August 28, 2014


Any day you see a bald eagle is a good day.

Well mostly.
While out with the turtle researchers doing a hatchling release the motor stalled out and left us stranded.
Fortunately a couple in a small boat were out fishing and when I signalled them they were kind enough to tow us back to the dock.
According to one of the owners we probably had water in the gas.
Another repair.
A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.

Immature bald eagle.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782.

Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up.
Immature Bald Eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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August 27, 2014


No. Really. It's true.

I was abducted by aliens.
They were HUGE, must have been 100 turtles tall and  they didn't have shells.

They lifted me up in the air and pulled my legs way out, used wierd metal things on my shell and flashed bright lights in my eyes.

It's all in your point of view.

Chelydra serpentina

The snapping turtle is Ontario’s most prehistoric-looking turtle species. Its long tail has a series of triangular spikes along the top that are reminiscent of those of a stegosaurus. The carapace (upper shell) is tan or olive to black in colour, has a coarsely serrated anterior (front) edge and three longitudinal ridges, and is often covered with algae. The plastron (lower shell) is very small. The maximum length of the carapace in this species is 47 centimetres

source - Ontario Nature

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August 26, 2014


Hey, you got any peanuts over there?

Downy woodpeckers are frequent visitors to the suet and peanut feeders in the yard.
This one seems to be checking on the peanut feeder.

Picoides pubescens

The Downy Woodpecker eats foods that larger woodpeckers cannot reach, such as insects living on or in the stems of weeds. You may see them hammering at goldenrod galls to extract the fly larvae inside.

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August 25, 2014



This scarlet tanager, I think it is a male juvenile , is a complete contrast to its breeding plumage.

This one dropped by to have a drink and a bath before continuing its migration to warmer climes for the winter.

This is the male in breeding plumage.

If you can confirm the id as either male, immature or female please let me know.

Piranga olivacea

On the wintering grounds in South America the Scarlet Tanager joins mixed species foraging flocks with flycatchers, antbirds, woodcreepers, and resident tropical tanagers.

The oldest Scarlet Tanager on record was nearly 12 years old.

source - - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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August 24, 2014


The marsh edge.

We were out on the pontoon slowly working our way along the edge of the marsh when this immature black crowned night heron took flight.

We had good birds today, bald eagle, great blue heron,green backed heron, swamp sparrow, lots of king birds, cedar waxwings, northern harrier,one red winged blackbird,cormorants, wood ducks and more.

Nycticorax nycticorax

Young Black-crowned Night-Herons leave the nest at the age of 1 month but cannot fly until they are 6 weeks old. They move through the vegetation on foot, joining up in foraging flocks at night.
The oldest Black-crowned Night-Heron on record was 21 years, 1 month old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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August 22, 2014



Interesting, colourful and practical, what more could you ask for?
We saw this agriculture implement while at Amherst Island looking for rare bird.

This is a hayrake which is an agricultural rake used to collect cut hay or straw into windrows for later collection (e.g. by a baler or a loader wagon). It is also designed to fluff up the hay and turn it over so that it may dry.

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August 20, 2014


Crash Landing

August is a good time to see the cicada killer wasp.

There were a number of the wasps flying around a sandy soil field with short grass here at Rondeau

One dropped her cicada, either missing the burrow or because it was tired from fighting a strong head wind.

She stung the cicada again to make sure it wasn't going anywhere while she tried for lift off.

It had great difficulty getting airborne again and crashed head first with her heavy load several times.

Eventually it climbed the leg of a picnic table to get some height. It worked after three tries but it flew off in the direction it had come from.

Sphecius speciosus

Females dig nest burrows in well-drained soil, often forming large nesting aggregations, and provision nest cells with cicadas they capture and paralyze in nearby trees.

When the males appear in mid or late June, they usually display very aggressive behaviour that strikes fear into people’s hearts. However, as in other stinging wasps, males of the cicada killer do not have a stinger, and hence they are harmful. 

source - various

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