September 20, 2017

Full size, no crop.

No crop, this is right out of the camera.

This isn't cropped, we actually got within 5 feet of this least bittern, by turning off the motor and drifting up to the bird.
It is a fairly small bird at about 11 to 14 inches in length. For comparison an American robin is 9 to 11 inches.

It was out in the open on a weed mat and didn't pay any attention to us.

Ixobrychus exilis
Thanks to its habit of straddling reeds, the Least Bittern can feed in water that would be too deep for the wading strategy of other herons.
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September 18, 2017

Lethal weapon

Great blue heron.
We were heading to the boat and notice this heron standing on the dock in front of us.
Since it was cooperating I took his picture.
That bill is a wicked looking weapon.

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.
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September 17, 2017

Black-crowned night heron

Hip Deep.

An immature black crowned night heron up to its belly at the edge of the marsh.
It watched us for a while and then disappeared into the reeds.

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.
source -…/Black-crowned_N…/lifehistory

September 15, 2017

Belted kingfisher.

At the corner of the marina and the main channel are two old pilings.

Spotted this kingfisher monitoring the water nearby.
Just couldn't get close enough for a real close up, this photo is heavily cropped.
Megaceryle alcyon
Belted Kingfishers are stocky, large-headed birds with a shaggy crest on the top and back of the head and a straight, thick, pointed bill. Their legs are short and their tails are medium length and square-tipped.
source -…/Belted_Kingfish…/lifehistory

September 13, 2017

An embarrassment of riches.

We don't often see ovenbirds and then usually just glimpses.
Today was different, we had one visit and perch in the open.

I have so many good photos I didn't know which one to pick.
This is one of the best ovenbird photos I took.

Seiurus aurocapilla
On its breeding ground, the Ovenbird divides up the forest environment with the other warblers of the forest floor. The Ovenbird uses the uplands and moderately sloped areas, the Worm-eating Warbler uses the steep slopes, and the Louisiana Waterthrush and the Kentucky Warbler use the low-lying areas.
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September 11, 2017

Philadelphia vireo.

Another of the pond visitors, a Philadelphia Vireo.

Unlike most birds that come to our pond vireos do a splash and dash bath.
They sit in the bush above the pond, fly down, hit the water and go straight back up to the bush.

Vireo philadelphicus 
A bird of young deciduous woods, the Philadelphia Vireo is the most northernly breeding species of vireo. It is often overlooked because its more common relative, the Red-eyed Vireo lives in the same areas and gets most of the attention.
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Northern waterthrush, Rondeau Provincial Park.
An unusual to the yard and pond.

This one stayed all day but was hard to see the majority of the time. They always seem to be behind a bush or clump of vegetation.

Parkesia noveboracensis
The Northern Waterthrush is territorial in both winter and summer. On the breeding grounds the male proclaims its territory with its loud, ringing song. On the wintering grounds it uses its "chink" calls, together with chasing and fighting, to keep out intruders.
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September 09, 2017

Canada warbler, eh.

First time in the yard this year, at least that we have seen.
Once again Anne spotted the bird moving through the top of the hedge.

Cardellina canadensis

A colorful, active warbler of northern forests, the Canada Warbler spends little time on its breeding grounds. It is one of the last warblers to arrive north in the spring, and one of the first to leave in the fall, heading early to its South American wintering grounds.
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September 07, 2017

Close up

This ruby-throated hummingbird landed about 5 feet from me.
I thought it would feed on the lone bell flower that was still open.

Archilochus colubris

September 06, 2017

Pink katydid, Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Anne spotted this unusual katydid in the front yard.
This is the second pink version we have seen over the years.
The survival rate on pink katydids is low as they are easily seen by predators.

Katydid Tettigoniidae

September 05, 2017

Thirteen warbler species in the yard today.

Best one?
Golden winged warbler, first for the yard and the first time I've gotten a decent photo.

Vermivora chrysoptera
Golden-winged Warblers often hybridize with the closely related Blue-winged Warbler. The Blue-winged Warbler has been expanding its range, and hybridization has been one element in the sharp decline of Golden-winged Warblers.
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Move along. There's nothing to see here.

