October 17, 2017

He was a good friend of mine.

Bullfrogs breed later than most other frogs, usually from mid-June to late July on warm, humid or rainy nights. The egg masses may contain up to 20,000 eggs and, when first laid, spread out over the surface of the water. Bullfrog tadpoles, which grow for up to three years before changing into frogs, eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, plant tissue and small aquatic invertebrates.
source - https://www.ontarionature.org/…/repti…/american_bullfrog.php

October 14, 2017

Weather forecast- morning showers.

Chestnut sided warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park.

Setophaga pensylvanica 
On the wintering grounds in Central America the Chestnut-sided Warbler joins in mixed-species foraging flocks with the resident antwrens and tropical warblers. An individual warbler will return to the same area in subsequent years, joining back up with the same foraging flock it associated with the year before.
Source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/…/Chestnut-sided_…/lifehistory

October 12, 2017

Ruddy duck

This duck reminds me of he bath time rubber ducky with its cocked tail and relatively large head.
I think this bird was injured as it didn't climb of the mound and swim/fly away.
It is duck hunting season.

Oxyura jamaicensis

Ruddy Ducks lay big, white, pebbly-textured eggs—the largest of all duck eggs relative to body size. Energetically expensive to produce, the eggs hatch into well-developed ducklings that require only a short period of care.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruddy_Duck/lifehistory

October 09, 2017

Birds of the pond series.

Lots of birds still coming to the pond including this Eastern Towhee.

Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Eastern Towhees tend to be pretty solitary, and they use a number of threat displays to tell other towhees they’re not welcome. You may see contentious males lift, spread, or droop one or both wings, fan their tails, or flick their tails to show off the white spots at the corners. Studies have shown that male towhees tend to defend territories many times larger than needed simply to provide food.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Towhee/lifehistory

October 07, 2017

Pied-billed grebe

This close and no closer.
It is always a challenge to try to figure out what the comfort zone of an animal is.
Ideally I try to get a photo without disturbing the subject.
We came a little too close for comfort with this pied-billed grebe.

Podilymbus podiceps
Part bird, part submarine, the Pied-billed Grebe is common across much of North America. These small brown birds have unusually thick bills that turn silver and black in summer. These expert divers inhabit sluggish rivers, freshwater marshes, lakes, and estuaries. They use their chunky bills to kill and eat large crustaceans along with a great variety of fish, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates. Rarely seen in flight and often hidden amid vegetation, Pied-billed Grebes announce their presence with loud, far-reaching calls.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pied-billed_Grebe/id

October 05, 2017

Juvenile Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.

This young sapsucker came to the pond for a minute then left without drinking or bathing.
Probably had something to do with the 3 blue jays that came in squawking loudly.

Sphyrapicus varius 
The sapwells made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers attract hummingbirds, which also feed off the sap flowing from the tree. In some parts of Canada, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds rely so much on sapwells that they time their spring migration with the arrival of sapsuckers. Other birds as well as bats and porcupines also visit sapsucker sapwells.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/…/Yellow-bellied_…/lifehistory

October 04, 2017

Rusty Blackbird.

Another photo from the pontoon boat.
Normally we see groupings or rusty blackbirds, this day just one.
It's a start.

Euphagus carolinus
Like most members of the blackbird family, the Rusty Blackbird undergoes only one molt per year. The change in appearance between winter and summer results from the rust-colored feather tips of "winter plumage" wearing off and leaving behind the smooth black or gray "breeding plumage."
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Rusty_Blackbird/lifehistory

October 02, 2017

Yellow-rumped warbler.

Yellow rumped warbler.
Whe yellow rumps show up it is usually a sign that the fall migration is coming to a close.
They aren't here in big numbers but that will change.

Setophaga coronata 
Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/…/Yellow-rumped_W…/lifehistory

October 01, 2017

Tufted titmouse.

We have at least two titmice coming into the feeders and the pond.
They have been around but not frequent visitors this summer.

Baeolophus bicolor
Unlike many chickadees, Tufted Titmouse pairs do not gather into larger flocks outside the breeding season. Instead, most remain on the territory as a pair. Frequently one of their young from that year remains with them, and occasionally other juveniles from other places will join them. Rarely a young titmouse remains with its parents into the breeding season and will help them raise the next year's brood.
source- https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_Titmouse/lifehistory

September 30, 2017

Red-breasted nuthatch

Normally we don't have red-breasted nuthatches in the summer.
They are around in the cooler weather looking for a quick meal.
The cold front that came through Wednesday night brought this one to the pond.

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 - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-breasted_Nuthatch/lifehistory

September 28, 2017

Green heron, Rondeau Provincial Park, Sept 2017.

Another shot taken from the pontoon boat. It was busy having a bath and I don't think it noticed the boat as we drifted in.

