Showing posts from December, 2013

Let's talk spring

Let's talk spring, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Enough winter for now.
This is the bloom of the tulip tree,and is native to the deciduous forest of eastern North America which extends into Canada in southwestern Ontario in the region called the Carolinian zone or Carolinian Canada, which is where we live.
It can grow to over 100 feet tall and in excess of 5 feet in diameter.
The wood of tulip-tree is commercially valuable and is used to make furniture, musical instruments, plywood, and pulp. Some Aboriginal peoples and early European settlers hollowed out the large, straight trunks to make canoes, and the roots were used medicinally.
Liriodendron tulipifera

Horned lark

Horned lark, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is a clearer photo of one of the horned larks I saw the other day.
The tufted feathers make up the "horns".

Scientific stuff -
Eremophila alpestris

Interesting stuff -The only true lark native to North America, the Horned Lark is a common, widespread bird of open country.
Adult Horned Larks eat primarily weed and grass seeds, but they feed insects to their young.

Cruising the beach

Cruising the beach, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. There was a lot of activity along the beach after a day of heavy surf, well actually waves here on the Great Lakes.
There were at least three bald eagles moving back and forth along with a good number of the large gulls.
I went down to see if I could get a few photos.
This immature bald eagle came up off the beach and circled out over Lake Erie before flying off.
We get eagles regularly bur seldom within camera range.

Scientific stuff
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
The Bald Eagle dwarfs most other raptors, including the Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk. It has a heavy body, large head, and long, hooked bill. In flight, a Bald Eagle holds its broad wings flat like a board.

Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds. "For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been ch…

Horned lark and the snow bunting.

Horned lark and the snow bunting., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I could get either the lark or the bunting in focus, just not both.
I tried resetting from a single spot focus to a multiple focus but, of course, the birds flew before I was ready.
There was a large mixed flock of about 200-300 birds near our place.

Scientific stuff
Eremophila alpestris (horned lark)
Adult Horned Larks eat primarily weed and grass seeds, but they feed insects to their young.

Plectrophenax nivalis (snow bunting)
The male Snow Bunting returns to its high Arctic breeding grounds in early April, when temperatures can still dip as low as -30° C (-22° F) and snow still covers most of the ground. The female does not return until four to six weeks later.

Merry Christmas (view to see the message)

Merry Christmas (view to see the message), a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We three kings of avian are
Migrant birds who travel afar.
Fluff and feather, snowy weather,
Pooping on yonder car.

What did you expect from a birder.

(Verse sent to me by a friend, original source unknown. I'm not that creative.)

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas.

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Anne is almost finished her Christmas baking, a sure sign that Christmas can't be too far away.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Looking for a free lunch

Looking for a free lunch, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This small opossum was scrounging under the bird feeders in search of a free lunch.
The temperatures were above freezing today which probably encouraged him to come out.
They are omnivores and they eat insects, snails, rodents, berries, fruit, grasses, leaves, carrion, snakes, bird and waterfowl eggs, corn and all other vegetables.
This photo was taken through the Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Scientific stuff
Didelphis virginiana
They are North America's only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal.
A female can bear up to 14 young and when they are born the entire litter can fit onto a teaspoon.
Opossums are active year round and do not hibernate; however during extreme weather they may stay in dens for weeks at a time using up stored body fats.

Out the kitchen window

Out the kitchen window, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Anne looked out the window and spotted this buck in the yard.
He was looking at two does who were off to the left.
That's our pontoon boat covered with the big blue tarp.

Photo by Anne.
Odocoileus virginianus

Blue on blue

Blue on blue, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. I was surprised at how clear this photo was considering I took it through the Wonderful Wildlife Window which I haven't cleaned recently.
We have a regular parade of birds into our feeders particularly in the winter.

Scientific stuff
Cyanocitta cristata
The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue colour is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.

The black bridle across the face, nape, and throat varies extensively and may help Blue Jays recognize one another.

The oldest known wild, banded Blue Jay lived to be at least 17 years 6 months old.

and stretch...

and stretch..., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. and take a break.
Exercise class at Rondeau can be vigorous.

