June 22, 2017

The jelly thief.

We put out grape jelly for the orioles and it turns out that gray catbirds like it as well.
Not big enough to push orioles off, he just waits his turn. How Canadian.

Dumetella carolinensis
The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird/lifehistory

June 21, 2017

Hovering Jay.
A close relative of the Blue Jay.

We have a suet feeder for woodpeckers that blue jays ad grackles keep raiding.
It is a piece of log with holes drilled into it that is filled with homemade suet.

Woodpeckers can hold on and feed without problem. The jays have to hover and stab at the suet as this one is doing.

Cyanocitta cristata

The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/lifehistory

June 19, 2017

Blanding's turtle.

Went looking for a fawn a friend saw, missed it but found this Blanding's turtle near the parking lot of the trail.

Watched until it was safely across the road.

Emydoidea blandingii

Blanding's Turtles live in shallow water, usually in large wetlands and shallow lakes with lots of water plants.

It is not unusual, though, to find them hundreds of metres from the nearest water body, especially while they are searching for a mate or traveling to a nesting site.

Blanding's Turtles hibernate in the mud at the bottom of permanent water bodies from late October until the end of April.
source - https://www.ontario.ca/page/blandings-turtle

June 18, 2017

Map Turtles.

I was trying to think up a good title for this image.
I thought of something like
99 map turtles on the dock,
99 map turtles...

Didn't fit but now I've got 99 bottles of beer on the wall stuck in my head.
Is it yours now.
Misery loves company.
Graptemys geographica

Female northern map turtles may take more than 10 years to reach maturity. They nest from June through July and lay a single clutch of up to 17 eggs. They hatch in the fall, and in some cases the hatchlings overwinter in the nest. The incubation temperature of the eggs determines the gender of the hatchlings.

source -https://www.ontarionature.org/protect/species/reptiles_and_amphibians/northern_map_turtle.php

June 17, 2017

June 16, 2017

American robin

Junior! I've told you to leave me alone when I'm having a bath. Go eat a worm or something.

Turdus migratorius
An American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive to November. From that point on, about half of the robins alive in any year will make it to the next. Despite the fact that a lucky robin can live to be 14 years old, the entire population turns over on average every six years.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/gu…/American_Robin/lifehistory

June 15, 2017

Ruby throated hummingbird.

Male ruby throated hummingbird, Rondeau Provincial Park, July 15, 2017

Usually see the female but this male has started coming into the feeder.

Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are eastern North America’s only breeding hummingbird. But in terms of area, this species occupies the largest breeding range of any North American hummingbird.

June 14, 2017

Bath time.

The sloughs are starting to dry up due to lack of rain. Mostly stagnant which the birds may not find appealing.
More traffic at the pond like this Baltimore Oriole.

Icterus galbula

Smaller and more slender than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized, sturdy-bodied songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Look for their long, thick-based, pointed bills, a hallmark of the blackbird family they belong to.

source -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Baltimore_Oriole/id

A new yard visitor.

Anne spotted an Eastern Fox Snake heading into our little pond.
A quick photo through the window was all I could get.
By the time I got outside it was in the heavy brush next to the yard.

New yard reptile.

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 -https://www.ontarionature.org/protect/species/reptiles_and_amphibians/eastern_foxsnake.php

June 12, 2017

Little wood satyr?

Not sure if this is a wood satyr or not but that is what we could in the field guide.
Lots of butterflies around the hop bush/tree in the yard.

June 11, 2017

Midge bloom.

This immature common grackle came into the pond which is saturated with midges.

Not sure if it had a drink of water or if it was the special of the day, Midge Soup.

Quiscalus quiscula

Common Grackles appear black from a distance, but up close their glossy purple heads contrast with bronzy-iridescent bodies. A bright golden eye gives grackles an intent expression. Females are slightly less glossy than males. Young birds are dark brown with a dark eye.
source -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle/id

June 10, 2017

In nature nothing goes to waste.

Not even waste.
This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly was on the road at Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Not sure what type of scat, such a polite word for poop, it was but there were half a dozen butterflies on it at one point.

Papilio glaucus
This unique species of swallowtail is a quick and strong flier, gliding when able. The males are a bright yellow, while the females can exhibit two different color forms; yellow and black and black and blue. The darker form is more common in the southern states.
source Garden with Wings.

June 09, 2017

White eyed vireo.

From earlier this spring.
Nice when the name matches the bird.

Vireo griseus
The White-eyed Vireo bathes by rubbing against wet foliage.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

June 08, 2017

On the Boardwalk.

Out on Tulip Tree Trail today and came across a young raccoon. It wasn't sure about me.
Eventually it turned around and went back to Mom.

A few minutes later I saw about 8 kits and Momma did seem happy to see me.

June 07, 2017

Tulip Tree.

One of the trails at Rondeau Provincial Park is named the Tulip Tree Trail.
Oddly enough there are tulip trees along the trail and right now they are blooming.
As you can see they come by their name legitimately.

