November 26, 2015


Northern shrike.

For the past two years we have had a northern shrike stop by the yard to check out the feeder birds.
We haven't seen him take anything or have him come to the pond for a drink or bath.

Lanius excubitor

The Northern Shrike, like other shrikes, kills more prey, if it can, than it can immediately eat or feed to nestlings. Such behavior was characterized by early observers as "wanton killing," but the Northern Shrike stores excess prey to eat later. Storing food is an adaptation for surviving periods of food scarcity. source - Cornell Lab or Ornithology.

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November 25, 2015


Fox sparrow

We tend to get these birds passing through in the spring and for a short time in the fall.
They are a large, heavily streaked sparrow.
Taken through the living room window.

Passerella iliaca

Fox Sparrow fossils from the Pleistocene (about 11,000 years ago) have been found in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and at the La Brea tar pits in California.

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November 24, 2015


...and stretch.

Looks like this magnolia warbler is doing exercises, or maybe looking for predators.
Taken in May 2015 at our little water feature.

Setophaga magnolia

The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time. source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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November 23, 2015


Does this pond make me look fat?

Another in the flicker in the pond series.

Looks like he has tripled his size.
Maybe he's a Chia-pet.

Colaptes auratus

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November 14, 2015


The runner

This five lined skink was running through the grass near the pond in our yard back in 2011.
They are Ontario's only lizard.

Plestiodon fasciatus

The five-lined skink is a smooth, slender lizard that can grow to 21 centimetres in length, but most individuals are much smaller. Their coloration varies with age. Juveniles and young adult females are glossy black with five cream stripes down the back and a bright blue or blue-grey tail. Males and older females gradually fade to a more uniform bronze, although often the stripes are still visible. Males in breeding condition have a bright orange chin and jaw.
source - Ontario Nature

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November 12, 2015


Someone has been sitting in my chair.

A yellow warbler took over my lawn chair and didn't seem inclined to leave.
It looked so lovely in the morning sun that I used another chair that was in the shade.

Setophaga petechia

Life can be dangerous for a small bird. Yellow Warblers have occasionally been found caught in the strands of an orb weaver spider’s web. source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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November 11, 2015


Eastern meadowlark

This is an Eastern meadowlark    that we saw in Texas back in 2012 at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Sturnella magna

The oldest known wild Eastern Meadowlark was at least 8 years, 8 months old.

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