons.  There were two or more juveniles, and an adult.  True to their name, they are mostly active at night, hunting for fish, frogs, and other water-life during the night or early morning.  This tree was likely where their nest was, only home for them for a short while more before they will be migrating south with the approaching cooler weather.  Apparently the North American population all migrate to Mexico.

Black-crowned Night Heron - Juvenile

Black-crowned Night Heron

Once finally at Hendrie Valley, we did enjoy sights of lots of different birds - notables include:
Common Tern
Gray Catbird
and the common song birds.
No stunning photos to show, but lots of fun anyways.

As we headed back, we bumped into some other photographers.   I am out-gunned when shooting with the likes of this equipment.  Dave's hidden, with his nice new 600mm lens just showing.  The gentleman on the far end is more in my league.

Wildlife Paparazzi
Here are a few more shots of what we saw that day.  Despite the hopping around, it turned out to be an enjoyable morning!

Great Blue Heron


Eastern Chipmunk

I'll end with a bit of a funny sight... although out of focus on the head, here's what a juvenile Blue Jay looks like when he's getting the last of his brilliantly blue head feathers.

Juvenile Blue Jay


  1. very nice write up Brian. We'll have to do this again some time


  2. Thanks Dave. I enjoyed it! I'll hold you to the future date. :)

  3. Hey there. Love your pictures, as always. I took the kids for a walk along that walkway by Dundurn last week and we spotted a bald eagle soaring above us several times.

  4. Thanks Elsie. That must have been exciting! I've seen one in this area a couple times over the years too. They are big birds!!


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