September was a month of great birding, unexpected heat waves, and change.
The change aspect is fresh in my mind because yesterday I moved out of my house and into my parents’ basement. Let me assure you I will only be staying with my parents temporarily. My boxes and furniture, on the other hand, plan to make that basement their home for the foreseeable future (sorry Mum and Dad!).
Fort Myers, Florida
My plans for the upcoming months are a tad complicated, but rest assured that the bird photos will keep coming. Next week I’m flying to Fort Myers where I’ll be for the next month. My parents own a house in Fort Myers that they only use during cold Canadian winters. Since the house is empty, why spend October in Ottawa when I could be in Florida?
Fort Myers is where I started my photography journey nearly three years ago. Back then I was borrowing my Mum’s Canon SX50, using automatic mode and just signing up for Instagram. It’s nice to reflect back on last three years and see how far I’ve come both in my birding and my photography.
Fernie, British Columbia
Going to Florida for a month still doesn’t explain why I moved all my boxes and furniture to my parents’ basement. The bigger picture is that I’ll be spending the winter in the beautiful mountain town of Fernie in British Columbia. Florida is merely a detour made possible because I was moving out of my house anyway.
I am hopeful for some interesting birding opportunities while I’m in Fernie. It’s a small town and eBird isn’t well used. I was able to find an article with last year’s Fernie Christmas Bird Count results which looks promising. I’m pretty okay with 1,800 Bohemian Waxwings, 26 Mountain Chickadees and 11 Steller’s Jays!
Birding was pretty fantastic this month! At the beginning of the month, I enjoyed the peak of warbler migration in Ottawa. This is one of my favourite times of the year and it didn’t disappoint.
Mid-month I made a last-minute decision to head to Presqu’ile Provincial Park for shorebirds. You can read all about the experience, including wading to an island in waist deep water with my camera, here.
The end of the month has been all about chasing rarities in between packing and getting everything organized for the move. Ottawa had a long-lasting heat-wave at the end of the month that drew in some unexpected visitors.
This was only the 10th time this species has been recorded in Ottawa and it was a lifer. I was out with friends at a lake when I saw the report about this bird. The next morning I headed out with low expectations of finding it. The forest was full of birders with the same plan. About twenty minutes after I arrived, someone yelled out that they had it. Birders started running toward the spot and within moments we were all looking at the bird. Views were difficult as it was feeding along the water’s edge and could only been seen in between a million branches.
I managed to get a record shot of it:
Although it’s considered a rare species for my area, it’s not entirely unexpected for one to show up at this time of year.
My knee-jerk reaction was to rush out and buy this camera. It’s quite expensive though, so my voice of reason says I should hold off. Instead of jumping on the D850, I plan to make the most out my existing camera.
To continue improving my skills, I’m enjoying a book that a friend lent me: The Nikon Autofocus System: Mastering Focus for Sharp Images Every Time.
What’s Up Next For October?
As I mentioned, I’ll be in Florida for most of October. The plan is continue my focus on shorebirds and get in as many #shorebirdworksout as I can! I also hope to enjoy some of SW Florida’s other birding delights like its wide variety of herons, egrets and ibises.
Good October Birding everyone!
-The Afternoon Birder