Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Timing is Everything and Birds Do Fly

Yesterday, though I had to work during the day,(it was Labour Day after all), there was time before the sun went down to get back to Van Wagner's Beach and check on the Sabine's Gulls and possible Jaegers.   We made it just on time to be told that we just missed a great show of a Jaeger,(probably Parasitic), chasing a Sabine's Gull,(or was it the other way around?).  Either way our timing was off for seeing those birds.

However, it was kind of like a reunion, of sorts.  Perry, who is one of your top Gull men in the Niagara region was there, as he seemed to be everywhere in the Niagara region when I birded there in January and February.  There were two other gentlemen birders I recognized, one of whom Sue and I had met at Bronte Creek.  We directed him to the Saw-whet Owl and he directed us to the Eastern Screech Owl.  The third birder was Wayne Renaud, he of the spring Whimbrel Watch in Colonel Sam Park.  It was nice to run into them after a long summer.  Perry had shown me a Glaucous Gull at Bayfront Park in January, and Wayne had directed me to a Semi-palmated and a White-rumped Sandpiper at Colonel Sam in May.

We did spend a nice hour or so by the lake,(which felt very much like the ocean), and enjoyed lots of gull and tern action and I got to watch a gull and Red-necked Phalarope through the scope as one chased the other for, I assume, a bit of fish the other had.

Afterwards, Wayne joined Sue and me for dinner at Hutch's Diner, which felt like something out of American Graffiti.  Kind of like going back in time, complete with mini juke boxes in each booth.  While we enjoyed the deliciously greasy fish and chips we talked about our birding adventures and eventually about how I decided to start birding do a Big Year as a result of seeing the movie and reading the book, "The Big Year."

And now the reason for my post.  Recently a Thick-billed Kingbird had been seen in Ontario, at Presqu'ile Provincial Park.  It's a long way from home and if not an escaped bird, has reverse migrated to Ontario from Texas, rather than to Mexico.  I began to think about how rare a sighting that would be for Ontario, let alone Canada, and remembered reading reviews of the movie The Big Year, written by "know-it-all" birders who complained as to how outrageous it was that producers of the movie had a Pink-footed Goose in Florida and Colorado.  Because they have wings.  I guarantee, had it been a Thick-billed Kingbird in the movie, someone would have complained as to how unrealistic for it to be seen in, say, Cape May New Jersey.  The only reason they didn't complain about the Xantus's Hummingbird in British Columbia depicted in the movie was that it actually was a real event during the 1998 Big Year.

And my point.  A: It was a movie and the Pink-footed Goose was used as a storytelling tool, rather than a factual event.  And B: Based on what I have seen this year,(A Western Bluebird in Ontario this past January, I wouldn't be surprised if a Pink-footed Goose showed up anywhere.  The Great-spotted Woodpecker, well that's another story.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. Timing plus a lot of luck is truly the key when it comes to finding a new bird in a bush!! Sounds like you have had good luck in seeing a Saw-Whet Owl. One bird that I have waited decades to see in the wild. I live in Toronto, and this past Friday, my wife and I came upon an adult Saw-Whet Owl out in the bush. This was the first time as birders that we had ever seen a Saw-Whet Owl. Fortunately, we had our camera with us and got some good pictures and video. We have posted them for anyone interested at: http://frametoframe.ca/photo-essay-northern-saw-whet-owl-sighting