Friday, 11 October 2019

Fall Birding

     This post will be a composite of various outings over the past couple of weeks. We do not have a lot of photographs for any single walk so it makes sense to combine them.
    We are at that point in the fall when most of the outbound migrants have left and winter species have not yet moved in. The end of the month should already start to redress that situation.

Hillside Park, Waterloo, ON

     A couple of visits to Hillside Park were pleasant and overall the birding was not bad. Passerines high in treetops, and others in dense bushes and tangles, did not make for great photographic opportunities. It is a great place to visit and very local, however; we can leave the house and be there in ten minutes.
     As you may see, autumn foliage is slowly starting to dominate the greenery of deciduous woodlands.

     The colours are spectacular, no less awe-inspiring with each passing year, and are a familiar and welcome feature of autumn in Ontario. People travel great distances for the splendour of the fall colours; we are lucky to have them  in our own backyard.
     This juvenile Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) was gorging on the prolific crop of berries of European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).

      Fall has been warm this year, unseasonably so, and the skies have been blue; sometimes etched with white, always interesting with shifting shapes and formations.

     An Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) was probably paying scant attention to the clouds, focusing all its attention on insects passing by, to be snapped up in a quick sally from its perch.

     Mallards are ubiquitous; known to everyone both by sight and by sound, but they are always delightful. Like old friends we don't always give them their due, but we relish the reassurance of their presence.

Riverside Park, Cambridge, ON

     A few hours at Riverside Park is generally rewarding, and this visit was no exception.

     I also needed to buy bird seed from Wild Birds Unlimited, which is close by, so I took care of that chore too.
     This park is well used by casual walkers, and dogs exercising their humans, and many birds have come to realize that friendly two-legged creatures often have food in their pockets. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is frequently one of the first to explore this possibility.

     It seems to have become a trend recently that people paint rocks and inscribe inspirational messages on them, and leave them in prominent places. 

     From what I understand the finder is expected to be uplifted by the words, and may take the rock home or leave it for others to be similarly inspired. Some items are just decorative and have a reference on the back.

     Quite what this signifies I am not sure. We left them for others to discover!
     White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) was very common and wasted no time in letting us know that if we had seed it was willing to take it.

      Male and female Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) were equally bold.

     Not to be outdone, an American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) was preoccupied with the serious business of laying in winter storage.

     Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a migratory species, but every year several individuals elect to remain at Riverside Park, and I am sure that supplemental human feeding has a lot to do with it. They are arrayed in various stages of plumage, all very handsome.

     A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) appeared content to simply observe from on high, although periodically it did come down to snatch a little seed.

     House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) seem to have declined in numbers in recent years so it was very agreeable to see this pair at Riverside park.

     American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is another species that can now be found in the winter, having demonstrated an ability to exploit micro-climates and find suitable roosting sites. This individual was quite pale.

     As might be expected in October fungi dotted the woodlands, in a myriad of shapes, colours and sizes.

     Like the red squirrels above Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) are veritable paragons of industriousness as they prepare for winter, filling their cheek pouches with seeds and berries, and scampering off to add to their larder.

Columbia Lake/Clair Lake Park, Waterloo, ON

     As I arrived at Columbia Lake I saw three Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) fly in to join a couple of others already on the lawn.

     The welcome they received was not entirely friendly.

     But after a couple of minutes of posturing and hissing it looks like they decided to get along.

     Fall colours were in evidence, of little concern to the quarrelsome geese I am sure.

     Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) could be seen around the lake, sometimes in the open, at other times hidden by the reeds.

     In recent weeks I have seen as many as fifteen Great Egrets (Ardea alba) at Columbia Lake, but yesterday only three remained.

     This is an elegant, handsome bird, and it is very agreeable that its presence here has increased exponentially in recent years.
     Mallards have not yet been joined by other species of ducks from the north, but I am sure that will change shortly. In the meantime it feels good to loaf on the rocks.....

     ..... or go off to find a snack.

     Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is another species which has departed over the past few days, as birds head out on migration. I searched in all the likely spots but only a single bird remained.

     The trees at Clair Lake Park were a riot of colour.

     I had a pleasant walk but what birds I saw for the most part were in the darkest recesses of the woodlot, and all resident species one might expect.
     As I departed I spotted an Eastern Phoebe flycatching from the top of a tree. Phoebes are the hardiest of the flycatchers to visit us, always the first to arrive and the last to leave. And a great favourite to all who know them.

     I bade this one farewell in the sincere hope that I may see it again next spring.


