Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mourning Dove




Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
This juvenile Mourning Dove, fresh from the nest, seems to have "adopted" us. It spends most of its time in the back yard and quite confidently perches on one of the chairs at the picnic table while we are sitting outside. Short of actually landing on us it displays no trepidation whatsoever and is often within less than an arm's length. We have noticed that it constantly scans the sky and we assume this is a hard wired behaviour as it checks for raptors. When feeding, however, it stops doing this, which leaves us to wonder whether we have become a surrogate sentinel. It spends most of the time within the confines of our property where it finds food, water and cover. It gives us great pleasure every day to have this close encounter with a wild creature.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Common Milkweed


Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
Many stands of Common Milkweed are seen throughout this area providing vital nourishment for the Monarch Butterfly as it begins its arduous and danger-filled journey to Mexico. These plants were photographed on the bank of the Conestogo River in Waterloo, ON on 20 August 2011.

Common Fleabane


Common Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
Stands of this common flower dot the landscape everywhere at this time of year imparting a subtle beauty often overlooked due to familiarity.

Clouded Sulphur



Clouded Sulphur, Colias philodice
This familiar species is readily observed over a good part of the continent. The male shown was photographed at the Health Valley Trail, Waterloo, ON on 20 August 2011.

Chicory


Chicory, Cichorium intybus
This lovely plant is everywhere to be seen during summer and early fall in southern Ontario and it adorned every field we traversed along the Health Valley Trail in Waterloo, ON on 20 August 2011. It could even be observed in waste places and was emergent through cracks in less travelled sidewalks. The root of this plant was ground by the native Indians and used to make a kind of coffee; indeed chicory "coffee" can still be purchased today.

Cabbage White



Cabbage White, Pieris rapae
This very common butterfly is easily seen at this time of the year and was our constant companion during a walk along the Health Valley Trail, Waterloo, ON on 20 August 2011. The male has one spot on the wing, the female two.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mourning Dove



Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
This very common species is often overlooked, but as one may see from these pictures, it is truly beautiful and always delights us when it spends time in our yard. These images were captured on 16 August 2011.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ruby-throated Hummingbird



Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris

This juvenile female, showing the diagnostic tail spots and flecks on the facial area, was photographed in our yard on 14 August 2011.

Common Whitetail



Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia
Odonates are a common part of every bird walk during the months when they are present, and add interest and enjoyment to each excursion. It's fascinating to observe dragonflies and damselflies go about their daily lives and to note which species fall prey to insectivorous birds such as tyrant flycatchers. These pictures show an adult male (with the white abdomen) and an immature male (with the brown abdomen). They were photographed at Schneider's Bush, Waterloo, ON on 19 June 2011.

Friday, 5 August 2011

African Penguin


African Penguin, Sphenicus demersus
Boulders Beach, South Africa
8 October 2008

Young birds moulting from their downy plumage to first feathers can often present a comical image when the process is in transition. This young African Penguin certainly fits the bill!

Brown-headed Cowbird


Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
begging for food from Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina
4 August 2011
I just couldn't resist one more picture of this event taking place in our yard.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Haiku

When Mother Nature spilled
Her cup of wine
Purple Finch
Was born

Milkweed Tussock Moth


Milkweed Tussock Moth, Euchates egle
The pictures shows a small phalanx of the caterpillar of the above species (also known as Milkweed Tiger Moth) advancing up a leaf on the milkweed in our garden. Presumably, by specializing on milkweed, this caterpillar will be distasteful to birds, and when the caterpillars ultimately metamorphose into adult moths, to bats also.

Brown-headed Cowbird



Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
31 July 2011
While sitting on the patio enjoying a pleasant summer afternoon, we observed this juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird splashing vigorously in the bird bath. The pictures show it drying off and begging for food from its surrogate parent, a Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina.