Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ice as a Resting Place for Birds

Ice as a Resting Place for Birds
Lake Ontario
19 December 2013

    Winter has come early to Ontario this year; we are still two days away from the solstice when winter will officially begin, but the temperature has remained well below normal for an extended period and there is already a substantial build-up of ice at the shoreline of Lake Ontario.
    Ring-billed Gulls Larus delawarensis and Mallards Anas platyrynchos find these conditions ideal as a loafing spot, and if one is really fortunate Snowy Owls Bubo scandiacus can be located at such places also.




    Prolonged periods of cold temperatures cause the formation of ice floes in the lake and this female Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula was quite content to use one as a floating resting place.




13 comments:

  1. It does seem amazing that birds can sit comfortably on ice like that. Good luck with a Snowy Owl!

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    1. I have seen one Snowy Owl this winter so far, but not in a situation where I could photograph it. I expect to see more and I hope for pictures.

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  2. I could never imagine so much life content in the ice but after my experience in Japan, I'm very excited the explore such environments. This looks like a marvellous place and the birds are awesome.

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    1. Maybe you'll make it here in the winter, Russell.

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  3. Nice shots of the Goldeneye. It seems to have a particularly bright yellow nail. Can't say I have noticed that on our own same species Goldeneye but we don't get to see them very close. Think I'll read up on that. I hope that ice doesn't head east.

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  4. Hi Phil: I have checked the references I have and can find nothing regarding a brighter nail on disjunct populations. From "Ducks, Geese and Swans," Oxford University Press (my favourite reference): Female bill dark, usually greyish-black; distal third, except nail, yellow-orange Feb-May, becoming duskier at onset of laying."

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  5. As a follow-up to the above comment, I don't see the bills as particularly bright yellow on my monitor. It is more orangey I would say. Perhaps different monitors display varying colour intensity.

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  6. Hello,
    Merci de nous avoir rendu visite sur Les Fous du Cap. Nous avons pris beaucoup de plaisir à visiter votre blog ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

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  7. J'en suis très content. J'ai également pris beaucoup de plaisir à lire les commentaires intéressants sur votre blog.

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  8. Great shots - A very different landscape to the one I see today!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: glad you enjoyed my wordy post!

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  9. lovely to see David; it does seem odd to just sit contentedly, on a mound of ice!

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  10. Great shots of birds on the ice.

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  11. Brrrr ....... really cold when you look at all that ice alone lol ...
    However, very nice pictures of the seagulls and ducks :-)

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