Showing posts from September, 2016

Bathing Hummingbird

Hummingbirds in the pond were new to us and we first saw the behavior the 1st of September. We had another one do it again a few days ago. This time it splashed at the edge of the waterfall and then sat in the water flow.

Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds normally place their nest on a branch of a deciduous or coniferous tree; however, these birds are accustomed to human habitation and have been known to nest on loops of chain, wire, and extension cords. source -

Palm warbler.

There is a nice warbler hotspot on an island in Rondeau Bay that usually gives us at least one bird we haven't ween in the yard each fall. This time it was a palm warbler moving rapidly on the ground and in some bushes.
Setophaga palmarum
The Palm Warbler is found in two different forms. Birds that breed in the western part of the range are duller, and have whitish bellies. Those breeding in the eastern part of the range are entirely yellow underneath.

A late Dunlin

Another bird from the pontoon.
An adult non-breeding Dunlin.
Credit where credit is due, Anne is much better at identifying birds, especially shorebirds.
Many of the ids are by her.

Calidris alpina

The oldest recorded Dunlin was at least 12 years, 5 months old when it was recaptured and re released during banding operations in California.

Adult Description
Medium-sized sandpiper. Moderately short neck. Moderately long, drooping bill. Moderately long, blackish legs. Slightly hunched appearance. In breeding plumage has black belly, rufous cap, and rufous back. Nonbreeding plumage is all dull brownish gray, with whitish belly.
source -


While out on the pontoon we found several sora rails including this immature bird.
Sora can be hard to find and worse to photograph.

Porzana carolina

Animals that are commonly reported as sora food items include snails, crustaceans, spiders, and insects, mainly beetles, grasshoppers, flies, and dragonflies.
 Soras often eat the seeds of plants, such as smartweeds, bulrushes, sedges, and barnyard grasses and seeds of annual wildrice.

Pied-billed grebe, Rondeau Bay, Ontario.

Got really close to a pied billed grebe today. Hard to pick one photo out of 83 to post.
Not certain but I think this is a non breeding adult.
Podilymbus podiceps
Pied-billed Grebes can trap water in their feathers, giving them great control over their buoyancy. They can sink deeply or stay just at or below the surface, exposing as much or as little of the body as they wish. The water-trapping ability may also aid in the pursuit of prey by reducing drag in turbulent water.

Fireworks in the pond.

A brown thrasher had an energetic bath, actually 5 or 6 baths, in the pond today. The way the water surrounded him made me think of fireworks. I'll need to add water tomorrow.
Toxostoma rufum An aggressive defender of its nest, the Brown Thrasher is known to strike people and dogs hard enough to draw blood.
Brown Thrashers are accomplished songsters that may sing more than 1,100 different song types and include imitations of other birds, including Chuck-will’s-widows, Wood Thrushes, and Northern Flickers.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Black-throated green warbler.

The fall migration continued today with a number of warblers including this male Black-throated green.
A Cooper's swooped through and the yard was quiet for a long time. Setophaga virens
The male Black-throated Green Warbler sings persistently during the breeding season. One individual was observed singing 466 songs in one hour.

Pop up.

While out on the pontoon we came across three immature black crowned night herons. I got some excellent, in the open shots but this one struck me as having the most character.

Nycticorax nycticorax
 Young Black-crowned Night-Herons leave the nest at the age of 1 month but cannot fly until they are 6 weeks old. They move through the vegetation on foot, joining up in foraging flocks at night.

Splash bath.

Heard a familiar call and took a look and there was a tufted titmouse having a splash bath. We hadn't seen a tufted titmouse for months so it was a special treat.
Baeolophus bicolor
Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.

A deceit of lapwings.

Anne spotted a large group of killdeer in a puddle in a farmers field. There were between 50 and 60 birds feeding and bathing.
Killdeer are in the lapwing family and a gathering of lapwings is called a deceit.

