Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Been Awhile......

Dunlin in West Cranberry Pond, Point Pelee National Park.  Photo by Marianne Reid Balkwill

......Well that's one way to put things. I haven't blogged in so long it's rather embarrassing.  Since my last blog post at the end of January, my life has taken an unexpected twist.  Most was for the best, though there were times (lots of times) that my passion for birding was put on the back burner.  Now that things have settled down, it's time to get back outside with birding, butterflying and blogging.  Here is a short summary of some yearly highlights to date:

FEBRUARY: New job. Working at AMCO Farms 6 days a week as a pest scout in their Integrated Pest Management program.  Job includes looking for pest insects and plant diseases in over 65 acres of greenhouse and, if possible, treat them biologically.
Bought a brand new canoe! A 17 foot carbon fibre Swift Prospector at 35 pounds. Sold old canoe on kijiji.

MARCH: Spring migration is here and still working six days a week....not liking this. Went birding once during the whole month.  March 25th at Point Pelee, with 2 Black Vultures being the highlight.

APRIL: Highlights included a single Common Teal at the Hillman shorebird cell on April 8th, and a self-found Yellow-throated Warbler at Northwest Beach in Point Pelee.

MAY: Even with starting a website offering birding tours, I turned down all the tour requests. With just one day off a week and walking over 15km a day on my job, I just wanted that single day off for myself. I get a few requested days off from work to go birding in May, but this was short lived as my supervisor quits and now I'm supervisor...eek!...Back to working 6 days a week,  and now running the Integrated Pest Management program at AMCO (I have no idea what I'm doing by the way)

MAY 10th: Marbled Godwit and Cattle Egret at the Hillman Shorebird Cell.
MAY 12th: Looked for butterflies in Point Pelee and found 8 Little Yellows (lifer!) and I found a Sleepy Orange (lifer!!)
MAY 19th: Birded with Jeremy Hatt and Dean Ware in the morning.  Saw the California Gull at the Tip (lifer!)
May 25th: Got a call from Dean Ware about a Curlew Sandpiper at Hillman shorebird cell (lifer!)

JUNE: No birding, work is crazy busy! We also decided to put our little blue house on the market through COMFREE so to avoid paying a real estate agent. Going to purchase my grandmother's house on the 7th concession north of Leamington.  Finally going to be living in the Pelee Birding Circle! Still no birding this month as we now must pack and sell the house and have open houses!!  ARGHH!!

JULY: Left work early on July 3rd to search for the Magnificent Frigatebird near Rondeau.  Stopped at the Shrewsbury dock in the late afternoon and got the bird!
Also went away on vacation for a week of backcountry canoeing in Killarney Provincial Park with Aaron and the new canoe.  This time we did the eastern half of the park.  We have now canoed the entire park and climbed Silver Peak..WHOOT!

Our new carbon fibre Swift Prospector 17 in Killarney Provincial Park. This canoe is awesome!  Photo by Marianne Reid Balkwill

AUGUST: Another lifer butterfly! 4 Dainty Sulphurs at Hillman Marsh!  SOLD THE HOUSE!! My one day off a week is now for boxing up our stuff and moving into the new place. Let the new yard list begin!!!

Dainty Sulphur, Hillman Marsh near the shorebird cell.  Photo by Marianne Reid Balkwill

SEPTEMBER: Work slowing down...FINALLY!! Now working 5 days a week.  Just in time for fall migrants both in the Pelee area, and around our new house.  Got a lifer White M Hairstreak at the Sparrow Field in Point Pelee on September 23rd.  It sure was an ugly butterfly wasn't it Blake?
Got to witness Jeremy Hatt getting his 300th bird for his BIG YEAR in trying to see 300 bird species in a calendar year in Ontario.  The bird is Red Phalarope. YAY!
September 28th: Took the day off to do a Big Sit with Jeremy Hatt in Point Pelee at Delaurier.  Highlight was a Common Raven that flew from the north, over Delaurier, and then returned about 10 minutes later from the south.  2nd pelee bird for me, 1st for Jeremy.

OCTOBER: Booked it down to the Tip of Point Pelee with Jeremy Hatt after work on October 5th to see the Vega Gull that Kevin McLaughlin reported earlier.  If accepted, this will be the 2nd confirmed record for Ontario.
October 20th: Birded the tip with Jeremy Hatt and later Kory Renaud. Highlight was a Red-throated Loon

Also, as of now I have 70 bird species on the yard list which just began on August 20th. Best bird so far in the yard was a Yellow Palm Warbler back on September 28th.  Yard butterflies include Common Checkered Skipper, Common Ringlet, Fiery Skipper, Buckeye, and Variegated Fritillary to name a few.

That's what I've been up to in a nutshell.  New full time job (feel more comfortable with that now), new canoe, a few life birds, a few life butterflies, went on a weeks vacation, sold the old house, moved into the new house....Man it's been crazy!  I'm sure I left a few things (birds, butterflies and people) out, but I figure it's easier to do a quick summary and quickly get back to the present.


  1. Nice to have you back with reports!
    Hope to see you sometime this fall.....

  2. Glad to see you back blogging. We missed you!