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.