Snow geese at the Ridgetown sewage lagoon, Jan 30/17 Went back with Anne and the flew off shortly after we got there. Chen caerulescens Females forage up to 18 hours a day once they arrive at breeding grounds, but eat little once they begin incubating the eggs.
We had not found a snowy owl in our usual search areas until today.
We went a little further afield and saw 5 in a small area.
This one was nice enough to sit on a telephone pole beside the road.
Unlike most owls, Snowy Owls are diurnal, extremely so. They’ll hunt at all hours during the continuous daylight of an Arctic summer. And they may eat more than 1,600 lemmings in a single year.
Taken in Ecuador near Tandayapa,
A regular visitor to the feeders at the lodge where we stayed.
The Rufous Motmot prefers humid lowland and hill forest where it consumes a large variety of food items ranging from various fruits to invertebrates and even small vertebrates, sometimes in the company of army ants. When foraging, it is a typical low energy specialist sitting quietly on a shaded horizontal branch for long periods of time from which it suddenly darts out after passing insects.
It seemed exotic to see a Canada warbler south of the equator.
We are so used to thinking of them as "our" warblers when in fact, they are long distance migrants.
Not much is known about the mating system of the Canada Warbler, but it appears to be monogamous. The observation of male-female pairs in Panama during fall and spring migration suggests that the pair may stay together year round.
A quick shot as a male long-tail dove in the clear water of Lake Ontario. Clangula hyemalis Of all diving ducks, the Long-tailed Duck spends the most time under water relative to time on the surface. When it is foraging it is submerged three to four times as much as it is on top of the water.
The sun came out for a while and the temperature neared 50 degrees with little wind. A chance to get out for a walk and see a few birds. Aythya americana
Courting male Redheads perform a gymnastic “head throw” display, bending nearly in half with the neck bent far over the back until the head touches the tail. The bird then snaps its neck forward while giving a loud, catlike mee-ow call.
Went on a field trip to the Hamilton area looking for ducks that we don't see down our way.
Such as this long tailed duck. I think I took about 340 of these birds. You will be seeing more of them.
This is one of them
The Long-tailed Duck is one of the deepest diving ducks, and can dive as deep as 60 meters (200 feet) to forage.
One of 40 species of tanager we saw in Ecuador. Turns out that what I thought was a beryl spangled tanager was actually a black capped tanager.
Black-capped Tanagers (Tangara heinei) are vividly-colored tropical birds that occur from Venezuela to Ecuador. This monotypic species is primarily found in montane forest edges, at forest clearings (natural as well as man-made), and in tall second-growth forest. Black-capped Tanagers often occur in pairs and sometimes in mixed-species flocks, foraging in bushes and trees for insects and fruit.
American White Pelicans cooperate when feeding. Sometimes, large groups gather in wetlands. They coordinate their swimming to drive schooling fish toward the shallows. The pelicans can then easily scoop up these corralled fish from the water.
A female lesser scaup doing a wing flap/stretch/water shake.
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).
Near Comber Ontario,Jan 13/17
Went to see the yellow headed blackbirds,which we did. They were in a mixed flock of thousands of cowbirds,starlings and house sparrows. This is a small portion of the flock.
And here is one of the stars of the show hiding in plain sight.
Spotted this bird at Erieau, Ontario.
Also had canvasback,bufflehead,lesser scaup,red breasted merganser and coots.
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.
Usually a summer visitor to the yard and pond this field sparrow showed up on January 6/2017. It took advantage of the corn we put out for the cardinals and other ground feeders. Spizella pusilla In winter Field Sparrows may form mixed feeding flocks with other species, including White-throated and Song Sparrows. Smaller and less aggressive than other sparrows, Field Sparrows are usually at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy in these mixed flocks. Their subordinate role means that they may have to take extra risks to gain access to food, such as returning to a feeding site first after a predator has flushed the flock.
An unusual, for us, winter visitor to our heated water bowl. A hermit thrush showed up today and had a long drink from our outdoor heated water bowl. The bowl may be the only liquid water, other than Lake Erie, right now. Small birds don't seem to like going on the shore, probably too exposed. Catharus guttatus In spring, the Hermit Thrush eats mainly insects such as beetles, caterpillars, bees, ants, wasps, and flies. They also occasionally eat small amphibians and reptiles. In the winter, they change their diet to eat more fruit, including wild berries.
A small opening in the ice on Rondeau Bay resulted in two tundra swans coming close to shore. The wind was strong causing waves in the small open area. Cygnus columbianus Tundra Swans wintering in Chesapeake Bay feed almost exclusively on clams that they dislodge from the mud. But it can be challenging to enjoy a peaceful meal: often the swan has to fend off a Ring-billed, Herring, or Greater Black-backed gull that swoops in to grab a clam from the swan’s bill—a successful tactic in about half of these “kleptoparasitic” encounters.
While we were in Ecuador in March 2016 we went on a side trip to Otavalo and the indigenous market there.
On the way we went on a short bird watching boat excursion. We saw several new species and this reed boat tied to the dock. We didn't see any in use on the lake but it was interesting nevertheless.
We spotted this muskrat taking a swim on Dec 28. So far it has been a mild winter and they have good insulation, but still.... Ondatra zibethicus A muskrat s basically a large field mouse that has adapted to life in and around water They have specially evolved teeth that protrude ahead of the cheeks and lips that can be closed behind them, permitting it to chew on stems and roots under water "with its mouth closed"