Showing posts from 2019

Shirt-tailed bird.

Red-headed woodpecker, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 21, 2019.
We have had four red-headed woodpeckers in and around our yard for several days.
At least two are nesting in the large trees just off our lot. Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They may remove the eggs of other species from nests and nest boxes, destroy other birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest boxes and puncture the duck eggs.
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"Carpe Diem"

Carp spawning in shallow water at a local conservation area. It was hard to tell, but they appeared to be about 2 feet long.

High water levels are bringing the carp close to a viewing platform.
Cyprinus carpio(?)
Blackburnian warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 18, 2019.
Posing nicely on Tulip Tree Trail. Setophaga fusca
Tiny Blackburnian Warblers are strong fliers that travel between North and South America twice each year, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that they’re occasionally found very far off course. At times, “vagrants” have been recorded in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and the Azores off western Africa.
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Orange variant scarlet tanager.

Scarlet tanager, male orange variant, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 17, 2019.
This bird was reported as a orange variant but I can't find much on the different colouration.
Feel free to comment as to the difference from the standard colouration - in molt, true variation and so on.
Piranga olivacea

Red-eyed vireo.

Red-eyed vireo, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 15, 2019.
Vireo olivaceus The Red-eyed Vireo's magnetic compass guides migration between continents. But fat stores seem to influence migration paths when the birds encounter the Gulf of Mexico. Fatter birds head across the Gulf, while leaner birds hug the coastline or travel inland around the Gulf. Cloud cover also makes routes near land more likely. source -

Canada warbler.

Canada warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. May 13, 2019.
First spotted this one in the forsythia just outside the window. By the time I got the camera it was up in a tree.
Cardellina canadensis Canada Warblers fly more than 3,000 miles from their wintering grounds in South America to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada. source -

The Skulker

Yellow-breasted chat, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 14, 2019.
"Chats skulk silently in the shadows of dense thickets, gleaning insects and berries for food."
This one was true to that description. Icteria virens


Common Nighthawk, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 13, 2019.
Found by William Doelman, enjoyed by many.
Chordeiles minor The Common Nighthawk’s impressive booming sounds during courtship dives, in combination with its erratic, bat-like flight, have earned it the colloquial name of “bullbat.” The name “nighthawk” itself is a bit of a misnomer, since the bird is neither strictly nocturnal—it’s active at dawn and dusk—nor closely related to hawks. source -

Cerulean warbler.

Cerulean warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 11, 2019.
This cerulean warbler put on a show, down low, for over 4 hours allowing a large number of birders an opportunity to see it without getting warbler neck. Setophaga cerulea
The female Cerulean Warbler has an unusual way of leaving a nest after sitting on it a while. Some people call it "bungee-jumping." She drops from the side of the nest, keeping her wings folded to her sides, and opens her wings to fly only when she is well below the nest.
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An elegant warbler.

Black-throated blue warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 8, 2019.
Up close and personal.
Setophaga caerulescens
Male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers look so different that they were originally described as two different species.
source -…/Black-throated_Blue_Warbler

Brewster's warbler.

Blue-winged warbler hybrid "Brewster's Warbler", Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 10, 2019.

This makes the full set for the year, golden-winged, blue-winged, Lawrence's and Brewster's something I haven't done before.
Vermivora cyanoptera Hybrids tend to develop into one of two distinctive plumages, which early naturalists at first thought were separate species: "Brewster's Warbler” (which looks like a Blue-winged Warbler with a white chest), and "Lawrence's Warbler" (which looks like an all-yellow Golden-winged Warbler). source -…/Golden-winged_Warb…/overview

Screech owl.

Eastern screech owl, Rondeau Provincial Park, May 8, 2019.
In a tree far, far away. Seems to be its day roost.
Megascops asio The oldest recorded Eastern Screech-Owl was at least 14 years, 6 months old when it was found in Ontario in 1968, the same province where it had been banded in 1955. source -

Stepping out

Virginia Rail, Erieau, Ontario, May 8, 2019.
Big foot for a big step up and over the vegetation. 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.
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Nashville warbler

Nashville warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 7, 2019.
Cold, damp weather os bringing some warblers down low where they can be seen easier than usual. Oreothlypis ruficapilla
The Nashville Warbler sometimes uses porcupine quills as nest material.
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Hooded warbler, Rondeau provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 5, 2019.
A very co-operative hooded yesterday, normally the skulk around and making it difficult to photograph them. Setophaga citrina
The white spots on a Hooded Warbler's tail help them capture more insects, possibly by startling the insects into taking flight. An experimental study conducted in Pennsylvania found that birds with temporarily darkened tail feathers were less successful at capturing insects than those with white spots on their tails.
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Lawerence's warbler

Golden-winged warbler hybrid "Lawrence's Warbler", Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 4, 2019.
A rare find at the park, took lots of images, none of them close. Vermivora chrysoptera
Hybrids tend to develop into one of two distinctive plumages, which early naturalists at first thought were separate species: "Brewster's Warbler” (which looks like a Blue-winged Warbler with a white chest), and "Lawrence's Warbler" (which looks like an all-yellow Golden-winged Warbler).
source -…/Golden-winged_Warb…/overview
Golden-winged warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 3, 2019.
Went looking to try to refinda bird seen earlier in the day and actually found it.
Vermivora chrysoptera
Golden-winged parents may use trickery to protect their young from predators. Adults feeding nestlings have been observed repeatedly carrying food down other plant stems away from the next, possibly as a decoy, when they detected humans nearby.
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Colour in the yard.

