Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Woodlot at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON

09 May 2018

     For four years now I have been conducting a weekly avian survey, spring and fall, in the woodlot on the campus of the University of Waterloo, for Michael Drescher, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, School of Planning. It has been a distinct pleasure to do this, and Michael has been superb to work with.
     In addition to information on the birds encountered, I have always made Michael aware of other taxa observed, and this morning, for the first time ever, I came across an adult Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) with four kits. They were seen on the bank of Laurel Creek, which flows through the woodlot. For the most part they were heavily concealed by Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) and other vegetation, and the photographs are not terrific, but the following shot shows the four kits.


     This picture shows the adult (presumably the female), again not especially clear, but definitive nonetheless.


     Another shot of the adult in Red Osier Dogwood......


     I expected to see high drama for a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) was sitting on eggs very close to the foxes. In the second picture you can see just how close.



     I am not sure whether the foxes had not noticed the goose but they made no attempt to drive her from the nest in order to secure a nutritious feast of goose eggs. The goose got up from the nest, quite calmly, covered the eggs and left. Once the eggs were hidden beneath a layer of dried grasses the nest appeared to be nothing more than a pile of dead vegetation.
     One youngster, a little bolder than the others, or perhaps more foolhardy, came out into the open.


     A call from its mother caused it to leave in short order.


     It is around twenty years since I last saw a family of foxes and this morning's experience was quite magical for me. It is good to see this wily creature surviving in this way in the heart of a city; judging from the condition of the young they are feeding well.
    I located several other nests of Canada Goose, including this one.


    The female held tight on the nest while the male postured, hissed and honked at me, but I think we finally parted good friends!
    A male Hairy Woodpecker (Leuonotopicus villosus) foraged for a good while on fallen trees enabling a series of fairly decent pictures.



     In the next picture you can see the divided red patch on the male, one of the characters that separates this species from the similar, but smaller Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens).


     This individual appeared to be enjoying good feeding and remained in view for several minutes.




     I observed several Grey Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) and this one even stayed in one place long enough to have its picture taken.


     As I made my way back to the parking lot I saw the first family of Canada Geese for the year. The parents are quick to move their goslings onto the lawns where the living is easy!


     Before we know it they will be all grown up.


33 comments:

  1. Oh I love that shot of the kit looking directly at you, what a great shot. Havng said thay you have a lovely colection of photos hes and the woodpecker shots are superb. Keep well Diane

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  2. Hari OM
    A lovely glimpse of your time on the survey, David; the fox being a bonus! Yes they are a risk to the birds and their eggs, but as we all know, this is nature and there is joy in seeing these critters do well also. YAM xx

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  3. Espectaculares fotos David, preciosos Zorros y preciosas aves, enhorabuena, gran trabajo.

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  4. What an absolutely magical day. I have a huge weakness for birds (feathered enchantment) which is matched by my love of foxes. And it is years since I have seen a fox (except as road kill). Thank you for sharing the magic you saw.

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  5. OH, my goodness, what a treat! So nice of the curious little guy to pose for a photo for you, too. We have many, many goose babies trailing around after their parents searching for lunch right now. We waited for a group to cross the road near our coffee shop just last weekend.

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  6. La foto número cinco donde se ve al zorro detrás de la barnacla es muy buena. Me ha gustado mucho el reportaje, enhorabuena David. Un fuerte abrazo desde España.

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  7. Foxes, long story about them here, we have none!
    Interesting read his the fox left the goose nest alone..

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  8. Hi Margaret: When you say “here” I am not sure whether you mean in Tasmania or in all of Australia. I suspect you mean only Tasmania. Australia in general has not done well with its introduced species...think just of the rabbit, Red Fox and Cane Toad. Time to realize that introducing alien species nearly always results in disaster.

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  9. I'm guessing that the Red Osier Dogwood is similar to a fox? They were introduced, for hunting I believe, in Australia but we have not done well in Australia (or anywhere in the world I presume) with introducing non-native species.

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    Replies
    1. The Red Osier Dogwood is the small shrubby vegetation in which they are concealed, the one with the red stems.

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  10. Hello David!
    Stunning pictures of the cute fox and the Canada Geese with her chicks!
    Great captures of the woodpecker! I’m sure you enjoyed your walk!
    Have a lovely day!
    Dimi...

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  11. Hello David!
    Stunning pictures of the cute fox and the Canada Geese with her chicks!
    Great captures of the woodpecker! I’m sure you enjoyed your walk!
    Have a lovely day!
    Dimi...

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  12. What a wonderful bonus to be able to be able to get photos of the foxes. I was taken aback how close they came to the nesting goose.

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  13. Oh, how cute the baby geese look! :)
    Beautiful and very interesting photos of fascinating creatures.
    Happy birding!

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  14. Hi David.

    Great the foxes.
    How nice to be able to see it that way.
    Hopefully the eggs will survive
    Beautiful birds also there.

    Groettie from Patricia.

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  15. Fantastic photos of the foxes, the goose and the birds. I am amazed that the foxes didn't bother the goose or her nest. Must be nice to walk and see all the wildlife.
    Have a wonderful day.

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  16. Beautiful photos and wonderful encounters with the wildlife! Have a nice day. Sandrine

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  17. wonderful morning of sightings!

    I would be trilled to see the fox family that close.
    so interesting that the goose was calm with them near.

    So fun to see all your photos.

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  18. Beautiful post.. The goose was very luck.. Have a nice weekend ahead..

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  19. Beautiful photo of the fox cub - it must have been so lovely to watch them. The goose sounds as though it was lucky. I was watching Canada Geese here today on a nature reserve.

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  20. I've only once ever seen Fox cubs playing like this, David and that too was a good few years ago (June, 2010) four fields across from the barn on my 'local patch' that I've taken you to. It was a truly delightful experience, and your captures have helped me relive it - thank you. I was amazed to see that goose nesting so close - I'm sure it can't have a happy ending for the goose!

    Also impressed by your Downy Woodpecker images, and just a little bit jealous too!

    I hope that all is well with you both - - - Richard

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    Replies
    1. Not to put too fine a point on it, Richard, it is a Hairy Woodpecker.

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  21. Hola David.

    Muy buenas fotos, las que más me gustan son las cuarta y la sexta con el hermoso zorro.

    Un abrazo desde Galicia, España.

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  22. Beautiful Red Fox pup, I love them.

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  23. This was wonderful David. We'll soon be in Colorado visiting our son and DIL and this will be our first time there since they have begun to develop the large tract next door to their home -- prior to that it was home to (at least one) pair of red foxes. We have watched several years worth of babies when we've been there. We all hope that they have found another home where they can thrive.

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  24. Vilken spännande berättelse du bjuder på David! Märkligt att räven inte tar fågeläggen. Här har vi rödräv och jag ser den ganska ofta under vårvintern. De drabbas periodvis av rävskabb, en smitta som så småningom leder till döden så jag blir alltid glad när jag ser en frisk räv.

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  25. Hello, David.
    I love your pictures! I've seen Canada geese in autumn when I traveled in southern Finland. There they have a stopping and relax flying North. I'm not surprising the fox family didn't come close to goose on the nest: geese are larger and stronger than foxes.
    I also love woodpeckers, one day I saw he was pecking a concrete pole :-)

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  26. gorgeous snaps but the young fox is a standout. what a beautiful animal!

    i enjoyed mr. woodpecker and the catbird as well, my yard is filled with them!!!

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  27. I hope to see some baby foxes here soon too..............

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  28. Hello David,
    wonderful that you could photograph this red fox and also keine foxes :-)
    It is not nice that the fox is so close to the nest of the goose. Oei oei oei .... if that goes well.
    I'm still a bit jealous of pictures of the woodpecker ;-) The (Dumetella carolinensis I did not know yet.
    Very nice photo series David.
    Dear greetings and a kiss xxx

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  29. Beautiful woodpecker, the little fox and the Canadian geese pictures, a species that I knew by name perhaps before any other water bird since an uncle of mine who traveled to Canada gave me when I was 6 years old a solid ornament made of acrylic with a figure of a flying goose that I still have and it's in my bird bookshelf, from that moment I like a lot.

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  30. Hi David ... I'm glad you put us right when we inadvertently comment on a mis-named bird (or animal on occasion)... it's so good to see them up close and personal as your photos always show us - thank you and cheers Hilary

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  31. Lovely pictures of the fox and I just love the Canada Geese with her chicks - so cute!

    All the best Jan

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