16 July 2019
By 08h:00 it was already quite hot, and the forecast was for a scorcher of a day, with thunderstorms in the afternoon. But the morning was great for a walk, and Miriam and I were joined by Franc and Carol, and Jim and Francine.
A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was standing at the water's edge in the strangest pose, and initially we wondered whether it was injured.
Soon enough, however, it folded its wings back into their normal position, and looked like any Great Blue Heron you are likely to encounter.
As if to prove the point that all was well, it began stalking for prey, in that slow, deliberate manner of herons.
In the parking lot at RIM Park there are two active nests of Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), quite close together actually, atop the tall light standards that illuminate the parking areas at night.
At least one nest had young and periodically they would stretch above the rim of the nest, but we were never quick enough to get a picture.
It is interesting to note that these pairs tolerate each other and we have never witnessed any hostility between them. I suppose it speaks to the fact that the biomass of fish in the Grand River is adequate for both pairs to secure food without conflict.
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) is a species that appears to have extended its range in recent years, and we encountered both males and females carrying food, and one fledged juvenile.
The grassland areas were lush and full of insect prey, and the orioles and other species were taking advantage of a ready source of food. A female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) was carrying food to hungry mouths.
A newly fledged Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) waited patiently for dedicated adults to bring food.
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are noted for their fierce defence of territory and no doubt this individual had no intention of letting rivals enter his space.
The City of Waterloo has located a number of nest boxes throughout the area and House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) appear to have had a banner nesting season, for we witnessed evidence of breeding in three different boxes.
This recently fledged youngster had found it convenient to occupy the roof of the nest box and wait for devoted parents to bring food.
In addition to the birds we so eagerly sought, the park was alive with wildflowers of many hues.
Tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium) nodded in the wind in extravagant splendour.
This species was introduced from Asia as a garden plant but quickly became established in the wild. In fact several similar species are commonly referred to as Tiger Lily and are ubiquitous through many regions of the province.
We saw a few Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) but always back-lit, or in deep shade.
This frugivorous species, which nests quite late, is now busy with the serious business of nest construction and egg-laying, and the breeding season will command each pair's attention for several weeks yet.
As we left to return home an Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) was singing lustily from an overhead wire. We are not sure whether it was a fond goodbye or a cry of good riddance!
It was a very pleasant morning, and weather permitting we will do it again next week.