Showing posts from August, 2016

Gulls, gulls and more gulls.

We were out on the pontoon today and went around the point at Rondeau and came across a large concentration of gulls. It was to rough to go in close so no specific ids.

Scruffy, the rose-breasted grosbeak.

I'm not a fan of the unshaved, street bum look that seems popular with men right now.
This grosbeak has the same look after his vigorous bath.
At least he will look good in a few minutes.

Pheucticus ludovicianus 

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks build such flimsy nests that eggs are often visible from below through the nest bottom.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

6 of 12+

We have been inundated with Ruby-throated hummingbirds for the past week.
It is a fool's game to try and count them, but being a fool is one of my strong points.

Anne and I gave up at 12-13 knowing there were more but they are impossible to track.

Archilochus colubris 

Scientists place hummingbirds and swifts in the same taxonomic order, the Apodiformes. The name means “without feet,” which is certainly how these birds look most of the time.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Butterfly in the morning dew.

I was trying out my new lens when this butterfly/moth flew in about 25 feet away and landed on a flower petal.
Think I'm going to like this lens.

Least bittern.

One of about 200 shots of a least bittern taken from the pontoon boat while out on Rondeau Bay. More to come.
Ixobrychus exilis
Thanks to its habit of straddling reeds, the Least Bittern can feed in water that would be too deep for the wading strategy of other herons.

Fall migration is underway.

We have started seeing warblers on their way south. Cape May, Black and White,Redstarts and Blackburnian among others. This is an immature/ 1st winter bird at our pond.

Setophaga fusca No other North American warbler has an orange throat.

Eastern Fox Snake

Hatched out in the morning, released in the afternoon.
This hatchling is about the size of your standard yellow pencil.

pantherophis gloydi The eastern fox snake is the third-largest snake in Ontario and can reach a length of up to 1.7 metres, although most individuals are smaller. Its body is yellow to light brown with large, dark brown blotches down the back and two alternating rows of smaller blotches along the sides. This snake has a reddish brown head with dark bars around the eyes and a yellow chin. Its belly, which is also yellow, has alternating brown patches. The scales of this species are lightly keeled (ridged down the centre) and its anal plate is divided.
source - Ontario Nature.

Down low and personal with a soft shell turtle hatchling.

This hatchling wouldn't cover the palm of your hand.
I like the upturned snout and the water tension pulling the water up around its face.

Apalone spinifera The spiny softshell is Ontario’s only turtle with a flexible, leathery carapace (upper shell) and the only species in the province that can attain a size comparable to that of the snapping turtle.

Red-headed woodpecker,Rondeau Provincial Park, August 21, 2016

An adult red-headed woodpecker has been showing up in the yard with four young birds in tow.
We aren't sure if they all belong to the adult if some from another bird are just tagging along.
Melanerpes erythrocephalus The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease outbreaks of the twentieth century. Though these diseases devastated trees they provided many nest sites and foraging opportunities for the woodpeckers.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Ruby-throated hummingbirds don't play well with others. Not the best photo but you take what you can get with something like this.

Turtle release.

Had an interesting day out on the pontoon doing a turtle hatchling release. Osprey and turkey vultures cruising by, Caspian and common terns diving for lunch.
Waves got up and it was difficult getting off the beach and then the motor wouldn't go into forward.
Ended up going about 3km (1.8miles) in reverse back to the marina.
Turned out a line had been knocked overboard and was tangled in the prop.
Easy fix, long ride. People on the beach stared at us and probably wondered if beer was involved in out unusual cruise.

Cathartes aura The oldest recorded Turkey Vulture was at least 16 years, 10 months old when it was found in Ohio, the same state where it had been banded.

Melanistic Great Blue Heron

Melanistic Great Blue Heron
The increased development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin and hair of an animal is called Melanism, and is the opposite of Albinism.

This great blue heron was found at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario.
We did a road trip and found it on the Grindstone Marsh Trail in Hendrie Valley.

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Butterflies and wasps at the grapes and nectar feeders.

Butterflies and wasps at the grapes and nectar feeders.

Hummers and orioles are having a tough time.
A Red Admiral.
Vanessa atalanta
My little lizard
We are fortunate to have five lined skinks around our yard. They have been hiding and this is the first one I have photographed this year.
He was in a little burrow under a piece of wood.
The head and tail are together with a foot near the bottom.

Plestiodon fasciatus
The five-lined skink is a smooth, slender lizard that can grow to 21 centimetres in length, but most individuals are much smaller. Their coloration varies with age. Juveniles and young adult females are glossy black with five cream stripes down the back and a bright blue or blue-grey tail. Males and older females gradually fade to a more uniform bronze, although often the stripes are still visible. Males in breeding condition have a bright orange chin and jaw.
source - Ontario Nature.
The hunter.
Found a praying mantis on a milkweed plant.
Perhaps it was waiting for a monarch.

Didn't find much information on mantis. If you know the specific name of this one, please let me know.
Red-headed woodpecker at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Red headed woodpeckers continue coming into the suet feeders in the yard. This was cropped to create a close up but has no other editing.
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They may remove the eggs of other species from nests and nest boxes, destroy other birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest boxes and puncture the duck eggs.
In the heat of the day.

30+C (86F) - in the shade - super high humidity.
This monarch butterfly caterpillar was hanging motionless on a butterfly weed plant.
Hatchling map turtle.
The turtle recovery program at Rondeau has reached the release stag.
Nest are dug up in the spring as soon as they are laid and the location GPS.
This is to protect the eggs from predators such as raccoons.
The eggs are placed in incubators and after hatching are released back at the original nest sites.
I provided the turtle taxi.

Graptemys geographica

Northern map turtles inhabit large rivers and lakes with slow-moving water and a soft bottom. They require high-quality water that supports the female’s mollusc prey. These turtles may congregate in areas with abundant basking sites.
source - Ontario Nature.

Flying blue.

A great blue heron flew past the pontoon boat a few days back.
We went from not seeing any for weeks to having 4 or 5 in one afternoon on the bay.

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb this “powder down” with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen. Applying the powder to their underparts protects their feathers against the slime and oils of swamps.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Of Monarch Wings
A close up of  a monarch. Look closely and you can see the scale detail on the wings.
Danaus plexippus
They weigh less than 1/2 gram, with wingspans of 7-10cm. Reproductive monarchs live for 5 weeks
Northern (Orange) Crescent Phyciodes cocyta

Another of the butterflies that are showing up in our yard. 13 years ago we took all the grass out of the front yard and put in a tallgrass prairie, heavy on the flowering plants. It is a haven for birds, butterflies and other creatures and I don't have to water, fertilize or cut it.

Bath time.

I don't think any bird beats a robin's enthusiasm for taking a bath.
This youngster was doing its best to empty the bath.

And you thought you were having a humid hair day. This is a young Eastern Phoebe after taking a romp in the bird bath.
Sayornis phoebe 
The Eastern Phoebe is a loner, rarely coming in contact with other phoebes. Even members of a mated pair do not spend much time together. They may roost together early in pair formation, but even during egg laying the female frequently chases the male away from her.
Shades of green.

While I was birdwatching/photographing from my tent blind in the yard a green frog hopped out of the pond.
It spent a few minutes sitting very still and then went right back in.
I like that you can see the sky in its eye.