December 30, 2014

Incoming!



A lady was feeding bread to the trumpeter swans, ducks and gulls at the Marina on Hamilton bay.
This ring-billed gull was dropping in for his share.
Feeding bread isn't the best idea, lots of bilk not much nutrition. Seed is always a better idea.

Larus delawarensis

Some Ring-billed Gull nests at study sites in California and Oregon contained pebbles the size and shape of gull eggs. The parents apparently pulled the pebbles into their nests from the surrounding ground, mistaking them for eggs gone astray.

December 29, 2014

Lesser Scaup (?)



Probably.
Had a hard time deciding if this was a lesser or greater scaup.
Lesser have a slight bump or peak on back of head.
The greater has a more rounded head.
While this one looks rounded other photos of the birds showed the more characteristics of a lesser.
For me the definitive id is the white on the underside of the wing, the lessers white stops halfway to the wing tip and the greater goes almost to the tip.
They weren't flying so I couldn't tell.
You birders out there should feel free to add your thoughts.

Aythya affinis

Lesser Scaup chicks are capable of diving underwater on their hatching day, but they are too buoyant to stay under for more than just a moment. By the time they are 5 to 7 weeks old they are able to dive for 2-25 seconds and swim underwater for 15-18 meters (50-60 ft).

December 28, 2014

A new yard bird.




Well, for accuracy's sake it wasn't our yard, but it was a new yard bird for the homeowners when it first showed up.
This is the painted bunting that has been hanging around in Oakville Ontario for the past several weeks.
We tried for the bird a while back but didn't see it.
I managed to see it within 5 minutes but Anne missed the bird.
We waited another hour but it didn't return.

Don't feel too badly for Anne, she had a good look at one in Texas and I didn't.

Passerina ciris
With their vivid fusion of blue, green, yellow, and red, male Painted Buntings seem to have flown straight out of a child’s coloring book.
The French name of the Painted Bunting, nonpareil, means “without equal,” a reference to the bird’s dazzling plumage.

The oldest Painted Bunting on record was at least 11 years and 10 months old when it was caught and released by a Texas bird bander in 2011.

source - Cornell Lab or Ornithology.

December 25, 2014

Don't throw the cat out with the wrapping paper!!



Ozzie just loves confined spaces and if it is paper that's all good.
He crawled inside some wrapping paper and almost disappeared.

December 23, 2014

The prototype.



I made a rocking elephant for Quinn, our first grandchild.
Not overly happy with the plans so it will become the prototype for the next generation of elephant rockers.
At least there will be something under the tree.

December 21, 2014

Angry bird syndrome.



Seems quite put off that the pond isn't running. Perhaps he wanted a bath and not just a drink.

This grackle showed up in our yard two days ago. Not rare but certainly not common during the winter.
Quiscalus quiscula

Those raggedy figures out in cornfields may be called scare-crows, but grackles are the #1 threat to corn. They eat ripening corn as well as corn sprouts, and their habit of foraging in big flocks means they have a multimillion dollar impact. Some people have tried to reduce their effects by spraying a foul-tasting chemical on corn sprouts or by culling grackles at their roosts.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

December 18, 2014

Smelly



Wet possum is right up there with other wet animals such as dogs.
Not as bad as a young wet skunk but in the same league.

Didelphia virginiana

There are more than 60 different species of opossum, which are often called possums. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada

source - National Geographic.

December 17, 2014

Immature caracara



We saw several immature caracaras at the Brownsville dump.
This is a great birding spot in Texas.
Sewage lagoons are also good birding spots.

Birders go to the nicest places.

Caracara cheriway

A tropical falcon version of a vulture, the Crested Caracara reaches the United States only in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. It is a bird of open country, where it often is seen at carrion with vultures.

Although it looks like a long-legged hawk and associates with vultures, the Crested Caracara is actually in the same family as falcons.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

December 16, 2014



Extremely rare in Canada except for the east coast.
We found this rusty puffin near the northern end of the Welland Canal. The Falls which can be hard on ships. so they built the canal to go around them.

See Harry we do get them here.

December 15, 2014

December 14, 2014

The close up



Just got my lens back from being repaired.
Ozzie was close by for a test shot.
The focus seems to be working properly now.

December 10, 2014

Sushi



I don't think you are supposed to eat the whole thing at once.
Maybe it is different for egrets.

Ardea alba 

Though it mainly hunts while wading, the Great Egret occasionally swims to capture prey or hovers (somewhat laboriously) over the water and dips for fish.

Great Egrets fly slowly but powerfully: with just two wingbeats per second their cruising speed is around 25 miles an hour.

December 09, 2014

Toboggan run




Wheeeee. With or without a toboggan sliding down the hill is fun.

This American Pipit slid down to the pond for a drink.

Anthus rubescens

December 04, 2014

The balancing act.



Yellow warbler from this past spring.
Going into the archives until my main lens is repaired.

Setophaga petechia
Yellow Warblers are small, evenly proportioned songbirds with medium-length tails and rounded heads. For a warbler, the straight, thin bill is relatively large.

Life can be dangerous for a small bird. Yellow Warblers have occasionally been found caught in the strands of an orb weaver spider’s web.

source -  Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

December 03, 2014

HEY! You got any seed down there.



Our mini pine siskin invasion is continuing.
This one perched above the feeders and watched the other birds on the ground.

Np more bird shots for a while, my 100-400 lens won't focus properly so it is going in for repairs. It is the long lens I use for most of my wildlife shots.

Spinus pinus

Pine Siskins protect their eggs from cold damage, too. The nest is highly insulated, and the female remains on the nest continuously, fed by the male throughout brooding.
Following a large irruptive winter flight, some individuals may stay near a dependable food source and breed far south of the normal breeding range.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

December 02, 2014

Rural traffic jam





This rather large tractor had a plowing rig on the back that was as wide as both lanes.
He was courteous and pulled over once we went around the corner.
Sometimes you find an operator who is oblivious or just ornery who just keeps blocking the road.

One of the joys of country living.

Taken through the windshield. Yes I was stopped. It wasn't like I was going anywhere in a hurry.

December 01, 2014

What are you doing on the roof?





Just sitting.
Why?
Cause I don't have a fiddle.

Sometimes I enjoy being obtuse.

We have a lot of snowy owls in our area right now.
Unfortunately by the time I found this one after work the light was poor.
I'll go back out tomorrow.

Bubo scandiacus

The Snowy Owl can be found represented in cave paintings in Europe.