Monday, 3 May 2021

Long Point and Columbia Lake

24 April 2021
Long Point, Norfolk County, ON

     We decided that a visit to Long Point was in the cards, so armed with lunch we left for a day at Lake Erie. The weather was passable and we agreed it would be good to get away for a change of scenery.
     The last time we went to Long Point we noticed a property with many Purple Martin (Progne subis) houses in readiness for the return of the birds, and it was good to see that serious attention was now being paid to the accommodation on offer.

     If I am not mistaken all rooms are heir conditioned!
     In Port Rowan harbour there were many Bonaparte's Gulls (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) patrolling close to shore and dropping to the water to snatch fish.

     We spent much of our time along the causeway, where Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) was easily found.

     Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) seemed to be everywhere, and Miriam astutely noticed this pair when one obliging bird gave another a boost in order to see a little farther!

     No doubt the view was appealing because no sooner had the upper bird dismounted he jumped back up for a second look!
     Ah, those Killdeers!

     I am used to seeing Killdeers feed in typical plover fashion, running along and stopping to pick up prey located visually, but this individual seems to have found a choice morsel in the water.

     Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) is a handsome duck, and as the genus name implies, is equipped with a bill reminiscent of a shoveler.

     Agreeably, several pairs were dabbling quite close to shore.

     We concluded that the area must have been especially conducive to filter feeding, for several Northern Shovelers (Spatula clypeata) were present alongside the Blue-winged Teal.

     Males seemed to outnumber females by a wide margin.

     A Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) was busy feeding alongside the ducks.

     A case could be made that a male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is a candidate for the title, "World's Most Handsome Duck". No doubt some might dispute that claim, but it would certainly rank in the top five, I would think.

     We found a very agreeable spot to park and have our lunch, looking out over a marsh.

     Way off in the distance a couple of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) were scanning the lake. It's not a great picture, but it was a long way off.

     Earlier we had seen a lone Lesser Yellowlegs, but while we ate lunch, several birds in a feeding frenzy, dashing here and there, and sieving through the water, entertained us royally.

     No trip to Long Point is complete without a visit to the Long Point Bird Observatory at Old Cut, especially during spring migration, but COVID once again exerted its evil influence.

     We had to be content with a walk down to the shore to gaze out over Lake Erie.

     It was all in all a very pleasant day.

27 April 2021
Columbia Lake, Waterloo, ON

     Our local waterways seemed to be universally bereft of gulls this year and not a single one was seen at Columbia Lake. I am not sure why this should be, but the sighting of a gull is getting to be a surprise. 
     A Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) probed the shallows for food.

     Tawny Cotton-grass (Eriophorum virginicum) looked especially attractive.

     It is also known as Bog Cotton, quite a lovely name, really.
     Common Reed (Phragmites australis) is elegant and beautiful, but highly invasive, and damaging to native vegetation in a wetland.

     Once established it is extremely difficult to eradicate.
     The star of the show was a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at the pinnacle of its breeding plumage, and looking very handsome indeed.

     With great patience it stalked its prey.

     Is this not a study in concentration?

     With one lightening jab, we knew that fish was on the menu.

     After downing the fish in one swallow, the heron gave its plumage a good shake before flying off a couple of hundred metres along the shore to try its luck there.

     We are now into peak spring migration so we will have to see what we can bring you next time, even though we will be unable to visit some of the best hot spots - like the Long Point Observatory, they are all closed!


  1. Their conditioned indeed. A fun post today with many beautiful birds. Love the new header! Sorry you couldn't visit the observation point, Vivid fears its ugly head everywhere. Have a great week, stay safe, hugs to you both! Valerie

  2. Thank you, David, for giving me the opportunity to have a change of scenery!! A much needed change of scenery!!

    Your day trip was totally worth it!

  3. I think they were all so handsome, David, but the Wood Duck was most beautiful.

  4. The birds are quiet and the natural setting is beautiful.

  5. TWO delightful outings. Thank you for taking us along.

  6. Your photos are absolutely wonderful, David. I'm speechless that you can get so close to the birds.

  7. Very good post about lake birds, I laughed with that of the kildeer looking for a higher point to see. Interesting ducks, here we have the Spatula, only S. discors reaches that far south but nevertheless it is rare here and I never saw it. I like to see yellowlegs with that nuptial plumage, here they are never seen like that, their plumage is lighter. Among ducks I love the wood duck, as a child I used to wash in photos or figurines, also once in captivity, it does not surprise me that for some people it´s the World's Most Handsome Duck

  8. I am so jealous, I would delight in a day out of any kind, but even more so where there were lots of birds. The closest place I know is at least a 3 hr drive away and although the 10 km limit has been lifted we still have so many restrictions.
    Fabulous set of photos. Enjoy Diane

  9. Ohh qu'est ce qu'il y'a de beaux oiseaux!
    Une belle journée, c'est chouette.
    Bonne soirée

  10. Wow, what a great day to see all these beautiful birds. I love the Great Blue Heron, he is definitely focused on getting his next meal. Excellent photography and enjoy your evening.

