May 25, 2015

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...



Forget snakes on a plane, there are snakes in the water.
We were out on the pontoon looking for shorebirds when Anne spotted something swimming towrds the boat.
Initial reaction was that was the fastest turtle we had ever seen.
As it came closer it turned into a snake.
It would swim on the surface, dive and resurface.
Rondeau's own little Loch Ness
monster.

It's hard to tell but it may be a eastern fox snake. We have seen them in the water before.

If you can help with the id I would appreciate.
It could also be a northern water snake.

Assuming it is an eastern fox it is -
Pantherophis gloydi

May 20, 2015

Get out of my bath!



We have a pair of brown thrashers that come to our yard most days.
We think they are nesting close by.
Today they showed up together and one wasn't happy when the other tried to join them in the pond.

Toxostoma rufum

An aggressive defender of its nest, the Brown Thrasher is known to strike people and dogs hard enough to draw blood.

The oldest Brown Thrasher on record was at least 11 years, 11 months old. It was recaptured and then re-released at a Florida banding station.

May 19, 2015

Another prothonotary



These pretty little warblers are being cooperative this year.
They can be seen most days on the Tulip Tree Trail in Rondeau Provincial Park.

Protonotaria citrea

May 18, 2015

Now that's a mouthful.



This female Baltimore oriole took some of the nesting material that anne puts out for the birds.
It is empty woven seed bags.

It is interesting to watch them come to the feeders with their mouths full and then try to eat.
The often leave half the nesting material behind

Icterus galbula

Unlike robins and many other fruit-eating birds, Baltimore Orioles seem to prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit. Orioles seek out the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest-purple grapes, and will ignore green grapes and yellow cherries even if they are ripe.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 17, 2015

Balancing Act



Female ruby throated hummingbird at the oriole feeder.

We have had males for about 2 weeks and the females have started arriving.

Let the games begin.

Archilochus colubris

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second.
The oldest known Ruby-throated Hummingbird was 9 years 1 month old.

May 14, 2015

Upstanding.



This great horned owl chick is in still in the nest. It's sibling left yesterday and is somewhere else in the tree.

The nest appears to be a broken branch in the shape of a bowl.

Bubo virginianus

When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.

The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 13, 2015

A failed strategy.

If I do this you can't swallow me.



Actually he can and did.
We watched a garter snake take about 15 minutes to swallow an
American toad.
At this point the toad spread his legs as far as it could in an effort to get free.

Seen while we were out bird watching.

The horned snake of Rondeau.

May 12, 2015

The cats meow.



This gray catbird was in the cat bird's seat at the top of the feeder.
The cat's meow is an old expression, before my time, meaning  - An individual who is just really cool! Very likable and suave.

Dumetella carolinensis

The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes.

The oldest known Gray Catbird lived to be 17 years 11 months old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 11, 2015

"You got mud on yo' face"



You got mud on yo' face
You big disgrace
Kickin' your can all over the place
Singin'

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

Probing in the dirt for things to eat can be a muddy business.

Protonotaria citrea

Prothonotary Warblers feed on butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, mayflies, and spiders throughout the year

The name "Prothonotary" refers to clerks in the Roman Catholic church, whose robes were bright yellow.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 10, 2015

Scarlet Tanager

I think Scarlet tanagers are a stunning bird.  Bright red with black wings, simple but elegant.


Piranga olivacea

The female Scarlet Tanager sings a song similar to the male's, but softer, shorter, and less harsh. She sings in answer to the male's song and while she is gathering nesting material.

The oldest Scarlet Tanager on record was nearly 12 years old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 07, 2015



We watched this chestnut-sided warbler feeding for several minutes. It was bouncing around a branch checking each leaf bud for insects.

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 of ornithology.

May 06, 2015

Could you spare a moment?



It seems I'm slipping backwards off this log. A helping hand would be appreciated.
I promise not to bite.

Chelydra serpentina

In Ontario, females do not begin to breed until they are 17 to 19 years old.
A single clutch usually consists of between 40 and 50 eggs, which hatch in the fall.

Snapping turtles only occasionally emerge from the water to bask. Despite their highly aquatic nature, they do not swim particularly well and are often observed simply walking on the bottom

source - Ontario Nature.

May 05, 2015

This joint will never hold me.



This hermit thrush looks like he is about to breakout of jail.


Catharus guttatus

East of the Rocky Mountains the Hermit Thrush usually nests on the ground. In the West, it is more likely to nest in trees.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 04, 2015

Solitary sandpiper.



Harry, a friend of ours gave us an ID tip for this bird. He said it had a spangled back.
It is a quick and effective way of identifying this bird.

Tringa solitaria

The Solitary Sandpiper is commonly seen in migration along the banks of ponds and creeks. While not truly solitary, it does not migrate in large flocks the way other shorebirds do.

The Solitary Sandpiper lays its eggs in the tree nests of several different song birds, particularly those of the American Robin, Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Jay, and Cedar Waxwing.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 03, 2015

Lincoln's sparrow.



Not a rare bird but one we don't see every year.
This Lincoln's sparrow showed up at the pond this evening.

Melospiza lincolnii

The Lincoln's Sparrow shows less geographical variation in song than any other species in its genus, perhaps a result of high dispersal rates among juveniles.