Sunday, 2 November 2014

LaSalle Park, Burlington, ON

2 November 2014

     The first day of our return to Eastern Standard Time turned out to be as glorious a fall day in Ontario as you could possibly wish for. Almost right at first light the sun blazed through, and it was apparent just looking out the window that there was little wind. Even though Miriam and I both had things we needed to do (and still do) we decided that anything and everything would have to wait, and we grabbed our binoculars and cameras to head for Lake Ontario.
     I think I am going to research the First Nations term for Screech Owl and rename myself accordingly! The first bird we encountered upon arriving at LaSalle was an obliging Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio, my third of the year. This species is not uncommon by any means, but given the fact that it is strictly nocturnal, and usually roosts in cavities during the day, it is by no means easy to locate. This individual was sunning itself at the lip of its hole.

     American Black Duck Anas rubripes is generally present at this location and such was the case today. 

     It bears some similarity to a female Mallard Anas platyrynchos with whom it sometimes interbreeds, and here is a shot of a a female Mallard for comparison.

     Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus is very common and confiding, readily coming to the hand to take sunflower seeds.

     I know that there are purists who frown on  this type of activity, but when I see the expressions of pure joy on the faces of adults and children alike, it's hard to condemn such practices. I am sure that there are people whose eyes, ears and hearts have been opened up to nature by the simple act of feeding a chickadee.
     A White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis was not shy about trying to get its share of the seed left for the chickadees.

     Tranquility reigned in the harbour as Mallards basked in the warm November sun.

     An Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus was also enjoying the weather, no doubt engaged in a search for food to be stored in its burrow for the long winter ahead.

     Ring-billed Gulls still predominate numerically, but American Herring Gulls Larus smithsonianus are becoming more common as they arrive from their breeding areas farther north to spend the winter on the Great Lakes. This bird is a subadult of undermined age.

     House Sparrows Passer domesticus were found in groups, often where people tend to congregate and share their lunch, or bring food specifically for the birds. This female serves to remind us what a handsome species this familiar resident is.

     No visit to LaSalle Park would be complete without spending time with the magnificent Trumpeter Swans Olor buccinator.

     Most Double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus have already left for warmer waters farther south, but a few still remain.

     Before getting back into the car we checked on our screech owl and he was still perched in the sun, enjoying the warmth, just as we were on so fine a day.


  1. Great post! And wonderful bird photos. The Screech Owl is my favorite, awesome shots. Happy Birding!

  2. Autumn (fall) is my favourite season because of days like that - perfect weather and relaxed birds. How special to see the Screech Owl enjoying it too. Our Owlet-nightjars sometimes sun themselves like that too.

  3. Thanks for taking us along on your day of birding! The Screech Owl is a special find! Great photos. Really enjoyed your post!

  4. Beautiful pictures of different birds, David.
    Amazing picture of the Screech Owl.
    I find the picture with the great tit on the hand really quite amazing.

  5. Hi David and Miriam. Who can stay indoors on such a fine sunny day? The chores can wait jobs can wait for another day…. or two or…..

    It would be hard if not impossible to beat those portraits of the Screech Owl and it certainly looks snug, content and totally oblivious to your camera clicks.

    Like you I don’t see any major harm in feeding birds as in your post. It’s only one step away from garden feeding after all.

    By the way I agree with you about geese and there are few things better than listening to and watching the interactions within a field full of hundreds or thousands of Pink-footed Geese. Unfortunately when a Snow Goose turns up as in most winters (usually singly) there is little interaction with the pinkies apart from feeding amongst them. Also there is always the chance the snow goose is an escape from a collection, so I avoid the inevitable wild goose chase that ensues.

    Interestingly, and as you imply, there are always question marks against the “Black Ducks” which turn up in the UK on occasions, so thanks for showing a genuine one.

  6. Too right! At this time of year, fair-weather days are not to be squandered on menial tasks!

    You have, of course, instantly got me bowled over with your beautiful images of the Eastern Screech Owl, David. It really looks totally at peace with the world!

    I too see no harm in feeding wild birds from the hand (gulls might be an exception, however!), although I seldom get the opportunity. I very nearly managed it with a Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) in Switzerland! An amazing bird!

    Your other bird images are beautiful too, but your W-b Nuthatches are truly handsome birds.

    Best wishes to you both. - - - Richard

  7. Preciosas fotografías!!! Buen trabajo, amigo David. Saludos desde España.

  8. Oh my!
    That Screech Owl is gorgeous! What beautiful photos, I would have loved to be there!! :)
    And you finally got it to open an eye slightly!! Fantastic!
    The other bird I find truly exquisite is the White-breasted Nuthatch!
    and all the other pictures are delightful especially the magnificent Trumpeter Swans!
    A great post, David :)
    Hugs from me and Patrick for the two of you!

  9. Truly a wonderful series of photos in this blog David. Very beautiful birds and even a squirrel. The owl I find really great! The titmice and other birds are also very nice sharp and clear. Compliment.

  10. Marvelous photos of the different birds and the owl and the squirrel. Gorgeous !
    Best regards, Synnöve