May 31, 2014


He's a red-bellied woodpecker, eben though he doesn't really have a red belly.




A pinkish blush that you can see in a certain light is the best you get.

The red-headed woodpecker looks like its entire head was dunked in red paint.



Melanerpes carolinus

A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology

May 29, 2014

Under the seal


This ruby-throated hummingbird was feeding at the false Solomon's seal in our yard.



Now that I know they do this I'll try for a shot with the morning light.

Archilochus colubris

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.

The oldest known Ruby-throated Hummingbird was 9 years 1 month old.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology

May 28, 2014

Wood Thrush


A spring arrival at Rondeau that stays and nests in the forest.
It has a loud clear ee-oh-lay song that rings through the woods.



Hylocichla mustelina.

A songbird like the Wood Thrush requires 10 to 15 times as much calcium to lay a clutch of eggs as a similar size mammal needs to nurture its young. That makes calcium-rich food supplements like snail shells crucial to successful breeding. These are rare in soils subject to acid rain, which may help explain patterns of population decline in the Wood Thrush.
The oldest known Wood Thrush was 10 years, 2 months old.

May 27, 2014

Hiding in plain sight.


When I was coming home from a trip into town I could see something in the distance along the side of the road.



I thought it was a raccoon but as I got closer I realized it was a fawn.
It moved into the forest edge and disappeared.
I stopped and looked in the area and after a minute I spotted it.
It had folded down on itself and id didn't move counting on its camouflage to protect it.

I took a few photos and left it in peace.

Odocoileus virginianus

May 26, 2014

Whimbrel on the wing


We finally got the pontoon boat in the water today and took a little cruise.
We spotted about 120 whimbrel on Rondeau Provincial Parks south beach near Erieau, Ontario.




It was  choppy making it difficult to get good photos. I think I'll try again tomorrow.

Numenius phaeopus

One of the most wide-ranging shorebirds in the world, the Whimbrel breeds in the Arctic in the eastern and western hemispheres, and migrates to South America, Africa, south Asia, and Australia. It uses its long, down-curved bill to probe deep in the sand of beaches for invertebrates, but also feeds on berries and insects.

Some migrating Whimbrels make a nonstop flight of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from southern Canada or New England to South America.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 25, 2014


This vireo nests in our area and we hear their calls all summer long.
Here I am, where are you. Over and over and over....



Vireo olivaceus

Song a broken series of slurred notes. Each phrase usually ends in either a downslur or an upswing, as if the bird asks a question, then answers it, over and over.

The red iris that gives the Red-eyed Vireo its name doesn't develop until the end of the birds' first winter. Then the brown iris the birds were born with becomes dull brick red to bright crimson in different individuals.

The oldest known Red-eyed Vireo was banded in its hatching year and then refound, and rereleased, when 10 years and 2 months old.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 22, 2014

Bay-breasted warbler


Another spring migrant at Rondeau.


We have had a large number of bay breasted warblers this year compared to previous years.
Normally they are hard to find and stay way up in the trees.
This year some were down low and they posed for photographs.

Setophaga castanea

A large warbler of the northern spruce forests, the Bay-breasted Warbler benefits from spruce budworm outbreaks when the caterpillars provide abundant food. Spraying to control the destructive outbreaks may have reduced populations of this warbler.

May 21, 2014

Black-throated blue warbler


One of my favourite warblers, the black throated blue is always identifiable by the little white spot, the handkerchief, on its side.



It is nice having a bird that is easy to identify.

This one was seen on Spicebush Trail in Rondeau.

Setophaga caerulescens

.A bird of the deep forest, the Black-throated Blue Warbler breeds in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. On migration to its Caribbean wintering grounds it can be seen in a variety of habitats, including parks and gardens.

The sexes of the Black-throated Blue Warbler look so different that they were originally described as two different species.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 20, 2014

You can't out climb a bear.


You also can't outrun them.
All you need to be is faster than one other person in your group.




We saw this bear up in a tree while we were in Virginia a few weeks back.
At first it looked like a plywood silhouette cut out and then it moved.



May 19, 2014


Another spring migrant passing through Rondeau Provincial Park on its way to the north.




Setophaga americana

 Northern Parulas breed in mature forests along streams, swamps, and other bottomlands. They're closely associated with epiphytic plants that grow on the branches of canopy trees. In the southern U.S. they use Spanish moss; farther north they use beard moss

May 18, 2014

Buddies





Crash and Ozzie curled up in the morning sun on the cat couch to have their early morning nap.
Just a change up from all the bird photos

May 15, 2014


This is a chestnut-sided warbler and its call sounds a little like -"pleased, pleased, pleased to MEETCHA."



Setophaga pensylvanica

The Chestnut-sided Warbler sings two basic song types: one is accented at the end (the pleased-to-MEETCHA song), and the other is not. The accented songs are used primarily to attract a female and decrease in frequency once nesting is well under way. The unaccented songs are used mostly in territory defense and aggressive encounters with other males. Some males sing only unaccented songs, and they are less successful at securing mates than males that sing both songs.

source: Cornell Lab or Ornithology

May 14, 2014


We had a ruby-throated hummingbird buzz us while we were out on a trail today.
 Late afternoon light.



