Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Canada Trip: Epilogue

So, 24 days after I left the country, i have at last finished writing up a fairly comprehensive account of my trip to Canada. I saw 124 species of bird, 98 of which were new for me. But lists mean nothing. There are a million sight, sounds, and birds full of character I will never forget from that trip.

of the sights, warblers take some beating. Even in the autumn, when males have lost many of their gorgeous hues, these birds are simply stunning. Of those we saw, Canada Warbler was just beautiful. Black and White was rather good-looking. That one male Redstart I saw, on Aug 21, takes some beating. It is just pipped my Blackburnian though, even though I only saw a female and a moulting male. However, the winner, without a doubt, is the resplendent, gorgeous, iradescent BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER.

It would be unfair to only include warblers in this beauty contest though. Indigo Bunting, Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Cedar Waxwing, Red-winged Blackbird and Baltimore Oriole were all just breathaingly gorgeous too.

Of course, beauty is not the only aspect of  fine sight. There are few birds more spectacular than a Turkey Vulture, twisting effortlessly through a prefect blue sky. Or a Nighthawk, powering accross an industrial city backdrop, like a Metro-Pterodactyl. Seeing an American Bittern at stoen's throw distance certainly wasn't half bad. And what bird can possibly be more elegant than a Sandhill Crane?

There are so many wonderful sounds to here in Canada too. The haunting, beautiful, yodelling song of a Loon, bouncing over a sunbathed boreal lake. The fluty, Blackcap-like notes of a Vireo. The thick, rich, piping call of a Hermit Thrush, resonating through the forest floor. The harsh scolding of Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the narky chirps of both Nuthatches, the unmistakeable, onamotopaeic Pewee. The undescribable racket of a family of Blue Jays. And the rasping croaks of a Grey Catbird. 

And there were some memories too. When the American Bittern flew right in front of me. When we trapped a Hummingbird in a butterfly net, to release it from a games room. Those first days, when everything was new, and brilliant, and exciting, even Great Blue Herons and Mourning Doves. And Long Point, where I banded my first birds. I've now vowed myself, and to my dad, that I will keep up my enthusiasm for this. Hopefully we'll be at Whitbred Hollow in a few weeks time.

Lots of the other wildlife was great too. Black Bear, Raccoon and Chipmunk were all just amazing little things, and the Eastern Red Squirrels were nice too.

And best of all, wre the people. David Curson, Kate Mcelderry, and their kids Seamus and Mary were fantastic company in Quebec. Dave, katie and James Beadle put p with us for nearly two whole weeks, despite Dave's hectic schedule. At Long Point, Jon McCracken and Ron and Anne Ridout were fantastic. Ross and Mike, the two wardens, were great at helping me learn the ropes of banding, and the other people we met, Brendan, Julian, Kris, Nelson, Hugh and all the rest, were great company, knowledgeable beyog belief on their birds, and all, especially Julian, gave me loads of encouragement and advice as I banded my first few birds.

Canada was a great country, with great birds, and great people. I've been to Australia, Cyrpus and America and it beats them all. And I've made myself one promise, to Long Point, to the Beadles, and to my uncle, aunt and cousins.

I'll be back. 

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