  11. Hari Om
    Dear David and Miriam
    I want to thank you both for incredible blogging hospitality and showing us such a good time with the birds of your surrounds - as you may have gathered by now, I have a very particular love of waterbirds and this post positively made me tingle!

    Outstanding photos and worthy words to expand on the visual make visits here like a holiday!
    Yours appreciatively,
    YAM xx

  12. Isn't it nice to get away after so many moons of having to stick relatively close to home? Wonderful photos, all, but you know my favorites are the heron. That close up is a stunner.

  13. I have relatives that live in Erie PA and now I have a place I want to visit. Such a large variety of birds!

    1. Be sure to let me know if you make it up here.

  14. Hallo David,

    Prachtig blog met een aantal zeer aansprekende soorten zoals de ringsnaveleend, de blauwvleugeltaling en de killdeerplevier, soorten die je hier niet snel zult aantreffen. Ook de grote en kleine geelpootruiter zijn prachtige soorten. Een mooi geheel van een mooie dag die jullie daar hadden.


  15. I grew up around killdeer and it was such a pleasure to see the closeups! Another lovely post. :)

  16. I've never seen cotton grass; it's lovely!
    The heron's stalking its prey might indeed teach us something about concentration and focusing.

  17. A very specisl outing for you.
    The photos of the Great Blue Heron are impressive.

  18. Hi David.
    The observatory may have been closed but you still seem to have had a good day. Stay safe.

  19. Lovely pictures. The male Wood Duck is indeed among the handsomest of ducks.

  20. The heron must be my favourite.

  21. You had a wonderful day to see all those photos! It is nice.
    Always love to see the new image of your header.

  22. Thanks for the heron. I'm beginning to see them overhead.

  23. Such a wonderful post!
    How are you, David! that photo of a little bird
    on top of the other made me smile,
    it's so funny, loving.
    The ducklings are divine and the new photo
    of your front
    is simply impressive.
    Covid can't beat you. Enjoy springtime
    I send you a big hug from an autumnal
    and very rainy Buenos Aires

    ♥ . .))(
    ♫ .(ړײ) ♫.
    ♥ .«▓» ♥.
    ♫ ..╝╚.. ♫

  24. I enjoyed your photos and information. The ducks are always a favourite! I’ve never seen a Wood Duck here! One day maybe.

    1. Hi Marie: Wood Ducks are fresh water ducks and they are present on PEI, so if you can find an inland wetland fringed with reeds it shouldn't be too difficult to find a Wood Duck.

  25. Several of these birds are relatively common here, but I've yet to see a Wood Duck. I'm told they're around, but I just haven't been in their neighborhood at the right time. I really enjoyed the broader landscape shots, too. The Great Lakes are so unfamiliar to me; it's always a pleasure to get a new glimpse of the land surrounding them.

  26. Lovely looking Heron there and that duck is spectacular. Good you could both get out and about to a degree. Change of scenery is always welcome.

  27. Beautiful pic, such bird and duck. Natural photos. I followed your blog now. Thx

  28. Hallo David, Some great birds you and Miriam have seen at this location. It seems a great place. Love the Plovers.

  29. Hi David.

    You will show beautiful Ducks and birds.
    But I still prefer that beautiful wooden duck 😊.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  30. yes, "Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)" looks handsome and beautiful... love it.

    thank you for sharing a lot of beautiful photos.

  31. Wow! You certainly were rewarded on your trip to Long Point. I'm at a loss for words to describe that Wood Duck.

  32. I remember once being told to drive from Sarnia to a supposed Hawk Point on Erie. Alas, we didn't see any. And very little activity in our pond this year compared to last including a very 'tame' heron.

  33. Good afternoon dear David (well it is in Holland fun)
    Fantastic trip you've had. Must be wonderful to see so many different beautiful birds. Great excitement for the birdspotters in Holland 2 days ago. A bearderd vulture was spotted not far from where I live. It lives normaly in the mountains in Spain. I think it lost it's way. Nobody have seen it later on.
    Have a wonderful day and I hope you can be visiting the things you like so much to see soon.

  34. Interesting Martin houses. Lots of plastic gourd houses here but I’ve never seen the fancy entrances like those in your photo. It’s fun to see all “our” winter birds up there in their summer homes. As we say in Minnesota — up at the lake, doncha know.

