22 October 2014
York County, ON
What should have been a great shot today turned out to be impossible. I saw two wonderful rufous Fox Sparrows Passerella iliaca, one of which was out in the open on a bare branch, begging for a picture to be taken. But, by the time I got camera the focused on it, it dropped to the ground and scurried into some dense tangles to join the second bird. I never could get a clear shot and it was not long before they flew away. Such is the nature of photographing birds I guess.
Dark-eyed Juncos Junco hyemalis have arrived here for the winter and seemed to be everywhere today. These are two so-so photographs of a female, in frontal and dorsal view.
I parked at a shopping plaza which has a storm water management pond which has been named, rather grandiosely, Melville Pond. Often, however, it contains a variety of species and from time to time something quite unexpected. Such was the case today when I observed ten Hooded Mergansers Lophodytes cucullatus swimming there and diving frequently. What kind of prey they might have been capturing in such a location is hard to imagine, although the Great Blue Heron shown in the picture below the mergansers is frequently in attendance so perhaps fish have somehow migrated through the culverts and provide a ready source of food.
These ducks were all in female type plumage and I suspect that they represent one family.
As might be expected in a shopping centre with fast food restaurants gulls hang around, and in fact, some people feed them regularly, buying day-old bread I suspect, from the bakery.
These Ring-billed Gulls Larus delawarensis provide a gull enthusiast with a great opportunity to examine them closely, and try his hand at aging alchemy, an art or science depending on your viewpoint, rife with the possibility of error.
My car provided a perfect perch for this individual.
Although autumnal splendour has passed its apex, there is still a good deal of colour to evoke appreciative review.
This large assemblage of gulls seemed totally oblivious to the glory all around.
Fall brings with it a greater concentration of nocturnal animals foraging and the following picture reveals the dangers they face. I cannot even imagine the extent of anthropogenic road kill.
This Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis may well have had its revenge against
the driver of the car by releasing its spray at the moment of impact. The smell seems to get into the very paint of the vehicle and is extremely difficult to get rid of.
American Crows Corvus brachyrynchos were already congregating nearby. waiting to begin the banquet. Urban crows truly have become well adapted to feeding on road kill; they wait until the very last minute before lifting off to avoid being hit by oncoming vehicles. I cannot recall ever seeing a crow that had been killed by traffic. No doubt the highways and roads provide a rich and easily procured source of protein.