Showing posts from 2018

Hermit thrush

Hermit thrush seen on the Christmas Bird Count, Dec 16, 2018, Rondeau Provincial Park.
Catharus guttatus Hermit Thrushes usually make their nests in and around trees and shrubs, but they can also get more creative. Nests have been found on a cemetery grave, on a golf course, and in a mine shaft. source -

Blue winged warbler.

Blue-winged warbler, May 8, 2017, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Vermivora cyanoptera
Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers look different, sing different songs, occur in somewhat different habitats, and winter in different places. But amazingly, these differences are only skin deep, or rather feather deep—the two species are 99.97% genetically similar, according to research done at the Cornell Lab.
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Red-bellied woodpecker.

Reb-bellied woodpecker, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Dec 17, 2018.
A regular visitor to our feeders. Melanerpes carolinus
You may occasionally see a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying quickly and erratically through the forest, abruptly changing direction, alighting for an instant and immediately taking off again, keeping up a quick chatter of calls. Scientists categorize this odd behaviour as a type of play that probably helps young birds practice the evasive action they may one day need.
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Northern gannet colony.

Northern gannet colony, Cape St. Mary's Newfoundland, Canada, June 2018.
Almost looks like snow.
It seemed every open ledge and flat space was filled up with nests. Morus bassanus
Most plunge-dives are relatively shallow, but the Northern Gannet can dive as deep as 22 meters (72 feet). It uses its wings and feet to swim deeper in pursuit of fish.
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Black and white warbler.

Black and white warbler,Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, June 6, 2018.

Saw this little guy near Salmonier Nature Park.
If you are near there it is worthwhile to stop and go for a walk. Mniotilta varia
The Black-and-white Warbler is the only member of the genus Mniotilta. The genus name means “moss-plucking,” a reference to its habit of probing bark and moss for insects.
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Don't fence me in.

Northern Cardinal, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Dec 14, 2018.
Cardinalis cardinalis The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder. source -

Barred owl

Barred owl, Rondeau Provincial Park, Dec 19, 2018.
This barred owl flew up from the side of the road and landed on a small snag.
I immediately stopped the car and grabbed the camera.
While photographing the owl a great horned owl stated calling and the barred got very nervous. Turns out the Great Horned Owl is the most serious predatory threat to the Barred Owl.
Although the two species often live in the same areas, a Barred Owl will move to another part of its territory when a Great Horned Owl is nearby Strix varia
Barred Owls don’t migrate, and they don’t even move around very much. Of 158 birds that were banded and then found later, none had moved farther than 6 miles away.
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A snake on Dec 16??

At Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
While out on the Rondeau Christmas Bird Count I came across this common garter snake.
It has been mild the past few days but, really?
Thamnophis sirtalis


A flight of Canada Geese landing on water covered ice at Rondeau Provincial Park, Dec 14, 2018.
The bay froze over the past few days then the temperatures went above freezing.
A lack of wind made for a mirror like surface. Branta canadensis
Some migratory populations of the Canada Goose are not going as far south in the winter as they used to. This northward range shift has been attributed to changes in farm practices that makes waste grain more available in fall and winter, as well as changes in hunting pressure and changes in weather.
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White-eyed vireo.

A late staying white-eyed vireo. Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Dec 13, 2018
While scouting for the Christmas Bird Count I refound this vireo that has been in the area for weeks but had disappeared for a few days. White-eyed Vireos eat caterpillars, flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, leafhoppers, lacewings, and spiders. They forage in a rather deliberate manner, slowly hopping along and looking around before grabbing something to eat. They swallow smaller items on the spot, but pin down larger prey with their foot before eating it. During the nonbreeding season, they also eat fruit from sumac, dogwood, poison ivy, pokeweed, and wax myrtle.
source -…/White-eyed_Vir…/lifehistory…

House wren

House wren shaking off after a quick bath.
Rondeau Provincial Park, Nov 9, 2018.
Troglodytes aedon
Male House Wrens returning north to breed in their first year are more likely to settle close to an established male than farther from it. Experienced males tend to settle farther apart. Young males may take clues from more experienced males about what areas are good nesting sites.
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American woodcock

Why did it take so long for the woodcock to cross the road?

Brown creeper

Not flashy but still a favourite.
Brown creeper, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Dec 4, 2018

Certhia americana
Brown Creepers burn an estimated 4–10 calories (technically, kilocalories) per day, a tiny fraction of a human’s daily intake of about 2,000 kilocalories. By eating a single spider, a creeper gains enough energy to climb nearly 200 feet vertically.
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You have to love birding.

