Showing posts from March, 2017

Coming soon to a migration near you.

Black throated blue warbler from warmer times.
In a month or so the spring migration should be on.

Taken in our yard at the little pond.

Setophaga caerulescens.

The sexes of the Black-throated Blue Warbler look so different that they were originally described as two different species.

Golden Crowned Kinglet.

The jet fighters of little birds. They move so fast from branch to branch it is hared to get a good photo.
I've said before it is like trying to get a photo of popcorn in the act of popping.

Same fast movement.

Regulus satrapa

The tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet is hardier than it looks, routinely wintering in areas where nighttime temperatures can fall below –40° Fahrenheit, which happens to be -40 Celsius.
It is the only point where the two different scales meet.

Eagle at the pond.

Another of the raptors we were able to photograph free flying at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus 

The largest Bald Eagle nest on record, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall. Another famous nest—in Vermilion, Ohio—was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.

Great horned owl

Went with a group of photographers to the Canadian Raptor Conservancy for a raptor photo shoot. One of the birds was a great horned owl.

The weather was miserable, raining and cold, the light was less than desireable, but the birds were great. The spots are rain drops.
Bubo virginianus
Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.


Not a large selection of birds this time of year, so I take what I can get. This chickadee was good enough to pose for me.
Poecile atricapillus
According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains. Not sure how they figured that out.

Childrens games.

Did you ever play goose,goose,duck, when you were a kid? This is goose,goose,swan.
Tundra swan,snow goose,Canada goose.

An audible evening.

Anne and I went for a walk this evening to listen for woodcock.

Not only did we hear woodcock we also had, robins,cardinals,wild turkeys,tundra swans, Canadian geese and coyotes joining in the evening song.
A bonus was a great horned owl flying by.

We did see woodcock doing their display flights.

This is an older photo as there was no opportunity to get a shot this evening.

Welcome back Spring.

Scolopax minor
Wouldn’t it be useful to have eyes in the back of your head? American Woodcocks come close—their large eyes are positioned high and near the back of their skull. This arrangement lets them keep watch for danger in the sky while they have their heads down probing in the soil for food.

Red bellied woodpecker.

On the suet feeder in the yard.
Melanerpes carolinus

Tundra swans, Rondeau Provincial Park, March 16, 2017

I came across a flock of over 1,000 tundra swans today just outside of Rondeau Provincial Park.
They were flying over the road making a cacophony of sound.
Many were flying low and just clearing a cedar hedge row. These are not cropped.
One still had dirt on its face from foraging in the corn stubble.

Cygnus columbianus
Based on banding records, the oldest known Tundra Swan was a female and at least 23 years, 7 months old when she was identified by her band in the wild, in Ohio. She had been banded in the same state.

Northern Cardinal

We had a little snow last night.

Cardinalis cardinalis

Metallic green Tanager.

Yet another tanager from Ecuador.
Tangara labradorides Their diet consists almost entirely of arthropods and fruits. Metallic-green Tanagers are usually found in pairs or small groups and often join flocks consisting of multiple tanager

The invasion

Grackles, redwings and starlings have been mobbing our feeders for two weeks. I don't begrudge them the food but nothing else can come in when they are there.
Quiscalus quiscula
Common Grackles are resourceful foragers. They sometimes follow plows to catch invertebrates and mice, wade into water to catch small fish, pick leeches off the legs of turtles, steal worms from American Robins, raid nests, and kill and eat adult birds.

Shades of Pat and Vanna.

Pat, I would like to buy a vowel.
Svre yov wovld.

Spotted by Anne.

Wind and waves.

Had some big southwest winds yesterday. The waves were breaking over the steel breakwaters a few miles from our place.
We were fine as we were on the leeward side.


Not sure if I Posted this before.
It is a leucistic chipmunk that Anne and I saw in London, Ontario 10 years ago.

Tamias striatus
Though you may see chipmunks around each other, they are not social animals. They like to keep to themselves and only interact during mating season, which is in the spring.

They are most active at dusk and dawn. Chipmunks spend most of their days foraging. A single chipmunk can gather up to 165 acorns in a day

Picking berries

About 50 Cedar Waxwings were in the trees at the Rondeau Provincial Park Campground a few days ago.

They tore through the juniper and cedars stripping the berries.
A few minutes later they were gone.

Bombycilla cedrorum 

The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet.

Buff-tailed Coronet

Buff-tailed Coronet Another Ecuadorian hummingbird seen at Tandayapa.
Boissonneaua flavescens
They hold on to flowers when feeding and hold their wings up in a V while doing so.

The season of the owl.

It seems everyone is posting great horned owls this time of year
So I decided I would put up my photo, just to be social.
The location of this bird was published in the local paper but the exact location of the nest was not.

Bubo virginianus

Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.

Sword billed hummingbird

One of the more unusual birds we saw in Ecuador was the sword-billed hummingbird.
Ensifera ensifera
This is the only bird species with a bill length that exceeds the body length. When seen perched, the species usually holds its bill quite upright, presumably because of balance issues stemming from this long and relatively heavy structure. -source Cornell Lab of

Northern cardinal

With the pond opening up we are getting more birds coming in for baths and drinks.
This cardinal looks like it is climbing uphill but is just standing on a slanted stick.
Cardinalis cardinalis The oldest recorded Northern Cardinal was a female, and was 15 years, 9 months old when she was found in Pennsylvania.