Showing posts from March, 2014

Guess who drew the short straw.

450 feet up working on one of the monster turbines that pollute our landscape in southern Ontario.

They are adding what looks like teeth to the edge of the blade.


400 feet from shore is the last section of the Rondeau pier that is still intact. Heavy ice this year knocked pilings sideways and buckled the decking to the point it was unsafe.
At this time the government hasn't decided what action to take as repairs would cost approximately $700,000. Due to severe ice damage the decking of the pier had to be removed. The edge should be a straight line but the ice moved the pilings

They are called buffleheads just because they are.

They are called buffleheads just because they are., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The name "buffle" comes from a 17th century word for buffalo.
Supposedly,the shape of a males head is similar to an American bison.
Yeah, right.

Bucephala albeola

Males are striking black-and white from a distance. A closer look at the head shows glossy green and purple setting off the striking white patch.

The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers.

The oldest Bufflehead on record was at least 18 years and 8 months old. It was caught and re-released by a bird bander in New York in 1975.

A frozen curtain

A frozen curtain, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. About a month ago we had a heavy frost and the willow had its branches coated with ice crystals.
When the sun came up they glistened.

Greater scaup, male

Greater scaup, male, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Breeding Plumage: Head, neck, upper back, and breast black; head with greenish iridescence. Back white to gray, covered with thin, black wavy lines. Rump black. Belly white. Sides white, with some fine dark streaks. Undertail black.

Water of a ducks back, or front for that matter.

Water off a ducks back, or front for that matter., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. his is a female greater scaup that we saw at Bronte Harbour, Ont.
I like the way the bow wave she is generating flows off the sides leaving her dry.

Aythya marila
The nest of a Greater Scaup is usually lined with a thick layer of down plucked by the mother from her own breast. Nests of poor-condition females may lack down and instead may contain small, grayish-white feathers plucked from beneath the outer body feathers.


Camouflage, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. The boys were running around the cottage going full tilt.
Then it was full stop for a cat nap on the cat couch.
Perfect camouflage for tired cats.


Cruisin', a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is the king eider we went to see at Bronte Harbour. At first he was sitting at the edge of the ice with his head down making him hard to see or id.
He finally started swimming around and moved to an ice shelf where  two female eiders were.

He got up and walked around like a penguin.

Very unduck like.
He is in non breeding plumage.

Somateria spectabilis
The female King Eider alone attends the nest. When an intruder is present, the female sits low on the nest with her head flattened on the ground. She sits tightly on the eggs and sometimes can be touched or picked up off of the nest.

A chilly bed.

A chilly bed., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. It has been a hard winter for humans and wildlife this year.
We don't normally see where the deer bed down for the night, usually it is back in the forest.

We are seeing them close to the cottage and I am guessing they are waiting for us to put out bird seed.
If they are first to the yard the get the seed, not other deer and certainly they don't leave much for the birds.

This doe was bedded down early in the morning right after the last big storm. There heavy outer coat seems to keep them dry.

Photo taken through the Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Odocoileus virginianus

Like a cow, the white-tailed deer’s stomach has four compartments. This allows food to be processed more efficiently and means that the deer can feed on things that other mammals cannot process.

If a car emerges from a snow bank

If a car emerges from a snow bank, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. and it is foggy it still won't start.

Or something like that.

Long tailed duck

Long tailed duck, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. There were a number of long-tailed ducks at Bronte Harbour the day we went there.
I like bird names that actually match the bird.

Clangula hyemalis

Formerly known as Oldsquaw, the Long-tailed Duck breeds in the Arctic and winters along both coasts of North America. It is distinctive among ducks in plumage, molt sequences, foraging behaviour, and vocalizations.
The Long-tailed Duck is one of the deepest diving ducks, and can dive as deep as 60 meters (200 feet) to forage.

Do you like my bling?

Do you like my bling?, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is a trumpeter swan which is endangered in Canada. They are wing tagged for easy identification.
Evidently it doesn't hamper there flying.

Cygnus buccinator
The largest of North American waterfowl, the Trumpeter Swan is resident throughout much of its range, but migratory in other parts. Its was reduced to near extinction by the early 20th century, but it is relatively common today.
Swans can live a long time. Wild Trumpeter Swans have been known to live longer than 24 years, and one captive individual lived to be 32

White-winged scoter

White-winged scoter, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We went on a field trip to see a king eider.
Not only did we see the eider we also saw a snowy owl and lots of other ducks.

This bird is so spectacular that I decided to post him first.
He was at Bronte Harbour on Lake Ontario swimming among the ice flows.

Melanitta fusca
Although the White-winged Scoter winters primarily along the coasts, small numbers winter on the eastern Great Lakes.

The ice runner

The ice runner, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr.
I was over at the far end of the park and spotted this coyote moving along the ice of the frozen channel leading out of Rondeau Bay.
He seemed to be checking each of the small openings in the ice for injured waterfowl.
He was about 200 yards from my position.

Canis latrans

The coyote Canis latrans is one of the seven representatives of the Canidae family found in Canada. Other members of the family are the wolf, red fox, arctic fox, grey fox, swift fox, and dog. 

Slimmer and smaller than the wolf, the male coyote weighs from 9 to 23 kg, has an overall length of 120 to 150 cm (including a 30- to 40-cm tail), and stands 58 to 66 cm high at the shoulder. The female is usually four-fifths as large.

American Redstart

American Redstart, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. This is a shot from one of our trips to Texas, where we went to get away from winter.
It turned out to be two of the mildest winters we have had in recent memory.
Staid home this year, bad idea.
Anyway, the redstart is a fast moving warbler that bounces around in search of insects.
I find them difficult to photograph, mostly blurred or behind a branch, this one messed up and sat still in the open.

Setophaga ruticilla

Like the Painted Redstart and other “redstarts” of the Neotropics, the American Redstart flashes the bright patches in its tail and wings.

The male American Redstart sometimes has two mates at the same time. While many other polygamous bird species involve two females nesting in the same territory, the redstart holds two separate territories that can be separated by a quarter-mile. The male begins attracting a second female after the first has completed her clutch and is incubating the eggs.

Meet Hoover and Electrolux

Meet Hoover and Electrolux, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. Two of the best little vacuums you can find.
They are magic when it comes to sucking up corn and other bird seed that we put on the ground.
The cardinals, blue jays and juncos aren't impressed but that's the way it has been this winter.

Their friends Filter Queen and Dyson were in another part of the yard doing the same thing.


Faces, a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. One of the yearling deer has been coming up to our windows and looking in at us.
Almost like it is saying " Time to feed the birds."
Of course it has a habit of eating all the seed that is on the ground.

After reading a stack of National Geographic magazines by ozmossis,
Oz the cat knocked over the wooden deer in the window and apparently wanted a crack at the real thing.

The co-operative peregrine.

The co-operative peregrine., a photo by ricmcarthur on Flickr. We had gone for a drive to try to find a snow owl.
They are in the area but we haven't found one yet this year.
We still haven't found one.

Instead we found a very co-operative peregrine falcon in Point Edward at the mouth of the St. Clair River.
It sat one a sign and didn't seem to care that we were creeping closer and closer.
This shot was from about 90 feet.
Best look and best photo I've had of a peregrine.

Falco peregrinus
Powerful and fast-flying, the Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. They were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century. After significant recovery efforts, Peregrine Falcons have made an incredible rebound and are now regularly seen in many large cities and coastal areas.

The name "peregrine" means wanderer, and the Peregrine Falcon has one of the longest migr…