Great blue heron, great kiskadee and three snowy owls on the same day. Rondeau Provincial Park, Dec 4, 2018
It is an unusual occurrence when you have an Arctic bird, a tropical bird and a wading heron in one day. But that is what happened today. Our very lost kiskadee has been seen for the past two days and the snowies have been here for weeks.
No snowy picks today and the kiskadee didn't cooperate but I saw this great blue heron in a creek beside the road.

Sitting in the rain.

Roadside hawk, Ecuador, March 2016.
Rupornis magnirostris The Roadside Hawk is so named due to its preference for the edges of forest; it occurs in many different environments, including the edges of tropical lowland forest, deciduous forest, and desert. The Roadside Hawk feeds on a variety of small prey including reptiles and small mammals, but mainly feeds on insects.

The bird and the bee.

Female red-headed barbet, Ecuador, March 18, 2016.

Eubucco bourcierii
The Red-headed Barbet feeds primarily on fruit, but also take arthropods, which it sometimes gathers by searching through dead leaf clusters. The nest is an enlarged woodpecker cavity or a self-excavated hole in a rotting tree.

Herring gull, Little Catalina, Newfoundland, Canada, June 1, 2018.

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada everyone is getting in on harvesting grass.
Larus argentatus An adult Herring Gull was spotted bait-fishing. It floated bits of bread on the surface of a Paris pond and attacked goldfish feeding on the bread. It ate none of the bread itself, indicating deliberate tool use. source -

Enthusiastic bather.

Yellow warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 29, 2016.
Another of the warblers that have enjoyed our little stream over the years.
Setophaga petechia
Life can be dangerous for a small bird. Yellow Warblers have occasionally been found caught in the strands of an orb weaver spider’s web.
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They're back.

Snowy owls are back in our area.
We had three in about 2km. I'm sure you will be seeing lots of posts of these beautiful visitors.
Bubo scandiacus
Snowy Owl young may disperse remarkably far from their birthplace. From a single Snowy Owl nest on Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic, one young bird went to Hudson Bay, one to southeastern Ontario, and one to the far eastern Russian coast. source -
A hidden gem. The Dungeon, Bona Vista peninsula, Newfoundland.
We drove by it 3 or 4 times wondering why there would be a large wooden deck in the middle of nowhere.
Fortunately I saw a postcard of a spectacular scene and asked the clerk where it was.
The answer - about 3 km that-a-way.
We parked at the deck and looked over the edge at the massive hole in the ground.
To give it scale check out the people walking on the far edge. The "Dungeon" formed when the waves began carving two caves into the sedimentary rock on the ocean side. As the caves got deeper they eventually carved out an area that could no longer support the overhead rock. This resulted in the roof collapsing forming the large sinkhole structure and two caves leading to the ocean. Eventually the roofs of the two caves will collapse and form a sea stack.
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Yellow Grosbeak

Yellow Grosbeak, May 16, 2016, Ecuador.
At the first lodge we stayed at near Quito, we had a yellow grosbeak join us for breakfast.
Pheucticus chrysopeplus

Ruby throated hummingbird

Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 14, 2018.
Not a rarity but still a lovely little bird. I like its tiny dangling feet.
Archilochus colubris Scientists place hummingbirds and swifts in the same taxonomic order, the Apodiformes. The name means “without feet,” which is certainly how these birds look most of the time. source -…/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/

Bay of Fundy tides

These are some of the rocks at Hopewell Rocks. 
They are referred to Flowerpots Rocks, Hopewell Rocks or just The Rocks.
Due to the extreme tidal range of the Bay of Fundy, the base of the formations are covered in water twice a day. However, it is possible to view the formations from ground level at low tide.
The sea levels rise, on average, between 32 and 46 feet (10 and 14 metres).
That's Anne and a park ranger on the sea bottom.
Calliope Hummingbird, Goderich, Ontario, Nov 20 2018.
A lifer for both Anne and myself.

Selasphorus calliope
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the United States. It weighs about one-third as much as the smallest North American warblers and about the same as a ping pong ball.
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Blue winged mountain tanager, Ecuador, March 2016.

One of 138 tanager species listed in the Field Guide for Ecuadorian bird. We get two species in our area.
Anisognathus somptuosus

Dark-eyed junco.

