Showing posts from July, 2013

Synchronized swimming.

Synchronized swimming., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Two double crested cormorants were appeared to be participating a the synchronized swimming event.
We have large numbers of cormorants in the water around the park.
In the fall we will have thousands staging for their migration to warmer climes.
phalacrocorax auritus

Ok, I caught him, now how do I eat him?

Ok, I caught him, now how do I eat him?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I had the opportunity yesterday of going out with one of the researchers working at Rondeau Provincial Park. He is doing work on 5 lined skinks and salamanders.
He had just finished weighing and measuring this male skink when it bit him and wouldn't let go.
It looked like this small animal had attacked and bitten prey that was way to big.
Eventually it let go and went back underneath a log.

Plestiodon fasciatus

For more information on the skink you can follow this link

The Red Dragon

The Red Dragon, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The only thing I know about these creatures is; wings out to the sides - dragonfly, wings straight back - damsel fly and with my luck that will turn out to be wrong.
After a little research this appears to be a Ruby Meadowhawk.
- sympetrum rubicundulum.

We turned our front yard into a tall grass prairie with lots of flowering plants. As a result we get a large number of butterflies,dragonflies and bees.
The birds come in to eat various insects and spiders.
The best part is I don't have to water, fertilize our cut grass.

The Camera Cuddler

The Camera Cuddler, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Oz wanted to be in the sun and have his belly rubbed.
He decided to push his way onto the desk beside the camera and computer so I couldn't ignore him.
Such a tough life.

Butterfly and bee balm

Butterfly and bee balm, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Another name for bee balm is Monarda. It attracts bees, butterflies and insects to it's nectar.
A quick look at the butterfly field guide didn't
This photo was taken in our front yard which we turned into a tall grass prairie years ago.
I'm not good with butterfly id,however, I feel I should know this one.
Can you help with the id?

The grape eater.

The grape eater., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We had an immature grosbeak at the grape bag yesterday.
If you look closely you can see its tongue as it eats a bit of grape.
If you look really closely you can see the sun reflecting in its eye.

pheucticus ludovicianus

Is it just me or are models getting skinnier everyday?

Is it just me or are models getting skinnier everyday?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. On the last day of our birding trip to Spain this spring we spent a day wandering in Barcelona.
Down one of the back streets we saw this display.
I find that models are unrealistically thin. Can you se the average woman wearing this outfit?

Forster's Tern

Forster's Tern, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We were out on the pontoon boat, anchored in Rondeau Bay when a group of Forster's terns and black terns started diving around the boat.
The fished for about 10 minutes before moving away

The boat was rocking in the swells and the birds were dipping up and down.
Shot about 150 images, some were blank sky, others had a head or tail but not both.
Most were blurry. A few weren't bad.

Sterna forsteri

Broken beer? Who you gonna call?

Broken beer? Who you gonna call?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Here now, you better let me taste that beer. It might be broken.

He will never have to buy his own beer again.

Eastern bluebird

Eastern bluebird, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. With the heat we aren experiencing birds are coming in to our small water feature in greater numbers.
Just after I took this photo I came inside to take a break from the heat.
In a span of 15 minutes I had 2 male grosbeaks, 2 cedar waxwings, goldfinches, male baltimore orioles, a young catbird and yellow warblers at the water.
A red-headed woodpecker and a red-bellied came in the yard but didn't go to the water.
Lots of colourful birds and activity, and there I was in the house with my camera.

Right now it is the time to have a bird bath. It will bring in more birds than feeders will. Food is available but clean water in a safe location may be scarce.
Do the birds and yourself a favour and put water out for the wildlife.

sialia sialis

A natural explosion

A natural explosion, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. My wife Anne, took this photo of a plant growing next door to us.
It is yellow salsify, tragopgon dubius.
It produces a solitary terminal flower head on each stock.
The fruiting heads are large balls of single seeds, each one a feathery parachute, similar to dandelions.

The Contortionists

The Contortionists, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This female Baltimore oriole was on what would normally be the wrong perch to get the orange, however, she twisted herself around until she was able to eat her fill.

icterus galbula

Off with his head!

