Friday, 25 November 2016

Tuesday Rambles with David - Laurel Creek Conservation Area

15 November 2016

     This account of the most recent Tuesday ramble around local areas is later than normal, because the day after the outing took place we all left for Cuba.
     Franc, who supplied most of the pictures did not have the time to edit them until after our return on 23 November and I doubt I would have had the time to create the post even if he had.
     Our usual group, minus Mary, who had other things on her mind, met at my house and we went over to Laurel Creek together - a mere five minutes away. The area is closed to vehicular traffic after Thanksgiving but we were able to park outside and walk in.
     Laurel Creek contains a variety of habitat types and depending on the time of the year a wide variety of birds.

     The Tamaracks Larax laricina are especially attractive in the fall as their foliage turns to gold.

     The cones of this tree are a favourite food of crossbills (loxia sp.) and during irruption years are a reliable site to locate these interesting birds.
     There was ample High Bush Cranberry Viburnum acerifolium to provide food for American Robin Turdus migratorius and the fruit will no doubt support flocks of Cedar Waxwings Bombycilla cedrorum during the winter.

     Black-capped Chickadees Poecile atricapillus are very common indeed and chattering flocks followed us throughout. People routinely bring their children to Laurel Creek so that they can enjoy hand-feeding the birds. We had brought sunflower hearts with us to enable us to revisit our inner child.

     Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis was seen quite frequently too, although seldom in a position where good pictures could be taken. Franc captured the male and Miriam the female.

     The reservoir has been drained for the winter, with only small patches of water remaining in depressions. Mallard Anas platyrynchos and Canada Goose Branta canadensis were the pre-eminent species, but these handsome male Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis were also present.

       Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens is the "default" picid here, a beautiful, hardy little bird that ably survives the harshest conditions that winter serves up. No doubt these two are busy caching seeds to be retrieved later when other food is hard to find.

     These tiny crab apples harbour fat, juicy grubs and will be exploited by a number of species.

       Most Golden-crowned Kinglets Regulus satrapa migrate through our area, but some populations remain and survive our winter. This species is nearly always recorded on Christmas Bird Counts. Whether these two are residents or passing through it is impossible to know.

     We were all very happy to see a couple of Brown Creepers Certhia americana. This is another species with both a migratory and a resident cohort. Brown Creeper is quite common but is often overlooked due to its ability to camouflage itself against the bark of a tree, which comprises its entire world. It depends totally on tree trunks and branches for food and nest sites; it knows no other habitat.


     Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis and American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea are two species that arrive in late fall and spend the winter and early spring with us.

     Miriam captured this picture of some of us walking back to the park gate.

Franc, Judy, David, Carol
     This Garden Cross Spider Araneus diadematus was not to be outdone as it ambled across our path.

     This family of arachnids was introduced from Europe and is now fairly widespread. I am not familiar with its life cycle but I assume that it will soon enter hibernation for the winter.
     As always it was a great walk with great friends. The day after we all went to Cuba together, accompanied by a few others. The next Tuesday morning ramble would be in a different location indeed!


  1. Hello. Very beautiful photos. Birds are awesome. Happy weekend to you.

  2. All very similar to the stuff we see here...............except the Cardinals!

  3. Hi David.

    Beautiful series of nature photographs.
    Beautiful different birds.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  4. An array of beautiful birds David.

  5. Brilliant post David,looking through your images makes me feel I'm walking with you.

  6. I did a double take on the kinglet there David. Froma little distance away it really is so much like our Firecrest.

    Looking forward to those pictures of Cuba. You just missed the celebrations but over here there are some in mourning!

    1. Firecrest or Goldcrest? And I am puzzled about the reference to celebrations and mourning.

  7. Wonderful bird photos!
    Are the stumps (?) in the second photo those of the Larix? They look interesting and made me think of bald cypresses (that probably wouldn't grow in your area).

    1. I am not sure, Sara, but I suspect they are conifers of one kind or another. They are certainly not Bald Cypress which grows much farther south.

  8. Magnificence pictures of these beautiful birds.

    What did you see many types of David.
    Greetings Tinie

  9. I like the idea of your Tuesday rambles, wish there was something like that up here. That's a crystal clear picture of the Chickadee, and amazing camouflage of the Brown Creeper!

  10. Hi Both, hope you both had a wonderful break in Cuba and are fully rested upon your return, look forward to the images from the trip. Looks a super trip out you had with your friends, again some interesting images, always love the Northern Cardinal. Have a good weekend, Regards John

  11. Lovely photos of a pretty area. The birds are always sweet and I do particularly love the black and white photo.

  12. Amazing Franc's pictures !
    The species of yours are so beautiful.
    This year we were in Kenya, but we need to come to Canada. Brown Creepers is very beautiful and it is almost invisible.
    Myriam's picuture is also very nice.
    There was a good day for your all !!!
    Kiss and good evening

    1. Of course you must come to Canada! Just let me know when you decide to visit and I will do everything I can to help you. Gros bisous, David

  13. Another delightful account of one of your regular walks, David. As for the images, I've enjoyed the scenic ones as much as I have the ones of birds - all super.

    I see that your Cuba report seems to be about to hit the airwaves - just had a false notification of its availability!

    Love to you both - - Richard

    1. Probably still a couple of days away, Ruchard. I inadvertently hit "publish" instead of "save."

    2. I've done that a few times myself!

  14. Fantástico reportaje, las fotos son magníficas. Tengo muchas ganas de ver pronto el reportaje de tu viaje por Cuba, seguro que es una maravilla. Un fuerte abrazo desde España.

  15. It is amazing how you can get some pictures of birds out in the open, they must feel quite secure with humans around and most probably no hunt. Here it is a very different story unfortunately :(
    A great post, David, with birds I'd love to see up close! And the araneidae spider is a delight!
    I enjoyed the tit on the open hand... ;-)
    Much love to share with Miriam :)

  16. What a great post I do enjoy taking walks with you and Miriam. Love the photos. Have a great week Diane

  17. What a truly beautiful area for a walk and to be so close to nature.
    Another fantastic selection of photo's, I've scrolled up and down quite a few times to have a second and third look.

    Enjoy these last few days of November ...

    All the best Jan

  18. A beautiful ramble. I'm envious of your group of like minded friends! Almost as envious as I am of the chickadee flight shot.

    And it will be great to learn about what you saw in Cuba!

  19. Very special to see all the logs in the water. The birds are very beautiful weather. What there are still beautiful birds and birdies!