  1. Very beautiful photos David with beautiful birds and animals. I like the squirrels. The chipmunk is very nice. it seems like a big mouse . Also nice autumn colors. Have a nice weekend. Greetings Caroline

  2. Härliga tider David när naturen sprakar i alla dessa starka färger, samma sak händer här också.
    Det är svårt att fotografera fåglar så länge träden behåller sina löv så jag tycker ni lyckades utomordentligt väl med fågelbilderna.
    Här får jag nöja mig med Blue Tits och Great Tits samt några till, jag funderar ofta varför vi här i Norden har så få arter då klimatet verkar vara snarlikt Canada.

  3. Querido amigo muchas gracias por compartir tanta belleza, es realmente relajante y maravilloso. Las aves son increíbles y los colores del otoño un lujo. Y qué decir de las fotos espectaculares. Un fuerte abrazo.

  4. Hi David!!! Very beautiful series of images. Good weekend

  5. Your autumn colours are fabulous, David. Ours are only just starting but will, I'm sure, never match yours. Thankfully, here we're not currently in the doldrums for birds at the moment, with quite a bit arriving and causing excitement - some from over your side of the pond. I was only a couple of hundred metres from a Lesser Scaup yesterday, but couldn't pick it out from the tight flock of several hundred Tufted Ducks it was with! Best wishes to you and Miriam. Take good care - - - Richard

  6. Precioso paseo amigo David y a tan solo diez minutos. La vegetación en el otoño es una preciosidad y todos los avistamientos que pudiste fotografiar igualmente una maravilla y todo tan cerca de casa. ¡Es un privilegio! Me encantó el reportaje.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre David.

  7. The birds leave for warmer places, and the trees are beautifully colored. ;)

  8. David, this is an amazing post with wonderful photographs of birds and nature.
    I have never seen a chipmunk before and enjoyed so much looking at your amazing photo of him.
    You have a very beautiful autumn!

  9. Hi David, you had some fabulous autumn walks, and it's always interesting for me to see birds we don't have here, and animals like the chipmunk. The geese, ducks and herons are familiar visitors here, too. Those geese seem to like posturing and hissing. Thanks for sharing, Valerie

  10. Hello my friend David,
    of course it makes sense to merge the different feet of your trips if you don't have that many.
    I really see beautiful autumn colors in the leaves of the woods here, but I also see beautiful birds again. The cardinals are by far my favorite. I really like that one!
    The other birds are also a picture to see. The little squirrel is very funny :-)))
    And then also several herons, a plover and ducks. I enjoyed it immensely again :-)

    Dear greetings and a big hug from your girlfriend from the Netherlands xx

  11. Hello David,
    Beautiful birds and autumn colors! Here the autumn colors have not startet yet.

  12. Your words and pics are wonderful, David, but I also find Miriam's pics of the chipmunk and Red-winged Blackbird especially appealing to me. I really enjoyed sitting back and taking these trips with you.

  13. A varied selection of birdlife, some like the Mallards and Canada Geese being extremely familiar to me and others that are total strangers. I was particularly stuck by the upright pose of the Phoebes; if I'd seen that silhouetted against an English sky I'd have immediately thought of our Spotted Flycatchers which have similar hunting habits too. Our migration season is well underway though several winter species are yet to put in an appearance.

    1. I am familiar with both species, John, and I would make the same association too.

  14. The birds and autumn colours are very nice to see.

  15. Oh my. Arboreal fireworks AND birds. Thank you so much for taking us along. Smiling at the dog's taking their people out for some exercise too - how true it is.

  16. Beautiful birds but I think they were outdone by the trees! I do love fall colors.

  17. What amazing photography, I especially admire the photographs of birds. Here in the UK we have lost so many species due to the use of insecticides.

    1. We have lost so many too - 3 billion songbirds since 1970, due to many causes, with domestic and feral cats being the greatest factor in their decline.

  18. Lovely fall views and birds. I always like to see Cardinals and Nuthatches.

  19. Hari OM
    another visual harvest for which I offer thanks! YAM xx

  20. Such glorious pictures! I love the fall colors, something we don't typically see much of here.

  21. Hi David.

    Beautiful series with the Ducks, Birds, Mushrooms, Squirrel and nature itself.

    Greeting from Patricia.

