Trip Bird Watching with the BOS Members

Sandpiper-1

I went on a trip with bird watchers from the Buffalo Ornithological Society on Sunday that was a lot of fun, but also a bit overwhelming for me. I saw so many birds it was almost mind-boggling.

HerringGull

I am a new member and was warmly welcomed. Being my first trip, I have so much to learn. They asked me if a bird I was seeing was a “life bird”, and I answered humorously, “All of them so far.” A “life bird’ is a bird new to the bird watcher to see and record.

Well, it was not a true answer because I did see a number of birds I did know like the Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Tundra Swan, Black Vulture, Cormorant, and Great Egret. Some of these were birds I only saw through my binoculars though. Seeing and identifying constitutes a “life bird”.

Plover-4Semipalmated Plover

What was most enlightening, was what I mentioned on many of my posts on how important it is to know the habitat and behavior of the creature you are seeking to photograph.

GreatEgrets

These members knew exactly where to go and what to expect when they got there. We would get to a sod field and I would see nothing. They would look through their scopes and there would be a group of Black-bellied Plovers.

I looked through their scopes and saw birds I never saw before, like the Horned Lark. I never even heard of this bird before. Many of the birds were too far away for my camera to capture. Some like above, were also behind chain link fences and obscured by wetland vegetation.

DragonflyFlying-3

The trip was to see the migrating shorebirds.  The wildlife was plentiful and very varied.

RockPointBeachRock Point Park beach in Ontario, Canada.

BuffaloSkylineThe Buffalo Skyline viewed from Fort Erie, Ontario.

We went to the Canadian shore of Lake Erie and Rock Point Park. There were numerous stops along the trip where birds could be found.

CormorantsCormorants basking on a rock.

Thayer'sGull

The shore here is made up with fossilized rock. It is an interesting place to explore.

FossilRock

One thing I learned about bird watching, is it is a very interesting hobby. There is an almost encyclopedic type of knowledge that is part of each member. The group is very careful in their documentation and discuss between themselves all the traits of the birds found.

EgretFlyingA Great Egret.

I know what a sandpiper and plover are, but did not realize there are so many of them, so I had difficulty differentiating, even after being shown what each looked like. The differences are slight in some cases, plus they are so numerous. The members are expert in their identification.

I think most would be surprised at what goes into being a bird watcher, I know that I was very surprised. I was asked if it is what I thought it would be like. I think maybe it was much more than I thought.

Peeps

Beach full of Peeps.

Plover-1

Not sure…

SandpiperLeast Sandpiper?

Peep

These peeps are so tiny.

I do like photographing birds flying and these tiny birds were quite a challenge being so far away. Here is a series of a bird flying to a rock to land. I now realize that flying birds also help with identification. Sometimes under the wing helps in ID.

Bird calls and song also are helpful for those serious on knowing their birds. I got a new app from Cornell Lab of Ornithology for my iPhone that has 1300 bird calls of the Macaulay Library. Can you imagine learning these? There are also Cornell webinars that are helpful for learning. I doubt I will ever learn enough to be a true birder, but I really did love my first experience.

FlyingPloverSequence-1 FlyingPloverSequence2 PloverFlyingSequence-3PloverFlyingSequence-6PloverFlyingSequence-5These little guys don’t stay in one place very long.

The members knew these birds so well. I hope you like looking at the photos I took on this trip. I took maybe 400 photos. I really enjoyed my day with them and thank them for the opportunity.

LaughingGull

Oh, and a bird I thought was a Laughing Gull is not, no red beak. I guess it is a Bonaparte’s Gull, but I’m still not sure. See how hard it is to identify birds? So many look like others.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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17 Responses to Trip Bird Watching with the BOS Members

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Great pics & what fun!

  2. Brian Comeau says:

    Looks like it was a great time and a very informative group to be with. I’ve been thinking of joining a local group myself. I figure it’s likely a good way to learn about the birds in my area but also learn where to find them. Great shots here Donna.

  3. janechese says:

    What a great day! Thanks for sharing, got a kick of the use of the word “peeps.” I know a fellow who calls the smaller ones that, he specializes in shore birds.Haven’t been out with the bird club yet this year but used to be very involved-a few good photographers in those clubs. and so knowledgable.I think that may be a semi-palmated plover.(webs between the toes). A killdeer has two rings around its neck.And the black tips on the wings says it is a Bonaparte’s gull. Oh, that was fun! thanks for sharing.

  4. Yes, I enjoyed this post very much, Donna. I’m terrible at identifying birds–except for the obvious ones. They are so fun to watch, though. Sounds like the field trip was a great experience!

  5. Swati Singh says:

    Sounds like an exciting trip, great pictures. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. ginnietom says:

    natural wonders…like a taste of “Wild Junket” Travel Blog…
    gr8^^

  7. Pat says:

    Love that last shot of the gull in flight.

  8. What a great expedition. I’m jealous! I never go on trips specifically to look for birds except for when I’m on vacation.

  9. Wow stunning shots, I love your inflight shots you’ve nailed those settings. That looked a really great day to see so many special in one go; just amazing. Plovers are notorious to ID between them, they really are adorable. Can we say adorable as naturalists 😉 well I do lol.
    Thanks again for sharing. x

  10. Through you, I found out how wonderful birdwatching can be!
    🙂

  11. Phil Lanoue says:

    Sounds like it was a lot of fun, and gotta love the peeps. Although I am fairly well checked out on the wading birds I generally don’t spend a lot of time trying to identify the little shore birds. We have so many types and they look different at different times of year and a tiny brown stripe somewhere can easily change an ID.
    People often ask me what those little brown birds are and I tell them they are “little brown birds”.

  12. ZielonaMila says:

    Beautiful birds, fantastic observations:) Greetings

  13. connie661 says:

    Nice shots. I love seeing egrets and herons. They’re magnificent birds. I loved the fossil photo, too.

  14. lucindalines says:

    So beautiful, and that water looks so wonderful right now.

  15. Wonderful post I am glad you had a great time!

  16. When I was a Camp Fire Girl I belonged to the Audubon Society and we would birdwatch…I miss that and do a bit in my garden only. Great shots and boy did you find a variety of birds.

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