Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Slip sliding away.

Image
Red phalarope and a dunlin at Keith McLeans Conservation Area, Ontario, Canada, Dec 7, 2019.
Unusual for this late in the year. Later they were feeding at the edge of the ice where some melting had occurred. Phalaropus fulicarius - red phalarope
Calidris alpina - dunlin

Northern flicker

Image
Northern Flicker, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, July 23, 2018.
You know when you have an itch that's just out of reach?
Colaptes auratus The oldest known yellow-shafted form of the Northern Flicker was a male and was at least 9 years, 2 months old when he was found in Florida.

Just when you thought it was safe to back into the water.

Image
Common Garter Snake, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, April 30, 2011

Going for a little swim.

Thamnophis sirtalis
The common garter snake is a species of natricine snake, which is indigenous to North America and found widely across the continent. Most common garter snakes have a pattern of yellow stripes on a black, brown or green background, and their average total length is about 55 cm, with a maximum total length of about 137 cm. The average body mass is 150 g.
Common garter snakes are also the state reptile of Massachusetts.

First snowy of the season.

Image
Snowy Owl, near Shrewsbury, Ontario, Canada, Dec 1, 2019.
Would have been better if he was closer but I will take what I can get.
Bubo scandiacus The oldest-known Snowy Owl was a female, and at least 23 years, 10 months old when she was recaptured in 2015 during banding operations in Montana. She had been banded in Massachusetts in 1992.

Eastern towhee.

Image
Eastern Towhee, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Nov 5, 2019.
A female or immature eastern towhee in the pond earlier this month.
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.

A lifer

Image
Red phalarope, Nov 24, 2019, Erieau, Ont.

It is getting harder to get a life bird without traveling long distances.

This red phalarope was an exception.

phalaropus fulicarius 
A brilliant red bird with a white face and yellow bill in summer, the Red Phalarope becomes a subdued gray-and-white speck on the open ocean in the nonbreeding season.
Red Phalaropes sometimes gather around gray and bowhead whales to feed in the plumes of muddy water the great mammals stir up. Whalers once called Red Phalaropes “bowhead birds” and looked for the flocks when searching for whales.


Sword-billed hummingbird

Image
Quito, Ecuador, March 16, 2016.
From the archives.
Ensifera ensifera This is the only bird species with a bill length that exceeds the body length.

Brown creeper

Image
Brown creeper, Nov 14, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
A slightly grainy image of a brown creeper having a bath. First time I have seen one in the water.
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. source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Image
What are you doing here? Baltimore Oriole, Nov 13, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
He's been around the yard for 3 days now feeding on peanuts.
Dug out a grape jelly feeder hoping he will fuel up and move out. If you put out jelly use small amounts so they don't foul their feathers.
Survived a very cold night, supposed to warm up starting Thursday. Icterus galbula
Baltimore Orioles sometimes use their slender beaks to feed in an unusual way, called “gaping”: they stab the closed bill into soft fruits, then open their mouths to cut a juicy swath from which they drink with their brushy-tipped tongues.

What a difference a day can make.

Image
Birds are hiding in the snow laden hedge, water is still flowing in the water feature.
Rondeau Provincial Park, Nov 12, 2019, Ontario, Canada.

Another through the window image.

Image
Eastern bluebird, Nov 9, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Sialia sialis Eastern Bluebirds eat mostly insects, wild fruit and berries. Occasionally, Eastern Bluebirds have also been observed capturing and eating larger prey items such as shrews, salamanders, snakes, lizards and tree frogs.

Another late visitor.

Image
A poor photo through the window of a Baltimore Oriole, Nov 7, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
I don't recall having an oriole in the yard this late in the year.
He checked out the peanuts then flew off. Icterus galbula
Unlike robins and many other fruit-eating birds, Baltimore Orioles seem to prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit. Orioles seek out the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest-purple grapes, and will ignore green grapes and yellow cherries even if they are ripe.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A late visitor.

Image
Red-headed woodpecker, Nov 5, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
According to our records this is the latest that we have had a red-headed woodpecker in the yard.
It is very cautious and it takes two or three passes before it will settle on the feeder.
Through the Wonderful Wildlife Window. Melanerpes erythrocephalus
The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store food, and it is the only one known to cover the stored food with wood or bark. It hides insects and seeds in cracks in wood, under bark, in fence posts, and under roof shingles. Grasshoppers are regularly stored alive, but wedged into crevices so tightly that they cannot escape.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Hermit thrush.

Image
Hermit thrush, Nov 4, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Late in the day we had a flurry of birds, including this hermit thrush, coming into the water feature in the yard.
Catharus guttatus Hermit Thrushes sometimes forage by “foot quivering,” where they shake bits of grass with their feet to get insects. They also typically begin to quiver their feet as they relax after seeing a flying predator. Some scientists think the quivering happens as the bird responds to conflicting impulses to resume foraging or continue taking cover. source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Black and white warbler.

Image
Black and white warbler, sept 29, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
The birds are using the pond as a splash pad, everybody gets wet. 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.

Black throated blue warbler.

Image
Black-throated blue warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 8 2019.
Setophaga caerulescens On the wintering grounds males and females use slightly different habitats. The male is most common in forest at lower to middle elevations, while the female uses shrubbier habitat at higher elevations.

Rusty blackbird.

Image
Rusty Blackbird, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 22, 2019.
We have a flock of approximately 500 blackbirds drop into our yard several times a day.
Along with grackles, redwings and cowbirds there have been a few rusty blackbirds. Euphagus carolinus
The Rusty Blackbird feeds mostly on insects and plant matter, but it sometimes attacks and eats other birds. It has been documented feeding on sparrows, robins, and snipe, among others.