Butorides virescens 
Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron/lifehistory

September 25, 2017

Ruby crowned kinglet.

A really fast little bird, it was tearing through the hedge snapping up food.
It paused just long enough to get a reasonably good shot.

It bounces through the pond but doesn't linger for a bath.

Regulus calendula 
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a tiny bird that lays a very large clutch of eggs—there can be up to 12 in a single nest. Although the eggs themselves weigh only about a fiftieth of an ounce, an entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself.
source -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-crowned_Kinglet/lifehistory

September 24, 2017

Eurasian Collared-dove

Our favourite bird spotter, Steve, knocked on the door this morning to tell us there was an Eurasian Collared Dove just down there road.
He gave us directions and then made sure we found the dove where it wa sitting high in a tree.
Not a lifer but still a rare sight around here.

Streptopelia decaocto
The Eurasian Collared-Dove’s species name, decaocto, comes from Greek mythology. Decaocto was a servant girl transformed into a dove by the gods to escape her unhappy treatment; the dove’s mournful cry recalls her former life.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eurasian_Collared-Dove/lifehistory

September 23, 2017

Carolina wren

We have had a number of Carolina wrens in the yard for the past 2 weeks.
Loud singers first thing in the morning.

Thryothorus ludovicianus

The Carolina Wren is sensitive to cold weather, with the northern populations decreasing markedly after severe winters. The gradually increasing winter temperatures over the last century may have been responsible for the northward range expansion seen in the mid-1900s.
source -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Wren/id

September 20, 2017

Full size, no crop.

No crop, this is right out of the camera.

This isn't cropped, we actually got within 5 feet of this least bittern, by turning off the motor and drifting up to the bird.
It is a fairly small bird at about 11 to 14 inches in length. For comparison an American robin is 9 to 11 inches.

It was out in the open on a weed mat and didn't pay any attention to us.

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.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Least_Bittern/lifehistory

September 18, 2017

Lethal weapon

Great blue heron.
We were heading to the boat and notice this heron standing on the dock in front of us.
Since it was cooperating I took his picture.
That bill is a wicked looking weapon.

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 - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Blue_Heron/lifehistory

September 17, 2017

Black-crowned night heron

Hip Deep.

An immature black crowned night heron up to its belly at the edge of the marsh.
It watched us for a while and then disappeared into the reeds.

Nycticorax nycticorax
A breeding Black-crowned Night-Heron will brood any chick that is placed in its nest. The herons apparently don’t distinguish between their own offspring and nestlings from other parents.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/…/Black-crowned_N…/lifehistory

September 15, 2017

Belted kingfisher.

At the corner of the marina and the main channel are two old pilings.

Spotted this kingfisher monitoring the water nearby.
Just couldn't get close enough for a real close up, this photo is heavily cropped.
Megaceryle alcyon
Belted Kingfishers are stocky, large-headed birds with a shaggy crest on the top and back of the head and a straight, thick, pointed bill. Their legs are short and their tails are medium length and square-tipped.
source -

September 13, 2017

An embarrassment of riches.

We don't often see ovenbirds and then usually just glimpses.
Today was different, we had one visit and perch in the open.

I have so many good photos I didn't know which one to pick.
This is one of the best ovenbird photos I took.

Seiurus aurocapilla
On its breeding ground, the Ovenbird divides up the forest environment with the other warblers of the forest floor. The Ovenbird uses the uplands and moderately sloped areas, the Worm-eating Warbler uses the steep slopes, and the Louisiana Waterthrush and the Kentucky Warbler use the low-lying areas.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ovenbird/lifehistory

September 11, 2017

Philadelphia vireo.

Another of the pond visitors, a Philadelphia Vireo.

Unlike most birds that come to our pond vireos do a splash and dash bath.
They sit in the bush above the pond, fly down, hit the water and go straight back up to the bush.

Vireo philadelphicus 
A bird of young deciduous woods, the Philadelphia Vireo is the most northernly breeding species of vireo. It is often overlooked because its more common relative, the Red-eyed Vireo lives in the same areas and gets most of the attention.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Philadelphia_Vireo/lifehistory


Northern waterthrush, Rondeau Provincial Park.
An unusual to the yard and pond.

This one stayed all day but was hard to see the majority of the time. They always seem to be behind a bush or clump of vegetation.

Parkesia noveboracensis
The Northern Waterthrush is territorial in both winter and summer. On the breeding grounds the male proclaims its territory with its loud, ringing song. On the wintering grounds it uses its "chink" calls, together with chasing and fighting, to keep out intruders.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Waterthrush/lifehistory

September 09, 2017

Canada warbler, eh.

First time in the yard this year, at least that we have seen.
Once again Anne spotted the bird moving through the top of the hedge.