  35. You'll get no arguement from me on the ranking of the drake Wood Duck, David, but I hasten to suggest that a drake Mandarin is not too far behind! A very rewarding couple of outings there, despite the frustration of Long Point Bird Observatory being closed.

    Those Purple Martin houses are architecturally quite splendid!

    1. I think that if push came to shove, Richard, and if I were completely honest, I would cast my vote for Mandarin.

  36. Tu paseo me ha parecido precioso. Siempre disfruto viéndolos. Abrazos para Miriam y para ti.

  37. In my previous back garden we built a many roomed bird house with the hope of attracting purple martins but I think we only ever had sparrows. Many generations of them.

  38. I love the birdhouses, complete with birds!


  39. Hi David - it's a stunning part of the world that you live in ... having access to all those water sights ... one day I'd love to see the Great Lakes ... they've always been in my brain space - since school days. The birds you and Miriam have shown us are so beautiful - incredibly colouration. Gorgeous to see - hopefully we'll be able to spread our wings at some stage in the near future - stay safe - Hilary

    1. I will be your guide to three of them, Hilary, Ontario, Erie, and Huron, three easy day trips from Waterloo, with Niagara Falls thrown in!

  40. Oh I hope the Martins do well in their fancy homes. It looks like the Kildeer will have a chick or two very soon! Places are just starting to open up a little here, though I believe most hides are still closed for now.

  41. Hi David, it feels good to get out of our daily routine. I believe it was a pleasant day at Long Point. I especially liked Wood Duck, what a beautiful duck. It was a pity that you were unable to visit the Observatory, but unfortunately there are still many closed places here due to Covid.
    The Great Blue Heron is a very elegant bird, I especially loved the 2nd photo.

  42. Great to view this post, David! Great Martins house. Lovely Ducks, plovers! And beautiful series of the Great Blue Heron!
    Stay well,

  43. Hello David,
    What a great outing. Beautiful scenery and great collection of birds. My favorites are the Killdeer and the GB Heron images. Well done ! Have a happy day!

  44. Getting out and about after over a year of lockdown is a treat. I'm happy you got out for the day. Beautiful place.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

  45. Gran avistamiento de aves y de diferentes especies.

  46. hello David
    under these circumstances I would be happy to get such a good selection of pictures here .. I like it very much
    Greetings Frank

  47. It is sad that some great places are closed. Your heron is magnificent.

  48. totally love your last, shaky, shot. :)
    Loved to see all the ducks. At first glance at the images of the Blue-winged Teal I thought it was a shoveler. :)
    So sad they have to close an open area. is indoors?
    Take care!

  49. I agree David how unfortunate that some (many) nature places remain closed even when they are outdoors. There seems no logic or reason as I know many indoor places remain closed or with serious restrictions. All-in-all I enjoyed your outdoor nature sightings and overlooking a marsh is a lovely lunch spot. My husband would so agree. The killdeers can be entertaining and I liked your joke about heir conditioning. And, great blue heron are great fish catchers.

  50. David - so pleased for you and Miriam that you had an agreeable outing, replete with picnic! A terrific collection of photos, as always. I must say, one killdeer on top of the other is a new one!

  51. I love the heron photos - and I agree that the male wood duck is very handsome.

  52. You have quite a bit of lovely photos despite the restrictions. The town next to us, Mt. Juliet, caters to the purple martin population, and many martin houses are seen in the outlying areas. It is always a treat to see them swoop around the freeway intersection at dusk when the lights come on to attract flying insects.

  53. I have one (1] ... just one ... of the birds you saw in my post! Rather poor showing, but I was happy for the chances to photograph them. Even happier (bird-wise) to see all of your beauties. Thank you both. I agree with you about the male Wood Duck. I have had a chance now to see and photograph them a few times, but I still think they don’t look quite real!

  54. Looks like a very successful day trip. Photos are wonderful and such a wonderful variety.

  55. Being a fan of waders, I had such a selection to like here. The lesser Yellow Legs was a particular favourite though.

  56. Hi friend David,
    that is nice to see those birds at the houses that are specially made for that :-)))))) And David! Could you not give those beautiful plover some privacy when they started working on their offspring? Wonderful to see all those ducks and all those beautiful waders. The Blue Heron series is also incredibly beautiful to see. I enjoyed your photos again :-)
    Big hug from the Netherlands xx

  57. I'd love to see a Wood Duck. They are do interesting looking. But i think one of my favorite ducks are the female Shovelers. Their plumage is so pretty but that big ol' beak is just so big it makes them a little exotic. Every time I see a Killdeer i think about the first time I saw one - in the desert in Arizona. I thought it was such an odd bird to find in such a dry place.