October 23, 2014


The opportunist.

A person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans or maybe just a good salesman.

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October 22, 2014


Do you always drool when you drink?

It is "just" a starling starling basically a nuisance bird.
First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbird
As a single bird they can be very handsome in flocks of hundreds they can clean out your feeders in the blink of an eye.

Sturnus vulgaris

Starlings are boisterous, loud, and they travel in large groups (often with blackbirds and grackles). They race across fields, beak down and probing the grass for food; or they sit high on wires or trees making a constant stream of rattles, whirrs, and whistles.

The oldest recorded wild European Starling was 15 years 9 months old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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October 21, 2014


Juvenille semipalmated sandpiper.

Another shore bird we saw from the boat before taking it out for the season.
It was on a very smelly sandbar in Rondeau Bay with some other shorebirds.

Calidris pusilla
The Semipalmated Sandpiper breeds in the Arctic and winters along the coasts of South America.
Semipalmated Sandpipers from eastern populations probably undertake nonstop transoceanic flights of 3,000 - 4,000 km (1,900 - 2,500 mi) from New England and southern Canada to South America, powered by extensive fat reserves.
The Semipalmated Sandpiper gets its common name from the short webs between its toes ("palmated" means webbed). The Western Sandpiper is the only other small sandpiper with similarly webbed toes.

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October 20, 2014


A surprise visitor.

I saw an animal that I thought was a squirrel near our small pond but when I looked closely I realized it was a mink.
We have had them in the yard before but not hunting in the pond.
It dove into the pond which is not much bigger than the mink. It came out with a frog which it left on the grass. It went back several more times and caught more frogs.
I went outside to get better photos and it seemed to scent me and started taking his prizes away.

Neovison vison

Minks are a voracious predator, and they eat a wide variety of prey and will store any surplus to eat later.

source -arkive.org

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October 19, 2014


Black-necked stilt.

We saw this long legged fellow in Texas a few years ago.
We had one as a rare visitor in December on the St. Clair River about 6 years ago, which is well out of its normaal range.
The St. Clair is part of the Great Lakes system in north America.

Himantopus mexicanus

Five species of rather similar-looking stilts are recognized in the genus Himantopus. They have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos.

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October 16, 2014


Where have all the peanuts gone

Long time passing
Where have all the peanuts gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the peanuts gone?
Young chipmunks have eaten them everyone
Oh, when will thye ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Apologies to Peter,Paul and Mary who recorded the real song.

He seems to be telling us that the peanut feeder is empty and his cheeks are empty as well.

Master peanut theifs one and all.

Tamius striatus
Average life span - Often less than 1 year, but can reach 5 years.
Their front feet have four toes and the back ones have five toes.

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October 15, 2014


Family bath time.

We have large numbers of chipping sparrows around right now. A group came in to the pond for to bathe.
The one on the right is an immature so he looks a little different.
The pond brings in as many if not more birds than the feeders do.

Spizella passerina
The early naturalists had a gift for description you just don’t see anymore. In 1929, Edward Forbush called the Chipping Sparrow “the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

The oldest known Chipping Sparrow was 11 years, 10 months old

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