Though a rather plain and often overlooked bird, the warbling vireo can be found singing it’s warbling and musical song in shade trees near streams. The following photos were taken very early for the songbird season, in late April. Very few leaves were out yet, and this songster was easy to spot.
In my opinion, one of the most appropriate Latin names for any bird is that of the Great Gray Owl: Strix nebulosa. The species certainly has a nebulous character, roosting deep in dense woods, and only appearing at the edges of open areas near dawn and dusk to hunt, which makes it rather hard to find with the limited hours of daylight in the winter. Once one actually locates this owl, it is immediately evident that though it seems very lethargic, it is extremely aware of all that is happening in its surroundings. For instance, it is very possible to have them suddenly launch off their perch only to catch a vole under a few feet of snow. They show very little fear of humans; there have been many photos posted showing people standing right next to a Great Gray Owl. When in flight, their wingspan is truly impressive.
They tend to come south in any good numbers only once every few years, when the vole population crashes further north. The large invasion in the winter of 2004-2005 was well documented, but in the years since then there haven’t been too many that came south.
This past winter I was able to get numerous photos of a pair of them that wintered near Ottawa; most photos are from a trip in February with Alex Mody.
This somewhat bizarre shorebird is active by night, digging for worms with its long beak. I photographed this male with the use of a flashlight after he performed his mating rituals, which consist of a winnowing flight display.
I’m back from my trip to Michigan. It was slightly over a week long, and the main goal were loons. I spent most of my time near Rogers City in an area known for tame and approachable loons and also made stops in Grayling for Kirtland’s Warbler, and Ann Arbor for grassland birds that are not easily found in Ontario. I headed home via Sauble Beach for a quick hour of Piping Plover photography.
I took about 6000 photos during my trip, and it will definitely take me some time to go through them! That said, I will try to post a few favourites soon.
Songbird photography is now essentially over, with birds well into raising young, ceasing to sing and vegetation becoming thicker. My focus is shifting to photographing grassland and waterbirds before the shorebirds begin appearing in a few weeks on their southward migration.
This is a bufflehead duck I photographed this winter. It’s normally very hard to get this close to diving ducks, but there were several diving near a pier, and would surface quite close.