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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A Productive 45 Minutes

     Miriam and I have both been busy of late with projects of one kind or another that have kept us in the house a little more than we would want, so we decided to get out for a while and check on the birds.
    One of our favourite locations (covered recently on my blog) is Three Bridges Road, always potentially productive at any time of the year. 
     I have mentioned that some kind fellow keeps a couple of suet feeders stocked and provides bird seed too, and Miriam took a picture of this spot today to show you how insignificant a location it is -  but don't tell that to the birds!



      Actually, today one of the first sightings was of a rodent, anxious to get its share of the bird seed. 




     My level of knowledge of this taxon is pretty limited, but I think it is a vole in the genus Microtus, possibly a Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum). 
     Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are migratory and most of the population migrates out of Ontario during the winter, but a few always remain to tough it out.


  
     The same may be said of White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), and an adult bird is surely one of the most handsome of all the sparrows.



     The default sparrow in winter is Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) and as expected there was no shortage of them.




     You can clearly see the white outer tail feathers which are so characteristic of this species. Normally they are not quite so prominent as they appear in the picture above, except when in flight.
     White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is quite common and several individuals have come to know where the suet feeder is and certainly get their share of the food.



     One always associates woodpeckers with trees, but some species are not reluctant to feed on the ground if the opportunity arises. This male Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) remained there for several minutes, obviously finding the feeding much to his liking.




     Our biggest surprise was to see a Brown Creeper (Certhia americana). This species is primarily migratory but some birds always spend the winter here. I had never before seen a Brown Creeper take advantage of a bird feeder, but this one made a beeline for the suet.




     The familiar, and always appealing Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) seemed to be everywhere, and it was not unusual to have half a dozen of them at the same time.



     Hairy Woodpecker (Leuonotopicus villosus) is basically a larger version of a Downy Woodpecker, with a longer more dagger-like bill. Both species were formerly in the genus Picoides, but molecular analysis reveals a greater degree of separation and they are now placed in different genera.




     You will also notice that the outer tail feathers of Hairy Woodpecker are pure white. This feature helps to clinch the identification. Downy Woodpecker has black markings on the outer white portion of the tail as shown below.



     Another distinguishing feature concerns the red patch on the back of the head of a male of either species. In the Hairy Woodpecker the red is discontinuous and broken up by a dividing line of black; in the Downy it is solid.



     Several Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were perched in nearby trees, and every so often came down to feed for a couple of minutes before returning to their perch.



      Other species put in an appearance too, although we were unable to get pictures of them, but it was a very agreeable stop, and there was constant activity. We were happy that we had decided to get out of the house for a spell.
      Before heading back for home we checked out the Conestogo River but there was nothing to be seen.



     As you may observe there is a little ice on the river, but not much. Normally it would be frozen over by now but this winter has been so mild there is open water for the most part, especially where the flow is rapid.
     We'll see what our next visit to this familiar spot delivers.
     

70 comments:

  1. The critters look like they're handling the winter okay.

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  2. Bonjour,

    Wouaou ! De nombreux espèces d'emplumés qui cherchent leur nourriture ... Pas facile l'hiver de faire face au froid pour ces petites bêtes !

    Gros bisous 🌸

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  3. For a fast little outing it looks like you had some pretty good sightings. That is a good close up of your little rodent friend. Amazing that gentlemen keeps those feeders going in such an obscure location.

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  4. Hari OM
    What a delightful array on display; surely the milder winter coupled with 'outdoor catering' has helped keep things lively! YAM xx

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  5. Winter birds might seem pretty average but they are really gorgeous. I don't know what happened to all the juncos that came early in November. Maybe they have gone further south suggesting bad winter weather to come or have they gone north saying our weather will get more spring like? Hmmm. I am guessing as it s only January more winter will be coming.

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  6. Feathered (and furred) enchantment. Megathanks.

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  7. it is always beneficial to get outside and get some fresh air - seeing the birds is a real bonus!! i see all of these birds right in my yard, except the creeper!!

    it is very nice that someone keeps the area well stocked, for the birds...and also for their admirers!!!

    you captured some really beautiful, crisp, clear images!!

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  8. Hello David!
    Such beautiful critters and great captures of all those preety birds!
    Like the Winter scenery and the view of the river. Thank you for sharing!
    Enjoy your day!
    Dimi...

