It's been more than two weeks since I've posted, so I'm playing catch-up again. On the 19th I visited Ontario Beach Park (as well as a few other places) and took these pictures of mallard drakes bathing. I like the candid poses I caught them in, and have been looking forward to posting the series of photos I wound up with. These are not all images of the same drake, but it still paints a decent picture of the antics of a bathing duck.
I've added several lifers to my list since the last time I posted. At Braddock Bay on March 14 I checked off American Wigeon:
On March 15, Ruddy Ducks at Braddock Bay:
On the 17th I did some birding around Canadice Lake, and was thrilled to finally see Pine Siskins. Even better-I pished them in. I noticed a few birds flitting around the tree branches overhead, but it was too high up for me to make out any details. I began pishing for them, and just like black-capped chickadees, 4 siskins came down almost immediately. They remained just overhead in the branches for quite some time, allowing me to take plenty of pictures.
At Mendon Ponds Park on March 19, I saw my first American Coot. Unfortunately, none of the pictures came out too great since the bird was quite a ways out on the lake, but it's a distinctive bird, so someone was able to identify it for me through BirdForum. I got back from birding that day, looked through my pictures, and tried to ID the bird. I only really flipped through the ducks, geese, loons, and grebes in my guidebook--completely ignoring the famile Rallidae. Stumped, I do the same thing I always do when I'm stumped--ask the good folks at BirdForum.
I consulted other birders at BirdForum again on the 23rd. On my way out the door to class, I noticed a petite raptor (Merlin-sized) land in a tree in my backyard. I was quite surprised, and ran back into the house to grab my camera. I managed to get a couple shots before he flew off. When I looked at the pictures later I couldn't ID the bird (my bird of prey experience is pretty limited) and again went to BirdForum for help. Cooper's Hawk is the general consensus.
One last note to catch you up with news on my birding--saw my first 2009 Northern Flicker today. :-)
Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.