Showing posts from December, 2017

Dark eyed junco, Rondeau Provincial Park.

The cold snowy weather is continuing in our area.
Lots of birds are coming in to our feeders and to the seed we put on the ground.

Junco hyemalis

Juncos are the "snowbirds" of the middle latitudes. Over most of the eastern United States, they appear as winter sets in and then retreat northward each spring. Some juncos in the Appalachian Mountains remain there all year round, breeding at the higher elevations. These residents have shorter wings than the migrants that join them each winter. Longer wings are better suited to flying long distances, a pattern commonly noted among other studies of migratory vs. resident species.
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Tufted titmouse, Rondeau Provincial Park, Dec 2017.

Another of the snow birds that showed up after the big snowfall. Lots of birds in the white pine in the yard.
Baeolophus bicolor
Tufted Titmice hoard food in fall and winter, a behavior they share with many of their relatives, including the chickadees and tits. Titmice take advantage of a bird feeder’s bounty by storing many of the seeds they get. Usually, the storage sites are within 130 feet of the feeder. The birds take only one seed per trip and usually shell the seeds before hiding them.
source -…/Tufted_Titmouse/lifehistory

Rusty blackbird in the snow.

A few rusties showed up in the yard this week along with red-wings, grackles, and starlings.

Euphagus carolinus

Rusty Blackbird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species. The population has plunged an estimated 85-99 percent over the past forty years and scientists are completely puzzled as to what is the cause. They are relatively uncommon denizens of wooded swamps, breeding in the boreal forest and wintering in the eastern U.S. In winter, they travel in small flocks and are identified by their distinctive rusty featheredges and pallid yellow eyes.
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Tree sparrow

Bitterly cold after the snow on Christmas.
Keeping the feeders full for all the birds and a little corn on the ground for various mammals that wander through. American tree sparrow, in a tree.
Spizelloides arborea
Misleadingly named by European settlers reminded of Eurasian Tree Sparrows back home, American Tree Sparrows are ground birds. They forage on the ground, nest on the ground, and breed primarily in scrubby areas at or above the treeline.
source -…/American_Tree_S…/lifehistory

Triangular body shape, with deep rear end. - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Descripition of a sora by the LAb.
Isn't that dangerous close to saying you've got a big butt?

As usual we saw this one from the pontoon boat.

Porzana carolina

Not a snowy owl

If I knew how to photoshop this would be a snowy owl.

We will all have to settle for a herring gull.
I think I'm the only one who doesn't have a snowy photo this year.

Larus argentatus 
Herring Gulls prefer drinking freshwater, but they'll drink seawater when they must. Special glands located over the eyes allow them to excrete the salt that would otherwise dehydrate most animals, including us. The salty excretion can be seen dripping out of their nostrils and off the ends of their bills.

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During the Christmas Bird Count at Rondeau Provincial Park last Sunday Anne and I came across an unusual sight.

A cormorant walking down a snow covered road.

There was a left over beach towel in the car so I grabbed it and started stalking the bird.
There I was running through snow drifts waving a summer towel trying to catch a bird that walks like a penguin.

It outran me. 


It was walking in the general direction of Lake Erie and when we came back past the area about 30 minutes later the bird was gone. Hope it made it to the water.

Northen cardinal.

We saw this cardinal sitting on a branch over a small open stream while looking for a snipe that had been seen in the area.

Cardinalis cardinalis 
Only a few female North American songbirds sing, but the female Northern Cardinal does, and often while sitting on the nest. This may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male.
source -…/Northern_Cardin…/lifehistory

Deer at the feeder

Therrrrre back. White tailed deer started coming in to the feeders to scrounge for any seeds left on the ground. Looks like the jays left a little corn. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Pied-billed grebe, Erieau, Ontario, Dec 14, 2017

After the storm yesterday I took advantage of the clear but cold weather to do a little birding.
Not a lot around but I did find 4 pied billed grebes at the marina. Podilymbus podiceps 
When in danger, Pied-billed Grebes sometimes make a dramatic “crash-dive” to get away. A crash-diving grebe pushes its body down with its wings thrust outward. Its tail and head disappears last, while the bird kicks water several feet into the air.
source -…/Pied-billed_Gre…/lifehistory
Long eared owl, Rondeau Provincial Park, Dec 12, 2017.

Thanks to local birders Steve and Aaron Charbonneau for the heads up about this owl. It moved trees when mobbed by blue jays but stayed in the immediate area.
Asio otus The hoot of the male Long-eared Owl can sometimes be heard up to 1 kilometer (0.7 mi) away. source -

Brown thrasher

Editing 100's of photos from the spring and summer.
This brown thrasher was a regular at the pond.

Toxostoma rufum
Both males and females help incubate the eggs and feed the young. Nestlings sometimes leave the nest fully feathered within nine days of hatching—earlier than either of their smaller relatives, the Northern Mockingbird and Gray Catbird. Shrubby habitats are popular hideouts for nest predators, which may explain why the thrashers fledge so quickly for birds of their size.

Cedar waxwing

When you are looking for a rarity keep your eyes open for other things.
Spotted cedar waxwings while chasing the Townsend's warbler.
Bombycilla cedrorum
Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol.
source -…/Cedar_Waxwing/lifehistory

A summer reminder.

Ovenbird at Rondeau Provincial Park.
Usually down low skulking in the vegetation, this one popped up and into the open for a minute.

Seiurus aurocapilla The Ovenbird gets its name from its covered nest. The dome and side entrance make it resemble a Dutch oven.

Super moon

A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that approximately coincides with the closest distance that the Moon reaches to Earth in its elliptic orbit, resulting in a larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.

Prothonotary warbler

Winter is staring us in the face, so a little bit of spring glory.
Prothonotary warbler, May 11, Rondeau Provincial Park.
Protonotaria citrea
Most warblers nest either on the ground, in shrubs, or in trees, but the Prothonotary Warbler and the Lucy's Warbler build their nests in holes in standing dead trees. They may also use nest boxes when available.