Followers

Thursday, 4 June 2020

A Review of the Last Few Days


     Covid-19 keeps us close to home, but we have a wealth of places to explore, and our local scene keeps us well occupied and happy with our local birds.

30 May 2020
Three Bridges Road, St. Jacobs, ON

     The full suite of flycatchers has arrived back in our area, some passing through on their way farther north, others stopping to breed. 
     Two of the most common species are shown below.


Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus


31 May 2020
SpruceHaven, St. Agatha, ON

     We are not doing nearly the volume of monitoring and bird banding that we normally do at SpruceHaven, but there is a good deal to keep us occupied and sustain our interest.
     A Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is always a very agreeable sight.


     The principal reason I go to SpruceHaven every Sunday is to check on the activity at the Eastern Bluebird/Tree Swallow trail which was established for the benefit of the WRN Teens club. We had great plans in mind to have the teens monitor six nest boxes, documenting their results and submitting them to appropriate authorities, along the way acquiring a good deal of knowledge about these birds. Covid-19 put an end to that programme!
     I have been checking the boxes and reporting the results back to WRN Teens so that they will know what is happening in "their" boxes.
     Some of you may recall that two of the boxes had full clutches (six eggs each) of Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs. Incubation is a constant activity for the female, with no assistance from the male.
     In one box I witnessed the beginning of the fully developed embryos starting to work their way out of the egg. The eggs were moving as the occupants strained to crack the shell, and at least one was chipping away with its egg tooth, in a long and arduous process to escape from the confines of its "prison". I had never actually seen this activity before and I found it verging on emotional to see this drama of birth and renewal.
     In the second nest box the female sat tight on the eggs, and I did not wish to lift her up to check what was happening underneath her belly. This coming Sunday will tell the tale.
     What provided an additional level of great encouragement and excitement, however, was the fact that a pair of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) have taken up residence in one of the other boxes, and two eggs have already been laid.



     The female left the nest box when I opened it to check inside, but I closed it quickly and before I had walked to the next nest box a hundred metres or so away, both members of the bluebird pair had returned to their home.


     It is not so many years ago that Eastern Bluebirds (and other bluebird species for that matter) had spiralled into a pattern of serious decline, principally due to aggressive competition from our two resident aliens, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Fortunately, many dedicated citizens banded together and erected thousands of nest boxes throughout the continent, which are fitted with predator guards and are constantly monitored, resulting in a resounding comeback for this delightful little bird.
     Forty years ago if you had visited and asked me to show you an Eastern Bluebird, I might have been hard pressed to do so. Today, I could virtually guarantee it.

02 June 2020
A tour of the hinterland of Waterloo Region

     Look at the pictures below to appreciate what a truly pleasant area we are happy to call home.


  
     The above images were taken along Martin Creek Road, an area very familiar to us, and there is a large culvert under the road so that the creek flows unimpeded. I cannot begin to estimate how many times we have driven along the road on top of this culvert, but it would number well into the hundreds. Imagine our surprise (and great delight) then when we discovered a whole colony of breeding American Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) there. How we have missed them before is beyond me!
     Anyone familiar with the rapid, zig zag flight of swallows will appreciate how difficult it is to take pictures, but I am including below a couple of shots obtained at other breeding colonies.



     A Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) posed very nicely for a closeup portrait.


     And as further evidence of a healthy cohort of breeding Eastern Bluebirds, at least one pair is breeding in the graveyard on Three Bridges Road. Dedicated parents toil tirelessly to feed their young whose appetites are insatiable.



     Tombstones provide a convenient perch for this American Robin (Turdus migratorius) to scan the ground and pounce on any unwary morsel of food. Beware the beetle that scurries along in the open!


     The Conestogo River intersects with our meanderings at various points along our traverse. 


     We pass a farm with a small pond, occupied every year by a pair of what are colloquially known as "rent-a-swans". They are not wild birds, of course, but this does not detract from their appeal and one was determined to put on a show for us.


     Needless to say, we appreciated this highly engaging performance. Little wonder Tchaikovsky created a ballet based on these creatures.
     A Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) was a first sighting for this species at this location.


     As mentioned earlier flycatchers have taken up residence in good numbers, and there is one spot where we are almost guaranteed to find Eastern Kingbirds lining up along the fences.



     And the Conestogo River flows alongside us still.


     As was the case with bluebirds, the appearance of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) not so many years ago was a rarity. It is now a fairly common breeding species.



     A Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) was panting in the heat.


     And at the end of any good walk it is always good to be back home.


 
     Birds in the backyard entertain us to no end and we like to believe they are happy to see us return. Perhaps the fact that I fill their feeders influences the welcome we receive!

