Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Rambles with David - Riverside Park, Cambridge, ON

11 September 2018

     It was only last winter that Francine and Jim, having driven past Riverside Park many times, decided to drop in and check it out. Since then we have made several outings there and have enjoyed it very much.

     We had often mused about the potential for warblers migrating through in the fall, so it was with this in mind that we organized our Tuesday ramble. Everyone was there except for Mary who is dealing with health issues.
     To no one's surprise American Robin (Turdus migratorius) was ubiquitous, and while it might seem to some that another picture of a robin is superfluous, I think that this image of a young bird is particularly appealing.

     The boardwalk in the winter is a magnet for birds who have quickly clued in to the fact that humans bring bird seed. Obviously, this behaviour is not confined to the winter months, because a little sunflower seed strewn along the rail by Carol and Judy quickly brought in a crowd. Unusual, and especially rewarding, was the arrival of this Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) displaying little trepidation about coming in close to take advantage of the bounty on offer.

     When we first spotted a male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) it was just starting to feed on the large, juicy caterpillar of a Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia).

     I suspect we disturbed him because he flew off - but not far.
     It was not long before both male and female cardinals joined the other species to take advantage of the sunflower seeds on the rail. As you may see, moult is fairly advanced in these birds.

     When we checked on the caterpillar a while later it was missing - we concluded that the cardinal had returned to finish off its succulent meal.
     A male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) was also showing evidence of moult.

     This female, however, was impeccable and quite resplendent in fresh fall attire.

     I am quite sure that wherever there are birds and people who observe them there are also species that are often overlooked due to their familiarity. Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscala) surely falls into this category. 

     It is by any reckoning a stunning species.
     Perhaps we might say the same thing about Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), a dazzling vision of electric blue, with crest and jaunty mien.

     There are resident Blue Jays and a migratory component from farther north. Recently summer inhabitants of the boreal forests have been leaving and passing through in the hundreds. Today Miriam and I sat on the patio and were enthralled as a steady stream of Blue Jays passed over our heads, the sun glinting off their plumage, their calls resonating through the unusually warm air.
     One does not always have to travel to remote areas to witness the wonders of nature.
     An American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) made sure that not all the seeds were taken by the birds.

     A few were eaten, but most were sequestered away for winter storage. We did not begrudge the squirrel its share.
     One of our most widely known, and best loved, birds is the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) and they certainly look dapper at this time of year.

     A bit of a love/hate relationship exists between people and Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) but I am an unabashed admirer of this species. A flyby is enough to set my heart aflutter. 

         We were all very delighted indeed to see an Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) high atop a snag. This is a species that has become decidedly scarce in recent years.

      Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) are still here to enliven the woodlands, but soon will be departing with the onset of fall.

     You will remember that our original quest was for fall warblers and we spotted about a half dozen species, mostly high in the treetops, however, and with the foliage still intact almost impossible to photograph. 
     An exception was this Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) which was in the open briefly.

     Several Bay-breasted Warblers (Setophaga canstanea) were a little lower down and Franc did well to get this picture.

     We walked down a trail that radiates off the parking area, where we had seen Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) in the spring, to search for them again. We were not disappointed and it appears as though this largest of all North American woodpeckers had a successful breeding season.

     It was close to lunch time when we parted company, well satisfied with a very pleasant walk and a great assortment of birds. What better way to spend a Tuesday morning? I can't think of one!

David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.


  1. The time of the year when the birds change colour confuses me no end with identification!!! Wow that shot of the Olive-sided Flycatcher in flight is amazing. Take care and enjoy what is left of the week. Diane

  2. What an absolutely magical ramble. And glorious photos. Thank you much.
    I am so grateful that even at home we often see seven or eight native bird species a day. Feathered enchantment which always brightens my day. Including the 'common as mud' birds.

    1. That is surely the key to the enjoyment of birds. Take pleasure in the common species; by repeated observation you will learn so much of their life style.

  3. Glorious photos of the pileated younguns and the grosbeaks. It looks like they wanted to repay the photographer for the sunflower seed treats!

