Monday, 27 October 2014

Life in the Wetlands

Waterloo, ON
27 October 2014

     This morning I visited four local wetlands which I check on a regular basis, to see which species of birds are still frequenting them, and whether there might be any additions, especially of waterfowl. 
     Everything was pretty much routine, but, as always it was indeed pleasant to observe the dwindling number of bird species still there.
     It seems that if one looks closely there is always a Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias lurking somewhere in the background.

     Mallards Anas platyrynchos are common at any time of the year but it is in the fall when they tend to congregate in greater numbers in small wetlands, which characterizes the four that I visited. This is truly a handsome species, overlooked for the most part because of it familiarity, but if it were rare it would evoke shrieks of admiration.

     Pied-billed Grebes Podiceps auritus are found primarily on larger bodies of water, and I was surprised to find this one in the tiny wetland near to Creekside Church. 

     It was concentrating its dives in an area having fairly dense surface vegetation and I think it knew far better than I that such a habitat would provide shelter and cover for fish.
     This was soon proven to be true when it emerged with a fish that would appear too large for it to swallow. But never underestimate the gullet of a fish-eating bird!

     It swam off into the reeds with its catch, possibly to hide from marauding gulls and crows who would no doubt attempt to pirate the grebe's catch.

     These two Canada Geese were just resting together.

     Most of the autumn leaves have now fallen from the trees and the wetland landscape is looking a lot more open, and a little drabber too.

     Just as I was about to leave to return home for lunch this American Robin Turdus migratorius landed in a snag, as though to bid me farewell.

      À la prochaine, mes amis!


  1. You are so right about the Mallards, David. I remember in my very early birdwatching days seeing Mallards on the St Moritzsee, Switzerland. The heads of the drakes shone bright metallic blue - I thought that I'd found a new sub-species, but it was just the way the amazing light there acted on their heads! I can see traces of that coloration in your beautiful pictures.

    I can see that I'm going to have to take you to Rutland Water when you visit. I'm hoping it will have plenty to keep you happy - it's rather large and has got 37 hides for you to choose from! I reckon it takes three days to do it justice!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. Rutland Waters sounds like pure enchantment!

  2. Pretty shots of the mallards. And I always love the cute Grebes. Great birds and photos.

  3. Mallards are tough birds too I think having seen them in Greenland, and northern Hokkaido, Japan in the winter. They must be one of the most widespread ducks too.

  4. Beautiful shots of the wild ducks, David.
    The little grebes are beautiful.
    Photo 3 is my favorite.

  5. Hello David,
    What a lovely and interesting post!
    I can't agree more about the mallard, a truly gorgeous bird fortunately common and truly overlooked.
    I had much pleasure again watching them at le Teich!
    The American robin is a very beautiful turdus!! I wish to see them one day! :)
    We hope you are both well,
    Un fuerte abrazo de Francia!!

  6. Love this time of year with all this comfy birds around. It wouldn't be the same without them.