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  9. Ett stort tack David för att du bjuder dina läsare på en intressant promenad i ett vintrigt landskap. Jag kan inte låta bli att förundras över den artrikedom som skiljer sig så markant från den skandinaviska, speciellt under vintern.

    Som alltid, djupt imponerad av den detaljkunskap du besitter och som du så generöst delar med dig av.

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  10. Que buenos y productivos 45 minutos amigo David de bellas criaturas captadas e inmortalizadas por vuestra cámara. Muy buena obra realizada por esa persona anónima que coloca los comederos con sebo para ayudarles un poco en el invierno, ¡debe ser gran persona!
    Me encanta el reportaje y la bella lectura de todos esos bellos pájaros, felicidades a Miriam por sus buenas fotos.
    Seguro que fue un agradable paseo.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo Juan.

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  11. I love Chickadee, David and am never surprised to see a lot of them near the feeder in my garden.I always give the birds suet as well. Your photos (or Miriam's) are lovely, the birds look healthy and alive, especially one on your header.

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  12. You have little snow on the ground. Here we have 30 cm. I love the Hairy Woodpecker. It's so cute, David.

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  13. Wow, a very good day for a quick stop, fabulous photos and I love that Dark-eyed Junco it is cute. Hope all is well Diane

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  14. What a great Post this is!!
    Fantastic birds and beautiful descriptions of the differences!
    I have enjoyed it!
    My Favorites are the:Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch and all the Woodpeckers!!
    My Compliments for the beautiful pictures especially for Miriam!
    Best regards,
    Maria

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  15. Hi David.

    Nice that Rodents.
    You can see beautiful types of birds.

    Groettie from Patricia.

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  16. Hello, the vole is kind of a cute rodent. It is a must to get outdoors and breath some fresh air. Wonderful birds sightings. Some of my favorites are the Woodpeckers and the Brown Creeper. Awesome collection of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. I've been away and now catching up with my comments and blog visits. I appreciate your comment and visit to my blog. Have a happy day and week ahead.

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  17. This time of year is when birds appreciate the extra food more … although a winter forest can seem barren there’s so much life there as your photos show. The Woodland Vole is cute and fuzzy. He looks like he came right out of a Harry Potter tale.

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  18. A journey with interesting photos and very good descriptions.

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  19. Lovely photos - and what an abundance of species. Most of those are not seen here in the UK.

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  20. Variety of birds and a wonderful critter! David, you had a great adventure seeing all these beautiful birds.

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  21. Amazing variety of birds and such amazing close-ups! How near to the birds did you manage to go (to be able to get so brilliant photos)? Perhaps your lenses are good too... :)
    Thank you for your comment today. I'm working on the issue "translating".
    Happy birding!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sara: At this location we use the car as a blind and we are within about three metres of the birds.

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    2. That is smart! I must try it too!

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  22. Hola David.

    ¡Así da gusto pasear! Y con la colaboración del señor que pone el sebo para los pájaros el éxito parece que está asegurado; unas cuantas especies: gorriones, carpinteros, trepadores... ¡Una maravilla!

    Un abrazo,

    Rafa.

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  23. Stunning captures all of them!! I love watching the tree creepers but very difficult to get such a great photo of them. Have a great week :)

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  24. Visitar o seu espaço é sempre uma enorme surpresa, a variedade de avifauna é incrível!

    Maravilhosas partilhas.


    Desejos muitas inspirações e capturas fotográficas para nos deliciarem!
    beijinhos.

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  25. The critters look like they know where the best places to find food are located.
    Excellent photos as always.

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  26. Wow, so many varieties of birds in one place. You certainly have a talent with the camera. Very mild weather here too for the time of year.

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  27. Hi David,
    Wonderful variety of birds, super images, well done Miriam.
    So good to see that someone take the time and effort to feed and attract these birds.
    What a beautiful little bird in the Brown Creeper.
    All the best, John

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  28. Beautiful birds in the world. I love the Woodpeckers, they are fantastic David.

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  29. Great birds...love the creeper!

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  30. So many varieties of birds - lovely to see your photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  31. Very pretty. Voles are cute, but they can really destroy a lawn in short order.

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  32. Good Morning David,
    Lovely to see your friendly rodent. So pretty and your birds are beautiful as always!

