November 24, 2017

Female Red-breasted merganser on Rondeau Bay.

Yet another of the ducks we saw last Tuesday.

Mergus serrator
  • The Red-breasted Merganser breeds farther north and winters farther south than the other American mergansers.

November 23, 2017


Another of the ducks we saw while out and about on Tuesday.
It was riding the waves on Rondeau Bay.

Anas strepera 
We don’t tend to think of ducks as pirates, but Gadwall often snatch food from diving ducks as they surface. This widespread, adaptable duck has dramatically increased in numbers in North America since the 1980s.
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November 22, 2017

Doing the Hokey Pokey.

Spotted this American Coot in a drainage ditch, seems he know the hokey pokey.

"Now put your right foot in
Your right foot out
Right foot in
Then you shake it all about"

Fulica americana
Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground.
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November 21, 2017

At the salad bar

A number of ducks were in  a small cove at the shore due to big waves on the bay.
There was a group of wigeon that stayed reasonably close to shore giving me a photo op.

Anas americana

The American Wigeon's short bill enables it to exert more force at the bill tip than other dabbling ducks, thus permitting efficient dislodging and plucking of vegetation.
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November 20, 2017

I'll just hde behind this grass.

We have a lot of deer coming into the yard at this time of year.
There is a deer herd reduction happening just now and the deer seem to know they are safe around the cottages.

At one time there were 900 deer in the park. The environment can handle approximately 60.

November 13, 2017

American bittern.

Why American Bitterns are hard to find.

Mostly they hide along the edges of a marshy area and blend into the reeds.
They will sway with the wind so they move like the reeds.

November 08, 2017

Great horned owl in the rain.

Taken at the  Canadian Raptor Conservancy facility on  a rainy day.

Bubo virginianus
Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
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November 06, 2017

Two of more than 40 horned grebes we saw Oct 26 while boating on Rondeau Bay..
We tend to see them during spring and fall.

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.
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November 03, 2017

American white pelican.

A rare visitor in our area on Lake Erie.

We followed up on a rare bird posting and were lucky enough to find the bird within minutes of arriving.

Long distance shots until the bird flew up and went west over Lake Erie.

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Pelican chicks can crawl by 1 to 2 weeks of age. By 3 weeks they can walk with their body off the ground and can swim as soon as they can get to water. Older chicks move up to running, then running with flapping their wings, and by the age of 9 to 10 weeks, they can fly.
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October 28, 2017

White throated sparrow.

One of several sparrow species that visited the yard this fall.
White Throated Sparrow. Zonotrichia albicollis.

White-throated Sparrows stay near the ground, scratching through leaves in search of food, often in flocks. You may see them low in bushes as well, particularly in spring when they eat fresh buds. White-throated Sparrows sing their distinctive songs frequently, even in winter.
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October 25, 2017

Blanding's turtle.

The turtles were out in good numbers grabbing a few rays when we were out on the boat the other day.
Since then the weather has turned, bir waves and cold temperatures so they are probably gone for the year.

I think it looks very prehistoric poking out of the weeds.
Emydoidea blandingii
This species hibernates in the soft bottoms of water bodies. Particularly in the spring, the Blanding’s turtle basks on rocks, logs or substrates in sunny locations.

October 24, 2017

What acorn?

They are busy running
 around the yard gathering up all the acorns that are falling.

Tamias striatus

October 21, 2017

Great blue heon

Great Blue heron fly by while making its lovely call.

It is a lovely combination of a gronk, gag, and some one choking.
For a recording go to

Ardea herodias
The oldest recorded Great Blue Heron was found in Texas when it was at least 24 years, 6 months old
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October 19, 2017

Blowin in the wind

Milkweed pods.

Native milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are essential for monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars and support a diversity of pollinators with their abundant nectar.

October 17, 2017

He was a good friend of mine.

Bullfrogs breed later than most other frogs, usually from mid-June to late July on warm, humid or rainy nights. The egg masses may contain up to 20,000 eggs and, when first laid, spread out over the surface of the water. Bullfrog tadpoles, which grow for up to three years before changing into frogs, eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, plant tissue and small aquatic invertebrates.
source -…/repti…/american_bullfrog.php

October 14, 2017

Weather forecast- morning showers.

Chestnut sided warbler, Rondeau Provincial Park.

