Tuesday 27 June 2017

How Many Can YOU ID?

Below are some photos of birds that I have seen in Ontario.  I am in the position of knowing what each is, but can you figure it out from a single crappy photo?  Post your answers below.  









Saturday 24 June 2017

The River is Raging!

I went out to try to do some dragonfly surveys on some rivers near the K-W area, but there was literally no bank to walk on, and in some cases, the river had burst its banks.

Conestogo River.  Normally this is a horse pasture, but the river has flowed right over the bank and in several hundred metres.

The normal bank of the river is the line of trees on the left.

Trailer park on the Grand River.

Grand River near Pilkington

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Dickcissel's Galore!

The last couple of weeks has seen an influx of Dickcissels.  This is a mid-western species that favours brushy, shrubby fields that are a little bit overgrown.  After our last heat wave they started showing up in abundance, possibly related to dry conditions further south.  

The individual below is one of 3 we saw at Camper's Cove this morning.  Although this one lacks the black throat, I can't help but wonder if this is a young male due to the bright rufous wing patches and because it was actively singing.  Anyone know?


Dickcissels also showed up in Waterloo Region, and at lunch, Ken and I nipped out to check if they were still there.  We quickly heard their distinctive sound.  I was able to get a few photos of this male.

Friday 16 June 2017

Northern Ontario Adventures

This past week I was up in northern Ontario in the Sault Ste. Marie area to do some bird surveys at various sites near Lake Superior.  Ken and I had a great time and saw some excellent birds and sights. The bugs were voracious as expected for this time of year, but that didn't dampen our spirits.

We were tasked with doing early morning and evening bird surveys, which left us some time in the middle of the day to do some more bird watching (in between checking work emails).  Our first target was the Black-billed Magpie that has been hanging out near Echo Bay for a few years now.  I had tried for it with Pat a couple of years ago with no luck.  But on Monday Ken and I were able to track it down.  It was quite cooperative for a short time and I got a few pictures.  This was a new Ontario bird for me!

Black-billed Magpie

Wilson's Snipe
 This Red Fox was very friendly.  I think it wanted a hand out!

One of 5 Black Bears that I saw on the trip.  All of them very skittish except for this one that casually wandered down the gravel road in front of us.

The shot below is of the Montreal River from the hydroelectric dam.

After our surveys on Thursday, Ken and I had a bit of time to spare, so we went to try to find the extremely rare Violet-green Swallow which had been reported a few days prior in Thunder Bay.  I believe this is only the 5th record of this species in Ontario!  This female bird is mating with a male Tree Swallow.  Upon arrival, we quickly found it, a new Ontario bird for both of us!  In the picture below you can see the nest box she is using as well as her Tree Swallow mate!

Tree Swallow at the shared nest box
 The Violet-green Swallow was very content to perch for us while we took photos.
Violet-green Swallow (female)

Violet-green Swallow (female) 
It will be interesting to see if these two species will produce any viable offspring, and if so, what they will look like!  A really neat case of hybridization!

Canadian Tiger Swallowtails feeding on salts in the wet mud