Junco, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 21 2018. Contemplating a dip in the pond.

Junco hyemalis The Dark-eyed Junco is one of the most common birds in North America and can be found across the continent, from Alaska to Mexico, from California to New York. A recent estimate set the junco’s total population at approximately 630 million individuals. source -
A ground kicker Fox sparrow, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Nov 15, 2018.
We had two fox sparrows in the yard today searching in the light snow for seeds.
We see these birds occasionally during their migration. Passerella iliaca
Fox Sparrow fossils from the Pleistocene (about 11,000 years ago) have been found in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and at the La Brea tar pits in California.
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Root Cellars of Elliston, Newfoundland.

One of the spots of look for puffins was near Elliston, a small town on the Bona Vista peninsula in Newfoundland. Elliston declared itself the "Root Cellar Capital of the World" in July 2000.
A root cellar is a structure that was built in the days before electricity in order to keep vegetables from freezing in the winter months and to keep its contents cool during the warm summer months.
There are about 130 of these structures left in the Elliston area.
A little bit like hobbit homes.
Pine siskin, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Nov 13, 2018
This siskin hit a window and sat on the tarp covering our lawn furniture.
After a few minutes it flew away. Spinus pinus
Pine Siskins get through cold nights by ramping up their metabolic rates—typically 40% higher than a “normal” songbird of their size. When temperatures plunge as low as –70°C (–94°F), they can accelerate that rate up to five times normal for several hours. They also put on half again as much winter fat as their Common Redpoll and American Goldfinch relatives.
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Evening grosbeak, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Nov 10, 2018.

Almost missed them, I was working on the computer and looked out the window and spotted them on a sunflower feeder. Taken through a window.

Coccothraustes vespertinus With their enormous bills, Evening Grosbeaks can crush seeds that are too large for Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins to open. These smaller birds often seek out the grosbeaks and glean the food scraps they leave behind. source -

House wren.

House wren, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 7, 2018.
Fresh from a bath in the small pond in the yard.
Troglodytes aedon House Wrens nest inside tree holes and nest boxes. As the season progresses their nests can become infested with mites and other parasites that feed on the wren nestlings. Perhaps to fight this problem, wrens often add spider egg sacs into the materials they build their nests from. In lab studies, once the spiders hatched, they helped the wrens by devouring the nest parasites. source -

Red-tailed hawk.

While out looking for the great kiskadee, heard but not seen, I came across this juvenile red-tail in a tree.

Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Nov 8, 2018.

Buteo jamaicensis
The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
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Great things at Rondeau.

Female Greater Scaup. Rondeau Provincial Park, Nov 6, 2018. High winds made birding difficult, unable to find the great kiskadee but I did find a greater scaup.
Aythya marila
Eggs and ducklings fall prey to predators such as gulls, foxes, and ravens. In some areas, northern pike (fish) also eat ducklings.
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Yellow-rumped warbler.

Yellow-rumped warbler awaiting its turn in the pond, Rondeau Provincial Park, Oct 21, 2018.
Setophaga coronata Yellow-rumped Warblers are perhaps the most versatile foragers of all warblers. They're the warbler you're most likely to see fluttering out from a tree to catch a flying insect, and they're also quick to switch over to eating berries in fall. Other places Yellow-rumped Warblers have been spotted foraging include picking at insects on washed-up seaweed at the beach, skimming insects from the surface of rivers and the ocean, picking them out of spiderwebs, and grabbing them off piles of manure. source -

Colour at the coast.

A roadside harbour with crab pots and lobster traps. There is colour in a lot of unexpected places in Newfoundland.

Great kiskadee.

Great Kiskadee, Rondeau Provincial Park, Nov 2 2018.
As long as it keeps showing up I will keep posting its photo. Such a rare bird and to have it around for this long is a real treat. It is finding enough to eat, frogs are still out and there are lots of berries for it.
Pitangus sulphuratus Food - Great Kiskadees eat both animal prey and fruit. They hunt like a flycatcher, fish like a kingfisher, and forage like a jay. They perch on treetops in open areas, sallying forth to snatch flying insects in midair. They also glean through grass, shrubs, and trees for beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, millipedes, lizards, snakes, and small mice. Near bodies of water, they drop from perches to hover above the water’s surface and pluck prey such as small fish and tadpoles. They also eat fruit from trees, vines, cacti, and sometimes handouts from people. And they’ll boldly steal food from cat and dog dishes. source -