Spring Migrants near Vermilion

Most of the spring migrants have returned to this part of the province, with many species — including the Tree Swallows, Mallards, Green-winged Teals, and Barn Swallows — already sitting on eggs. I’ve been able to go birding quite frequently this month, so I though I’d share some of my favorite photos from May.

A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker excavating a nest in a poplar tree,


A male Ruffed Grouse taking a break from displaying,


Song Sparrow,


This male Baltimore Oriole was quite difficult to photograph as it kept hiding behind leaves and branches,


The first warblers to arrive in the Vermilion area are Yellow-rumped Warblers (this a Myrtle variant),


I came across this Mallard nest on one of my walks,


This handsome Le Conte’s Sparrow is the most recent addition to my Life List,


A male Yellow Warbler,


I found this dead Red-necked Phalarope near one of the sloughs,


Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

A male Blue-winged Teal and a Pectoral Sandpiper,


More Feathers on Friday Posts:

:: From Shiela at Wolf Song Blog: Today’s Feathered Friends ~ Color me Indigo

:: From Sylvia at Another Day in ParadiseFeathers on Friday ~ Roseate Spoonbill and Mottled Duck

Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

A male Red-winged Blackbird displaying from earlier this week,


More Feathers on Friday Posts:

From Sheila at Wolf Song Blog: Today’s Feathered Friend ~ Color Me a Rosy Red

BirdGenie Is the Shazam for Bird Songs

Some of you might be familiar with the music identifying app Shazam, which identifies songs by “listening” to the music and then matching what it hears with its vast database.

Later this summer, Princeton University Press will be releasing a new app called BirdGenieBirdGenie is like Shazam, but for bird songs — just hold up your smartphone, record the bird song you hear, and BirdGenie will identify it for you. The app has a 90 percent accuracy rate and will consist of two versions — eastern and western with 60 songs on each. After a while, more songs will be added to the app’s repertoire.BirdGenie

BirdGenie will be compatible with Apple and Android devices and sell for $2.99. You’ll be able to keep a log of all your recordings, learn about the species the app has identified, and add comments, photos, and other information to share with friends on social media.

No internet connection is needed for the app to work, which I’m really looking forward to, since I use an iPad (without a network) and don’t have a smartphone. I would use so many more bird/birding apps in the field if they weren’t so dependent on WiFi, so BirdGenie has me very excited about this feature.

To be notified when BirdGenie is up and running, sign up for the newsletter, follow them on Twitter @BirdGenie, or “like” them on Facebook.

I’m really looking forward to this app, which I’ve been offered from Princeton University Press, and will write a full review of it once it’s released.

Birding News #69

:: Bird-friendly glass for windows is on the horizon

:: Scientists are studying the evolution of the extinct Moa

:: The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife is installing 18 “loon rafts” statewide in reservoirs where loon pairs have been reported, to help protect the birds’ nests and eggs from flooding. 

:: The females of various bird species were once as flashy as their male counterparts, a new study finds.

:: Reid Wilson, writing for The Washington Post‘s GovBeat blog, on the “years-long battle that pits environmentalists who want the Greater Sage Grouse protected under the Endangered Species Act against ranchers, gold miners, energy producers and Western state governments that stand to lose billions of dollars in tax revenue and economic activity if tens of millions of acres are blocked off from development, exploration or use”.

:: A California law school graduate received a suspended sentenced of to up to four years’ probation and 16 hours of work each month at an animal shelter for beheading a Helmeted Guineafowl at at Las Vegas resort in 2012

:: BP [British Petroleum] America has given Audubon Rockies conservation group $100,000 to study Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge, near Casper, Wyoming, for habitat improvement projects, including what used to be the man-made Soda Lake, created 50 years ago by American Oil Company.

:: Mercury has been found in gull and tern eggs in northern Alberta

:: A computer science professor whose specialty is facial recognition has used that technology to create Birdsnap, a new app for identifying bird species.

:: Natural England, a non-departmental public body responsible to the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for environment, food and rural Affairs, has advised the British government to allow the licensed killing of some bird species, and the destruction of some species’ nests and eggs, amid growing concerns that they threaten human health and safety. 

Great posts in birding blogs this week:

:: From Alexandria at The EyrieBook Review: Rare Birds of North America

:: From Chris at Birding is FunA Return to Rocky Point

:: From Grant at The Birder’s LibraryAmerican Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of New Jersey

:: From Josh at Ontario Birds and HerpsRare flycatchers!! Pelee – May 11

:: From Nate at This Machine Watches BirdsArizona: The Hummingbirds

:: From Kenneth at Rosyfinch RamblingsThis Week’s Crops & Clips: Palm Warbler

:: From Nate at The ABA BlogOpen Mic: Mark Cocker on Birds and People

:: From Clare at 10,000 Birds: Reconstructing A New Bower

A Shorebird Kind of Day!

Early Friday afternoon, I took my camera, scope, and binoculars with me to the slough across the road from our house. I was hoping to find some shorebirds feeding in the reeds and along the mudflats.

As I got close to the mudflats, I could see two American Avocets, three Killdeer, a flock of Long-billed Dowitchers, eight Lesser and five Greater Yellowlegs. I set up my scope and was looking closely at A large flock of Long-billed Dowitchers, when [as I was looking at them I noticed nine birds that looked different. I then realized that those nine birds were Stilt Sandpipers. I also was able to find two Willets, six Wilson’s Phalaropes, and seven Least Sandpipers.

I spent almost an hour looking at the shorebirds and the various ducks on the slough, but had to get home as my mom and I were leaving for town to deliver eggs.

Upon our return, I walked back out to the slough, but this time I walked through the woods to the east end of the slough. There were very few birds in the woods, but I saw my “first of season” Least Flycatcher feeding at the top of some poplars.

When I walked out of the woods I could see that there were more dowitchers feeding on the north side of the slough. I looked through my scope and was able to see very clearly more than 20 Red-necked Phalaropes feeding with the dowitchers, and also a pair of Cinnamon Teals. I then looked to the left and saw two avocet-sized birds with bright pink legs, and a black-and-white body — the birds were Black-necked Stilts! I’ve seen Black-necked Stilts on this slough before, but they’re not very common for this area, so I was so happy to see these beautiful birds again.

I wasn’t able to get any decent photos of the Black-necked Stilts or Red-necked Phalaropes as they were too far away and the light was very low.

In total, I was able to find 12 species of shorebirds on Friday: American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Stilt Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Least Sandpiper, and Solitary Sandpiper.

Least Sandpipers preening,


Two Willets and a Lesser Yellowlegs,



A female Wilson’s Phalarope,


Stilt Sandpiper,


Long-billed Dowitchers and Stilt Sandpipers,


American Avocet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitchers, and Stilt Sandpipers,