  22. Beautiful pictures of the birds and squirrels.
    The fall colors are also present, really beautiful to see.
    Best regards, Irma

  23. Hi David - they are all gorgeous photos ... both of stunning birds, and of glorious foliage - they all look so peaceful. The REd-winged blackbirds are delightful to see - while I particularly liked Miriam's photo of the tree trunk with the surrounding shrubs in different states of dress. Enjoy the weekend ... we're in thick mist down here ... cheers Hilary

  24. Loads of nature pictures, and the birds, lovely. Great photography.

  25. Hi David,
    Lovely the fall colors. And so cute the two different squirrels. You have seen so many different birds!
    I love the flycatcher, ducks, egret and heron. I have never seen a juvenile (Cedar) Waxwing, He is very cute. The Red-winged Blackbird is a beauty! And the White-breasted Nuthatch , wow, that is a stunning bird!
    Great Post! Great shots!
    Regards, Maria

  26. Hello David, the fall colors are looking beautiful there. Wonderful collection of birds and photos. I love the cute Black-capped Chickadee. The geese do not look very welcoming. Wonderful post. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, Enjoy your weekend. PS, thanks for the visit and comment.

  27. A great variety of photos David. A joy to watch them all!

  28. Preciosos colores de otoño. Los pájaros son lindos, por mi jardín se ven bastantes estos días, espero que no se marchen y pasen el invierno aquí. Un abrazo.

  29. It's a beautiful time of year to be out in nature! The trees are spectacular and I love that little red squirrel! Lots of birds to see too! Very nice! Enjoy your weekend!

  30. It is beautiful to see the autumn colors, those characteristic and inspiring tones. I liked the ride, I have been able to meet the Carbonero with a black cape, the northern cardinals have a beautiful color and the beautiful red-winged blackbird so unique, here I only see male black and female blackbirds. Geese and ducks seem very nice to me.
    Many kisses and happy weekend, David.

  31. preciosas las imágenes con los árboles con su follaje en tonos cálidos, siempre tan atractivos. Las fotos de faunas muy bonitas, las de ardillas y garzas son las que más me gustaron.
    Un abrazo

  32. Hi David, you already have wonderful autumn colours, we're still waiting for them. Very nice to see. Also the photo's of the birds are nice and still a lot of variety and for sure more to come in the next weeks. The red-winged blackbird is amazing! This bird does remind me of our starlings but stil very different and special. The beauty of the (male) mallard is captured well. Wonderful glowing 'smaragd' green in the head.
    Wishing you a great sunday,

    1. It is past the time for you to visit Canada, Marianne!

  33. A deeply rewarding way in which to spend your life, recording and sharing with others who will never be able to visit such beautiful places.

  34. A great set of photos David...I have yet to find any rocks, but I have enjoyed painting some.

  35. A wonderful collection of photographs of these late departing birds and your autumn colours. My 2 weeks on PEI is coming to and end. I've loved spotting the blue jay and on several evenings the joy of listening to the honking of the Canadian Geese flying in V-formation. The greatest joy, other than being with my family, has been the miracle of autumn colours.

  36. Hallo David,
    Autumn conjures up the most beautiful colors in the forests, and the extraordinary wildlife, such activities make you happy and content inside
    great post
    Greetings Frank

  37. Very interesting !

    The white-breasted nuthatch is a marvel. The blackbirds too! Ah, we know Canada Geese here too.
    Stone fashion is original, I like it.
    Beautiful autumn colours.

  38. An extraordinary week of birding! Lovely photos of wildlife and Autumn colors. (Even the rocks)

    Thanks for stopping by & sharing your blog at I'd Rather B Birdin this week.

  39. You do have some very lovely places close by for your explorations David, and you found a good mix of birds despite your apology for not doing so. Please continue to provide me with more Red-winged Blackbird pictures. To me the females are like a mix of features Starling, Brambling, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird and our own Redwing. What I would give to see and hear the calls of Red-winged Blackbird again. And to think that the local birders of Ontario rated the species quite low down in the bird league tables!

  40. Tante belle fotografie e un posto da favola.
    Buona giornata.

  41. Those are beautiful pictures of all your walks David.
    Very nice to see all those different types.
    Beautiful also the fall colors, I love the fall.
    Greetings Tinie

  42. David, I'm charmed with your photos.
    I admire the spectacular colors the trees dressed in.
    Birds and a squirrel delighted me.
    Have a nice sunny week.
    Hugs and greetings.