This white tailed deer was browsing the lowest branches of a willow tree in our yard. It stretched as far as it could to get hold of a thin hanging branch and eventually tore a piece off.
We had 7 deer in the yard this afternoon.
Scientific stuff
Odocoileus virginianus
Its diet consists mostly of green plants, nuts, and in the winter, wood vegetation.
The white-tailed deer can make vertical leaps of over two and a half metres and horizontal leaps of nine metres — that’s almost as long as a school bus.

Hiding in plain sight

Hiding in plain sight, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Ozzie was hiding in the bag so Crash couldn't see him. Ozzie was planning a sneak attack but it didn't work for some reason.

The Living Room

The Living Room, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is at my sisters house. I have always liked this room. It has a working fireplace and has 12 foot ceilings.
It is always bright and airy and whenever possible there are fresh cut flowers.

The vegitarians

The vegitarians, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. They certainly enjoyed eating anything green in our yard.
I'm not sure what type of caterpillars they are but one day the were not there and the next they were everywhere.


Cruising., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The garbage men of the sky have such an effortless soaring ability.
They can hang in the breeze without a flap of the wing.
They can handle heavy winds with there wings raised in a v shape, wobbling in circles to utilize the wind currents.

Turkey vultures rock. Can't say that of most birds.

Scientific stuff
Cathartes aura

The Turkey Vulture uses its sense of smell to locate carrion. The part of its brain responsible for processing smells is particularly large, compared to other birds. Its heightened ability to detect odours—it can detect just a few parts per trillion—allows it to find dead animals below a forest canopy.

If looks could kill.

If looks could kill., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The stare alone could get him lunch.

This Cooper's hawk was sitting in the large cottonwood at the back of our yard staring at the bird feeders.
For some unknown reason all the little birds left when it arrived.

Photo taken through the Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Scientific stuff
Accipiter cooperii
Among the bird world’s most skillful fliers, Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that tear through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds.

Dashing through vegetation to catch birds is a dangerous lifestyle. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons, 23 percent showed old, healed-over fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.

A Cooper's Hawk captures a bird with its feet and kills it by repeated squeezing. Falcons tend to kill their prey by biting it, but Cooper’s Hawks hold their catch away from the body until it dies. They’ve even been known to drown thei…

Remember summer

Remember summer, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. It doesn't seem that long ago but looking at this it seems like forever.
The kids jump off the end and then use the ladder, in the snow bank, to get out and do it again.

Winter - Bah humbug.

Come with me to the Casbah

Come with me to the Casbah, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. A look straight out of an old movie.

Archilochus colubris
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second.

The extremely short legs of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird prevent it from walking or hopping. The best it can do is shuffle along a perch. Nevertheless, it scratches its head and neck by raising its foot up and over its wing.

Everyone needs one of these.

Everyone needs one of these., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Only a few weeks to Christmas people.
I know you have a hard to buy for person on your list.
I can almost guarantee they don't have one of these.
Not sure why you would need one but someone, somewhere thought it was a good idea, it even uses recycled bags.

Red and pink

Red and pink, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Or so they say.
Being partially colour blind -red-green, there are times I don't see what you do.
Now with this bright red cardinal and very pink grapefruit I can see the same thing you do.

Come on in, the waters fine.

Come on in, the waters fine., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Just watch our for the gator lurking in the duck weed.
We saw this alligator in Texas at a state park. He was in what looked like an old watering trough
Scientific stuff
Alligator mississippiensis

The largest American alligator ever reported was supposedly 19.8 ft (6 m) long, although there are doubts about the claim.

Hatchlings are 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) long with yellow and black stripes. Juveniles, which are on the menu for dozens of predators, including birds, raccoons, bobcats, and even other alligators, usually stay with their mothers for about two years.


Reflection, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Not really but this pair of male redheaded ducks were doing a synchronized swimming routine.
I think this is one of the more striking waterfowl and their name matchers their appearance making id easier.

Scientific stuff
Aythya americana
Medium-sized duck.Rounded head.Bill blue with black tip.Male with bright red head, gray back, and black chest and rear end.

The Redhead is known to lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads, at least 10 other duck species, and even nests of the American Bittern and Northern Harrier. Many parasiticallly laid eggs fail to hatch.

By the numbers

By the numbers, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is a nightmare for accountants and overly organized people.
Looks like random number generation to me.

Sure is a lot of tomatoes.