 Liriodendron tulipifera

The tulip tree is a large, fast-growing tree, up to 35 metres tall with a trunk up to 160 centimetres in diameter. As its name suggest, the tulip tree produces beautiful yellow-green flowers that are about 5 centimetres long. They have 6 petals and are shaped like tulip flowers and bloom in the spring. Its leaves are 7 to 12 centimetres long and are straight across the top, with 4 lobes beneath. They are light green and turn yellow in the fall. The tulip tree's bark is smooth and dark green when the tree is young, then turns brown and ridged.
source -Ontario.ca

June 06, 2017

Hummer in the Solomon's Seal

A female ruby throated hummingbird was searching through the low growing Solomon's Seal a few days ago.

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.

June 05, 2017

Caspian Tern.

Seen from the pontoon boat along Rondeau's sand spit near Erieau.

Hydroprogne caspia
The oldest recorded wild Caspian Tern was at least 29 years, 7 months old when it was found in Louisiana in 1989. It had been banded in Michigan in 1959. The average life span of Great Lakes Caspian Terns is estimated to be 12 years.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

June 04, 2017

Red eyed vireo.

A red eyed vireo from earlier this spring on one of the trails at Rondeau.

Vireo olivaceus

A tireless songster, the Red-eyed Vireo is one of the most common summer residents of Eastern forests. These neat, olive-green and white songbirds have a crisp head pattern of gray, black, and white. Their brief but incessant songs—sometimes more than 20,000 per day by a single male—contribute to the characteristic sound of an Eastern forest in summer. When fall arrives, they head for the Amazon basin, fueled by a summer of plucking caterpillars from leaves in the treetops.
source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology

June 02, 2017

Green heron

Anne spotted this green heron from the pontoon boat while cruising the shoreline of Rondeau Bay.
I drive the boat, she finds the birds. Today we had great blue heron, whimbrel, black terns and this green heron.
Very interesting to watch it pluck an insect, usually a midge, and drop it into the water to entice a fish within striking range.

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.
source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

June 01, 2017

All the field marks.

This yellow rumped warbler is showing the yellow rump, head and wing patches.
Nice of him to co operate.

Setophaga coronata

When Yellow-rumped Warblers find themselves foraging with other warbler species, they typically let Palm, Magnolia and Black-throated Green warblers do as they wish, but they assert themselves over Pine and Blackburnian warblers.

May 31, 2017

Face to face.

We were out on the pontoon boat along the south beach at Rondeau when we saw a flock of shorebirds.

One was this Ruddy Turnstone.

They use their stout, slightly upturned bill to flip debris on the beach to uncover insects and small crustaceans.

Arenaria interpres.

Walking on wet and slippery rocks can be treacherous for just about anyone without good gripping shoes. Ruddy Turnstones have special feet that are somewhat spiny, with short, sharply curved toenails that help them hold on. They also have a low center of gravity thanks to their short legs that helps keep them anchored.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 30, 2017

Wilson's warbler.

Always makes me think it is wearing a toupee.
Another of our pond birds.

Cardellina pusilla

When most songbird nestlings are ready to leave the nest, they hop out and don’t return to the nest, but some Wilson’s Warbler fledglings head back to the nest for a night or two after fledging.

May 29, 2017

Bambi in the bushes.

We had a birding friend over the other night and were birding out the window watching the feeders.
She spotted a fawn walking through the dunes and saw where it laid down.

I went out and using the telephoto lens got an image without causing undue stress.

The fawn didn't move, just kept an eye on me.

May 28, 2017

Whimbrel in flight.

Each spring we get a few whimbrel passing through our area.

We seem to manage to get the boat in just in time to check the south beach at Rondeau, across from Erieau.

Numenius phaeopus

Some migrating Whimbrels make a nonstop flight of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from southern Canada or New England to South America.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 26, 2017

Just another Prothonotary Warbler.

Because of where we live we can go to the nesting site in Rondeau and see a Prothonotary just about everyday.
We are really not the blase about the bird and there is a story behind the expression.
When we were in Virginia prothonotarys were common.
One of the people we were birding with said, "Oh, it's just another prothonotary. I wish I could see a yellow warbler."
In Virginia prothons are common and yellows are rare, the reverse of our situation.

Geography is everything.

Protonotaria citrea

For Prothonotary Warblers it pays to be bright. Males that are brighter yellow gain access to better nest sites than less colorful males, according to a study conducted in Louisiana.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 25, 2017

Orchard Oriole

A hop, skip, and jump.

An adult orchard oriole was moving along a perch I attached to the top of the feeder pole.
It looked like he was skipping along.
Icterus spurius
Orchard Orioles migrate north late in the spring and head southward early, with some returning to their wintering grounds as early as mid-July. Because of the short breeding season, researchers have trouble distinguishing between breeding orioles and migrating ones in any given location.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology 

May 24, 2017

Blackburnian warbler.

