Showing posts from June, 2013

A splash of colour

A splash of colour, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The American Redstart is about 5 1/4 inches long and is a fast mover, actively flitting, with drooping winds and spread tail.
Basically a black bird with bright orange patches on its wings and tail.
This is one of the spring warblers we get in the yard during spring migration.

They look like the want to be a baltimore oriole when they grow up.

Setophaga ruticilla

Alright, everybody out of the water.

Alright, everybody out of the water., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Don't you hate it when the lifeguard makes everybody get out of the water.
These are map turtles that were basking on the shore.
Hardened shore lines make it difficult for turtles to haul out of the water. This is particularly important when the females are looking for nesting sites.

Canada lists the Northern Map Turtle as a species of special concern.

Seeing double

Seeing double, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Recently large numbers ot Tiger Swallowtail butterflies appeared in our area.

The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is an avid mud-puddler and sometimes hundreds will gather at the same small puddle, jostling for position. In this case we had four but there was a steady stream of them coming and going.

The Tiger Swallowtail is one of our most recognizable butterflies. You can identify it by its large size and bright yellow color with black tiger stripes.
Male tiger swallowtails have a few orange and blue spots near the tail.

Papilio canadensis

Over the top

Over the top, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I've often heard the expression that something was over the top.
This is the first time the expression actually made sense.

This is used to get concrete into a tight space. Maybe they were putting in a swimming pool.

A bird in the hand

A bird in the hand, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We were sitting out back when we saw a hummingbird fall to the deck. We assumed it was a window strike. It just lay there but was still breathing.
We have omnivore chipmunks that will "disappear" a bird, so action was needed.
Anne picked it up and held it in her hands and sheltered it until it revived.
It started to move its wings and Anne could feel the breeze on her palm just as the hummingbird lifted off and flew to a tree.

After it rested it flew to the feeder and had a meal.
Hopefully it is no worse for the experience.

Archilochus colubris

white stork

white stork, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Usually I have trouble with flight shots but this one turned out ok.
The white stork is about 40 inches tall and has a wing span between 6 and 7 feet.
According to ARKive
"The white stork has a stout body, distinctive long neck and slender legs for wading. The iridescent black wing feathers contrast with the bright white plumage of the head, neck and body, and a patch of black skin surrounds the eyes. The bare legs and straight, conical bill possess a strong red colour that is acquired as the bird reaches adulthood"

Ciconia ciconia

Always behind a stick

Always behind a stick, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This yellow wagtail just wouldn't come out for a clear shot. There was always something in front of it, a tuft of grass, a branch, something.
He is a skulker moving around in the grass looking for insects.

Motacilla cinereocapilla

Collared pratincole

Collared pratincole, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is a fairly large shore bird at 12 inches -28cm, in length. It has a wing span of approximately 27 inches -65cm.
We saw it on our birding trip to Spain.

The common name of this bird arises from the distinctive band of black plumage that runs around the throat, from eye to eye, giving the appearance of a necklace or a collar. The rest of the head, and also the back, are a sandy brown , and the belly and rump are white . The black, forked tail and dark brown wings are long and narrow , and the wings have rust-coloured linings. The short, hooked beak is black with a red base. There is little to distinguish male collared pratincoles from females and, for both sexes, breeding adults have cream-coloured throats.
Juveniles lack the distinctive head decorations of the adults, and also differ in the plumage of the back, which has a scaled pattern.
Source ARKive.

Glareola pratincola

Around and around

Around and around, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Perching on a sprinkler head gives you a birds eye view of your surroundings.
This is a european bee-eater about 12 inches (29 cm) in length.
It has incredible colours which a field guide describes as "exotically rich and gaudy plumage colours".
Umistakeable with bright yellow throat, bluish underbody, yellowish-white shoulder patches and red-brown crown/back and inner wing-panel above.
Give a 4 year old a box of crayons and ask them to colour a bird and this is the type of thing you would probably get.

Merops apiaster

Pied wagtail

Pied wagtail, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We saw this pied (black and white) wagtail in a mountain village in Spain.
The river was flowing strongly from the snow melt up in the Pyrenees.
It was still able to collect lots on insects from the shoreline.
It came back to this rock in the middle of the river on a regular basis making the photo possible.

