Zigzag Herpetogramma

Zigzag Herpetogramma

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

More Great Kiskadee Adventures

The Great Kiskadee at Rondeau continues. Certainly the cold, windy and sometimes rainy weather seems not to have affected the bird much, although it remained in its overnight roost a bit longer on the worst of those days. But it emerged and eventually became fairly active. The light wasn't always the best for good looks or good photos. So with the prospect of improved weather on Tuesday Sept 11, I returned to the park hoping for a cooperative bird in a satisfactory setting.

The bird seemed to be a little more adventurous in exploring its first known Canadian residence. Was this a Texas bird, which had vowed to leave the country when the current president took office? But I digress.

It did show up in a few places a bit farther away from where it had spent most of its time the previous few days. For a time after it first emerged from its over night roost, it was seen well a bit north of its usual area, and then moved out of sight. For those of us waiting along the Marsh Trail hoping for a repeat of action observed by some the day before, as time went on we got concerned that it had found a better spot to hang out where it wouldn't have to put up with the paparazzi. While waiting (im?)patiently, we were able to observe a smattering of warblers, finches and raptors including Bald Eagle, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawk, etc. A Green Heron skulked quietly at the far side of the slough, picking off frogs and/or tadpoles. We were hoping it didn't clean things out entirely, as the Kiskadee was feeding on such fare in the general area from time to time, and presented good looks to those waiting for it.
But not to worry. At almost exactly 12 noon, someone spied the bird approaching the open spot just south of the S-bend in the trail. There was an immediate convergence of birders and most, if not all, got a clear view at it. However with it being mid-way up a leafless tree and against the bright, but bland sky, it was anything but ideal.

And then it moved a bit farther south towards the dead trees and branches overhanging the slough where it had successfully caught amphibians the day before. It was lower down with a much more suitable background.

Needless to say there was an intense chorus of camera shutters being heard, but it didn't seem to bother the Kiskadee.

 On occasion it could be heard giving its call.
 Views were for the most part, not obscured by branches, at least after a bit of careful repositioning our view point. The bird was noted to peer carefully into the shallow water below, before dropping down and capturing a frog. I did not get a shot of it with a frog in its mouth as I was busy texting someone to let them know the bird was present, but I saw photos that someone else captured.

 On occasion the sun would be a little brighter, creating a bit harsher light conditions. We photographers were hoping the bright cloud cover would remain for a little longer. And it did.
After about 20 minutes of terrific views and collectively hundreds and hundreds of camera clicks later, the Kiskadee moved farther away from the trail. It spent some time behind a cluster of dogwood shrubs, presumably digesting its recent meal. It did pop up briefly again, but from a distance. As the sky cleared and the sun became brighter and brighter, the light was about as harsh as it could get, so even if the bird did return for another frog feast, the photos would not likely have been as good as before. Many of us left, hoping that once we got the photos on the computer they would be the best they could possibly be.
Oh yes, it was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of several dozen birders with such satisfying results.

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