Finally caught up enough to get out and do some video and still shooting at Pelee and Ojibway over the weekend. While several birders described the birding as 'slow', I found that there was a good diversity of birds at both sites. In short, the birding was good, especially considering it was May 2nd. How quickly folks forget what the typical pattern is at this time of year! Every day cannot be a twenty plus warbler species day, though even that was possible today if you worked hard all day.

One of the most rewarding finds was a bird that had been staked out for several days in front of the visitor center - a Grasshopper Sparrow. I got great video of it foraging at distances as close as ten feet. I also snagged a bunch of stills. Here is one of the best.

When I examined some of my video and stills on a larger screen I noticed that the sparrow had an interesting tag along - a small tick embedded just under its right (from its perspective) eye. While most humans find ticks disgusting, they are a fact of everyday life for many birds and mammals which are the normal hosts for many tick species. Obviously this also makes birds vectors for the spread of ticks, and tick born illnesses. I wonder where this tick actually originated? Did it pick up the tick at Pelee or perhaps somewhere in the southern US where the sparrow wintered? Regardless it is a reminder of the rigors and realities of the natural world - tough, but still beautiful.

It was great to spend some time videotaping at Ojibway reserve and nature center in south Windsor. The feeder set up that Paul (Pratt) and staff have put together there is great. Birds were abundant and diverse and a huge flowering redbud provided a nice backdrop for the attendees. The park was full of song and one of the nice surprises while taping the 'regulars' was hearing a singing male Blue-winged Warbler. With a little effort I managed to get a decent image of the stunning bird.

I'm looking forward to another great spring at Pelee. This will be the 38th year I have spent a week or more birding here in spring and its always a fabulous learning experience. Always unique each time, and always a wonderful journey. I look forward to seeing my old friends on the trails and meeting some new ones as well.

Good Birding! Tom

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