Showing posts from May, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

You are bring watched.

They are everywhere.

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.

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

Pleased to meet cha

Or so the story goes. The Chestnut sided warbler song supposedly says, pleased, pleased, pleased to meet cha. I can hear it but some can't.
Setophaga pensylvanica
The Chestnut-sided Warbler sings two basic song types: one is accented at the end (the pleased-to-MEETCHA song), and the other is not. The accented songs are used primarily to attract a female and decrease in frequency once nesting is well under way. The unaccented songs are used mostly in territory defense and aggressive encounters with other males. Some males sing only unaccented songs, and they are less successful at securing mates than males that sing both songs.

Blue winged warbler Part II

I posted a far away shot of a blue wing in a bush a few days ago. Here is one that was just a little bit closer.
Vermivora cyanoptera

American Mink

Not much here in the way of birds but i did find this mink swimming in a slough.
Neovison vison The American mink is a small, semi-aquatic carnivore which can dive to depths of 5 to 6 metres and swim underwater for up 35 metres.

Blue winged warbler.

Blue winged warbler buried in a bush.

Look centre left. He didn't want to come close or to come out of the thicket.

Vermivora cyanoptera 

Hybridizes extensively with Golden-winged Warbler, giving rise to the distinctly plumaged "Brewster's" and "Lawrence's" warblers.

Hooded warbler.

Thanks to the assistance from other birders, we saw this hooded warbler yesterday.
He seemed determined not to have his photo taken.
Setophaga citrina The Hooded Warbler is strongly territorial on its wintering grounds. Males and females use different habitats: males in mature forest, and females in scrubbier forest and seasonally flooded areas. If a male is removed, a female in adjacent scrub will not move into the male's territory.

Black and White warbler.

Slow birding today at Rondeau.
One of the birds I was able to get a photo of was this Black and White.
My sister should appreciate the name. Mniotilta varia Black-and-white Warblers have an extra-long hind claw and heavier legs than other wood-warblers, which help them hold onto and move around on bark.

Ruby crowned kinglet.

We were out in the wind and rain today and I got this photo of a ruby-crowned kinglet.
I think he was too cold to move quickly.
Regulus calendula Metabolic studies on Ruby-crowned Kinglets suggest that these tiny birds use only about 10 calories (technically, kilocalories) per day.

Cedar Waxwing

While birding Lakeshore road on my bike I spotted 5 cedar waxwings in a bush near the road. This is the only that didn't have 27 branches in front of it.
Bombycilla cedrorum
Building a nest takes a female Cedar Waxwing 5 to 6 days and may require more than 2,500 individual trips to the nest. They occasionally save time by taking nest materials from other birds’ nests, including nests of Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow-throated Vireos, orioles, robins, and Yellow Warblers.