Last spring I purchased a 600mm lens and headed out to Canatara Park to see what birds I could spot, and to see if I could actually photograph any of them. To be honest, I wanted to see whether or not I was going to enjoy a longer lens.

I’m not a birder, although I love them and wish I could identify more species than I can. I have often captured the birds visiting my feeders in the winter, but that’s always been for fun and to document the species.

Here are some of the shots I took on April 20th, 2016. Other than basic editing I didn’t do any major cropping to make the birds appear larger in the frame, which is always an option, if I have captured a sharp enough image.

I thought it was a pretty decent first try with a new lens, especially since I took them all handheld. Do yourself a favour, if you are shooting with a long lens, use a tripod or at least a monopod to get the sharpest images. Having some support will also save your arm some strain because long lenses are quite heavy and somewhat awkward!

Carl Pascoe and Rachel Powless recently spoke as our November guest speakers. Carl is a Master Bander and NTARP’s Research Director, while Rachel is a Bird Bander and the President of NTARP (Native Territories Avian Research Project). Below are excerpts from their 2016 Spring Migration Banding report that was written and sent to the City of Sarnia Parks Department and Lambton Wildlife Inc.

Profound thanks to the City of Sarnia Parks Department, Lambton Wildlife Inc., especially Larry Cornelis for the opportunity to band birds at Canatara Park. Our success could not have been accomplished without the outpouring of Lambton Wildlife volunteers. Every day volunteers were at the ready from set-up to tear-down. Four-thirty in the morning comes early and the cold, wind and rain did not deter our group. It took very little time after our nets were down to become in sync. We very much appreciated both the inimitable assistance and comradery of our fellow birders.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Jack Miner

Jack Miner (1865 – 1944)

Jack Miner, of Kingsville, Ontario, was one of the first to band birds in Canada in 1909. An American, Leon Cole, was reported banding birds a few years earlier. Records in Europe indicate bird banding activities dating back into the 1500’s. Miner was particularly interested in the migratory patterns of ducks and geese. The banding practise was activated in Canatara Park this May. No ducks or geese were banded!

 

Rachel Powless and Carl Pascoe are the bird banders and organizers of the bird banding in Canatara Park with the support of the City of Sarnia and Lambton Wildlife. (more…)

Spring has arrived and many of our flights of fancy have turned to the skies and the colorful migrants which are slowly making their way north through Sarnia. When many people think of spring birding, journeys to the legendary Long Point and Point Pelee often come to mind. Although these places are brilliant for birding, you do not have to travel so far to see the wonders of spring migration. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the city. Canatara Park is a terrific spot to watch birds. (more…)

What is the fastest-growing leisure activity? Canoeing? Tennis? Shuffleboard?
No, the fastest-growing hobby is bird watching (or ‘birding’ as we who are hooked prefer to call it).
Most often, interest in birding begins with putting seeds out for the winter birds. Once you recognize that several species come to your feeder, you buy a book to help identify them. (more…)