Showing posts from November, 2016

Death of a dragon

With the cold weather and lack of food this green darner appears to be on its last legs. It was sitting on our path covered with the morning dew.
Anax junius
The common green darner has an unusual breeding strategy, being one of very few dragonflies to migrate in spring and autumn

Hooded mergansers.

They pretend they are listening and that he is the boss.
Male and female hooded mergansers on a farm pond. A long way off. Lophodytes cucullatus
The Hooded Merganser is the second-smallest of the six living species of mergansers (only the Smew of Eurasia is smaller) and is the only one restricted to North America.

Daffier than Daffy Duck

Not sure why her tongue is sticking out but it reminded me of Daffy Duck.
This is a female lesser scaup in breeding plumage seen at Erieau Ontario a few days ago.

Aythya affinis

Lesser Scaup chicks are capable of diving under water on their hatching day, but they are too buoyant to stay under for more than just a moment. By the time they are 5 to 7 weeks old they are able to dive for 2-25 seconds and swim underwater for 15-18 meters (50-60 ft).

Faster than Donald Duck.

Female red breasted merganser at Erieau, Ontario.
While we took a break from looking for the hawk Tuesday.
Mergus serrator
The fastest duck ever recorded was a red-breasted merganser that attained a top airspeed of 100 mph while being pursued by an airplane. This eclipsed the previous speed record held by a canvasback clocked at 72 mph. source ducks unlimited.

Red tailed hawk on a pole.

Fellow bird photographer David took out to see his "pet" hawk.
At first he saw a no show but finally showed up as we were heading home after photographing ducks. Buteo jamaicensis The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears on screen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.

Portuguese Man-of-War

This is a Portuguese Man-of-War that we saw in texas a few years back. They are venomous and are to be avoided. Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it," but a "they." The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together. Physalia physalis

Carunculated Caracara.

Even if you don't like the bird for itself, you have to love the name.
The name's Caracara, Carunculated Caracara.
We saw this one at an elevation of about 14,000 feet in Ecuador. Phalcoboenus carunculatus

A spring time shot

A prothonotary warbler admiring himself in a slough (pronounced slew)

Protonotaria citrea

Males select at least one cavity and place moss inside prior to attracting a mate. Females then build the remainder of the nest with a foundation of mosses or liverwort. The nest cup is made of rootlets, plant down, grape plants, or cypress bark lined with grasses, sedges, tendrils, rootlets, leaves, petioles, poison ivy, and even fishing line. The nest cup is about 2 inches wide.

Golden crowned kinglet

Another pond visitor. They hang out on the "waiting" branch until the big birds leave, then hop in for a vigourous bath.

Regulus satrapa

The female feeds her first brood only up until the day after they leave the nest. She then starts laying the second set of eggs while the male takes care of the first brood. The male manages to feed eight or nine nestlings himself, and he occasionally feeds the incubating female too.

Shooting the moon

I had the wrong settings as I was set up for photographing the supermoon, was shooting through glass at dusk.
I changed setting quickly and fired off a few shots.
All in all not too bad.

Just at dusk Anne noticed a mink at the pond in our yard.

It was diving in, probably looking for frogs.
It worked its way through the upper area and then rolled in the grass.

Neovison vison

The American mink is a carnivore which feeds on rodents, fish, crustaceans, frogs, and birds.

“feet at the buttocks”

A pied billed grebe, nonbreeding plumage.
Racing away from the pontoon boat as we drifted closer.
We try not to get too close but sometimes I miscalculate.

Podilymbus podiceps

The Latin genus name for “grebe” means “feet at the buttocks”—an apt descriptor for these birds, whose feet are indeed located near their rear ends. This body plan, a common feature of many diving birds, helps grebes propel themselves through water. Lobed (not webbed) toes further assist with swimming. Pied-billed Grebes pay for their aquatic prowess on land, where they walk awkwardly.

Northern parula, fall

Another fall visitor to the water feature in our yard.
Similar to the spring plumage which means it isn't one of the confusing fall warblers.

Setophaga americana

The oldest recorded Northern Parula was a female, and at least 5 years, 11 months old, when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Maryland.

Being a Grandpa is hard work.

This is Lucas, our newest Grandchild.
Photo by Anne


We were at a nursery/activity centre and in the back they had a remote control car racing track.

The cars seemed to spend more time in the air than on the dirt.

White tailed hillstar.

One of the many species of hummingbird that we saw in Ecuador.
This one was on the eastern slopes of the Andes in the Amazon watershed.

Urochroa bougueriThe white-tailed hillstar is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family, and the only member of the genus Urochroa. It is found in humid montane forest in southern Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru.

Red breasted nuthatch

From October at the pond.

We have several red breasted nuthatches coming into the feeders. Not using the pond much now.

Sitta canadensis

Red-breasted Nuthatches migrate southward earlier than many irruptive species. They may begin in early July and may reach their southernmost point by September or October.

American wigeon, juvenille

Another from the marsh edge.

This may be an injured bird as it remained as we slowly approached.
Although we backed away to try to avoid stressing the bird it did fly away.

Anas americana

The American Wigeon's short bill enables it to exert more force at the bill tip than other dabbling ducks, thus permitting efficient dislodging and plucking of vegetation.

Hang on Buddy, I've got you.

You never know when you'll need a friend to lend a helping hand.

Map turtles on Rondeau Bay. We have been seeing about 20 each day we are out. Still mild.

Graptemys geographica

The northern map turtle gets both its common and scientific names from the marking on the skin and carapace. The light markings resemble contour lines on a map or chart.

Wilson's Snipe

Anne worked her magic again today and found this snipe tucked into the shoreline.
Last cruise of the year. Boat comes out on Tuesday.

Gallinago delicata

The word “sniper” originated in the 1770s among British soldiers in India who hunted snipe as game. The birds are still hunted in many countries, including the U.S., though their fast, erratic flight style means they are difficult targets.

On the bay.

Hen Hooded Merganser, Rondeau Bay, Rondeau Provincial Park, Nov 3, 2016
The drake hooded is spectacular but the hen is beautiful in her own right.
Cool on the bay today, 60F, stiff breeze/wind and only partially sunny. Then again it is the 3rd of November and the boat should be out of the water.
Lophodytes cucullatus Hooded Mergansers find their prey underwater by sight. They can actually change the refractive properties of their eyes to improve their underwater vision. In addition, they have an extra eyelid, called a “nictitating membrane,” which is transparent and helps protect the eye during swimming, like a pair of goggles.

Falling leaf

Sounds like a pretentious winery doesn't it.

As I saw it, not staged. Look very closely.  1/400 second f5.0
Lakeshore Rd, Rondeau

An unexpected bird.

We were out in the magnificent 75 degree sunny weather on the pontoon on Rondeau Bay. Great birding and the most unexpected bird, snow buntings were on a weed mat close to the shore of the marsh.
Started with 6 species of ducks, two eagles, both yellowlegs, dunlin,
American bittern, Sandhill cranes, lots of rusty blackbirds, night herons, northern harrier and more. Those photos later. Plectrophenax nivalis The male Snow Bunting returns to its high Arctic breeding grounds in early April, when temperatures can still dip as low as -30° C (-22° F) and snow still covers most of the ground. The female does not return until four to six weeks later.
Smart females.