Cardellina canadensis

A colorful, active warbler of northern forests, the Canada Warbler spends little time on its breeding grounds. It is one of the last warblers to arrive north in the spring, and one of the first to leave in the fall, heading early to its South American wintering grounds.
source -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Warbler/lifehistory

September 07, 2017

Close up

This ruby-throated hummingbird landed about 5 feet from me.
I thought it would feed on the lone bell flower that was still open.

Archilochus colubris

September 06, 2017

Pink katydid, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Anne spotted this unusual katydid in the front yard.
This is the second pink version we have seen over the years.
The survival rate on pink katydids is low as they are easily seen by predators.

Katydid Tettigoniidae

September 05, 2017

Thirteen warbler species in the yard today.

Best one?
Golden winged warbler, first for the yard and the first time I've gotten a decent photo.

Vermivora chrysoptera
Golden-winged Warblers often hybridize with the closely related Blue-winged Warbler. The Blue-winged Warbler has been expanding its range, and hybridization has been one element in the sharp decline of Golden-winged Warblers.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-winged_Warbler/lifehistory

Move along. There's nothing to see here.

At least that's what this American bittern is hoping.
We were out on the pontoon yesterday and had a very good day.
American bittern, least bittern and a sora.
Throw in a black bellied plover and other shore birds and it turned into a good day along the marsh and beach.

Botaurus lentiginosus
The American Bittern's yellow eyes can focus downward, giving the bird's face a comically startled, cross-eyed appearance. This visual orientation presumably enhances the bird's ability to spot and capture prey. The eyes turn orange during breeding season.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/…/American_Bittern/lifehistory

September 02, 2017

Peregrine Falcon

We were out on the pontoon looking for shorebirds when we spotted a peregrine falcon floating over the trees looking for a meal.

He swooped around for about a minute before moving on.

Falco peregrinus
The Peregrine Falcon is a very fast flier, averaging 40-55 km/h (25-34 mph) in traveling flight, and reaching speeds up to 112 km/h (69 mph) in direct pursuit of prey. During its spectacular hunting stoop from heights of over 1 km (0.62 mi), the peregrine may reach speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) as it drops toward its prey.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Peregrine_Falcon/lifehistory

August 31, 2017

Wilson's warbler

The fall warbler migration is underway in our yard.
This is a male Wilson's warbler waiting its turn at the pond.

Cardellina pusilla
Wilson’s Warblers dance around willow and alder thickets, often near water, to the rapid beat of their chattering song. This bright yellow warbler with a black cap is one of the smallest warblers in the Canada and among the most recognizable. They rarely slow down, dashing between shrubs, grabbing insects from one leaf after another, and popping up on low perches to sing.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Warbler/id

August 28, 2017

Black-crowned night heron

While out on the pontoon we came across this night heron feeding along the edge of the marsh.

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.
source- https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-crowned_Night-Heron/lifehistory


Hickory tussock caterpillar.

Interestingly these caterpillars are poisonous.
I found this one dangling from a silk(?) thread like a spider.
Difficult photo as it was swinging in the wind.

If handled the caterpillar can leave behind venom that can cause a rash similar to that caused by nettles or poison ivy. Symptoms can range from slight reddening of the skin to a burning sensation with swelling and pain. Some people may experience an allergic reaction which could include nausea.

August 25, 2017

Spring peeper

Anne found this spring peeper in the front garden. It is about 1.5 inches long and it was down in the plants.

Pseudacris crucifer
The blood chemistry of the spring peeper allows it to withstand temperatures up to a few degrees below zero without freezing to death, which explains why this species is one of the earliest frogs to begin calling in the spring. The female lays between 800 and 1,000 eggs, singly or in small groups. The tadpoles hatch in one to two weeks and complete their metamorphosis within three months.
source - https://www.ontarionature.org/…/reptiles_…/spring_peeper.php

August 24, 2017

Who ate the orchid.


Katydid Tettigoniidae
Also called the “northern katydid,” the true katydid is in the family of long-horned grasshoppers, though it is more closely related to crickets. The species is leaf green and grows to one and a half to two inches in length.
Found from Ontario south to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas, the true katydid primarily inhabits the crowns of deciduous trees in forests, parks and yards. Because it only inhabits deciduous trees and is mostly flightless, populations are discontinuous.
source - https://www.nature.org/newsfeatures/specialfeatures/animals/insects/katydid.xml

August 23, 2017

First year Cape May warbler.

This warbler has been hanging around the yard for 4-5 days now.
Seems to like grapes and peanut butter suet.
Maybe it would like a p&j sandwich.

Setophaga tigrina
Striking in appearance but poorly understood, the species spends its winters in the West Indies, collecting nectar with its unique curled, semitubular tongue.