Showing posts from March, 2019

Where's Spring?

American Goldfinch, March 31, 2019, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. An early April Fools joke, spring one day, winter the next.
Spinus tristis Paired-up goldfinches make virtually identical flight calls; goldfinches may be able to distinguish members of various pairs by these calls. source -

Male blue-winged teal.

Blue-winged teal, March 30, 2018, near Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
In a flooded field next to the road. Spatula discors
The Blue-winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in fall.
source -…/Blue-winged_Teal/overview

A spring promise.

Northern parula, May 10, 2018, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Hopefully they will be here soon. Setophaga americana Some bird names are hard to pronounce, and the Northern Parula has started its share of lively debates. Most people say "par-OOH-la" or "PAR-eh-la," while others say "PAR-you-la." source -

Golden-crowned kinglet

March 28, 2019, near Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Trying to photograph kinglets is like trying to photograph popping popcorn. Regulus satrapa
Each of the Golden-crowned Kinglet's nostrils is covered by a single, tiny feather.
source -

Look Ma, no cavities!

Herring Gulls, June 2, 2018, Newfoundland, Canada.
Larus argentatus
The oldest recorded Herring Gull was at least 29 years, 3 months old when it was seen in the wild in Michigan in 2015 and identified by its band. It had been banded in Wisconsin in 1986.
source -

Just hangin' around.

Tufted titmouse, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, March 19, 2019.
A regular in the yard, we seem to have at least 5 of them bouncing in and out of the feeders.
Baeolophus bicolor Unlike many chickadees, Tufted Titmouse pairs do not gather into larger flocks outside the breeding season. Instead, most remain on the territory as a pair. Frequently one of their young from that year remains with them, and occasionally other juveniles from other places will join them. Rarely a young titmouse remains with its parents into the breeding season and will help them raise the next year's brood. source -

Takee a deep breathe.

Mourning dove, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, March 19, 2019. It was puffing up prior to doing its mating call. Neck size increase was amazing.
Zenaida macroura Mourning Doves tend to feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. Once they’ve filled it (the record is 17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop!), they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal. source -

Spring is just a hop, skip and jump away.

Northern Cardinal, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, March 19, 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 -

Ring-necked duck.

Ring-necked duck, Erieau, Ontario, Canada, March 17, 2019
You can actually see the ring on the female ring-necked duck. It is difficult to see on the male. Looks like it should be called the ring-billed duck.
Aythya collaris During fall migration, Ring-necked Ducks can form immense flocks. Several hundred thousand congregate each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice. source -


A pair of great blue herons on Rondeau Bay today, March 17, 2019.
Difficult to get a clear image as there were bits of cattails and phragmities in the way. They were doing mutual grooming which I am guessing is courting behaviour.
Ardea herodias Great Blue Herons congregate at fish hatcheries, creating potential problems for the fish farmers. A study found that herons ate mostly diseased fish that would have died shortly anyway. Sick fish spent more time near the surface of the water where they were more vulnerable to the herons. source -

Wood duck.

Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Feb 5, 2018.
Lots of wood ducks in the area but they aren't co-operating so, here is one from the archives. This one walked through our yard. Aix sponsa
Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.
source -

Pied-billed grebe.

Rondeau, Ontario, Canada, March 13, 2019. First one I've seen this year.
Lots of duck species today - wood, mallard, wigeon, pintail, hooded merganser, red-breasted merganser and lots of tundra swans.
Podilymbus podiceps Pied-billed Grebes can trap water in their feathers, giving them great control over their buoyancy. They can sink deeply or stay just at or below the surface, exposing as much or as little of the body as they wish. The water-trapping ability may also aid in the pursuit of prey by reducing drag in turbulent water. source -


White winged scoter, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Feb 18, 2018. This is one duck you don't want to meet in a dark alley.
Melanitta deglandi Although the White-winged Scoter winters primarily along the coasts, small numbers winter on the eastern Great Lakes. Populations on the Great Lakes may have declined during the 1970s, but appear to be increasing in response to the invasion of the zebra mussel, a new and abundant food source. source -

They're back.

Large numbers of Tundra swans have arrived at Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, March 12, 2019. This is a small portion of the swans roosting on the ice. They were about a mile out.

Cygnus columbianus
Based on banding records, the oldest known Tundra Swan was a female and at least 23 years, 7 months old when she was identified by her band in the wild, in Ohio. She had been banded in the same state.
source -

Blue-grey gnatcatcher.

Blue-grey gnatcatcher, May 15, 2018, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. I was doing a search of my photos for cat images. Everything that has cat as part of a key word came up, so you are getting a gnatCATcher image.
Polioptila caerulea The nesting range of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers has been shifting northward since the early twentieth century. Over the last quarter of that century, the shift was about 200 miles, in concert with increasing average temperatures. source -

American wigeon.

American wigeon, Nov 1, 2016, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The bay is still frozen so I'm going through old photos and I came across this female wigeon.
Mareca americana American Wigeons eat a higher proportion of plant matter than any other dabbling duck thanks to their short gooselike bill. The shortness of the bill helps exert more force at the tip so they can pluck vegetation from fields and lawns with ease. source -

Red-tailed hawk.

Red-tailed hawk, March 25, 2017, Canadian Raptor Conservancy, Ontario. A rainy day 2 years ago for the photo session at the Conservancy. Captive raised birds free flying.
Buteo jamaicensis Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that. source -

Fly over.

Tundra swan, March 16, 2017 near Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Saw a flight of about 50 tundras yesterday afternoon but didn't have a photo opportunity.
Cygnus columbianus Lewis and Clark provided the first written description of the Tundra Swan during their expedition to the West, where the birds’ whistle-like calls prompted Meriwether Lewis to dub them “whistling swans.” source -

The nutcracker.

Blue jay making short work of a sunflower seed.
Cyanocitta cristata The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue colour is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs. source -


Landing gear down, full flaps. Canvasback duck, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Feb 21, 2019.
I think of duck landings as controlled chaos, if there is such a thing.
Aythya valisineria In the world of ducks, females abide by the saying, “don't put all your eggs in one basket.” Female Canvasbacks sometimes lay eggs in another Canvasback's nest; and Redheads and Ruddy Ducks sometimes lay their eggs in a Canvasback's nest. source -

Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Northern cardinal, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, March 4, 2019.
This year we seem to have a lot of cardinals, up to a dozen at at time. Real pleasure to watch out the living room window. Cardinalis cardinalis
Only a few female North American songbirds sing, but the female Northern Cardinal does, and often while sitting on the nest. This may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male.
source -

Still looking for spring.

Red-eyed vireo, May 5, 2018, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Vireo olivaceus
Some find the Red-eyed Vireo's song unending and monotonous. Bradford Torrey wrote in 1889, "I have always thought that whoever dubbed this vireo the 'preacher' could have had no very exalted opinion of the clergy." But each male sings 30 or more different songs, and neighbours have unique repertoires. Over 12,500 different Red-eyed Vireo song types have been recorded.
source -

Golden-winged warbler.

Golden-winged Warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Sept 5, 2017.
Can you tell I'm impatient for spring to get here? 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.
source -
Coming soon to a forest near you.
American Redstart, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, May 20, 2017. Tired of winter, looking forward to the migration. Setophaga ruticilla
Like the Painted Redstart and other “redstarts” of the Neotropics, the American Redstart flashes the bright patches in its tail and wings. This seems to startle insect prey and give the birds an opportunity to catch them. Though these birds share a common name, they are not closely related to each other.
source -

Dark-eyed junco

Junco, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, Oct 7, 2017.
Another pond visitor.
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 -