  43. j'aime beaucoup le cardinal, j'en avais vu à New York à Central Park.
    Il y'a un écureuil roux qui vient chez moi, je lui mets des noix et des noisettes.
    Vos photos sont très belles.
    Bonne journée

  44. Hello David, Autumn and its colourfestival. It is even known here how the trees turn their leaves in spectacular reds, orange and yellow. We do have something like this here in Europe but not as stunning where you live. Here it is also in between migrant birds. So a bit quait it is here also. But you did see some beautyful birds on your walks like the Red-winged Blackbird. What a beauty that is. And ofcourse the Northern Cardinals. A birds so spectacular. I do not know what to think of those painted stones that people leave behind. But I do not like it just like a trend that people have to stag stones on top of the other. Result a beach full of staged stones. Why must people always leave a mark in the landscape?
    Take care David,

  45. beautiful and rich wildlife. Beautifuly captured.

  46. Great set of pictures - as ever! I often wonder how far people would go to see a bird as good looking as a male Mallard if they were rare. Many, many miles I suspect.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: keep an eye open for more Bowerbirds in the coming weeks!

  47. Hello David and thank you for commenting on my blog post.
    I have many more plants around the garden to attract butterflies .. Joe Pye, coneflowers, milkweed, flowering shrubs such as spirea, the list goes on and on .. but this year it was amazing to have so many Monarchs , so in love with this hydrangea standard right at the deck where we could really see them.
    I enjoyed your post here .. we have many of the birds you do .. we were so happy to have them nesting in our birdhouses as well (chickadees especially, they are so sweet!).. This year flew by but the multiple events that thrilled us were amazing ... now on with probably a short Fall and that always long winter to get over ? haha

    1. Sounds like you have a very nature-friendly garden - Bravo!

  48. Another delightful and dazzling post, David. Your colors are far more advanced than here in Michigan. (They're coming along and the weather may kick it into full gear this week). And your sightings, as always are beautiful and so nicely photographed. I love the mix of nature!

  49. Oi David, que maravilha de fotos!!!
    Adorei a joaninha; lol.
    Boa continuação de semana.

  50. Looks great, David!
    And the colours, fall is so beautifull..

    Best wishes, Ida

  51. Estou encantada com o Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).
    As cores de outono são maravilhosas.


  52. I couldn't agree more David. The Red-winged Blackbirds are very handsome right now. And Miriams photos
    are just superb!!

  53. Hello, David!
    So many wonderful photos! I like the third one - it's a beauty of nature in Hillside park. It's a pleasure to walk in a park not far from your home and to take photos of birds. I liked red-winged blackbird and Canadian geese, they flew up above my garden last week to South.

  54. Wow!!I adore your blog with all the birds and nature That Chipmunc is soo sweet!Also the various special birds like the Egrett..Ducks are always a pleasure to visit when we go for a walk here..i think birds brings much happiness to people and we also get out for a walk

    Thank you very much for this post..we like it very much:)

  55. What great shots. Things I have learned about geese: don't mess with them. Cardinals: hold still to enjoy them.

    I grew up in mid-Illinois near the Mississippi. Eagles are fabulous when winter comes. They head down the river and settle between Quincy to Alton. It is amazing.

  56. What a lovely post full of good things to see, and thoroughly enjoy, which I did!
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

  57. both you and miriam captured some lovely images, the birds are beautiful and colorful!!! you are seeing some really pretty fall colors, better than what we are getting!

  58. David - I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Sometimes the "common" and the "familiar" are reassuring - to know that some elements of our world are not changing!

  59. Hi David,
    Although a lot of birds have already left you were able to show us here een nice number of different species. Amongst common kinds (at least for me) there were quite a few very beautiful ones. In combination with pictures of the brightly coloures trees it resulted into a great impression of the fall.
    Greetings, Kees

  60. Hola David.

    ¡El otoño es maravilloso en Ontario! Cada foto es una postal idílica, tema aparte es la fauna y especialmente las aves: invitan a pasear constantemente.

    Un abrazo desde Galicia, España,


  61. You do have beautiful parks up there - it must be such a pleasure to visit them and spend time there. I have never seen a juvenile Cedar Waxwing; usually they're here only in late winter raiding my privet tree (which is very welcome). Thanks for the reminder of buying seed at Wildbirds Unlimited, I need to do that, too, as long as they have their sale going on!

  62. Autumn in the sun always looks lovely I think! We have similar things with the painted rocks here usually they have a hashtag on the back so you can post them on social media!

  63. The Unicorns can fly ... I've seen one! LOL
    Painted stones are good as paperweight!
    In all seasons the birds are beautiful ...

    1. And I could use a couple of paperweights. I will have to remember that.

  64. Great birds! And I love the squirrel and chipmunk - so cute!

  65. Beautiful photos. I wouldn't have recognized the juvenile waxwing! Great stuff.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!