Showing posts from February, 2017

Short eared owl

Earlier this year there were a number of short eared owls in Essex County. This is one of several hundred photos I took of the birds.
Asio flammeus
As suggested by their wide global distribution, Short-eared Owls can travel long distances over vast expanses of ocean. Witnesses have reported seeing these owls descending on ships hundreds of miles from land. source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The pond is starting up again.

The water flow isn't on but the little pond is open and this red-winged blackbird was having a wonderful time having a bath.

In February.
In Canada.

Agelaius phoeniceus

Male Red-winged Blackbirds fiercely defend their territories during the breeding season, spending more than a quarter of daylight hours in territory defense. He chases other males out of the territory and attacks nest predators, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people.

Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee, Algonquin Provincial Park, Feb 23, 2017 The rain stopped and the fog lessened enough for me to get this shot of a boreal chickadee. A lifer for both Anne and me.
Poecile hudsonicus The oldest recorded Boreal Chickadee was at least 5 years, 4 months, when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Nova Scotia.

Pine Martin

We went to Algonquin Provincial Park and the weather was terrible.
Heavy fog, downpours and poor lighting.

Regardless we had a good time and got one life bird and one life mammal.
The mammal was the pine marten, a shy yet curious animal that are agile climbers and spend much of their time in trees, where they prey on squirrels and chipmunks.

Martes Americana

The obligatory eagle shot.

We where visiting in Amherstburg and I spotted this bald eagle sitting near the road. A few shots and it was off.
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Bald Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys. One observer witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair.

Golden naped Tanager

Golden naped tanager, Tandayapa, Ecuador. Just the same old birds around the feeders so another shot from warmer climates.
Tangara ruficervix
The Golden-naped Tanager is omnivorous and eats arthropods, fruit, and nectar.

Red breasted nuthatch.

A pond bird from warmer times.

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.

Golden Tanager

Golden tanagers, Tandayapa, Ecuador, March 2016

Tangara arthus

The Golden Tanager occurs in groups of up to five individuals that travel in mixed species flocks, usually with other species of tanager

Fly over

A low pass by a bald eagle.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy.

Magnolia warbler.

Still eager for the spring migration.
In the meantime here's a male magnolia warbler decked out in breeding plumage.

Setophaga magnolia

The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time.

Double crested cormorant.

Another summer shot taken from the pontoon.

Phalacrocorax auritus
The double-crest of the Double-crested Cormorant is only visible on adults during breeding season. The crests are white in cormorants from Alaska, and black in other regions.

Yellow-crowned Euphonia

Yellow-crowned Euphonia at Tandayapa, from our 2016 trip to Ecuador.
There are only to flat places in Ecuador, the airport and the soccer field.
Euphonia luteicapilla

The water walker.

This american coot was grooming and shook so hard it popped out of the water.

Fulica americana

Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground.

Immature black crowned night heron.

From last year, a juvenile black crowned night heron in Rondeau Bay, Rondeau Provincial Park.
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.

Blue hummingbird.

Amazing what a bird will do to get a high quality meal. This blue jay regularly hovered under the suet feeder to grab a bit.
Cyanocitta cristata
The Blue Jay frequently mimics the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. These calls may provide information to other jays that a hawk is around, or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.

The payoff

We watched a least bittern fishing for about 1/2 hour one day while out on the pontoon.

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.


From last year along the marsh edge.

Porzana carolina
A small, secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. Its distinctive descending whinny call can be easily heard from the depths of the cattails, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Snow bunting flock.

Came across a large flock of snow buntings on Friday the 3rd.
Probably 500 or more.
This is a small part of the flock.

Plectrophenax nivalis

The Snow Bunting places its nest deep in cracks or other cavities in rocks. Although such nest sites are relatively secure from predators, rocks are cold. The thick nest lining of fur and feathers helps keep the eggs and nestlings warm, but the female must remain on the nest for most of the incubation period. The male feeds her while she is incubating so that she does not need to leave the nest very often.

Western Emerald

Tandayapa, Ecuador, March 2016.
Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus
Sometimes grouped with other species in the taxonomically confusing Chlorostilbon genus, the Western Emerald is often now considered its own species. These emeralds inhabit gardens, partially open or shrubby areas with trees, and cultivated areas. They have a more straight flight pattern than do many hummers, and they forage individually at flowers in the lower and middle strata. Males sparkle with green throughout while females are green above and gray below.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Neotropical birds

Horned grebe

Horned Grebe, Rondeau Provincial Park, summer 2016.
Podiceps auritus
A sleeping or resting Horned Grebe puts its neck on its back with its head off to one side and facing forward. It keeps one foot tucked up under a wing and uses the other one to maneuver in the water. Having one foot up under a wing makes it float with one "high" side and one "low" side.

Male bufflehead.

Went to Erieau,Ontario to see what ducks were around.
One of the few was this male bufflehead duck in breeding plumage.

Bucephala albeola

Unlike most ducks, the Bufflehead is mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years.