Thursday, 21 April 2016

Back to Birding

Skip and I have gone birding the last two afternoons at Thickson Woods - a densely treed space on the northern shore of Lake Ontario.

The first day, I discussed cameras with a couple we met there. Although the woman had a CoolPix P610 camera and told me a 900 model was now available, she said she really liked the old P100 she once owned. I realized I have owned the CoolPix P100 for a few years so yesterday's birding session was primarily to test out that camera that I hadn't really used in years.

Here are the pics from Tuesday afternoon with my new Panasonic Lumix ZS40.

I like the contrast of the red dogwood stems with the drab brown. This is the meadow just north of the Waterfront Trail and the woods.
There were lots of American goldfinches twittering away. We have also had a pair at the feeder in our back yard.
We could hear this white-breasted nuthatch's 'yank yank yanking'. He flitted around a lot so it was hard to get a still shot of him.
Other birds we spotted were a northern flicker, lots of chickadees, a brown-headed cowbird, and a mourning dove.

Then several of these butterflies were flying around.
This one landed in the sun right on the path. I had to wait a long time for it to open its wings so I could ID it.
After checking our various sources, it was determined that this is the Mourning Cloak, a very common butterfly across the US and Canada and  is one of the earliest to appear in the spring. We didn't see any yesterday - probably because it was a cooler day than Tuesday.

With my old CoolPix100 (purchased back in 2010 - I just checked), I took some pics during yesterday's visit to Thickson's Woods (also known as Thickson Woods).

I took lots of pictures of chickadees but this seemed to be the best one that turned out.

American Robin
This rabbit was rustling around and not really bothered that we were nearby.

There are several of these nuthatches.

It was also hard to get a good (not blurry) photo as they really do flit around.
I like this picture because it shows a cloud-free sky (finally!) and the customary posture of the white-breasted nuthatch - working down the trunk. The distinctive markings, upturned bill and tail are good aids for IDing. And the 'yank yank yank' of their call.
I couldn't get a good shot of this hairy woodpecker.
We did hear the flicker and saw it a couple of times but I also couldn't get a good photo.

There were a couple of hermit thrushes on the path in the meadow. I took dozens of photos, these two  being the best of the bunch. We get hermit thrushes in our back yard as well.
Note the spotted breast, reddish wing edges and tail,  and thin, white eye ring.
The robin looked very noble as he sunned himself.
We saw three of these brown-headed cowbirds.

These are the only good photos of the many that I took. I have a lot more to learn about the settings on the CoolPix. The reason I haven't used it much is that it is a bulky camera that I have to wear on a strap around my neck, as opposed to the wrist strap I use for my little point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix. When wearing binoculars, I do have a bit of juggling to do with a camera around my neck. I have lengthened the straps on the harness for my binoculars so it makes it a bit easier to juggle the two devices.

We don't see nearly as many birds here as we do in the RGV, but it's still nice to go out in the fresh air and sun and see the early spring flora and fauna.

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