December 08, 2016

Hey, I've got a fish!

It seems Caspian terns have to show off when they catch a fish.
This one was flying in the channel at Erieau, Ontario.
Hydroprogne caspia
The oldest recorded wild Caspian Tern was at least 29 years, 7 months old when it was found in Louisiana in 1989. It had been banded in Michigan in 1959. The average life span of Great Lakes Caspian Terns is estimated to be 12 years.

December 07, 2016

Downy woodpecker.

A common visitor to the yard.

Picoides pubescens

Woodpeckers don’t sing songs, but they drum loudly against pieces of wood or metal to achieve the same effect. People sometimes think this drumming is part of the birds’ feeding habits, but it isn’t. In fact, feeding birds make surprisingly little noise even when they’re digging vigorously into wood.

December 06, 2016

Blue headed vireo.

An inquisitive blue headed vireo.
Continuing in the pond series.

Vireo solitarius

The Blue-headed Vireo is the only vireo within its range that makes extensive use of coniferous forests, although it also occupies deciduous habitats.

December 05, 2016

Sharp shinned hawk

We had a male sharp shinned hawk buzzing around our feeders.

He spotted one bird and they swooped around the yard.
He missed nut keep coming back.
Based on its hunting skills I think it was a young bird.
Shot through a window.
Accipiter striatus
Female Sharp-shinned Hawks are about a third bigger and heavier than males. This is a typical pattern for many hawks and owls, but otherwise rare in the bird world.

December 04, 2016

Yellow-rumped warbler.

Another of the visitors to the yard and pond. A few minutes later he was splashing away.

Setophaga coronata

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to winter farther north than other warblers, sometimes as far north as Newfoundland.

December 03, 2016

Chipping Sparrow

Just a little sparrow on a cool December day.
Taken October 10 in the yard.

Spizella passerina

The nest of the Chipping Sparrow is of such flimsy construction that light can be seen through it. It probably provides little insulation for the eggs and young.

December 01, 2016

Fly over

A while back, before we took the pontoon out for the year, we had a great blue heron do a fairly low fly over.
Ardea herodias
Great Blue Herons congregate at fish hatcheries, creating potential problems for the fish farmers. A study found that herons ate mostly diseased fish that would have died shortly anyway. Sick fish spent more time near the surface of the water where they were more vulnerable to the herons.