  4. The Blue Jay is my favoritebird, David. What a amazing color!

  5. Fine checklist for your walk...and Franc, once again, stellar shots!

  6. Sometimes I go to our little local park to look for birds but when I see them I always struggle to get their pictures.
    I probably have to learn what kind of seeds should I bring with myself to attract birds.
    These are outstanding photographs! The Blue jay in flight is spectacular. And the North American woodpeckers are very special. Delightful post, David!

  7. Återigen helt otroliga bilder på fåglarna och många av dem är riktigt färgglada typer som gör sig bra på bild. Dock har jag förstått att just uppseendeväckande färger inte är en fördel i fåglarnas värld men för oss människor är det vackert att betrakta.
    Bilden på flygande kanadagäss är så vacker, det blir min favorit bild idag.

  8. Hi David.

    You could see beautiful species of birds and make beautiful pictures of them.
    So nice to see species that will never come here.
    Cute and beautiful also the squirrel.

    Thank you for showing so many beautiful things and letting us enjoy.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  9. Hello David!
    Wow! What a beautiful place to visit! Great scenery and amazing birds!
    Stunning pictures! My favorite birds are the female Cardinal and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak !
    And such a cute Red Squirrel! Have a lovely day!

  10. Precioso paseo matinal y muy bien aprovechado por el gran reportaje que nos muestras amigo David, que belleza y diversidad de pájaros y que belleza de fotografías cual de ellas mejor. Debe de ser una gozada y un privilegio pasear por ese entorno de Riverside Park.
    Gracias amigo por compartir y mostrarnos tan bellas imagines.
    Un fuerte abrazo

  11. That looks like a great place to visit. I haven't been out bird photo shooting with my big lens for a bit and you've inspired me.I guess I will have to do with local year round birds unless I catch some in migration. I think a lot of them have left. Happy Wednesday. :)

    1. There are lots of resident birds that make superb subjects for photography.

  12. A lovely walk David, the leaves will be gone soon enough, ours are falling in droves at the moment!

  13. Hello, David, this looks like an awesome place to bird. A hotspot for sure. Great sighting and birds. The photos are awesome. Love the Pileated Woodie and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  14. A nice place to walk and see all the different birds. Awesome photos of the birds as always, thanks for sharing this post and have a great day.

  15. Hi David - a delightful range of excellent photos ... we are lucky you put them up for us. Wonderful place for a walk ... especially mid-week with fewer people around. The woodpeckers are certainly clearing their ground aren't they - we think (here) they're starting on an old apple tree. We also had a flock of starlings come through ... incredible sound they made as they chomped on a tree just outside the house - I must find out what tree it is ... and they flocked around for half an hour or so ... up into the firs, pecking the ground, and round about before all going off somewhere ... lovely post - thanks ... cheers Hilary

  16. Hi Both,
    Another brilliant outing for yourselves and group to ramble away merrily.
    Some beautiful scenery and a wonderful variety of birds.
    The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is such a beauty, always fond of the Northern Cardinal and Blue Jay.
    Wonderful images, hats of the Franc and Miriam.
    All the best, John

  17. Fantástica sesión ornitológica, me ha llamado mucho la atención el picogrueso Pheucticus ludovicianus, no lo conocía. Todo lo mejor desde España, un fuerte abrazo!!!

  18. All of this in Cambridge? Wow! Either you know exactly where to look or it was a very good bird day. I'm with you on the blue jay. Stunning. True, they get a little snarky but they dazzle so, it's hard not to love them. The moult is interesting. I haven't noticed that on the cardinals here yet but then not seeing all that many. As always, a wonderful walk with you.

  19. Your bird photos have such great detail. I maintain feeders and enjoy them so much, but can I say that I am just a sucker for a squirrel. Too cute for their own good.

    1. I enjoy squirrels too, Michelle. I think that too often we view them only as marauders at our bird feeders, but we laid out the smorgasbord for them, so it’s irrational to think they won’t come.