Rose-breasted grosbeak, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 1, 2019.
Rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, Ruby-throated hummingbirds all in the yard today.
Finally some colour. Also had a big push of warblers in the park but they didn't stay, kept flying north. Pheucticus ludovicianus
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks build such flimsy nests that eggs are often visible from below through the nest bottom.
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Clay-coloured sparrow, Rondeau Provincial PArk, April 30, 2019.

Anne spotted this sparrow in the yard in a flock of chipping sparrows. Not one we see very often. Taken through the kitchen window.
Spizella pallida Clay-colored Sparrow young leave the nest before they can fly. They hop to the ground from their nest in a shrub and run an average of 40 feet to seek cover in a thicket, where their parents will continue to feed them. They won’t fly for the first time for another 6 to 8 days. source -

The fish eater,

Common Loon, Erieau, Ontario, Canada, April 27, 2019.
Common loon in the boat basin where we dock our pontoon. It didn't seem concerned about the boat and proceeded to position the fish before diving to eat it.
Gavia immer Loons are agile swimmers, but they move pretty fast in the air, too. Migrating loons have been clocked flying at speeds more than 70 mph. source -

A long distance wanderer

Hermit warbler, Thickson's Woods, Whitby, Ontario, Canada, April 28, 2019.

Ten hours and 700km, 435 miles to see this very rare bird.
Normally the hermit warblers range is the west coast of the US and Mexico.

Images are heavily cropped as the bird was far away on private property.

Setophaga occidentalis

Lift off

Horned grebe, Erieau, Ontario, Canada, April 27, 2019.
Went looking for the eared grebe at Erieau, which I saw, got this photo off the horned grebe from the pontoon. The grebe was going left, I was going right and the boat was rocking. Podiceps auritus
The oldest recorded Horned Grebe was at least 5 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in the Northwest Territories in 2007, the same place where it had been banded in 2002.
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Eastern Towhee, Rondeau Provincial Park, April 26, 2019. I've been hearing towhees for weeks and had a few glimpses but today we had two in the yard and they weren't playing nicely.
Pipilo erythrophthalmus Eastern Towhees tend to be pretty solitary, and they use a number of threat displays to tell other towhees they’re not welcome. You may see contentious males lift, spread, or droop one or both wings, fan their tails, or flick their tails to show off the white spots at the corners. Studies have shown that male towhees tend to defend territories many times larger than needed simply to provide food. source -

The Guardian.

The adult great horned owl was sitting high in a nearby tree watching over the chick I posted yesterday. Chatham, Ontario, April 24, 2019.
Bubo virginianus The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005. source -


Great horned owl, Chatham, Ontario, April 24, 2019. There are two but one was hidden.
Bubo virginianus When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey. source -

Mallard in a piling.

Windsor, Ontario, April 21, 219.
Earlier in the week this mallard had a roommate, a wood duck.
By the time I got to the site it was just the mallard. It seemed to be rubbing its bill on the wooden piling over and over. Not sure what that was about.
Anas platyrhynchos The oldest known Mallard was a male, and at least 27 years, 7 months old when he was shot in Arkansas in 2008. He had been banded in Louisiana in 1981. source -

Grebe in a ditch

On the way to look for the cinnamon teal - got it - we saw this horned grebe in a ditch beside the road. It appeared to have enough room to take off when it was ready. Near Hillman Marsh, Ontario, Canada. April 21, 2019.
Podiceps auritus A sleeping or resting Horned Grebe puts its neck on its back with its head off to one side and facing forward. It keeps one foot tucked up under a wing and uses the other one to maneuver in the water. Having one foot up under a wing makes it float with one "high" side and one "low" side. source -

Ecuadorian flashback.

Pale-mandibled aracari near Tandayapa, Ecuador, March 18, 2016. Pteroglossus erythropygius

It must be spring, the butterflies are back.

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, April 17, 2019

Can you hear me now?

Common Grackle displaying. April 11, 2019, near Cornwall, Ontario. Amazing how they puff up. The bird on top of the feeder is a non puffed up grackle.
Quiscalus quiscula Grackles have a hard keel on the inside of the upper mandible that they use for sawing open acorns. Typically they score the outside of the narrow end, then bite the acorn open. source -

Grey wolf.

Grey wolf. Parc Omega, Quebec, April 13, 2019.

Snow goose migration.

We've been chasing snow geese.
This is part of a flock of snow geese that we saw in Eastern Ontario near St. Isidore.
Thousands and thousands more were in the sky in every direction. Absolutely amazing.
2,250 kilometers, over 2,900 photos. Anser caerulescens
Snow Geese make epic journeys by air, but they are impressive on foot, too. Within the first three weeks of hatching, goslings may walk up to 50 miles with their parents from the nest to a more suitable brood-rearing area. Molting Snow Geese can outrun many predators.
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Red-breasted merganser

Erieau, Ontario, Canada, April 9, 2019.
Mergus serrator Red-breasted Mergansers need to eat 15 to 20 fish per day, which researchers suggest means they need to dive underwater 250–300 times per day or forage for 4–5 hours to meet their energy needs. source -