Showing posts from April, 2018

American woodcock.

Anne spotted a woodcock walking across a yard at Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. April 30, 2018. By the time I got turned around it had wandered into a grassy area.
This photo explains why it is hard to find woodcocks. He was about 4 feet away.
Scolopax minor
Young woodcocks leave the nest a few hours after hatching, but for their first week they depend on their mother for food. They start to probe in dirt at three or four days after hatching.
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Red-breasted nuthatch.

On the suet feeder log in the yard.
We didn't see them through the winter but they have been back for a few weeks now.

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.
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Golden-crowned kinglet

Rondeau Provincial Park. Lots of these around not as many ruby-crowned.
A few hermit thrushes and other odds and ends. Maybe migration has started.
Regulus satrapa Each of the Golden-crowned Kinglet's nostrils is covered by a single, tiny feather. source -

False advertising.

The I'm injured, follow me, display of the killdeer. Rondeau Provincial Park, April 24, 2018.
Charadrius vociferus
A well-known denizen of dry habitats, the Killdeer is actually a proficient swimmer. Adults swim well in swift-flowing water, and chicks can swim across small streams.
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Virginia rail at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Park staff told me about a rail on Tulip Tree Trail. Another photographer spotted it for me. This is one of about 100 photos. Have to go through the rest to see if there is a better one.
Rallus limicola The forehead feathers of Virginia Rails are adapted to withstand wear and tear that results from pushing through dense and often sharp marsh vegetation.
As a group, rails have the highest ratio of leg muscles to flight muscles of any bird, which may explain their propensity to walk rather than fly.
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Eastern Phoebe.

Lots of phoebes are back and calling along the road. Watched 4 working a big puddle for flying bugs. Spring appears to be starting.

Sayornis phoebe
The Eastern Phoebe is a loner, rarely coming in contact with other phoebes. Even members of a mated pair do not spend much time together. They may roost together early in pair formation, but even during egg laying the female frequently chases the male away from her. source -

Ruby crowned-kinglet.

There are lots of golden-crowned kinglets around but no very many rubies. This one even showed off the crown which is usually hidden.
Regulus calendula The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a tiny bird that lays a very large clutch of eggs—there can be up to 12 in a single nest. Although the eggs themselves weigh only about a fiftieth of an ounce, an entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself. source -

In a small pond.

Near Rondeau Provincial Park, April 18, 2018. Female, non breeding red-breasted merganser.
Mergus serrator The Red-breasted Merganser breeds farther north and winters farther south than the other American mergansers.

The sapsuckers are back.

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers showed up yesterday and today we had three chasing each other around our "sapsucker tree". The really like an old half dead tree int the yard above all others. Ended up with a 6 woodpecker day. Only one I missed was a red-head, they aren't back yet. Pileated (heard), downy, hairy, flicker, red-bellied and the sapsucker. Sphyrapicus varius
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker makes two kinds of holes in trees to harvest sap. Round holes extend deep in the tree and are not enlarged. The sapsucker inserts its bill into the hole to probe for sap. Rectangular holes are shallower, and must be maintained continually for the sap to flow. The sapsucker licks the sap from these holes, and eats the cambium of the tree too. New holes usually are made in a line with old holes, or in a new line above the old.
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Purple finch, male.

Last April.
A nice breeding male purple finch at the pond one year ago. None around this year that look like this.
Haemorhous purpureus Birds that eat fruits are doing plants a favor by distributing their seeds later on. But finches eat the seeds themselves. Though they may not look the part, finches are predators. From a seed's point of view, these birds' hefty beaks mark the end of the line.
Birds that eat fruits are doing plants a favour by distributing their seeds later on. But finches eat the seeds themselves. Though they may not look the part, finches are predators. From a seed's point of view, these birds' hefty beaks mark the end of the line.
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The Pond.

Opened the pond two days ago and one of the early birds was a mourning dove. Soon warblers should be showing up.

Zenaida macroura Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day, or 71 calories on average. source -

Red-bellied woodpecker in the pine.

Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, April 2018. Shooting through the branches to get this woodpecker.

Melanerpes carolinus
A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.
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Common yellowthroat warbler.

Coming to a migration near you in the near future.
One of the many warblers to pass through and nest in Rondeau Provincial Park.

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.
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Snowy owl

It seems to be the year of the snowy owl. We were out the other day and found three, all fairly close to the road.
One young and two adults within 1 km.
This was the closest to the road. It was roosting on a tobacco wagon.
Bubo scandiacus Male Snowy Owls are barred with dark brown when they’re young and get whiter as they get older. Females keep some dark markings throughout their lives. Although the darkest males and the palest females are nearly alike in colour, the whitest birds—including the ones that played Harry Potter’s Hedwig—are always males and the most heavily barred ones are always females.
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Horned grebe.

What was that about a bad hair day?

Welcome to my world.
Horned grebe in a messy plumage. Podiceps auritus Like most grebes, the small chicks of the Horned Grebe frequently ride on the backs of their swimming parents. The young ride between the wings on the parent's back, and may even go underwater with them during dives. source -

American coot

This one came in reasonably close to shore and didn't seemed bothered that I was there.
Fulica americana The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. A close look at a coot—that small head, those scrawny legs—reveals a different kind of bird entirely. Their dark bodies and white faces are common sights in nearly any open water across the continent, and they often mix with ducks. But they’re closer relatives of the gangly Sandhill Crane and the nearly invisible rails than of Mallards or teal. source -

Female red-breasted merganser.

Mergus serrator

The Red-breasted Merganser breeds farther north and winters farther south than the other American mergansers.
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Drk eyed junco

A winter junco, Rondeau Provincial Park.
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.
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Golden tanager

One of the tanagers we saw in Ecuador in 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 tanagers