A Great Canadian Birdathon Thank You, and A Goal Met!

I would like to offer an enormous thank you to Jill, Phillip, Jaynne, Ray of Ray Brown’s Talkin’ Birds, Steve from the Wildbird General Store in Edmonton, Linda, Tracey, Theresa, Jackie, Gus, and Aileen for their generosity and support of my Great Canadian Birdathon this year!

I’m very excited to announced that through online and offline donations, I’ve exceeded my goal of $1,250. To date, I’ve raised $1,375! I’m so glad to have reached my goal, and I still have more than a month until my Birdathon.

This year, I’ve earmarked the funds I raise go the Beaverhill Bird Observatory near Tofield, Alberta, and Bird Studies Canada.

Again, thank you all so very much for your kind and generous support of the Birdathon, which goes to support bird conservation.

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Great Canadian Birdathon Thank You!

I would like to offer an enormous thank you to Janice, Eduardo (view his Flickr page here), Michael,  Ma. Teresa, and Christian for their generosity and support of my Great Canadian Birdathon campaign!

So far I’ve raised $575 of my $1,250 goal, so if you’d like to help me reach my goal, you can visit my team page. Your support will be greatly appreciated, not just by me but also by the groups receiving the funds I raise — the Beaverhill Bird Observatory near Tofield, Alberta, and Bird Studies Canada.

Thank you all so very much for your wonderful support!

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Great Canadian Birdathon Thank You!

I would like to offer an enormous thank you to Dennis, Darcey, Delores, Nicholas at Hipster Birders, Angela, Leonard, my aunt Kerri, Janet, Karen, Amy, Mike for their generosity and support of my Great Canadian Birdathon campaign!

So far I’ve raised $430 of my $1,250 goal, so if you’d like to help me reach my goal, you can visit my team page. Your support will be greatly appreciated, not just by me but also by the groups receiving the funds I raise — the Beaverhill Bird Observatory near Tofield, Alberta,  and Bird Studies Canada

Thank you all so very much for your wonderful support!

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Birding at la Plaine de Sorques

A short drive from the house where we stayed, on rue Renoult in the village of Bourron-Marlotte (near Fontainebleau, south of Paris), is the Plaine de Sorques near the village of Montigny-sur-Loing. The Plaine is a protected nature conservation area, with two bird observatories overlooking the marsh.

From the parking lot, it’s a short walk to each of the observatories, but the closest observatory seems to be the main one and is very popular with birders and nature photographers in the area. One birder told my mother that the sightings at the first observatory tend to be better “75 percent of the time”! IMG_7175

Unfortunately, it was cloudy on both days that we visited Sorques, which wasn’t ideal for photography, but I got some decent photos.

Here’s the first observatory. As you enter the covered observatory, you can look out the (glassless) windows to the vast marsh beyond.

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There were two other birders who were scanning for birds on the water. Any time they would see something of interest, they’d call me over so I could take a look. Not surprisingly, European birders are just as generous as North American birders.

On the lake were Mallards, Gadwalls, Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, European Cormorants, Grey Herons, and Northern Lapwings. In fact, there were hundreds of lapwings, another life species for me.

This Northern Lapwing came very close to us. They are very dapper shorebirds with quite the “hair-do”,

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I was very excited to see Tufted Ducks as they were a target species for me for the trip.

Two male Tufted Ducks,

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A Grey Heron that landed close to the observatory,

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One of the favourite birds that the French birders showed me was a Common Kingfisher which liked to perch close to the observatory and hunt for fish. The Common Kingfisher is electric blue on the back and wings with a chestnut-coloured breast.

The kingfisher flew to this perch three times in less than an hour,

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The sun setting at Sorques,

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My father and I drove to Sorques again at 9 am the next morning to see if I could spot some new species. Two photographers were already there waiting for the kingfisher!

A Mute Swan,

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Both of the swans feeding along the edge of the marsh,

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I saw two Common Kingfishers flying around the lake, and but this one stopped to do some fishing right in front of us,

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While watching the kingfisher, five Little Grebes swam out of the willows past the observatory,

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The photographers put some sunflower seeds on the ground and on a rail near the entrance to the observatory. A Marsh Tit was the first bird to check out the seeds,

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A few European Robins were also interested in the seeds, but they were challenging to photograph. Here’s one of my better photos,

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While I was trying in vain to get photos of the robins, this little bird showed up. It’s a Dunnock, a species that’s uncommon in France during the winter,

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After an hour at the observatory, my father and I left since we had other plans for the rest of the day.

If you’re visiting the Fontainebleau area, take some time to visit la Plaine de Sorques. You’ll see some great birds in a beautiful part of the French countryside.

If you need more convincing to visit Sorques, look at my eBird checklists, here and here, from both of my visits to the observatory. And here are some lovely photographs from one of the photographers that I met.

On the way to the observatory I saw lots of trees with “balls” of leaves. I’m not sure what species of tree this is, or if a particular growth habit causes this, but I’d really like to know. My family thought they looked rather like Dr. Seuss trees.

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The Warbler Guide App, and a Giveaway

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I’m very excited to be a part of The Warbler Guide App blog tour in partnership with Princeton University Press, to promote the new Warbler Guide app, which will be released soon. And please be sure to head over there to see the other blogs participating in the tour.

Some of the exciting features of the new app include 3D models of birds in all plumages; under-tail views; and the ability to find birds by filtering by colour, alphabetical order, song type, and taxonomic order.

Now for the giveaway!

Below are five photos of unidentified warblers, all taken by me at the Long Point Bird Observatory, Long Point, Ontario, in 2012 and 2013. The photos are labelled #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7.

To enter the contest, just leave a comment in this post with your bird ID for each number. The person who correctly guesses the most species wins a copy of both The Warbler Guide book (print edition) and the new app as well!

Thanks to Jessica at Princeton University Press for providing me with the book and app.

The deadline to enter the contest is December 24th, and I’ll announce the winners on Christmas Day.

Good luck everyone!

#1:

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#2:

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#3:

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#4:

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#5:

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#6: 

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#7:

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New Bird Canada Blog Post

My monthly post is up at the Bird Canada blog, about great opportunities for young birders this summer. Come over and join us!

A banded Northern Parula from my internship at the Long Point Bird Observatory last September,

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