Motacilla alba


Hoopoe, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. A strange looking fairly small bird that breeds in farming districts and open, grazed country. It spends most of its time feeding on the ground.
We saw these birds two or three times on our birding trip and this one posed rather nicely.
This was one of our must see birds for the trip.
Our guide was excellent and we saw almost every bird we had hoped for.

upupa epops

If I don't move you can't see me.

If I don't move you can't see me., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This five-lined skin was sunning on a fallen log as I walked by.
It watched me closely but didn't move until I was about 10 feet away.
Extremely fast, it was gone in the blink of an eye.
It is the only species of lizard found in Ontario.

(Plestiodon fasciatus)
It is a small, smooth-bodied lizard, with black or grey colouring and five white or yellow stripes along the back. The colour pattern diminishes with age as the stripes darken, and the contrast is less apparent in adults. Juveniles have bright blue tails, but this also diminishes with age. In adults, the tail is grey. Adult males can be distinguished from females by their broader heads and bright orange jaws and chin. Adults can reach a length of 20 centimetres. Skinks are very active predators, and they dart quickly from place to place looking for insects, worms or other invertebrates.
Source - ROM…

Reflections and shadows

Reflections and shadows, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Of all the photos I took of the Great Crested Grebe I like this photo the best.
It has both the reflection and the shadow on the bottom of the pond.

It has a long, low body and a long slender neck. The head plumes are unmistakeable.

Podiceps cristatus

Fill 'er up.

Fill 'er up., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Earlier in the spring we had at least 8 ruby throated hummingbirds chasing around out yard.
Things have settled down to 3 or perhaps four now.

They are aggressive and don't like to share the feeders.
This one was taking advantage of a break on the action to fuel up.

Male has a fiery red throat, iridescent green back and a forked tail. It is 3 3/4 inches long (10cm).
It is common in the eastern U.S. and Canada.

Archilochus colubris

Elegant landing.

Elegant landing., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This little egret flared its wings as it came in to land.
Good field marks include the black legs with yellow feet and black bill.
The bird is about 25 inches (64cm) in length.

Egretta garzetta

Statues: they aren't just for pigeons anymore.

Statues: they aren't just for pigeons anymore., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We saw this great tit on a statue in the Netherlands this spring.
We were at a family wedding and took time to do some birding.

The great tit is about 6 inches long and its fileld marks included yellow underparts with a black central band, glossy black head with big white cheek patches, moss green back and a narrow white wink bar on blue-grey wings.

It is one of the more colourful birds that we saw in europe.

Parus major

A mouthful of worms.

A mouthful of worms., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. A protein package from dad.
personally, I never liked worms.

A common bird in North America seen in woodlands, towns, parks laws and farm lands.
The robin has an erect stance, does short runs and then pauses.
IT has a dark grey back and a brick red breast. It has dark stripes on a white throat. The males head and tail are blackish and the underparts are a solid deep reddish colour.
The females colours are duller.

Turdus migratorious

Too close to focus

Too close to focus, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Shore birds are a skittish lot. They don't like you getting too close.
If you're on a boat you can get closer.
There was a flock of 13 ruddy turnstones on the breakwater near the marina where we keep our pontoon boat.
We had the unusual perspective of being below the birds as they feed on midges.
I had a problem focusing as the grasses along the edge of the breakwater keep getting in the way.
This one came so close it was at the edge of my close focus.
It isn't often that I complain that a bird is too close to focus on.

Arenaria interpes

Bambi in the bushes

Bambi in the bushes, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. While walking one of the trails in Rondeau Provincial Park, I flushed a white tailed deer.
I continued walking and saw something on the path ahead of me.
A fawn was on the path moving in the same direction the adult deer had gone.
We looked at each other for about 5 seconds which was about 1 second more than the fawn felt comfortable with.
It scurried off into the brush at the side of the trail and I was able to get a few photos.
I don't know if the blue eye is a trick of the light as deer have brown eyes.

Odocoileus virginianus

Do you think the iphone generation will recognize this?

Do you think the iphone generation will recognize this?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. When I saw this at a scenic overlook in Spain I laughed.
How many young tourists who use their smart phones for cameras would know what this represents. Truly old school.