The colours on this warbler are stunning. When the sun hits throat it just lights up.

Setophaga fusca

Adult Description
-Small songbird
-Brilliant orange throat.-
-Orange yellow eyebrow.-
-Small black face mask.
-Broad white wingbars.

Although the Blackburnian Warbler does not associate with other birds while it is nesting, it will join foraging flocks of chickadees, kinglets, and nuthatches after the young fledge. The warbler will follow the mixed flock with its begging young. The begging of the warbler chicks can even attract chickadees.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 23, 2017


We found a mixed flock of shorebirds, thanks to a local birder, including one black bellied plover, dunlin and sanderlings.
The front bird is changing over to breeding plumage.

Calidris alba

Sanderlings breed on the High Arctic tundra and migrate south in fall to become one of the most common birds along beaches. They gather in loose flocks to probe the sand of wave-washed beaches for marine invertebrates, running back and forth in a perpetual “wave chase.”

May 22, 2017

Common Nighthawk, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 22, 2017

A good day birding at Rondeau. Mixed flock of shorebirds, mourning warbler, another pileated, and a common nighthawk.
I spotted it flying after it had been disturbed from its roost and Anne saw it land.

That's about the only way to find one of these.

Chordeiles minor

On summer evenings, keep an eye and an ear out for the male Common Nighthawk’s dramatic “booming” display flight. Flying at a height slightly above the treetops, he abruptly dives for the ground. As he peels out of his dive (sometimes just a few meters from the ground) he flexes his wings downward, and the air rushing across his wingtips makes a deep booming or whooshing sound, as if a race car has just passed by. The dives may be directed at females, territorial intruders, and even people.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

May 21, 2017

American redstart.

One of the many warblers passing through Rondeau this migration.
The American Redstart singing his heart out.

Setophaga ruticilla

Like the Painted Redstart and other “redstarts” of the Neotropics, the American Redstart flashes the bright patches in its tail and wings. This seems to startle insect prey and give the birds an opportunity to catch them. Though these birds share a common name, they are not closely related to each other.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 19, 2017

Yellow billed cuckoo

We had both Yellow billed and black billed cuckoos on Bennett Road in Rondeau Provincial Park.
They were displaying well.
This is a shot of the yellow billed.

Coccyzus americanus

Yellow-Billed Cuckoos have a primal-sounding, croaking call that they often give in response to loud noises. Their tendency to call at the sound of thunder has led to their colloquial name, the “rain crow.”
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 18, 2017

Pileated woodpecker

This pileated was absorbed in finding food and didn't seem to mind the birders standing 25 feet away.
It put on a show for about 15 minutes before leaving.
I left with about 250 shots.

Dryocopus pileatus

The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 17, 2017

An embarrassment of riches.

Connecticut Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 17, 2017
What started as a slow, unproductive day of birding finished off with a bang.

In one bush there were Wilson's warbler, 2 Canada warblers, a hooded warbler and last but not least a Connecticut warbler.

As if that wasn't enough we ended the day with black and yellow billed cuckoos and a pileated who put on a show for 20 minutes.

Oporornis agilis
The Connecticut Warbler was named after the state where the first specimen was collected. The species does not breed in Connecticut, nor is it a common migrant there.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 16, 2017

Cape May Warbler.

We are finally getting a good number of warblers through the park.
Mostly high in the trees resulting in "warbler neck".

Setophaga tigrina

The tongue of the Cape May Warbler is unique among warblers. It is curled and semitubular, and is used to collect nectar during winter.

May 15, 2017

Veery, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 15,2017

Good birding in the park today. First time I had a veery come into the open and stay there.
Normally they are skulking in the understory.

Catharus fuscescens

A study of migration using radio telemetry showed that the Veery can fly up to 285 km (160 mi) in one night, and that it can fly at altitudes above 2,000 m (1.2 mi).
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

May 14, 2017

Kirtland's Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 13, 2017

A rare bird.
A Kirtland's warbler showed up in Rondeau on Saturday and then again on Sunday.

Setophaga kirtlandii
A rare bird of the Michigan jack pine forests, the Kirtland's Warbler is dependant upon fire to provide the small trees and open areas that meet its rigid habitat requirements for nesting.
Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 3,600 birds, with 100% breeding in the U.S. The species rates a 20 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score

May 11, 2017

The Prince of Warblers.

This prothonotary warbler put on a display for about 20 minutes earlier today.
The hard part was picking one of the 282 photos to post.

Protonotaria citrea
For Prothonotary Warblers it pays to be bright. Males that are brighter yellow gain access to better nest sites than less colorful males, according to a study conducted in Louisiana.

May 10, 2017

Who was that masked bird?

Common yellow throated warbler. I think it should have been called the Masked Warbler or, perhaps the Lone Ranger Warbler.

Geothlypis trichas

The Common Yellowthroat was one of the first bird species to be catalogued from the New World, when a specimen from Maryland was described by Linnaeus in 1766.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology