Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Tuesday Rambles with David - The Mill Race, St. Jacobs, ON

07 November 2017

We have probed the earth, excavated it, burned it, ripped things from it, buried things in it, chopped down its forests, levelled its hills, muddied its waters, and dirtied its air. That does not fit my definition of a good tenant. If we were here on a month-to-month basis, we would have been evicted long ago.


-Rose Bird, Chief Justice of California Supreme Court (2 Nov 1936-1999) 

     Franc and Carol are still away in Europe (I think they return tomorrow), Judy was otherwise occupied, so it looked as though we would be only five of the regular group of eight, this morning, but at the last minute something came up that Jim and Francine had to take care of, so Miriam and I were joined only by the indefatigable and ever entertaining, Mary. 
     A leisurely stroll along the Mill Race, where the last vestiges of Autumn bedeck the landscape, seemed just what the bird doctor ordered.




     It was a pleasant 2.5° when we set off, with sun poking through every now and then. The sheer number of birds was quite amazing, especially common species like White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).




       Some kind individual makes it a practice to set out sunflower seeds for the birds, as you can see in the above pictures. He/she does this the entire length of the trail and the birds respond accordingly. 
     Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are wonderfully handsome little birds at this time of year, and they perhaps more than all other passerines have no hesitation in associating with humans.


     I had intended to bring sunflower seeds with me, but forgot, nevertheless I didn't feel guilty holding out my hand since so much seed had been deposited for them. I will rectify my error next time I go to the Mill Race!





     Downy Woodpeckers (Dryobates pubescens) were also as common as I have ever seen them, with sometimes at least four individuals present at the same time. A conservative count would be at least twenty individuals as we walked the length and breadth of the trail.


     Contrasted with this we saw but one Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinensis).



     Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) were kept busy gathering seeds and nuts for their winter storage, and they took advantage of sunflower seeds strewn around by the birds.


     Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was also commonly seen and heard.


     The prize for the "bird of the day" goes to Mary whose sharp eyes picked out this Rusty Blackbird (Eupagus carolinus). I am sure that most of its conspecifics have already migrated.



     Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is an invasive species that crowds out native trees, but its berries are relished by many birds.


     I don't believe that Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) provides food for anything. This species is also called Bur Cucumber or Prickly Cucumber - which is a really good reason to familiarize yourself with the scientific name.


     Numerous pairs of Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) plied their way up and down the Mill Race.


     And this individual appears to be a Mallard/Black Duck (Anas rubipres) cross.


    At the end of our walk Mary pointed out that Miriam and I, especially Miriam, are generally behind the camera and that she should take a picture of the two of us together. Here is the result.


     It was great morning out together - pleasant weather, scintillating company, wonderful wildlife. What more could anyone ask for?

All species seen: Mallard, Mallard/Black Duck intergrade, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Rusty Blackbird, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree Sparrow, Northern Cardinal - Total: 18 full species and one Mallard/American Black Duck cross.

33 comments:

  1. Beautiful autumn landscape, reminds me of the landscapes we have for my region but in winter, except for the leaves of warm tones; also your clothes are what we wear here in the middle of winter, I can imagine the winter there is very hard compared to ours . I liked those trusting little birds that perch on the hand, and above all the woodpeckers, especially Colaptes carolinensis
    Regards

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  2. Ah Davic, the Woodpeckers are my favourites, and the last was grand picture of a you and Miriam, nice touch.

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  3. Stunning photographs as always of beautiful birds. How wonderful that the little Black-capped Chickadee felt comfortable enough in your company to sit on your hand!!!! Loved the white breasted nuthatch, the cute chipmunk, the colourful ducks and woodpeckers and the Rusty Blackbird is simply amazing!
    Have a great week.

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  4. You couldn't ask for more really. It sounds like a lovely morning. Being in nature is so peaceful. I sure do miss time outdoors living in the city centre where I do now.

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  5. Lovely photo of the two of you.
    Enjoy the birds and scenery.

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  6. Thanks to Mary for the nice portrait of you two! Happy people (and no wonder, great birds). i'm going to pretend that the red-bellied woodies are the same ones that I see in Florida in late winter!

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  7. Bonjour,

    Un moment très plaisant que de lire et d'admirer les photos de cette dernière publication.
    Je trouve celle de ce petit oiseau sur l'une de votre main très touchante.

    Cette balade dans la nature a dû être un moment très privilégier.