Charadrius vociferus
Killdeer get their name from the shrill, wailing kill-deer call they give so often. Eighteenth-century naturalists also noticed how noisy Killdeer are, giving them names such as the Chattering Plover and the Noisy Plover.

See you spread them like this then flap.

Looks like this Black-bellied plover is giving the Dunlin flying lessons.

Black-bellied plover - Pluvialis squatarola

Wary and quick to give alarm calls, the Black-bellied Plover functions worldwide as a sentinel for mixed groups of shorebirds.

Dunlin -Calidris alpina

Dunlin breeding in northern Alaska apparently move west, migrating down the eastern side of Siberia and Asia to Japan and China.

American Coot

Seen in the marsh at Rondeau Provincial Park.

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.

Immature Tennessee Warbler.

The fall migration continues through our yard.
Several warblers including, Wilson's, Cape May, Blackpole and Tennessee were at the pond today.

Oreothlypis peregrina

The Tennessee Warbler is a common nectar "thief" on its wintering grounds in tropical forests. Instead of probing a flower from the front to get the nectar, and spreading pollen on its face in the process, the warbler pierces the flower tube at its base and gets the reward without performing any pollination.
source -

Hiding in the bushes

We still have at least 10 ruby-throated hummingbirds in the yard, down from 17 at a time.
We have been noticing for everyone at the feeders there seems to be one hiding in the hedge.

They are so active that they are flushing out warblers that are trying to get a drink or have a bath in the pond below the hedge.

Archilochus colubris
A Cooper's hawk spotted a pair of shorebirds on the beach and launched itself after them.

He captured one and held on with a death grip.

Ultimately it flew off with his meal.

Rondeau Bay, south beach.

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.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology -

Doin' the strut.

Great egret wading through a marsh near Holiday Beach Conservation Area in southern Ontario.
Guess I'm going to have to learn photoshop to recover some of these blown out whites.

Ardea alba

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

Immature Great Blue Heron, Rondeau Provincial Park, Sept 8/2016

This immature great blue heron landed near the pontoon this afternoon.
I didn't realise their legs where this colour and the shape surprised me as well. I guess I just hadn't seen them from this angle.
Ardea herodias Despite their impressive size, Great Blue Herons weigh only 5 to 6 pounds thanks in part to their hollow bones—a feature all birds share.
source -

Another of the recent visitors to our little pond.

Another of the recent visitors to our little pond. A red-breasted nuthatch spent about 10 minutes bathing and grooming then repeating. The park is very dry, all the sloughs have dried up and safe water is hard for animals to find. I've noticed the pond is going down about 4 inches a day. Wonder what is coming in at night for a drink.

Sitta canadensis
The Red-breasted Nuthatch collects resin globules from coniferous trees and plasters them around the entrance of its nest hole. It may carry the resin in its bill or on pieces of bark that it uses as an applicator. The male puts the resin primarily around the outside of the hole while the female puts it around the inside. The resin may help to keep out predators or competitors. The nuthatch avoids the resin by diving directly through the hole.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Fall migration

Lots of activity at the pond today. Black throated green, Nashville, Blackpoll,Cape May, Redstart, Red breasted nuthatch plus others.
Up to 20 hummers in the yard, none of the photos begin to show the activity, so you get the black-throated green.

Setophaga virens
The male Black-throated Green Warbler sings persistently during the breeding season. One individual was observed singing 466 songs in one hour. source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Merlin, Rondeau Bay, Sept 3, 2016

Spotted this merlin having a bath on a weed mat in Rondeau Bay the other day. Very enthusiastic.

Falco columbarius
Merlin pairs have been seen teaming up to hunt large flocks of waxwings: one Merlin flushes the flock by attacking from below; the other comes in moments later to take advantage of the confusion. source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Creatures great and small

Found in the front garden by Anne.

I don't know one grasshopper from another. If anyone knows the species please let me know.

Bath time.

I knew hummingbirds bathed and had seen them near our pond but this is the first time I actually saw it happening.

Even got the photo.

Archilochus colubris