Sunday, 12 October 2014

Nature at Thanksgiving

A Lovely Day's Birding
in Southern Ontario
12 October 2014

     This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and yesterday we had the children and grandchildren at our house for dinner. It was a fine affair, but as is always the case at a holiday feast, we ate too much, so we decided that today we would get out and walk off at least a little of yesterday's excess.
     It was a picture perfect autumn day with bright sunshine, little wind and by early afternoon the temperature had climbed to about 15 degrees. It was quite wonderful to be outside enjoying nature.
     The day started well with a family of Wild Turkeys Meleagris gallopavo before we even left Waterloo. They crossed the road in front of us but before they disappeared into the bush we were able to get a couple of pictures.

     We had decided that we would go into Toronto and bird along the shore of Lake Ontario where one might reasonably expect at least some movement of migratory species - and we were not disappointed. Among the highlights we saw at least three Swainson's Thrushes Catharus ustulatus,  one of which was very cooperative in terms of having a photograph taken.

     This is a close up of the berries upon which the thrushes were feeding.

     It was especially pleasant to be at the water's edge and this is one of the many coves and inlets we covered.

     People were picknicking, no doubt motivated by the pleasant weather, and the thought that the winter months will soon be upon us. Some were even swimming, taking their last plunge of the season perhaps, although as we watched them enter the water it was easy to see from their reaction that the water was frigid.
     A Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis had grabbed what appears to be a circular pretzel and it was comical watching the bird try to swallow it whole, to no avail of course. Finally it seemed to realize that it needed to be broken up and it started to drop the pretzel onto a rock. But the gull outsmarted itself apparently, because the prize slipped between two rocks, out of reach of the bird's bill and was lost completely.

     This lady beetle is, I believe, a Multicoloured Asian Lady Beetle Harmonia axyridis, a species that has become one of our most common Coccinellidae since the mid 1990s.

     Regular readers will recall that I recently blogged about White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys and had a picture of a juvenile only. This species was very common today and there follows a picture of an adult bird and a second image showing adult and juvenile together.

     The colours of autumn for which this area is justifiably renowned are probably a little past their prime, but there are still many glorious hues to satisfy everyone's aesthetic. 
     Take a look at the deep scarlet of this Staghorn Sumac Rhus typhina.

    And this Eastern Black Oak Quercus velutina.

     It was a wonderful day's outing and we returned home happy and well satisfied, secure in the knowledge that we will do this again together many times over. 


  1. Happy Thanksgiving! We spent a Saturday at the beach, It was chilly but we had a great time. Lovely autumn scenery David! How cool to see the Swainson's Thrushes. A gull after my own heart, I love pretzels! Thanks for stopping by Beep's blog, she is always thrilled to find comments.

  2. Hello David,
    Beautiful pictures you have taken the day off.
    I like the thrushes.
    All perfectly photographed.
    The autumn colors are fabulous.

  3. David, the Swainson's Thrush as a pure delight and I remember their perfect size (for banding) and how much like our a pale and delicate Song Thrush they are.

    Pity the gull without a meal but perhaps better it doesn't become hooked on humans' junk food leftovers.

  4. Hi David,
    marvelous photos of this wonderful golden Thanksgiving day. The day with your family sounds really good.
    I would like to say thank you to you too. You was one of the winner:
    So you can choose a calendar in English here:
    I will send you this by mail.
    Best regards, Synnöve

  5. Hello, I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! I love the Thrush photos, it is a beautiful bird! Great post!

  6. PS, thanks for linking up. Happy birding!

  7. Beautiful images David-) And I start with your latest pictures of the beautiful autumn colors. So beautiful and atmospheric. Also, your birds are very nice bright and sharp. You had thanksgiving. Is never celebrated in the Netherlands.
    Greetings, Helma