Off with his head!, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I made a suet feeder for woodpeckers and nuthatches.
I drill holes in at a 45 degree angle and then hang the feeder, either at a 45 degree angle or horizontally.
This keeps most of the black birds, such as grackles and redwinged blackbirds from emptying the feeder in about 15 minutes. The woodpeckers have no problem hanging on the underside to eat but the others have to hover to get anything.

This is a chipping sparrow who was absolutely determined to get at the suet. He did get a small amount but it was worth it to watch his aerobatics.

spizella pusilla

White breasted nuthatch.

White breasted nuthatch., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes this bird as:
A common feeder bird with clean black, gray, and white markings, White-breasted Nuthatches are active, agile little birds with an appetite for insects and large, meaty seeds. They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside. White-breasted Nuthatches may be small but their voices are loud, and often their insistent nasal yammering will lead you right to them.

I like to watch their contortions as they flit around the feeders and bird baths.

Sitta carolinensis .

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Is there anyone out there that remembers me.

The butterfly weed in the yard is attracting lots of butterflies and bees.
They carefully stayed away from each other unlike two boxers.

Hoo saz the illiterate kan't get jobs.

Hoo saz the illiterate kan't get jobs., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I hope my new computer isn't in there.

Which way is he going?

Which way is he going?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I don't do many caterpillar photos, simply because I don't know them.
Often colourful, many are unusual and they are all magical.
To go from this to a butterfly is really amazing.
According to our field guide, Caterpillars of Eastern North America, this is the caterpillar of the mourning cloak, nymphalis antiopa.
Bravedeer has a good photo of the adult
if you are interested.

Now I lay me down to sleep

Now I lay me down to sleep, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Or hang on for a nap, which ever works for you.

This is a young red-bellied woodpecker who has its head tucked back under its wing.

Shades of the headless horseman.

We watched it hop around on the ground, do a short flight and then climb an old willow tree in the yard.
We didn't see or hear an adult so it may have been on its own.

We put some suet in the bark in hopes it would find it and have a meal.
We heard adult red-bellied woodpeckers in the yard this morning and we didn't see the young bird in the willow, although it is a big tree.
From the sounds this morning it was reunited with the adults.

Alls well that ends well.

melanerpes carolinus

The opportunist.

The opportunist., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Our oriole feeder came apart yesterday spilling the contents.
The base landed upright in the grass.
It only took a moment for a chipmunk to find it and to help himself to the sugar water left in the base.

Barn Swallow

After weeks of raising thier chicks and having them ready to fledge in the next few days their nest was destroyed by a predator.
It happened in the middle of the afternoon and the adults are still trying to land in a nest that isn't there.

A racoon would be the usual suspect but being midday this is unlikely.
A cat couldn't get to where the nest is, and squirrels are unlikely.

A predator bird, such as a bluejay wouldn't have knocked the whole nest down.

One swallow checked an unused nest in the carport  to see if the chicks were there.
It's all a part of nature but it was rather sad.

hirundo rustica

European Roller

European Roller, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. When I think of "roller" it brings to mind -roller skates, high roller or possibly holy roller, but not a bird.

We saw this European roller in Spain. It was too far away for a good photo but its colours are so impressive I posted the photograph anyway.

The field guide describes it as a Jack daw sized bird, which would be similar to a crow in size.
Heavily built, green tinged blue bird with a brown back. Large head and a strong black bill.

It colours are beautiful, particularly in the bright sun.

coracias garrulus

Low Rider

Low Rider, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I like the way loons stay so low in the water as they slowly cruise by.
This one was at a local marina swimming in one of the channels. A few hours latter it was gone.

Loons are a large bird at 32 inches and the bill is dager like.

in breeding plumage they have a black head and bill and a checkered back and a broken white necklace.
Gavia adamsii

Soft shelled turtle

Soft shelled turtle, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. While out on our pontoon boat we came across this female soft shelled turtle on the beach.
It was getting ready to lay eggs but it stopped and watched us.

As we drifted nearby two turtle researchers came over a sand dune and the turtle spooked.
It moved very quickly across the sand and into the water.
Soft shells move surprisingly fast when the need arises.

The researchers looked for a nesting site but were unable to find one.

Soft shells, like most turtles, are at various levels of risk due to habitat loss and poachers.

Apalone spinifera