Although you would never know it from the weather! Yesterday the high barely got to four degrees and we had early morning snow mixed with ice pellets. That kind of weather is depressing in mid May, but the rest of the week looks far more inviting. Let's hope we have seen the last of this ridiculously cold weather for this time of year.
During the past week Miriam and I have traversed the back roads a little and we encountered our first Bobolinks Dolichonyx oryzivorus of the year. This bird breeds on native grassland (a seriously endangered habitat) and is often difficult to photograph. The male hovers above the plain singing a delightful, burbling melody and then drops down into the grass out of view, no doubt to join a female there.
Ospreys Pandion haliaetus have become a bit of a poster bird locally, and it seems that whenever anyone proposes a new artificial nest tower for them, a surge of offers are received to fund the structure. The local hydro electric commission is to be commended for this installation.
We checked out Bill Read's nest boxes for Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis and were happy to see that they are occupied. A male had captured a fat, juicy grub....
....which he promptly transferred to the female.
This sparrow did not wish to turn around to face us, but I am reasonably sure it is a Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum.
There is no doubt at all about this Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina.
One of the dominant features of our local landscape is the Grand River. Having once been heavily polluted, it is now returning to good health and the substantial populations of Ospreys, Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus, herons, kingfishers and swallows bear witness to this fact. It is an aptly named river; it truly is grand.
In a marshy area we found this nest of Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus. The female was close by and we quickly distanced ourselves from her so that she could resume incubation.
This male also got a little agitated when we were close to the nest so it is safe to assume that the female is a member of his harem.
This Grey Catbird Dumatella carolinensis, as is the habit of this species, skulked and betrayed its presence by its mewing call.
Even though our weather has improved somewhat it is still unseasonably cool for the time of year. Some species may be facing a difficult breeding season with insect prey in short supply. Time will tell.