  20. Hola David, muchas gracias por mostrarnos tanta belleza, son aves preciosas. Vuestro trabajo es maravilloso. Abrazos para todos/as. Besos.

  21. A wonderful set of photos - the Blue Jay is stunning :) It looks a super walk with so many species of birds and good to read you saw some warblers.

  22. Hello David,
    you all must be very happy to have discovered this Riverside Park.
    Wow, to see so many beautiful birds on one morning!
    You show fantastic images. The most stunning is the flying blue jay (14). I also like the rose-breasted grosbeak and the red cardinal. The one on picture 8; is that the same as the one on your beautiful new header?

    Best regards, Corrie

    1. Yes, Corrie, it is the same species - a male Northern Cardinal.

  23. Hello David,
    Unbelievable that you have seen so many birds on one morning!!!
    Beautiful birds! Breathtakingly beautiful, though! Totally unknown here in the Netherlands. Mirjam and Franc have make beautiful pictures! The squirrel is cute and adorable!
    Happy weekend,

  24. Hi David.
    Franck's pictures are always fabulous.
    I'm discovering this grosbeak! He is beautiful.
    But if there's one bird that makes me dream in Canada, it's the blue jay!

    1. And that is not a difficult bird to see, Nathalie.

  25. This is one of the best place to enjoy good close up photos of beautiful birds! I like the cute squirrel too!

  26. Beautiful birds... and trees that are still green! Ours start all to have yellow leaves.
    The black-capped chickadee is a lovely bird, like our willow tit, a species that unfortunately is in decline here.

  27. Hi David. Just catching up after Lindsay and I returned from a stay on the North Yorkshire Moors.

    If I'd been on your walk that day, I'd have had great difficulty in containing my excitement at virtually every species you show here - you can probably guess the single exception. However, seeing one of that species in its 'home' would have a certain amusement factor!

    With love to you and Miriam - - Richard

    1. I will have them all stand together and honk “O Canada” in your honour.

  28. Hello David, what a lovely park, must be wonderful to walk there.
    Beautiful photos as always.
    We had confiramation for our boys at 15, it is a protestantic tradition. It was a wonderful day,

    Have a lovely weekend,

  29. i instantly fell in love with your new header!!! what a beautiful man...she's not bad looking either!! and yes, i suspect they enjoyed the caterpillar for lunch/dinner...the big benefit to raising them indoors!! most don't survive in the wild!!!

    standouts for me...the flicker and the pileated woodpeckers!!! beautiful pictures!!!

  30. How fortunate to see so many beautiful birds and to be able to photograph David.
    Very nice, my favorite is the Rozeborst Cardinal super nice !!!
    Greetings Tinie

  31. Beautiful walk at the end of summer, I can see that the animals are getting ready little by little to face the cold season of the year that will be close in a few months. Here is the opposite, obviously, we have gone from a winter with many fresh days to a warm start almost without scales. Nice birds and pictures taken by Franc, especially the woodpeckers that are my favorites
    Un fuerte abrazo

  32. This looks a very nice place to walk and see all the different birds.
    The photographs you've shared are just fantastic, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  33. Hi David,
    This has been a morning you hope to have a lot of times. I can imagine to were very glad with the number of different species you have seen. The pictures are great again. You are lucky that Franc offers you the chance to publish them.
    Greetings, Kees

  34. So good to find a nearby place to walk and with all those wonderful birds how amazing. Have a wonderful time away for the next few weeks -- I'm hoping/betting that there will be birds involved.

  35. Hello David,
    I always see many beautiful birds with you in your blog.
    Birds whose existence I did not even know and also birds with the most beautiful colors. Now I see a Rozeborst Cardinal (Pheucticus ludovicianus) with you and ohhhh ..... what is that beautiful!
    The other birds are another sight for the eye. Especially your woodpeckers are again very jealous lol .....
    Dear greetings from your girlfriend from Holland xxx

  36. ooooh, I really love the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, what a beauty! I also like the Flycather (as I like all flycathers very much). And the photo of the Blue jay in flight is also great.
    Overall, lots of nice species as always.

    Kind regards,


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We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.