Showing posts from February, 2019

Black-crowned night heron.

Juvenile black-crowned night heron, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 17, 2018.
From the pontoon boat. Not overly concerned about us as we drifted by. Nycticorax nycticorax
A breeding Black-crowned Night-Heron will brood any chick that is placed in its nest. The herons apparently don’t distinguish between their own offspring and nestlings from other parents.
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Redhead duck.

Redhead, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Feb 21, 2019.
Canada geese and redheads were eating fish, a behaviour I was unaware of. They seemed to be shaking the fish and tearing off pieces rather than eating them whole. Normally they eat submerged aquatic plants, including green algae, muskgrass, hardstem bulrush, pondweed, and widgeongrass.
Aythya americana
The oldest known Redhead was 20 years and 7 months. It was banded in 1976 as a hatchling in Minnesota and shot in Texas in 1997. source -


Fly-by, Feb 21, 2019, Lakeview Marin, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Aythya americana Courting male Redheads perform a gymnastic “head throw” display, bending nearly in half with the neck bent far over the back until the head touches the tail. The bird then snaps its neck forward while giving a loud, catlike mee-ow call. source -

Great blue heron chicks.

Taken from our pontoon boat out on Rondeau Bay, May 30, 2017.
Ardea herodias Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision. source -


Canvasback flyby, Windsor, Ontario, Feb 22, 2019, Lakeview Marina. Had a chance to check out the ducks on the Detroit River.
Lots of Canvasbacks flying by.
Aythya valisineria
The species name of the Canvasback, valisineria, comes from Vallisneria americana, or wild celery, whose winter buds and stems are the duck’s preferred food during the nonbreeding period.
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This should be reported to The Ministry of Silly Walks.

Obviously a Monty Python fan.

Please sir, can I have some more?

We put out a handful or two of cracked corn for the birds. Squirrels and deer seem to get most of it. I think we could put out several pounds and the deer would still be looking for more.
Rondeau Provincial Park, February 19, 2019.
Odocoileus virginianus
White-tailed deer are named for their bright white underside of their tail, which they will raise when it is alarmed. Raising their tail signals to other deer that there is danger and provides a guide to follow away from danger.

Rare sight.

We don't see many large ships in close along our shore. The blurry patch on the bow is ice that is building up from the waves.
They normally stay much further out on a more direct route from the Welland Canal to the Detroit River while transiting Lake Erie. From what I could see I think it is an Algoma Central vessel working its way through the ice pack on the lake.

Horned lark.

Horned lark, Jan 27, 2019, near Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.
Eremophila alpestris
Female Horned Larks often collect “pavings”—pebbles, clods, corncobs, dung—which they place beside their nests, covering soil excavated from the nest cavity. The “paved” area resembles a sort of walkway, though the birds don’t seem to use it that way. While nobody fully understands the function of these pavings, they may help prevent collected nesting material from blowing away while the nest is under construction.
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Wilson's warbler.

Oct 4, 2018, Wilson's Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. A fall migrant at our small water feature. Looks like he is wearing a bad toupee.
Cardellina pusilla The majority of Wilson’s Warblers nest on the ground, except for populations in coastal California and Oregon where they nest up to 5 feet off the ground. These birds also tend to lay fewer eggs per nest compared to their ground-nesting relatives. source -

Red-breasted nuthatch.

Red-breasted nuthatch, sept 30, 2018, Rondeau Provincial Park.
Sitta canadensis The Red-breasted Nuthatch collects resin globules from coniferous trees and plasters them around the entrance of its nest hole. It may carry the resin in its bill or on pieces of bark that it uses as an applicator. The male puts the resin primarily around the outside of the hole while the female puts it around the inside. The resin may help to keep out predators or competitors. The nuthatch avoids the resin by diving directly through the hole. source -

House wren

Sept 30, 2018, House wren, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Troglodytes aedon A House Wren weighs about as much as two quarters, but it’s a fierce competitor for nest holes. Wrens will harass and peck at much larger birds, sometimes dragging eggs and young out of a nest site they want – even occasionally killing adult birds. source -

The Ice House

I think the birds are going to be asking for a furnace.

Creature from the Green Lagoon

Sorting through some old photos and came across this one. Sept 11/2012

American Bittern.

American Bittern, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 6, 2012.
A.K.A. - Stake-driver, Thunder-pumper Water-belcher, Mire-drum. 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. source -

Frozen art.

A piece of rustic sculpture in our front yard, a bird naturally, after the ice storm a few days ago.

A mid winter visitor.

Rusty Blackbird, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Feb 8, 2019.

Most of the blackbirds head south for the winter but today we had red-winged blackbirds, grackles, brown-headed cowbird and two rusty blackbirds in the yard today.
Rusties aren't rare in season but not often seen unless you are out in the marsh. Having them in the yard in February was a treat.
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. source -

Rain Crow.

This popped up today as a screen saver. Yellow-billed cuckoo, May 18, 2017, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Coccyzus americanus Yellow-Billed Cuckoos have a primal-sounding, croaking call that they often give in response to loud noises. Their tendency to call at the sound of thunder has led to their colloquial name, the “rain crow.” source -

Come on Red, straighten up that row.

Three redhead ducks and one female common goldeneye.
Erieau, Ontario, Canada, Jan 25, 2019.

Red-tailed hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk, near Blenheim, Ontario, Canada, Feb 3, 2019.
Another of the raptors we saw having a meal while we were looking for the short -eared owl.
Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels. source -

Sunday brunch.

American kestrel, near Blenheim sewage lagoons, Ontario, Canada, Feb 3, 2019.
We were out looking for short eared owls when we came across a red tailed hawk and a kestrel.
They were perched on the top of different solar panels having an afternoon snack.
No short eared owls.
Falco sparverius
It can be tough being one of the smallest birds of prey. Despite their fierce lifestyle, American Kestrels end up as prey for larger birds such as Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, American Crows, and Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, as well as rat snakes, corn snakes, and even fire ants.
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Wilson's snipe.

Near Blenheim, Ontario, Canada, Feb 2, 2019.
Not something you expect to see in southern Ontario in February.
Somehow it managed to survive the polar vortex which packed stunning wind chills.
And, yes, that is snow and ice around it.

Gallinago delicata Wilson’s Snipe look so stocky thanks in part to the extra-large pectoral (breast) muscles that make up nearly a quarter of the bird’s weight—the highest percent of all shorebirds. Thanks to their massive flight muscles this chunky sandpiper can reach speeds estimated at 60 miles an hour.
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Snowy owl.

A summer snowy, near Brigus Junction, Newfoundland, June 6, 2018.
Haven't been able to find many snowies this year so I'm posting one from last June.
Seen in a rehab area, healthy but unable to fly.
Bubo scandiacus
Thick feathers for insulation from Arctic cold make Snowy Owls North America’s heaviest owl, typically weighing about 4 pounds—one pound heavier than a Great Horned Owl and twice the weight of a Great Gray Owl (North America’s tallest owl).
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