Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tuesday Rambles with David - RIM Park, Waterloo.

18 July 2017

     My daughter, Caroline, was visiting from Ottawa and we decided that RIM Park would be a perfect spot for our Tuesday ramble. When Caroline's two boys, Sam and Will, were little they would come and stay with us for a week in the summer and RIM Park was one of their favourite places to walk. Caroline had never been there so the opportunity seemed perfect.

     All the members of our regular group were there, except for Mary who is away camping. Miriam took a picture of the group, minus herself, of course.

     Then she took one of Caroline with her dad.

     I am sure that you can all see where she gets her good looks!
     Quite often Francine has a bird that she especially wants to see, and it is amazing how often, right after she mentions it, we are able to find one for her. This week her wish was for Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) and Franc was photographing it within minutes.

     Shortly afterwards we saw what I initially identified as a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). 

     Upon close examination of Franc's pictures, however, the bird is clearly a juvenile male, as evidenced by the distinctive red underwing coverts seen below.

     As might be expected along the river, we saw several Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), this one balancing itself in a tree.

     Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is usually not as prominent as Great Blue Heron and requires a little more persistence and patience to get a good picture - the hallmarks of a good photographer, of course.

     Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were seldom out of sight as they were flycatching over the river, finding rich pickings in the abundant swarms of insects darting over the water.

     There were relatively few gulls, but a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) and an American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) were taking turns perching on the same rock.

     There is a substantial population of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Grand River watershed, but they are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular in their habits. Recently we have been seeing them during daylight hours, but always across the river. Perhaps having the water as a barrier gives them more confidence to come out during the day.

     Miriam was not behind the camera for this shot of the female component of the group. Looks to me like they are just having too much fun!

     A Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) seemed totally uninterested in everything going on around it and concentrated on a tasty snack.

     We saw three Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) in all, usually perched on a branch in deep shade, or too far off for a decent picture, but this female was finally a little more obliging.

     And the icing on the cake for Francine was yet another Great Crested Flycatcher.

     The familiar witchety song of the Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was frequently heard, although the bird was seldom seen. This male was the exception.

     Based on our observations Downy Woodpeckers (Dryobates pubescens) seem to have had a prolific year and this juvenile male is one of many young woodpeckers we have recently seen.

     A juvenile male Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is evidence of the breeding success of another species of woodpecker.

     There is a good deal of suitable habitat for Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) and I had seen a couple of families feeding young on a visit to RIM Park just two days earlier with an undergraduate student from the University of Waterloo I am mentoring. Today we saw only adults as far as I recall.

     We did, however, encounter a juvenile Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), another common summer breeder in the family of tyrant flycatchers.

     A Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) represented my first sighting of this species at RIM Park.

     The weather was perfect, the birds numerous, and the company of the very best kind. Caroline could not have wished for a more enjoyable walk and she enthused about it for the rest of her stay.

All bird species: Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Turkey Vulture, Western Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Common Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch. Total: 30 species.

The next day........

     Jim and Francine invited us to drop by for one of their legendary breakfasts. Franc was able to join us too, although Carol was babysitting her grandson and had to pass.
     When we arrived at 09:30 the table was set beneath a large tree in their beautiful garden.

     When Jim and Francine say breakfast, what they really mean is a feast of mythical proportions. To celebrate Caroline's presence we started with mimosas (Champagne and orange juice) - then there were croissants, muffins, toast, coffee, fresh fruit, cheese, jams, eggs cooked to order, sausages, bacon, home fried potatoes, baked beans - and more than anyone could eat!

     How fortunate we are to have such great friends!
     Thank you Francine and Jim - it was fantastic!