At least that's what this American bittern is hoping.
We were out on the pontoon yesterday and had a very good day.
American bittern, least bittern and a sora.
Throw in a black bellied plover and other shore birds and it turned into a good day along the marsh and beach.

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 -…/American_Bittern/lifehistory

September 02, 2017

Peregrine Falcon

We were out on the pontoon looking for shorebirds when we spotted a peregrine falcon floating over the trees looking for a meal.

He swooped around for about a minute before moving on.

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.
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August 31, 2017

Wilson's warbler

The fall warbler migration is underway in our yard.
This is a male Wilson's warbler waiting its turn at the pond.

Cardellina pusilla
Wilson’s Warblers dance around willow and alder thickets, often near water, to the rapid beat of their chattering song. This bright yellow warbler with a black cap is one of the smallest warblers in the Canada and among the most recognizable. They rarely slow down, dashing between shrubs, grabbing insects from one leaf after another, and popping up on low perches to sing.
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August 28, 2017

Black-crowned night heron

While out on the pontoon we came across this night heron feeding along the edge of the marsh.

Nycticorax nycticorax
Young Black-crowned Night-Herons leave the nest at the age of 1 month but cannot fly until they are 6 weeks old. They move through the vegetation on foot, joining up in foraging flocks at night.


Hickory tussock caterpillar.

Interestingly these caterpillars are poisonous.
I found this one dangling from a silk(?) thread like a spider.
Difficult photo as it was swinging in the wind.

If handled the caterpillar can leave behind venom that can cause a rash similar to that caused by nettles or poison ivy. Symptoms can range from slight reddening of the skin to a burning sensation with swelling and pain. Some people may experience an allergic reaction which could include nausea.

August 25, 2017

Spring peeper

Anne found this spring peeper in the front garden. It is about 1.5 inches long and it was down in the plants.

Pseudacris crucifer
The blood chemistry of the spring peeper allows it to withstand temperatures up to a few degrees below zero without freezing to death, which explains why this species is one of the earliest frogs to begin calling in the spring. The female lays between 800 and 1,000 eggs, singly or in small groups. The tadpoles hatch in one to two weeks and complete their metamorphosis within three months.
source -…/reptiles_…/spring_peeper.php

August 24, 2017

Who ate the orchid.


Katydid Tettigoniidae
Also called the “northern katydid,” the true katydid is in the family of long-horned grasshoppers, though it is more closely related to crickets. The species is leaf green and grows to one and a half to two inches in length.
Found from Ontario south to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas, the true katydid primarily inhabits the crowns of deciduous trees in forests, parks and yards. Because it only inhabits deciduous trees and is mostly flightless, populations are discontinuous.
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August 23, 2017

First year Cape May warbler.

This warbler has been hanging around the yard for 4-5 days now.
Seems to like grapes and peanut butter suet.
Maybe it would like a p&j sandwich.

Setophaga tigrina
Striking in appearance but poorly understood, the species spends its winters in the West Indies, collecting nectar with its unique curled, semitubular tongue.

August 21, 2017

First step, get a foot out/up.

Checked in with the turtle recovery team and there were a number of turtles hatching out including this soft shelled turtle.

Apalone spinifera

In Canada, females of this species may take more than 10 years to mature. Spiny softshells mate in spring, usually in deep water, and nest in June and July in open sandy or gravelly areas close to water. Females lay up to 36 eggs, though the typical clutch size is around 20

August 19, 2017

Banding hummingbirds.

We hummingbird banders at the cottage yesterday.
Caught and banded 6 ruby throated hummingbirds.
This will give you an idea of just how small a hummingbird band is.

August 14, 2017

Snapping turtle

First turtle hatchling release of the season for me.
These are two snapping turtle hatchling.

Chelydra serpentina

In Ontario, females do not begin to breed until they are 17 to 19 years old. They dig a nest in late May or June in an open area, usually one with loose, sandy soil. The nest site is often the side of a road, an embankment or a shoreline, but the females will use almost any area they can excavate. A single clutch usually consists of between 40 and 50 eggs, which hatch in the fall. Hatchlings are two to three centimetres in length. The incubation temperature of the eggs determines the gender of the hatchlings.

