Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'm always interested in any local records of hummingbirds after mid October when most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have left the region. While there are records of Ruby-throats as late as November 26 in Michigan there is a higher probability that a late hummingbird might be a different species. For example a hummingbird that appeared at a feeder in Kingsville on 18 November 2007 turned out to be an adult female Rufous Hummingbird. It remained at the feeder to December 1.
On October 30, 2010 I learned of a hummingbird coming to Tom & Peggy Hurst's feeder in Cottam, ON. After watching it for a while I decided it would be a good idea to come back the next day and get some more photos as there was talk of an Anna's Hummingbird that had just shown up in the UP of Michigan and this bird was not a typical plumaged Ruby-throat. We hoped it might be an Anna's Hummingbird but I hadn't seen an Anna's for several years and wanted to examine my photos and check some references before getting too excited. Unfortunately the bird never returned to the feeder. The few pictures that I digiscoped with a point-and-shoot camera were eventually sent away to hummingbird banders for an expert opinion. Both Sheri Williamson in Arizona and Bob Sargent in Alabama confirmed that this was an Anna's Hummingbird.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Here is an image taken on the lawn of the Kruisa Moya Nature Lodge showing the Milky Way with the Southern Cross low near the horizon. The dark CoalSack Nebula (or head of the Emu in Australia) lies along the upper left side of the Southern Cross. (image taken with a Canon 5D MarkII and 20 mm lens)
Off to the left of this view lies one of the most spectacular globular clusters, the size of a full moon, known as 47 Tucanae (containing millions of stars) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (a close dwarf galaxy). Below is an image taken with a 100mm lens.
|47 Tuc and SMC|
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sent from my iPad
Monday, August 23, 2010
Lilac-breasted Roller is a common and conspicuous bird in the park. Its colours are simply amazing. Even starlings here are gorgeous. We saw four species with iridescent plumage and two species of oxpeckers. The finfoot is much harder to find and we were fortunate to find this lone bird while birding from a bridge.
I hoped to see hornbills on the trip and we were lucky to see all six species in a single day. The Yellow-billed is the most common hornbill in the park. It seems to have a fondness for picking through elephant poop. Mousebirds were another new bird family for me. They are fairly conspicuous as they travel around in small flocks.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Buffalo and other large mammals in Kruger often had attendant oxpeckers that were always busy searching for tasty ticks. The buffalo pictured below didn't mind the two Yellow-billed Oxpeckers poking around in its ear but did object when the birds moved to its nose.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I'm in the middle of my first birding trip to South Africa and it has been an incredible experience. We started with a visit to Kruger National Park where we stayed in four different camps. Kruger is nearly two million hectares in extent and 350 km from north to south. It is home to over 650 species of birds and mammals so there was no shortage of wildlife.
I'll start with a few images of the "Big Five" that we encountered in Kruger. This will take more than one post due to my current connection.
Elephants were seen in good numbers (over 100), both during the day and on night drives. One old bull with just a single tusk actually charged our car we we tried to sneak by it!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Katydids are singing insects. Bird song is starting to decrease by mid summer but insect song is just getting underway. Lately I have started hearing the loud rough "Katy Katy-did" song of the Northern True Katydid. Although a common evening sound these large green insects are seldom seen due to their tree-top haunts.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I don't get to see grouse very often as the Windsor area has little forest cover and the nearest grouse habitat that I regularly visit is a couple of hours away in northern Lambton County. We were north of Sault Ste. Marie this past the weekend and had to stop several times while driving along back roads to let Ruffed Grouse strut slowly across the roadway. Here are images of two birds we encountered.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Immense numbers were recorded back in the 1950's but the huge flights disappeared by the early 1970's. The reappearance of these insects has been taken as a sign of the improved health of the lake.
Here are a few images from Marie's home on June 19. There were millions of these little critters on her house and on every leaf of every tree and shrub in her yard.