Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Westmount Golf and Country Club, Kitchener, ON - No. 2

22 August 2016

     Many regular readers will recall the account of a visit we made to the Westmount Golf and Country Club in April this year: 
     It was with a good deal of pleasure that we accepted the invitation of our friends Ron and Thelma Beaubien to accompany them on an early morning walk once again. The course is tranquil at 06:00 and a lovely place to walk and enjoy nature. As a sure sign that fall is approaching the temperature when we started off was a mere 11°.
     Although the sheer diversity of birds was not as great as during our previous visit there was an interesting variety, and a couple of noticeable highlights. Having seen a pair of Wood Ducks Aix sponsa there in the spring, we had been wondering whether they bred at the club. Given the number of undisturbed tracts of woodland it certainly seemed likely that a suitable cavity would be present. We had our confirmation. Two young males, on their way to acquiring adult plumage were seen and they were quite confiding. I am sure that they are well habituated to human activity given that they have been raised in the vicinity of a very active golf course.

     The pictures above were taken in poor light but it is important to include them since they are the two birds that we saw, and in some ways the murky light is quite atmospheric.
     Here is what they will look like when they are in full regalia.

     Ducks the world over display a stunning range of plumage; few, however, are more handsome than a Wood Duck.
     Ron had been chatting to us about the number of Red-tailed Hawks Buteo jamaicensis he had been seeing on the course this year as he played golf, sometimes three at a time. I suspect that these were birds of the year having fledged from this nest that we located.

     Red-tailed Hawk is the most common raptor in our area and is in fact widespread over the entire continent. It comes in a mind boggling range of plumage from almost chocolate brown to a pale cream.

     The common feature on adult birds is a red tail whence the bird takes its name.

     The presence of Red-tailed Hawks at a golf course should be cause for rejoicing. These efficient birds of prey will render valuable service in keeping the population of rodents under control.
     The final very interesting observation we made was of a female Common Green Darner Anax junius which had somehow gotten stranded on the grass. Perhaps it was too heavily laden with dew to take flight, or perhaps it was waiting for rising temperatures to facilitate flight. In any event it gave us a great chance to photograph it up close.

     Our thanks go out again to Ron and Thelma and to the management of the golf course for having an enlightened attitude towards wildlife and permitting us to roam the course before the day's golfing gets underway.


  1. Hello David!:) Your photos of the colourful and beautiful Wood Duck somehow reminded me of the carved ducks in the exhibition you went to, and shared on one of your posts. I really enjoyed seeing all the exhibits. The Common Green Darter was a nice find, and your macro images are lovely. It's strange how the beautiful plumage of the Red-tailed Hawk is so varied in colour, but what a magnificent creature it is, and you are so fortunate to see it in your area.

  2. Hi David, What a stunning duck you have shown in the Wood Duck, an absolute beauty, you have also managed to get up close to a Dragonfly with wonderful images of the Common Green Darner. All the best to you both, super post. John

  3. Lovely photo's David, but your last two of the dragonfly are absolutely stunning.
    So nice to see these close ups and the colour too, the detail is truly amazing.

    All the best Jan

  4. Beautiful images, the Duck, Hawk and the Dragon, fantastic David.

  5. Great photos David and I love seeing the birds of prey, I can never get shots of them, they are gone before i can pick up the camera :( Have a great week Diane

  6. Hello David,
    Red-tailed Hawks is amazing, I like is head, very nice.
    Good article.
    Hugs to you

  7. Hello. Spectacular birds. Dragonfly is a great looking.

  8. Hello David, That Red-tailed Hawk is a beautyful bird. You made some stunning captures of it. An amazing Darter that Commen Green Darter. The Wood Duck is lovely and all of that on a Golf course.
    Great blog.

  9. Wonderful that you could photograph the Red-tailed Hawk David.
    Beautiful series you got here.
    Greetings Tinie

  10. Hi David. It was so good to see those Wood Ducks. I may have said in the past how I think some birders and certainly most of Joe Public take little interest in ducks. It's to do with identifying them in their juvenil eand eclipse plumages plus identifying what I call "brothel ducks",the ones that are usually a mix of Mallards and others. A real shame because as you rightly point out, a male duck of any species is quite beautiful, as is a female in her subdued way.

    Good that you managed to escape being hit by golf balls. I take it you stayed on the fairway?

  11. A most enjoyable post, David. I'm delighted to see that the Wood Ducks were successful.

    I thought your Common Green Darner was a kid's toy at first!!! There are a few records of this species reaching UK in 1998 after Hurricane Earl and an Atlantic depression! I think that your one is an immature female, and if it was very freshly emerged (as it might be at that time of day) it would explain the opaque wings.

    Love to you both - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard: Thanks for this information. My knowledge of dragonflies grows apace! Here is what it says in my excellent guide "The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Park and the Surrounding Area" - Most individuals, especially in central and northern Ontario, are migratory. That is, adults arrive from the southern states or Central America in the spring (beginning as early as April) and very quickly mate and lay eggs. The resulting larvae develop rapidly over the summer and emerge as adults ready to migrate south beginning in late August and through October." Thus the timing is perfect for the scenario you suggest. Thank you Dr. Pegler!

  12. Beautiful pictures of the Green Darner, Wood Duck and Red-tailed Hawk, David.
    The last picture of each species I like most. Gr Jan W

  13. Beautiful birds ... I really hope to see a wood duck someday. Envious that the dragonfly held still for your beautiful portrait!

  14. Another outstanding post David,loved the Wood Duck,the colours are exquisite,and your Green Darner stole the show.
    One word,Brilliant.

  15. Hi David,
    these ducks are really beautiful to see.
    I have these ducks have never gotten my lens.
    Your photos, videos of the birds of prey are really super nice!
    The Red-tailed Hawks have a great beautiful plumage.
    The Darner Anax Junius just uitgelsopen and is yet to warm up :-)

    Warm regards, Helma

  16. Very nice images, I like specially wood duck, one of the most incredible ducks in the world, I knew it even before knowing the ducks in my area thanks to pictures and tv documentals