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August 12, 2017

Northern Flicker.

He was sitting in a large tree about 100 feet up.
I thought it would come down to the pond for a drink.
It didn't.

Colaptes auratus
Northern Flickers generally nest in holes in trees like other woodpeckers. Occasionally, they’ve been found nesting in old, earthen burrows vacated by Belted Kingfishers or Bank Swallows.
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August 10, 2017

Happy Hour.

Mourning Dove, Rondeau Provincial Park, Aug 6, 2017
During the day mourning doves come in and have baths.
Later in the evening they just come in for a drink.

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

August 03, 2017

Ruby throated hummingbird.

Took this shot yesterday(?) for my friend Eileen in Scotland.

Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are eastern North America’s only breeding hummingbird. But in terms of area, this species occupies the largest breeding range of any North American hummingbird.

August 01, 2017

Cedar waxwing.

Sat out in the yard and had an immature cedar waxwing come in. Had a bath and then continued on his way.

Bombycilla cedrorum
Many birds that eat a lot of fruit separate out the seeds and regurgitate them, but the Cedar Waxwing lets them pass right through. Scientists have used this trait to estimate how fast waxwings can digest fruits.
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July 30, 2017

Not much freeboard.

Not made for rough water.

Spotted this aquacar at Erieau Marina today. They were doing fine until the got to the main channel and encountered rough waters and inconsiderate boaters.
Not much freeboard on this contraption.
The turned back and cruised the marina before driving away.

July 26, 2017

Blanding's turtle.

Got out on the pontoon today, I even got to drive.
One of the things we saw was this Blanding's turtle sitting at the edge of the marsh.

Emydoidea blandingii
Blanding's Turtles live in shallow water, usually in large wetlands and shallow lakes with lots of water plants.

It is not unusual, though, to find them hundreds of metres from the nearest water body, especially while they are searching for a mate or traveling to a nesting site.

Blanding's Turtles hibernate in the mud at the bottom of permanent water bodies from late October until the end of April.
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July 24, 2017

Spring peeper.

Anne spotted this tiny spring peeper on a wire fence in the front yard.
Tiny thing, maybe 1"(2.4cm) in length.
It moved around from plant to plant.

Pseudacris crucifer
The tiny spring peeper is tan or light brown in colour with a darker X-shaped marking on the back. The largest peeper on record was a mere 3.7 centimetres long. The breeding call of this species is a single, loud, high-pitched peep repeated over and over. A full chorus can be deafening up close and can be heard over a kilometre away. In large choruses, peepers will also trill, advising other males to keep their distance.

July 23, 2017

Eastern Kingbird, Rondeau Provincial Park, June 2017

Delivering fruit to its young, probably a raspberry.

Tyrannus tyrannus
Parent Eastern Kingbirds feed their young for about seven weeks. Because of this relatively long period of dependence, a pair generally raises only one brood of young per nesting season.
source -…/Eastern_Kingbird/lifehistory

July 21, 2017

Red-headed woodpecker, immature.

Most of the adults have stopped feeding young birds.
It is fun to watch the youngsters try to figure out the feeders.
This is an immature redheaded woodpecker.

Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Immatures have gray-brown heads, and the white wing patches show rows of black spots near the trailing edge.
Adults have bright-red heads, white underparts, and black backs with large white patches in the wings, making the lower back appear all white when perched
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July 18, 2017

Immature male red winged blackbird.

Enjoying a bath on a hot day.
Not a large selection of birds around the yard these days but their is lots of activity.

Agelaius phoeniceus
Red-winged Blackbirds roost in flocks in all months of the year. In summer small numbers roost in the wetlands where the birds breed. Winter flocks can be congregations of several million birds, including other blackbird species and starlings. Each morning the roosts spread out, traveling as far as 50 miles to feed, then re-forming at night.
source -…/Red-winged_Blac…/lifehistory

July 17, 2017

When nature gives you wrens, you post wrens.

This is a Carolina Wren in the hedge in bad light.
Yes excuses, excuses.

Thryothorus ludovicianus

A pair bond may form between a male and a female at any time of the year, and the pair will stay together for life. Members of a pair stay together on their territory year-round, and forage and move around the territory together.