December 31, 2015

American coot

We have had thousands of these birds in Rondeau Bay, always to far out for a good photo.
There was a pair walking along the median at Erieau the other day and I took advantage of the situation.


Fulica americana

The ecological impact of common animals, like this ubiquitous waterbird, can be impressive when you add it all up. One estimate from Back Bay, Virginia, suggested that the local coot population ate 216 tons (in dry weight) of vegetation per winter.

December 30, 2015

Snowy owl.

Sorry but I got a whole bunch of these.
I was told today that when you see the facial disc the owl is actively listening for prey.


Part of the feather ruffle is the wind but in other shots, not as clear, you can actually make out the feature.


Bubo scandiacus

December 27, 2015

The pole sitter.

We were on our way back from Windsor when we saw a large flock of tundra swans in a corn field next to the highway.
We took the next exit and looped back. They were too far away for decent photos.

A bit further on we came across this snowy owl sitting on top of a power pole.



Bubo scandiacus

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

 This largest (by weight) North American owl shows up irregularly in winter to hunt in windswept fields or dunes, a pale shape with catlike yellow eyes. They spend summers far north of the Arctic Circle hunting lemmings, ptarmigan, and other prey in 24-hour daylight

December 23, 2015

Sunset on the Winter Solstice.

At the end of South Point Trail at 4.30 approximately.

So far a very mild winter here, hope yours is what you want it to be.

December 22, 2015

Not a flycatcher

Went back to try to get better photos of the vermillion flycatcher and this fine fellow came to investigate.



Not a rarity but very photogenic.

December 21, 2015

All I want for Christmas is a few more Texas birds.

The brilliant Altamira Oriole.


We have a vermillion flycatcher in the area, why not an Altamira Oriole?
And maybe a Green Jay.

Icterus gularis

The Altamira Oriole has been observed foraging for dead grasshoppers on the fronts of cars.

December 20, 2015

Far,far from home.

This is an first year vermillion flycatcher that should be deep in Texas.
It was located in Wallaceburg, Ontario.
It has been there for 3 days now.



We saw a mature male in Texas back in 2012.




Just got a Canon 7D Mark II and I'm slowly figuring out the focusing system, so this isn't as crisp as I thought it would be.


Pyrocephalus rubinus

The breeding male Vermilion Flycatcher spends about 90 percent of the day perched.

The male Vermilion Flycatcher often seeks to initiate copulation by delivering a butterfly or other showy insect to the female.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

December 17, 2015

A covering of coots.

This is a small portion of about 500 American Coots that were at the south end of Rondeau Bay back in October.



A gathering of coots is called a cover.

Fulica americana

Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground.

The oldest known American Coot lived to be at least 22 years 4 months old.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithoogy

December 15, 2015

Northern mockingbird.

Not a mockingjay.
Not sure where I took this shot. Mockingbirds have a large range that covers southern Canada and the U.S.


Mimus polyglottos

Northern Mockingbirds continue to add new sounds to their repertoires throughout their lives. A male may learn around 200 songs throughout its life.

The oldest Northern Mockingbird on record was 14 years and 10 months old.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

December 14, 2015

The Winnie the Pooh factor.

This southern flying squirrel has been gorging on peanuts and if he isn't careful he may not fit through the cage to get back out.


We put out a feeder at night specifically for flying squirrels.
They come around from late fall till early spring depending on the weather.


Glaucomys volans

The Southern Flying Squirrel is one of two species of the genus Glaucomys, found in North America (the other is the somewhat larger Northern type, Glaucomys sabrinus).

It is found in deciduous and mixed woods in the eastern half of North America, from southeastern Canada, to Florida, USA.
source- Discover Southern Ontario.

December 13, 2015

Palm warbler

Another warbler that visited the yard and pond in October. Non breeding plumage.


Setophaga palmarum

Despite its tropical sounding name, the Palm Warbler lives farther north than most other warblers. It breeds far to the north in Canada, and winters primarily in the southern United States and northern Caribbean.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Yellow warbler.

We saw this yellow warbler during migration at Rondeau in 2010.

Setophaga petechia

In addition to the migratory form of the Yellow Warbler that breeds in North America, several other resident forms can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Males in these populations can have chestnut caps or even chestnut covering the entire head.

December 11, 2015

What are you doing here.

Mid December and I'm out for a bike ride and look who I found in the centre of the road.


In December?

December 10, 2015

Redhead duck

Seen last March on the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario.



Aythya americana

Many ducks lay some of their eggs in other birds’ nests (a strategy known as “brood parasitism”), but female Redheads are perhaps tops in this department. Their targets include other Redheads as well as Mallard, Canvasback, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon—even Northern Harrier.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornothology.

December 09, 2015

In your face.

We saw this Green Heron while out on the boat back in September.



Butorides virescens

The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.

December 08, 2015

A natural beach.






A wild, natural beach. 
No umbrellas need apply.

At Rondeau the beach is left in a natural state to provided habitat for toads,skins, and other critters.

Beach fires are not allowed.

December 06, 2015

Nashville warbler

Another visitor to our pond back in October.



Oreothlypis ruficapilla

The Nashville Warbler sometimes uses porcupine quills as nest material.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

December 01, 2015

Dunlin at the bar.

Earlier this fall we came upon numerous flocks of dunlin out on the sand bars in Rondeau Bay.
We were able to get close without them spooking.



Calidris alpina

The Dunlin is a familiar shorebird around the world, where its bright reddish back and black belly, and long, drooping bill distinguish it from nearly all other shorebirds. It breeds across the top of both North America and Eurasia, and winters along coasts around the northern hemisphere.  source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.