Saturday, February 5, 2011

The owls will have to wait.

Evening Grosbeak by Putneypics

I had the chance to go to Amherst Island near Kingston, Ontario today and look for owls. It wasn't in the cards though as I had some commitments around the house. You see, we are finishing up some renovations and I had my electrician coming over to finish the lighting in the kitchen. You can see some of the reno stuff at my lovely wife's blog, The Stay Lucky.

Amherst Island is a full day thing. I just didn't want the others to feel rushed or anything. Maybe I'll go next weekend. That said, I didn't want to go another full week without adding anything to my Big Year list. I had a couple hours Saturday morning to see something. To find out what I might see in my area, I downloaded BirdsEye for my iPhone. It is the best app I've ever bought. It literally shows you exactly where you need to go to see a specific species. All you do is launch it, let it find your location via GPS and it tells you all the sightings that have been uploaded to eBird recently. Find one you need, tap that species and it shows you on a map how to get to the latest and closest sightings.

I launched BirdsEye and looked in my area for stuff I still need (tragically, that's a long list). It popped up a couple that were very close to my house. Evening Grosbeak and Common Redpoll. They were about 15 minutes away and sighted only yesterday. Just before leaving, I made this video.

After that, I headed out to find some birds. It was a beautiful sunny winter morning. I found the spot and within moments I had the Evening Grosbeaks. They were a bit off the beaten track at someone's backyard feeder. It was a life bird for me so an extra special sighting. There was a guy called Rob Lonsberry there taking some photos of the birds. Some of his photos can be seen here.

I missed the Redpolls. Rob had seen them earlier and took me right to the feeders where he'd seen them but they were now gone. I waited around for a while but, no Redpolls. Even after going back a couple times, they didn't show. My wife doesn't know it yet, but when we head to Peterborough tomorrow morning, we'll be swinging past those Redpoll feeders again.

This is way off topic but I thought it was kind of funny. Here's what my kids think of the new haircut.

February 5th, 2011 day list

Evening Grosbeak.

P.S. - Today would have been a good 2 hours of birding (I saw at least 20 species) but only one of them meant anything this year. I'm seeing how a Big Year can sometimes strip a bit of the enjoyment out of birding.

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