Setophaga pensylvanica 
On the wintering grounds in Central America the Chestnut-sided Warbler joins in mixed-species foraging flocks with the resident antwrens and tropical warblers. An individual warbler will return to the same area in subsequent years, joining back up with the same foraging flock it associated with the year before.
Source -…/Chestnut-sided_…/lifehistory

October 12, 2017

Ruddy duck

This duck reminds me of he bath time rubber ducky with its cocked tail and relatively large head.
I think this bird was injured as it didn't climb of the mound and swim/fly away.
It is duck hunting season.

Oxyura jamaicensis

Ruddy Ducks lay big, white, pebbly-textured eggs—the largest of all duck eggs relative to body size. Energetically expensive to produce, the eggs hatch into well-developed ducklings that require only a short period of care.
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October 09, 2017

Birds of the pond series.

Lots of birds still coming to the pond including this Eastern Towhee.

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.
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October 07, 2017

Pied-billed grebe

This close and no closer.
It is always a challenge to try to figure out what the comfort zone of an animal is.
Ideally I try to get a photo without disturbing the subject.
We came a little too close for comfort with this pied-billed grebe.

Podilymbus podiceps
Part bird, part submarine, the Pied-billed Grebe is common across much of North America. These small brown birds have unusually thick bills that turn silver and black in summer. These expert divers inhabit sluggish rivers, freshwater marshes, lakes, and estuaries. They use their chunky bills to kill and eat large crustaceans along with a great variety of fish, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates. Rarely seen in flight and often hidden amid vegetation, Pied-billed Grebes announce their presence with loud, far-reaching calls.
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October 05, 2017

Juvenile Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.

This young sapsucker came to the pond for a minute then left without drinking or bathing.
Probably had something to do with the 3 blue jays that came in squawking loudly.

Sphyrapicus varius 
The sapwells made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers attract hummingbirds, which also feed off the sap flowing from the tree. In some parts of Canada, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds rely so much on sapwells that they time their spring migration with the arrival of sapsuckers. Other birds as well as bats and porcupines also visit sapsucker sapwells.
source -…/Yellow-bellied_…/lifehistory

October 04, 2017

Rusty Blackbird.

Another photo from the pontoon boat.
Normally we see groupings or rusty blackbirds, this day just one.
It's a start.

Euphagus carolinus
Like most members of the blackbird family, the Rusty Blackbird undergoes only one molt per year. The change in appearance between winter and summer results from the rust-colored feather tips of "winter plumage" wearing off and leaving behind the smooth black or gray "breeding plumage."
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October 02, 2017

Yellow-rumped warbler.

Yellow rumped warbler.
Whe yellow rumps show up it is usually a sign that the fall migration is coming to a close.
They aren't here in big numbers but that will change.

Setophaga coronata 
Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.
source -…/Yellow-rumped_W…/lifehistory

October 01, 2017

Tufted titmouse.

We have at least two titmice coming into the feeders and the pond.
They have been around but not frequent visitors this summer.

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.

September 30, 2017

Red-breasted nuthatch

Normally we don't have red-breasted nuthatches in the summer.
They are around in the cooler weather looking for a quick meal.
The cold front that came through Wednesday night brought this one to the pond.

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.
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September 28, 2017

Green heron, Rondeau Provincial Park, Sept 2017.

Another shot taken from the pontoon boat. It was busy having a bath and I don't think it noticed the boat as we drifted in.

Butorides virescens 
Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.
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September 25, 2017

Ruby crowned kinglet.

A really fast little bird, it was tearing through the hedge snapping up food.
It paused just long enough to get a reasonably good shot.

It bounces through the pond but doesn't linger for a bath.

Regulus calendula 
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a tiny bird that lays a very large clutch of eggs—there can be up to 12 in a single nest. Although the eggs themselves weigh only about a fiftieth of an ounce, an entire clutch can weigh as much as the female herself.
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September 24, 2017

Eurasian Collared-dove

Our favourite bird spotter, Steve, knocked on the door this morning to tell us there was an Eurasian Collared Dove just down there road.
He gave us directions and then made sure we found the dove where it wa sitting high in a tree.
Not a lifer but still a rare sight around here.

Streptopelia decaocto
The Eurasian Collared-Dove’s species name, decaocto, comes from Greek mythology. Decaocto was a servant girl transformed into a dove by the gods to escape her unhappy treatment; the dove’s mournful cry recalls her former life.
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September 23, 2017

Carolina wren

We have had a number of Carolina wrens in the yard for the past 2 weeks.
Loud singers first thing in the morning.

Thryothorus ludovicianus

The Carolina Wren is sensitive to cold weather, with the northern populations decreasing markedly after severe winters. The gradually increasing winter temperatures over the last century may have been responsible for the northward range expansion seen in the mid-1900s.
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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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