Purple sandpiper.

Image
Purple sandpiper, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 19, 2019.
Got a call from a fellow birder of a cooperative purple sandpiper on the beach. It allowed us to get close and only flew when an eagle buzzed the beach. it returned a few minutes later.
Calidris maritima The Purple Sandpiper has the northernmost winter range of any shorebird.

Fall migration.

Image
Swainson's Thrush, Oct 14, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Catharus ustulatus Territorial disputes between males often take the form of singing duels, with song volume and frequency escalating until the combatants’ physical exertions are clearly evident. During these contests, rivals very occasionally invert their customary melody so that it spirals downward in pitch. A sing-off can lead to a chase and even occasionally to physical attack

Pine warbler.

Image
Pine Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 14, 2019.

Had a swarm of birds come into the water feature, 5 species of warbler, 3 or more sparrows and the usual suspects.
Setophaga pinus The Pine Warbler is the only warbler that eats large quantities of seeds, primarily those of pines. This seed-eating ability means Pine Warblers sometimes visit bird feeders, unlike almost all other warblers.

Walking stick.

Image
Northern Walkingstick, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 11, 2019.
Haven't seen many walking sticks this year.
Anne spotted this one on the siding of the cottage.
Rotated image 90 degrees.
Diapheromera femorata

From the archives.

Image
Dragonfly, skimmer family, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Aug 23, 2019.
Not out much right now so this is from the archives.

Brown thrasher.

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 29, 2019.
Another visitor to the water in the yard. Migration is slow and spotty but there are birds showing up. Toxostoma rufum
An aggressive defender of its nest, the Brown Thrasher is known to strike people and dogs hard enough to draw blood.

Eastern towhee

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 29, 2019.
I hear this species much more often than I see one. 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.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 26, 2019.
A pleasant surprise at the pond yesterday.
Melospiza lincolnii The Lincoln's Sparrow shows less geographical variation in song than any other species in its genus, perhaps a result of high dispersal rates among juveniles.

Northern Cardinal

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 20, 2019.
Looking ratty during its molt. Cardinalis cardinalis
A perennial favorite among people, the Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven states.

Peregrine falcon.

Image
Peregrine Falcon, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 20, 2019.
Managed to get out on the pontoon for a short cruise along the south beach to look for shore birds.
Saw a few sanderlings and gulls but nothing else.
We came upon this peregrine grooming on a snag which may have had something to do with the shortage of small birds. Falco peregrinus
The Peregrine Falcon is a very fast flier, averaging 40-55 km/h (25-34 mph) in traveling flight, and reaching speeds up to 112 km/h (69 mph) in direct pursuit of prey. During its spectacular hunting stoop from heights of over 1 km (0.62 mi), the peregrine may reach speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) as it drops toward its prey.

Sora

Image
Sora, Chatham Kent, Ontario, Canada, Sept 18, 2019. Went looking for a life bird which I missed, but it was still a nice outing. Large number of soras running through the grasses. This one stopped long enough to ge its photo.

Porzana carolina Soras might not look like they can fly long distances with their stubby wings and chubby bodies, but they fly hundreds of miles each spring and fall to wetlands in Central and South America.
Image
A two fer.
Magnolia Warbler, Setophaga magnolia and a Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica, in the little water feature in the yard. Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 16, 2019.
More warblers moving through the yard, still in small numbers.

Black throated green warbler.

Image
Black throated. green warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 11, 2019. Another of the fall warblers stopping for a break in the yard.
Setophaga virens In areas where multiple species of warblers breed close together, Black-throated Green Warblers are generally dominant to Blackburnian Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Northern Parulas, but subordinate to Magnolia Warblers.

The nectar theif

Image
Tennessee Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 14, 2019.
A pond visitor late this afternoon.
Leiothlypis peregrina
The Tennessee Warbler is a common nectar "thief" on its wintering grounds in tropical forests. Instead of probing a flower from the front to get the nectar, and spreading pollen on its face in the process, the warbler pierces the flower tube at its base and gets the reward without performing any pollination.

Preying mantis.

Image
Chinese Mantis, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 13, 2019. Anne found this 3 inch long mantis on her walk and took me to it, just around the corner from our place.

The Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is a species of praying mantis native to Asia and the nearby islands. In 1896 this species was accidentally introduced by a nurseryman at Mt. Airy near Philadelphia, United States

He has nothing to say.

Image
Mute Swan, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario , Canada, August 30, 2019.
Seen while out cruising the marsh edge.
Cygnus olor
All of the Mute Swans in North America descended from swans imported from Europe from the mid 1800s through early 1900s to adorn large estates, city parks, and zoos. Escapees established breeding populations and are now established in the Northeast, Midatlantic, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

Purple martins.

Image
Mitchell's Bay, Ontario, Canada, Aug 31, 2019 We were invited to watch purple martins come into a roost. At first there were a few and then there were more than a few. This is a small segment of the sky, they were coming from all directions.

Estimated at between 125,000 and 150,000 birds. Absolutely amazing.

Migratory Grasshopper

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. In the front yard, another of Anne's finds. She is into inaturalist and inspects every plant at least once a day.
Melanoplus sanguinipes Is a species of spur-throated grasshopper in the family Acrididae. Other common names include the lesser migratory grasshopper and red-legged grasshopper. It is found in the Caribbean and North America.

American Bittern

Image
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Aug 29 2019.
Seen while out on the pontoon. Also had several shore birds, kingfisher, eagle, sora and least bittern.
Botaurus lentiginosus The American Bittern's yellow eyes can focus downward, giving the bird's face a comically startled, cross-eyed appearance. This visual orientation presumably enhances the bird's ability to spot and capture prey. The eyes turn orange during breeding season.