Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Zappey's Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cumatilis (armchair tick!)

Zappey's Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cumatilis (Seogwipo, Jeju, South Korea, April 2010)
Zappey's Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cumatilis (Seogwipo, Jeju, South Korea, April 2010)
Blue-and-white Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cyanomelana for comparison (Mara-do, Jeju, South Korea, April 2011)
Blue-and-white Flycatcher - Cyanoptila cyanomelana for comparison (Seogwipo, Jeju, South Korea, April 2009)
 Well it's always fun to get an armchair tick! When I spotted this mostly blue flycatcher in a glorious Seogwipo park a few years ago, it initially had me scratching my head. It was showing a solid blue face and breast, and my mind was racing to something exotic like a Verditer Flycatcher (which is actually much more of a turquoise colour). When it turned around I saw the white breast of a Blue-and-White Flycatcher. It was probably fresh in, as it was uncharacteristically lethargic for a flycatcher. I watched it for a while, and got a few record shots.
  It turns out it was a Blue-and-white Flycatcher of the cumatilis subspecies. It took me a little while and some internet searching to figure this out, as the illustrations of the cumatilis in the Brazil guide show a bird that looks almost identical to the nominate Blue-and-white, with a blackish face and breast.
  The cumatilis has recently been split, and is now known as...drumroll please...Zappey's Flycatcher! Great name, I think. I'll be keeping an eye out for both of these gorgeous flycatchers on Gageo next week. Gageo! Next week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Parc des Rapides/Cap-Saint-Jaques - April 14, 2013

The rapids
Parc des Rapides
I actually spotted a fox down by the reeds!
Precarious ice bridge at Cap-Saint-Jaques
Swamp birding
Dan, goose
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
American Robin Turdus migratorius
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Wood Duck Aix sponsa with Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Photog scrum
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
  Nice and fresh today, good day for what was probably my last Montreal birding session for a while. Spotted 30 species today - best was luxuriant views of a Pileated Woodpecker working on a stump at Cap-Saint-Jaques. Highlights at Parc des Rapides included American Wigeon, Hooded Merganser, and Song Sparrow mania. A phalanx of photographers were very interested in a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret skulking in the reeds.

Click on the link to witness the perils of spring birding...
Leaping the ice bridge

  One week til Gageo! :o

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back to the ROK

It's a's a MISSILE! No wait, it's just a bird.
  In 12 days I will be on Gageo-do, a small island in the Yellow Sea. I will be there for perhaps a month, staring at a dizzying array of migrating birds from before dawn to post-sundown every day, before heading to another island. To say I'm excited is a definite understatement.
  Ratcheting up of tensions! Bellicose rhetoric! Yeah yeah. Some skirmishes will happen, but is it wrong of me to limit my concern to the possibility of not being able to head north to Socheong in mid-May to follow the migrants? Possibly. When I see the strangely grainy footage of good old KJU admiring shining artillery pieces I'm staring at the habitat in the back and listening for familiar birdsong.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Titmouse Oddysey - Mount Royal Park, April 5th, 2013

Brown Creeper Certhia americana
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
  Taking advantage of wonderful snowy and chilly weather, Dan and I headed to Mount Royal Park to investigate recent reports of Tufted Titmouse (via Zofia Laubitz on the BPQ Yahoo group).
  We ended up seeing 20 species, with a few pleasant surprises among them. The feeder stations were bustling with plenty of action, mostly Common Redpolls (still) and Black-capped Chickadees, with lesser numbers of American Goldfinch and White-breasted Nuthatch.
  Notable sightings included a shreeping flock of about 40 handsome Bohemian Waxwings, a ridiculous Golden-crowned Kinglet that resembled a ping-pong ball, a low-level dogfight between an American Crow and a Red-shouldered Hawk, a close encounter with a swooping Turkey Vulture near the cross, and nearby some good views of a Brown Creeper and a striking Yellow-bellied Sapucker.
  Our goal however, the Tufted Titmouse, eluded us for many long hours, with only one heard between feeders 1 and 2. As my hands started to freeze up, we stood up to leave, finally admitting defeat.
  Of course, that's when the eerily quiet and calm Titmouse materialized next to feeder 1, posing for several minutes. High five! Thank you, birding gods.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ozzie memories 4 - Odds n Ends 2: 'Water birds' and an Emu (Summer 2008)

Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis moluccus
female Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
male Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae
Jabiru (Black-necked Stork) Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
Pied Heron Ardea picata
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio Porphyrio
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae 
  It was quite satisfying and a bit unnerving coming face-to-face with an Emu.

Ozzie memories 3 - Odds n Ends: Parrots and Raptors (Summer 2008)

Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis
Australian Ringneck Barnardius zonarius
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillarus
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster (purloining meat earmarked for crocs)
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
  After the amazing day in Hawkesbury, I had camera issues with 'The Beast', so my next few months of Ozzie travelling saw me desperately trying to snap off shots with a small digital camera, with varying degrees of success! Thankfully it seemed like a lot of Australian birds are pretty confiding. The raptor action took place up in Kakadu, and the parrots were from all over.
  April 22: Me. Gageo Island. One month. Awesome.