Sunday, 8 June 2014

Familiarity Breeds Satisfaction

Familiar Species at Familiar Places
5 June 2014

    I think that all birders engage in a continual quest for the unusual, the rarity that shows up infrequently. But this belies the very fact that we are seeking birds most often in familiar, cherished locations, and the birds we find are predominantly old friends. They are none the less appreciated, perhaps even more so, for their reliability and the warmth of feeling they invoke in us.
    The area at the control dam on the Conestoga River in St. Jacobs, and the meander of the river above it, is one of our favourite birding spots and we return there often.

    Its eternal tranquility seems made for the welcome of old friends, not the surge of adrenalin engendered by a rare and unexpected species.
    For years Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe has nested in this area, and it was with great delight that we saw a pair flycatching from an overhanging branch.

    Subtle and muted, this bird has an understated beauty all its own.

    No less appreciated was this American Robin Turdus migratorius, one of our most common birds at this time of the year, but handsome, gregarious and always entertaining to watch.

    Our route home took us down Martin Creek Road, another of our regular haunts, where Mennonite farms and a Mennonite school house lend a degree of bliss to a pastoral landscape.
    This Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis took flight from its perch atop a fencepost the moment we stopped the car to take its picture, leaving us wishing we could assure it that it had nothing to fear from us.

    Eastern Kingbirds Tyrannus tyrannus choose a perch and wait patiently for an insect to pass by; then they sally forth, snap it up, and return to their perch to devour it. The white terminal band on their tail is very apparent as they go about their business.

    New and exciting birds are always great to see, but I wouldn't trade them for a minute for the familiar species that brighten my life every day.


  1. I agree! It's the everyday richness of the natural life around us that makes the biggest difference.

  2. Beautiful pictures of different birds.
    Picture number 5 is my favorite.
    Greetings Irma

  3. Hi!!! You've captured such interesting shots of these birds.. Congrats and regards..

  4. I do always look forward to going out to see the birds in my area when I've been away I agree, but do like to see new ones too!

  5. I had a superb 5 June myself, David, as I was celebrating my 68th birthday, but I'd have happily swapped my location for yours that day - it looks wonderful! I do love tranquil places and can happily sit for hours without moving, just watching nature at work - this looks just the place to do it! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  6. Hi David, were you doing some long-distance mind reading to write that first paragraph as it certainly sums up my own approach and day-to-day to birding?

    A couple of species I remember well there. As you say the understated, subtle beauty of the Eastern Phobe whose habits and actions remind me of our own Spotted Flycatcher.

    I can almost hear the "snap" of the Kingbird's bill from here, almost a double size phoebe.

  7. Wow, beautiful waterfall and cute birds :-)

  8. Do I agree with your feeling about seeing old friend birds and following regular pairs but one doesn't exclude the other: I love to discover, watch and photograph new species! :)
    This water dam seems like paradise and makes me wish I could stroll endlessly around to discover not just birds but its micro life too!
    I forgot to comment on your damselfly, the calopteryx... well done, it looks like one we have here: Calpteryx virgo...

    1. You are absolutely right. One does not exclude the other and I too enjoy both activities.

  9. Not only the birds are beautiful to look at but also the environment in the water. What a great place this must be!


  10. Great place for bird watching.

    Greets :)