A blogging pal of mine David Gascoigne who lives in Ontario recently posted A Day at Long Point, words and pictures of a visit he made to Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO), 130 kms south of his home. He kindly mentioned Another Bird Blog in his post, knowing that I visited Long Point some years back (1989 and 1990) when I spent 7 weeks as a bird banding volunteer.
Since 1960, Long Point Bird Observatory LPBO has operated a research station at the eastern tip of Long Point where scientists study migration (bird, bat and insect) and other aspects of natural history. The observatory opens some of its accommodations to visitors interested in joining in the research, education, and training programs. The point itself is the longest (about 40 km) freshwater sand spit in the world and is the most remote wilderness location in southern Ontario and a Globally Important Bird Area of 400 + species.
Long Point, Canada - courtesy of Birds Canada
For David, and as a bout of pure nostalgia on my own behalf I am posting a number of pictures from the two visits. The years 1989 and 1990 were pre-digital cameras and the pictures posted here were taken with slide film and a 35mm Pentax Me Super. After being stored in a cardboard box for many years the slides were eventually transposed via a not very good slide copier into digital images, hence the very poor pictures for which I apologise. However the species encountered and pictured here together with the memories they invoke more than make up for the poor images, although none would pass muster for a present day blog other than this self-indulgent post.
The pictures were taken at two LPBO field stations, Breakwater and Old Cut. Breakwater is an hour or more boat journey across Lake Erie and about 8km from the observatory base station of Old Cut. The Breakwater station was, and I believe still is, a very small cabin with bunks and mattresses for up to 4 people in one tiny communal bedroom. In April and May it was very cold, even with four bodies crammed into the miniscule space, the occupants sleeping in daytime clothes to ward off the icy nights. We bathed in the great outdoors where the outside toilet overlooking Lake Erie marshes provided a unique place from which to engender a somewhat original bird list.
Banding at Long Point
Breakwater cabin - Long Point
The working base of Long Point, the Old Cut Research, Education and Training Centre now includes a comfortable house with all the amenities, research laboratories and specimen collection, visitor centre and even the LPBO Shoppe (not in my day). There is a small library, living room, office space, laboratory and 5 bedrooms with bunks. The odds are that visitors will share a bedroom with members of the opposite sex at any of the three field stations. Many a good friendship blossomed at LPBO.
Below are just some of the species encountered at Long Point, Canada.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black and White Warbler
Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker
pellet - Great-horned Owl
Thanks for jogging my memory David. Should you revisit LPBO again soon I hope you can join in banding that wonderful array of spring warblers. Better still, make sure you get to handle lots of Cardinals and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
The flag of Canada
Most of all, please pass on best wishes to my Canadian friends and to Canada.