October 31, 2007

Dressed for Halloween

Dressed for Halloween
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
This red winged black bird dressed up as a Rose breasted Gross beak for Halloween. He wanted me to check his make up.
Pretty good job ,eh?

October 29, 2007

A great birding day

Some days you have a good selection of birds, other times they are awesome.

The day started with a beautiful sunrise over Lake Erie while I was having my coffee.

There was a report on he internet of a white faced ibis near Point Pelee on the weekend. As we live about 45 miles away and it was a geougeousl fall day we decide to head off and see what we could find.

Driving along the road that hugs the north coast of Lake Erie, Anne spotted what she thought was a bald eagle.

After pulling over and taking a look we realized it was a golden eagle, this was only the second time we had seen one.

It stayed fairly low so we had excellent looks at the bird. A bald eagle appeared and started harassing the golden; they were flipping on their backs and presenting their talons. This is something we had only seen on TV before. After a few minutes a second bald eagle showed up.

At one point we had 2 bald and a golden in the same field of view.

We continued down to Hillman Marsh which is next door to Point Pelee and within minutes we saw the white faced ibis, which was a life bird (never seen before).

While we were there we saw a flock of Greater Yellow Legs feeding as a group. Several of the birds were swimming and feeding on small fish. We didn’t know that yellow legs did this, another first for us.

Just before we left a first year female peregrine falcon came in and began buzzing the marsh. It seemed intent on getting a great white egret to fly. Now that’s confidence. It would be a matter of who caught who.

On the way back Anne spotted birds coming towards us, so I pulled over.

W had approximately 100 turkey vultures, 3 bald eagles, a dozen red tailed hawks and 2 red shouldered hawks fly by.

Toss in a king fisher, great blue herons, cormorants, kestrels, horned larks black crowned night heron and assorted other birds and it was a very good day.

October 24, 2007


Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
I understand that Dick Cheney was a charter member. I didn't know his hunting friends name was Trap

October 22, 2007

I Can Fly!

The wind was up an the wind surfers and para surfers were out in big numbers at Rondeau Provincial Park.

The were flying across the bay at incredible speeds and doing high jumps.

This is Oct 21st people, isn't it a bit chilly?

October 19, 2007

My wife, Anne had an email from a local birder that a north wheatear had been seen near the dock at Shrewsbury, Ontario. That is about 20 minutes from our place, just across Rondeau Bay.

She called me and arranged to meet me there after work.

I got to the dock around 4:30 pm and saw group of birders, the binoculars and spotting scopes were a give away, looking across the road.

When I got out and went over the bird was sitting on a concrete block, in the sun light, basically posing.

I watched it and took photos for about 20 minutes before it flew to a more inaccessible area.

The wheatear is a very rare bird in our area. It is occasionally seen on the Labrador coast and Baffin island.

October 17, 2007

You said the water was warm

You said the water was warm
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
A puddle formed on the sidewalk while we were power washing the siding.
We had a large number of sparrows, juncos and red breasted nuthatches coming in for a splash.

Their look made me think of the old line " Come on innn , the wwwattttters fffine."

Photo by Anne McArthur

October 15, 2007

I never liked pajamas

At 3.39 a.m. there was a crashing noise from the dining area, closely followed by a second rattling crash.

To paraphrase The Night Before Christmas – “there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.”

The screen had been knocked out of the dining rooms’ window frame and a knick-knack was lying on the floor.

As I reached the window a small masked face was staring at me. A young raccoon was clinging to the window sill, intent on getting in.

I yelled at the little home invader and closed the window. We have had trouble with this one before, knocking down and breaking feeders and trying to get into the garbage can that holds the seeds and peanuts. It got to the point that we now keep the metal cans in the house, which probably displeased our night time visitor and caused the attempted break in.

I returned to bed only to hear a new assault.

He was clawing at the patio screen door. I turned on the outside light, opened the door and yelled at him. This was as effective as trying to herd cats. If you like frustrations try it some time.

I have a pellet pistol for situations like this. I retrieved the pistol, opened the door and fired in the general direction of the raccoon hoping to scare it into leaving. See comment about herding cats.

As I was cocking the pistol to try again, Sam, our black cat, made a break for it and was out the door in a heartbeat.

Now Sam likes to get out and go to the nearest sand/dirt patch and roll around. This time she made a bee line for the sand dunes and didn’t slow down.

Sam is allowed out on a leash and when she escapes, she seems to think she is still on the leash. The way to capture her is to walk along with her, talking softly, and when she stops to roll, you just pick her up. The important thing is you must do this immediately or she realizes that she is loose and not on the leash.

There I was in the middle of a cloudy night, chasing a black cat through the sand dunes. Sam continued to move further into the sand dune and I stumbled along behind her, not being able to see her as she kept to the shadows, stepping on all sorts of uncomfortable sharp, picky things. Among other things, we have prickly pear cactus in the dunes.

Finally she stopped and I picked her up and headed back. I still couldn’t see where I was going as I was being blinded by the outside light I had turned on earlier. About this time I recalled a comment my sister had made about how much poison ivy we have along the path through the dunes.

I looked towards the house to see how far I was from the cottage and realized the door wasn’t fully closed.

At that point I had a vision of the raccoon beating me to the door, latching it, and eating peanuts while I stood outside.

Then I realized it was close to 4 in the morning and I standing in the beach dunes, probably in a patch of poison ivy. In one hand I have a black cat, in the other a gun and I’m naked as a jaybird.

Not a pretty picture.

October 03, 2007

Hey buddy, can you spare a finger

AT a banding demonstration at Hawk Cliff in Ontario.
This Harris Hawk is used for falconry and education programs.
Looked like he could remove a finger rather easily.

October 02, 2007

A couple

A couple
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Another sculpture from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario.

Not quite life sized but close.

October 01, 2007

Not enough for a baseball team

Migrating blue jays found this puddle and were enjoying a bath.
Some of the jays looked embarrassed over the enthusiasm showed by the bathers