87 comments:

  1. Your photos are amazing as always, I’ve never seen a Grebe in the wild! Only in photos,, such an unusual bird. That panting Osprey,, that’s incredible,, such a capture! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The birds are very active, and the flora is very fresh and beautifully colored.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful birds David, It's nice to have this birds near your home

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have some beautiful places to walk out and enjoy. You found a huge amount of wonderful birds again, many of which I don't know. I didn't realise that sparrows were pushing out other birds. Here the sparrows have been driven out by the crows and ravens. Great idea with all those nesting boxes. And it must have been very moving to see the little birds picking their way out of the eggs. I wish you and gour lovely Miriam a great afternoon, and hope she is keeping you well supplied with muffins. Hugs to you both, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She made a fresh batch this morning and added orange zest. Wonderful!

      Delete
  5. Hello, David

    Wonderful report on your sightings and outings. It is cool seeing the Cliff Swallow nests. The Bluebirds are one of my many favorite birds. Love the Eagle and Osprey too. Great collection of bird photos. Have a great day and happy weekend ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You got some beauties! The Cedar Waxwing is such a handsome bird. Gorgeous swan, and the Osprey...fantastic. Enjoy your day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful pictures. I particularly like those of the flycatchers. We enjoy having the Eastern Phoebes here during the winter and the Eastern Kingbirds have arrived for their summer stay. They are always fascinating to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a gorgeous area to walk and enjoy nature. It is truly beautiful as are your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nothing can beat the satisfaction of a quiet, fruitful birding walk with the added result of some lovely photos.
    Greetings from a fellow birder in Sri Lanka!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Le jaseur Boréal est un très bel oiseau. Les petits oeufs sont bien jolies, vivement les petits!
    J'aime beaucoup les nids d'hirondelles, elles sont de bons maçons.
    Hier j'ai pu observer un papillon de nuit rose, j'en avais déjà eu il y'a deux ans.
    Bonne soirée

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great post with of course many birds that I do not know. I have though, I think, fallen in love with that Cedar Waxwing, it is quite beautiful and I also notice that is one of your photos David, well done I am more than a little impressed with this shot. How I wish I could just pop over and go for a walk with you and Miriam , I know that whatever happens I would see something more that worthwhile. I so seldom see birds here on my walks it is almost always flowers or insects. Take care ans stay safe, Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane: If ever you can make it over here, Diane, I will dedicate myself to you from the moment that I pick you up at the airport until I drop you off again.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, would love to come over but I am sure it will never happen. I see I did mot go AWOL 😊

      Delete
  12. Mature trees, waterways, green pasture, servants to bring you food every day - what more could any bird possibly want in your lovely district?

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is quite obvious from the pictures in your posts that you and Miriam are professionals with high standards. The birds pose for you almost like human models. It wouldn't happen to me and my camera.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such a great variety of birds in a beautiful area. Thanks for taking us along.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wrote a long comment to this blog - has it gone AWOL????

    ReplyDelete
  16. Huge thanks.
    How I love wandering and marvelling with you and with Miriam.
    And of course your 'home' birds are pleased to see you return. You are a part of their landscape, as they are of yours...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your photos always make me feel like I was with you. How utterly amazing. God is quite the artist.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes, something good has come out of this crisis, David. It's nice to bee in our neigbourhood. It's a lot of things yet to explore.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Actually 3 success stories in your post the Cliff Swallow, expanded their territory in the 19th Century to include man made structures, the Eastern Bluebirds also owe their increase to man made help, and the Bald Eagle. we owned them one!! So man has not done all bad deeds....very enjoyable Post David.

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are such enjoyable photos of birds and terrain. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good evening, David
    i'm seeing blue eggs! how beautiful they are, i've never seen them before. You live in a world of healing beauty, it is clear why you call it "home", enchanted paths, splendid little flowers, magnificient swans... 🐦🐦🐦🕊️🕊️🕊️🐣🐣🐣🦉🦉🦉 hopefully soon you can resume the WRN Teens project.

    What beauty and tranquility - how beautiful is nature! in that forest only lacks fairies.

    Have a beautiful day tomorrow and ahead, thank you

    ReplyDelete
  22. Cedar waxwings and bluebirds are on top of my list of beautiful birds.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lovely photos of all those wonderful birds you have over there. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You live in a wonderful area David. The photos of the nests and eggs are wonderful to see.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Otro reportaje maravilloso amigo David, tienes la suerte de tener a tu lado una gran fotógrafa, mis felicitaciones a Miriam. Es tierno contemplar el nacimiento y la lucha por romper el cascaron. Maravillosas golondrinas.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Another interesting birds. Recently, I rarely have time to read blogs because I have a lot of work and I can't observe birds either. Only in my garden. Congratulations on your observation and good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's always a joy to hear of your exploits and enjoy the excellent photos of local birdlife. It's difficult to spot much at all around here at the moment with many birds nesting and all the trees in full leaf, though a few youngsters, innocent of the dangers in the world, can be seen from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi David.

