Showing posts from January, 2016


This was one of several canvasback ducks in the marina at Erieau, Ontario, Canada, today.
After a vigorous grooming session he reared up and stretched.

I also saw 7 bald eagles at one time and a lone harrier plus a late kingfisher.

Aythya valisineria

Sleeping with one eye open.

Female canvasback drifting in the marina but still aware of her surroundings and of me.

Aythya valisineria

The species name of the Canvasback, Aythya valisineria, comes from Vallisneria americana, or wild celery, whose winter buds and rhizomes are its preferred food during the nonbreeding period.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A winter kingfisher

I was rather surprised to find a belted kingfisher this time of year.
Most of the marina and bay are frozen but there is some open water at the channel leading into Lake Erie.
He was hunkered down and not enjoying the blowing snow.

Megaceryle alcyon

As nestlings, Belted Kingfishers have acidic stomachs that help them digest bones, fish scales, and arthropod shells. But by the time they leave the nest, their stomach chemistry apparently changes, and they begin regurgitating pellets which accumulate on the ground around fishing and roosting perches. Scientists can dissect these pellets to learn about the kingfisher’s diet without harming or even observing any wild birds.
source - Cornell lab of Ornithology.

Male Bufflehead

A grey cloudy day at Erieau, Ontario but you take what you can get.

Bucephala albeola

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

Will that be one foot or two?

Hard to tell if he has one tucked up or if he only has one talon.

We saw 8 bald eagles out on the ice a long way off and this one perched close in a tree.
Another person who got there earlier than us saw 16 eagles on Rondeau Bay.
At Erieau, Ontario.

The science stuff

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Immature Bald Eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day. Some young birds from Florida have wandered north as far as Michigan, and birds from California have reached Alaska.

source Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Food Fight!!

A small piece of croissant plus gulls and you have a  full on food fight in the animal kingdom.

Cooper's hawk and lunch.

We noticed a sudden flurry at the niger feeder and looked out to see a cooper's hawk grabbing one of the goldfinches.

Everyone has to eat.

Taken through the Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Accipiter cooperii

Dashing through vegetation to catch birds is a dangerous lifestyle. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons, 23 percent showed old, healed-over fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.

A covering of coots.
This is just a small portion of hundreds of American Coots in the commercial boat basin at Erieau Ontario, Canada.

A gathering of coots is called a cover.
Fulica americana

Cooper's Hawk.

Through the Wonderful Wildlife Window and a snow flurry.
The Cooper's was hanging around the feeders waiting for lunch.
Other than the lake, which small birds seem to avoid we are one of two water sources in the park that is good for birds.

Accipiter cooperii

A Cooper's Hawk captures a bird with its feet and kills it by repeated squeezing. Falcons tend to kill their prey by biting it, but Cooper’s Hawks hold their catch away from the body until it dies. They’ve even been known to drown their prey, holding a bird underwater until it stopped moving.