September 3rd – Working Through The Doldrums

The shot that started it all – juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-heron in the shallows of the Grand River below the dam in Caledonia – by Karen Petrie.


Whew! Another scorcher. And what wind there was came out of the SW. If I was a migrant, I’d be holding off until there were good conditions. And they did….hold off. There were very few migrants around today. But we were hopeful – we’re always hopeful. I felt like those sailors I’ve read about on old sailing vessels becalmed in the doldrums. Searching the sky for a hint of wind to push them on. Day after day….hopeful. And we were searching the skies but there wasn’t much to be seen. But this will end, sooner rather than later I trust, and things will pick up.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-heron. -ECG


In the meantime there’s a good news story playing out. Late last week volunteer Karen Petrie brought in a picture she had taken of a juvenile Night-heron. As soon as Ethan Gosnell, one of the keen young Baggers, saw it he identified it right away as a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Surprise, surprise. No one was expecting this! Karen posted it and before long birders were parading to the islands just below the dam in Caledonia to add an Ontario birding tick. If Karen hadn’t taken the shot and if Ethan hadn’t seen it, this bird might have spent the rest of the Fall anonymously feeding in the shallow waters of the Grand River, with no one the wiser.

Chasing dinner. -KMP


Ah….dinner: a lovely crayfish. -KMP


Banded 13:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Ovenbird
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Song Sparrow
2 Bobolinks
2 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 49 spp.

PS: Ethan (and Nicole and Marnie) raised the “census bar” to 38 species – possibly a new Fall record. [This of course raises a number of interesting questions. Can the census record be jointly held? Or should the total be split amongst the observers? We were considering the possibility of calculating birds per minute. If you had 3 observers (as there were today) would you have triple the observer minutes to put into the calculation? We’re flummoxed and would appreciate any input you might be able to offer.]
Rick

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