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  33. Such a delightfully rewarding break for you from your chores and so many amazing images for us to enjoy.
    My favourite is the frontal image of the vole. Is it the same creature as the photo above? I haven't been able to decide.

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    Replies
    1. It is the same little creature, Helen. It would dart out, feed for a few seconds and then return to its den. It is dangerous for a rodent to be exposed too long.

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  34. Lovely series of images .. Best regards .. :-)))

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  35. A wonderful set of images - I find it so interesting to see the different birds you find in Canada. Particularly like the White-throated sparrow and the woodpecker. It looks a great place to walk and see birds.

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    Replies
    1. White-throated Sparrow not only looks gorgeous it has an incredibly haunting song too.

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  36. What a lovely spot this is, they don't need much sometimes do they, the birds!

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    Replies
    1. I am leading a walk there this morning and I am sure that everyone will be feeding them sunflower seeds.

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  37. Nice how they all enjoy the fat.
    Beautifully photographed David.
    Greetings Tinie

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  38. Certainly they were 3/4 of an hour highly productive, with a good amount of birds and rodents portrayed in beautiful photos in a beautiful natural environment

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  39. Waoo!!!!!! they all are gorgeous!! awesome clicks.
    Thank you.
    My Blog | Instagram | Bloglovin

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  40. A great spot to make some remarkable captures of birds David. The little mouse is also adorable.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  41. Like you say David, a rewarding time. It's good when people take time out to feed a regular spot like that, a nondescript sort of place which as you say, the birds don't mind. I wonder if your White-throated Sparrows are whistling their cheery greetings yet? We have few things in song now, but not today with a tiny snow shower, the first of the winter.

    With luck we are at Linnet City tomorrow.

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    Replies
    1. It's a little early for the White-throated Sparrows to be singing, Phil. It is an enchanting sound to be sure.

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  42. Cute rodent and birds coming out to look for food.

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  43. Sorry for the late visit, David - been a bit preoccupied lately.

    What a fabulous array of birds, and photos, you and Miriam packed into 45 minutes! And a rodent too. I can't think of a better way to spend three quarters of an hour - not at my age, anyway!

    My love to you both - - - Richard

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  44. Wow -- that's pretty remarkable and not bad for a short jaunt! Tell Miriam her photo at the end of this -- the icy stream -- is stunning. Enlargement worthy! I don't think I've ever seen a sparrow that is remotely unusual but I'm seeing loads of hungry regular ones at my feeder!I hope blogger Mae checks you out -- she and Len are both into birds!

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  45. Very nice set of birds - and the 'mystery' rodent has a great little face.

    Just back from LHI (which was just as great as I remembered), so I am very behind with comments. Look out for an endemic species to appear on WBW this week!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  46. This is a very nice place to see and feed birds: _) I see the most beautiful and nice birds pass by :-))))) I really think about traveling to you haha....
    Really great to see this.
    Sweet greetings and a big kiss xo

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  47. It was a really productive ride.
    All the birds are beautiful but I especially loved the pictures of the Hairy Woodpecker.
    Great captures.
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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  48. QUE HERMOSURA...Y QUE CANTIDAD DE TIPOS DE PAJAROS.
    PRECIOSOS.
    SALUDITOS

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  49. Precioso reportaje. Saludos.

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  50. Hi David - thank you for taking a photo of the suet surrounding area ... wonderful array of birds and vole Miriam was able to capture for us to see - cheers Hilary

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  51. Hello David,
    Beautiful series of images of the different birds.
    Especially when the white-throated sparrow and the woodpecker are my favorite.
    Nice place to walk and see birds.
    Best regards Irma

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  52. Not bad for 45 minutes. What a lovely variety of critters!

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  53. nice collection of birds in a fine environment :)

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  54. This is a wonderful place with a lovely birds!!! Thanks for sharing!

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  55. A totally enjoyable and immensely satisfying post. Thank YOU!

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  56. Que maravilha!
    Adorei o Pica-pau-malhado (Dendrocopos major)!

    Boas fotografias e uma belíssima viagem à avifauna!

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  57. What a fabulous 45 minutes!! Awesome images!

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  58. Happy to get out of the house? If this is the variety you get to see, I would be camping there :-)

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  59. Can I come on your next walk? I don't see any of this stuff on my walks.

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