Archilochus colubris

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second.
source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

May 13, 2014

A bird in the hand


is beautiful.



This female prothonotary warbler struck a window at the parks visitor centre. Staff put it in a closed cardboard box to let it recuperate.
I was lucky enough to be there when it was released.
It sat quietly for a moment before flying into a tree. After a few more minutes it headed off into the forest.

Protonotaria citrea

Prothonotary Warblers breed in wooded swamps and other bottomland forests. Characteristic tree species include willows, sweet gum, willow oak, black gum, tupelo, bald cypress, elms, and river birch. On their wintering grounds Prothonotary Warblers are abundant in mangrove forests.

May 11, 2014

Ant eater

This scarlet tanager was busily eating ants and didn't care who saw him.
He stayed on the ground for at least 10 minutes, in among the wild flowers.
Such an intense colour.



Piranga olivacea
Scarlet Tanagers often play host to eggs of the Brown-headed Cowbird, particularly where the forest habitat has been fragmented. When a pair of tanagers notices a female cowbird approaching, they aggressively drive her away. If they don’t notice, the cowbird gets rid of a tanager egg and replaces it with one of her own. The tanagers apparently can’t tell the difference, either before or after the egg hatches, and they raise the imposter along with the rest of their brood.
The oldest Scarlet Tanager on record was nearly 12 years old.

May 08, 2014




Orchard orioles are showing up in good numbers these days.
Actually today was a great birding day at Rondeau with 25 warbler species seen.
Orchards are smaller and darker than the brightly coloured Baltimore orioles but I think there colours are classy.

Icterus spurius.

The Orchard Oriole swaps the typical flame-orange of other orioles for a deep, burnished russet. Hopping among riverine shrubs or scattered trees, male Orchard Orioles sing a whistled, chattering song to attract yellow-green females. The smallest of North America’s orioles, it gleans insects from foliage and builds hanging, pouchlike nests during its brief breeding season, and then heads back to Central America for the rest of the year. Orchard Orioles also feed on fruit and nectar in orchards, gardens, and elsewhere.

The oldest Orchard Oriole on record was at least 11 years old when it was captured and released by a Maryland bird bander in 2012.

source the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

What yellow head?


Yellow headed black birds are fairly rare in our area. There is only one spot I know of to see and photograph these birds.



Each time I tried for a photo the bird would be up high on a phragmities stalk.
 As soon as it landed the reed would slowly bend and the bird would sink into the reeds making for a less than ideal photo.
I guess you take what you can get.

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

The male Yellow-headed Blackbird defends a small territory of prime nesting reeds. He may attract up to eight females to nest within his area. The male helps feed nestlings, but usually only in the first nest established in his territory. The other females have to feed their young all by themselves.

The oldest Yellow-headed Blackbird on record was 11 years, 8 months old.

source: Cornell Lab or Ornithology.

May 06, 2014


This northern flicker was doing a little housekeeping on the new nest.It had just switched places with the other one of the pair.



Colaptes auratus

Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you’d expect to find a woodpecker, but flickers eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill. When they fly you’ll see a flash of color in the wings – yellow if you’re in the East, red if you’re in the West – and a bright white flash on the rump.

The oldest known “yellow-shafted” Northern Flicker lived to be at least 9 years 2 months old, and the oldest “red-shafted” Northern Flicker lived to be at least 8 years 9 months old.

source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 05, 2014


A few warblers are starting to show up at Rondeau.



Mostly black-throated greens, yellow rumps, yellows an d a few blackburnians.
Also the black and white warblers are being seen.
I always associate black and whites with the start of the spring migration of the wood warblers.

Mniotilta varia

One of the earliest-arriving migrant warblers, the Black-and-white Warbler’s thin, squeaky song is one of the first signs that spring birding has sprung. This crisply striped bundle of black and white feathers creeps along tree trunks and branches like a nimble nuthatch, probing the bark for insects with its slightly downcurved bill.

Black-and-white Warblers have an extra-long hind claw and heavier legs than other wood-warblers, which help them hold onto and move around on bark.

Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 04, 2014

Coffee house




This gives a whole new meaning to the term coffee house.
Who needs Starbucks when you live in a coffee pot.

We saw this on our trip to Virginia last month. We had to turn around and go back to get the photo.

May 03, 2014

How long is an inchworm?


About an inch although it depends if it is stretched out or humped.






Inchworm, name for the larvae of moths of the family Geometridae, a large, cosmopolitan group with over 1,200 species indigenous to North America. Also called measuring worms, spanworms, and loopers, inchworms.

May 01, 2014




This is a cane brake rattlesnake we saw in the Great Dismal Swamp. It was beside a boardwalk and I was unable to get a face on shot.
I like the colours and patterning.

Crotalus horridus.

Timber rattlesnakes, which are called canebrake rattlesnake in the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, are large, heavy bodied snakes with the characteristic rattles on the end of the tail. Adults range from 30-60 in (76-152 cm) with the record being more than 6 feet (183 cm) long.