    Gros bisous 🌸

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  8. Hi, David.

    It's beautiful, there are beautiful birds and ducks.
    What a beautiful Woodpecker.

    Groettie from Patricia.

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  9. Wonderful Birds ..beautiful Shots.. Congratulations ..

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  10. Hello David and Miriam, that was a well rewarding day out. What a beautyful birds you all saw. Love that Woodpacker, this is a kind we do not see here. The photo of you two together is so lovely.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  11. That was another productive day out David. You ordered some good photography light tooand full marks to Miriam for those Rusty Blackbirds and Red-bellied Pecker. Never did catch up with those Rusty Blackbirds. We have rusty Blackbirds here too with all the rain we get.

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  12. Hi Both,
    Another wonderful day out, maybe with a depleted group but you appear to have had a very productive visit. Great image for the Red-bellied Woodpecker and Rusty Blackbird Miriam. The last image of the two of you together reminds me of your visit.
    All the best, John

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  13. Nice pictures - I missing seeing the woodpeckers (and nuthatches!) and the Chickadees - although I know them as Tits - nice to see some again!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Ah, Stewart. I can well understand that you enjoyed seeing tits again...ornithologically speaking, of course.

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  14. Another great read from you, David, with some super illustrations, too. I'm sure that you'll not be surprised that the woodpeckers captivated me the most - especially that Red-bellied Woodpecker. Probably one of the prettiest of all peckers!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

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    1. Red-bellied Woodpecker is indeed gorgeous, Richard, and it has interesting vocalizations too. You'll have to sneak off for a week sometime and come over here and see it.

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  15. Your Nuthatch is a great looking bird..........

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    1. It is indeed, Stuart, and we have three other nuthatches in North America - all good looking birds.

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  16. Que maravilla David, es un placer poder ver tan hermosas aves. Las fotos son espectaculares, muchas gracias. Un abrazo.

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  17. Great photos of wonderful critters, as always. But now I'm off to see the photos of your travel, there seem to be lovely birds and beautiful mountain views. It will be very interesting to see parts of Europe through your eyes and camera lenses.

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  18. Good to see you both, great shot. Love the wood peckers, I hear them here regularly but they are difficult to see except in winter when all the leaves have disappeared, and then then they always seem to be behind the branches ! Love the little Black-capped Chickadees it is so pretty and remarkably tame. Hope all is well, cheers Diane

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  19. It's very nice to see you both and I've enjoyed your photos. Love that Blackbird and I can't believe the little chickadee landed in your hand...how precious! I enjoyed going along with you both on this walk! I hiked yesterday but it was 80 degrees here in Florida! What a difference! Enjoy your week!

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  20. Hello, what a lovely walk. Wonderful variety of bird sightings, I am envious of you being able to hand feed the birds. The Rusty Blackbird is beautiful,awesome sight. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  21. Take a look at this link David. Very interesting as the research was conducted in Canada.

    https://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/7912500-common-pesticides-harm-sparrows-research/

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    1. Thanks for sending this. You wonder how many more ways we can devise to deleteriously affect songbird populations and when we will realize that we are also impacting our own ultimate survival.

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  22. Thank you for your Congratulations, on our 59th Wedding Ann. :-)

    So nice, to have the "behind-the-camera-people," be "in-front-of-the-camera", now and then.

    Luna Crone

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  23. Always interesting to see birds from other parts of the world.
    Thank you!

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  24. What is the MoRed bellied Woodpeckeroie a beautiful bird David and what beautiful pictures do you have?
    The other ones are beautiful and sunflower seeds I give them too ;-))
    Tinie greetings

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  25. Always a pleasure to see your photos David, but I am happy that Mary got a photo of you and Miriam as it is really lovely to see you both.

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  26. Thanks for your help with the id of my chickadee today! I've changed my post and put a link to your blog. It's funny...it turns out it's a Carolina chickadee and coincidentally we are traveling to Carolina (NC) tomorrow! Enjoy your day!

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  27. Isn't that fun? I hope to see some birds in Dominican Republic, but when I checked, it seems as if there are many common to us, as well. It's good, as I don't want to take my good camera!

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    1. Have a great time there. You should be able to see lots of new and interesting birds in the Dominican Republic.

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  28. What a wonderful walk with so much to see.
    I always enjoy seeing all of the photo's in your posts and especially nice to see the picture that Mary took of you and Miriam.

    All the best Jan

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