  1. Espectacular paseo por la naturaleza, las fotos son maravillosas. Saludos.

  2. Franc takes some great photos and these are all pretty spectacular, though I see you and Miriam do take some. Love the deer always a nice surprise to see them pop up at odd times. Have a great Sunday, Diane

  3. Absolutely stunning David, wonderful.

  4. Great list of birds and excellent photos from that outing! And great looking breakfast too.

  5. These photos are great. Good to see so many interesting birds.

  6. Amazing photos once more, not only showing interesting birds but showing birds doing something interesting.
    I didn't know there are birds called tyrants. :) Looking for Tyrannus tyrannus, I found a fascinating family of birds, with some intriguing Finnish names too.
    Happy Sunday!

  7. Hi David.

    Beautiful park and lots of fun birds can see.
    Nice the pictures.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  8. Another great selection of species and a fine spread of food too.......

  9. What a great pleasure to get together.
    That's nice to enjoy David.
    Beautiful pictures of all these beautiful species of birds.
    Greetings Tinie

  10. Oh my god !! How wonderful to see so many new birds !!
    Your photos are really fantastic !!

  11. Lovely post David!
    I enjoyed seeing you and Miriam in those great pics!
    And what a collection of birds!
    This Downy pecker is really so cute!
    Wonderful to see you having such fun, family and sightings together... paradise on earth!!!
    Much love to the 2 of you and take good care :)

  12. Franc came up with the goods again David. An excellent set of pictures froma fine set of sightings. I do envy you those Green Herons in particular. Looks like your juveniles are in the same stage as ours but your weather is clearly one up on our own. Breakfast outdoors? Unheard of.

    Should have knowm there would be a croissant in there somewhere.

    As for those two good looking folk, I couldn't possibly comment.

  13. More evidence that your Tuesday Rambles are far more than just wonderful birding experiences, David, and are a great social catalyst. I wouldn't be surprised tg hear that you didn't eat another thing that day after that amazing breakfast!

    My love to you both - - - Richard

  14. Lovely birds, fabulous David.

  15. 30 species of birds! Caroline must have thoroughly enjoyed her ramble.
    Such beautiful captures of some stunning looking birds.
    Your breakfast location was idyllic and the food sounded scrumptious!!
    Have a wonderful Wednesday :)

  16. A beautiful group of beautiful people! Always wonderful to be with good friends. Beautiful and interesting birds and animals. Have a great day!

  17. These are amazing shots David and glad you got to spend some time with family too. Nothing better than getting outdoors, enjoying nature and spending it with family and friends too. Love the shots of the flycatcher and the herons, of course. - Tasha

  18. Hi Both and another wonderful place to visit with your birding friends and to have your daughter with you as well, a real bonus. Some excellent bird images, and seeing the Waxwings make me think it could not be that long before we have them back!! Then you finish with a monster breakfast, what a wonderful day. All the best to you and your group. John

  19. RIM Park is wonderful ...What a treat of a place to share with your lovely daughter. I wonder if your friend Francine would be willing to share her secret ;) ..I'd love to be lucky enough to say 'I wish I'd see...." and then voila ,it would appear. I'm sure her luck has just a bit to do with her talented birding group of friends though ! And speaking of those friends .... Breakfast sounds wonderful!

    1. You will have to come and visit, Sallie and we'll see what we can do! And I am sure I can persuade Francine and Jim to invite us over for breakfast!

  20. Hi David,
    It's nice to read that you were walking in the park where you walked when the kids were still small :-) The group photo is very nice and Carolien with her father ;-) The big kuiftiran is new to me and I find him beautiful to see. The red chest cardinal is also very special to me. Blue herons we have enough in the Netherlands but the green we do not have and this one is really super! Pest bird, deer, gulls and squirrel, kingfisher and all the other beautiful birds. It can not be done. Great post.
    Thank you for this beautiful series xxx

  21. You are a good group! It's great to go out together.
    A wonderful bird collection David. The green heron is superb, really.
    The fauna is also very beautiful, bravo.
    Thank you for your comments on my site.

  22. Such a great group of friends ...
    Lovely post.

    All the best Jan