    How nice that you can see a lot so close to home.
    Beautiful birds, beautiful species and beautiful in color.
    Nice that there are eggs, hope there will be really little ones.

    Greetings from Patricia.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Glad birds find still great space in your part of the world and that on your walks you can encounter them. Some great nestboxes and good to read they make good use of them. The landscape with the water still able to run free is a sign that wild life can enjoy all the goods of nature. The nest the Swallows have made are most wonderful and look a bit different than the nest we see over here. The White tail Eagle is stunning and ofcourse again the Osprey!
    So enjoy all these wonders of nature and keep on showing us what there is to be seen.
    Take care,
    Regards,
    Roos

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lovely and green there, the scenery nice to see.
    The bluebird is looking good as are all the others.
    Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your area looks quite marvelous, no wonder the birds love it.
    Great photos of the birds, so cute to see the birds with food on their beaks.

    ReplyDelete
  32. We once had a Spotted flycatcher nesting in a Virginia creeper just beneath our bedroom windowsill. I kept the curtains pulled together for all of the time that they were nesting, and it was a joy to be able to peep at them through a gap in the curtains and watch the young hatch and develop before they flew away.

    ReplyDelete
  33. As always your photos and stories of various birds are always very beautiful and impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your backyard is a bird’s best dream and you have such idyllic places to explore. The eastern bluebird, a harbinger of happiness, seems to have had dedicated folk to thank for an uptick in their population. It’s a good news story when so many creatures are in decline.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Having a rich and varied fauna near the house is a joy. The blackbirds in your country are so beautiful! The grass is green everywhere.
    Kisses David and Miriam

    ReplyDelete
  36. Such nice scenes and magnificent selection of birds … always lovely to see.

    Happy Friday Wishes.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello David,
    This week there was some relaxation in the Corvid dilemma so that the activities can be expanded again, your activities in the nearby area are always very educational for me because I do not know about the bird area or I do not know anything, great landscape with you very nice thanks for showing ...
    for both of you health
    Regards Frank

    ReplyDelete
  38. Beautiful and varied pictures... Happy weekend an stay safe... 💚

    ReplyDelete
  39. Querido amigo cada día me gustan más las aves y me encanta leerte, es maravilloso ver la gran cantidad de hermosas aves que hay en tu tierra y muchas gracias por enseñarnos tantas cosas sobre ellas. Un enorme abrazo para ti y para Miriam. Preciosas fotos. Feliz fin de semana.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Tienes mucha suerte de tener esos lugares maravillosos. Los pájaros son muy bonitos, por aquí no se ven. Un abrazo amigo David.

    ReplyDelete
  41. David - a wonder-filled re-cap of the last few days. I must admit to being partial to the bluebirds and the martins. It is a refreshing story that we see so many bald eagles here in Montana to say that is a bit of a "yawn". I love a happy ending! Enjoy your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi David - gosh what excellent shots and descriptions ... the cedar waxwing looks so so smooth - amazing coat of feathers; but the blue birds too ... and then the swallows - I was amazed when I first saw those at a house of friends in Umtata, Transkei ... had lots of photos in the late 1970s ... the photos are no more ... but I remember the nests.

    You're right you live in a wonderful area - while home with its petunias looks amazing. So glad you're updating the kids with their boxes ... while that must have been so special to see the near-hatching ... as you say emotionally extraordinary as life births.

    Stay safe and thanks - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hello David, this is a very beautiful post with a lot of nice pictures. I'm glad to hear that the Eastern Bluebird is making a comeback. Too often many species dwindle in numbers without our attention.
    Greetings, Janitha.

    ReplyDelete
  44. How lucky are those of us that have beautiful wild places within easy reach of our homes, David, such as you are showing us here. I'm just so thankful that I don't live in the heart of a big city. The main factor detracting from these otherwise attractive places is that they are far more busy than they used to be. With half the workforce unable to go to work, the kids not at school, and holidays away from home not possible, places are getting ridiculously overcrowded. There used to be a time when I avoided going out at weekends because places were so busy, now they seem to be three times as crowded - every day of the week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many of the areas we visit are off the beaten track, Richard, dirt roads in the country lead to them, and as long as we are willing to climb over the odd gate and handle uneven terrain at times, we can be in places where we never see another person. We are fortunate in that we live at the very northern edge of the city and within minutes we can be in open country.

      Delete
  45. Hello David,

    You do have some great birding spots to visit. The Bluebirds are gorgeous, love the beautiful swan. The Waxwing is a beauty! I love all the birds. Miriam's bird photos are always a treat to see. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great weekend. PS, thanks for the visit and comment.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hello David! Glad to be back!
    I really enjoyed all your wonderful pictures of the area that you live and all those beautiful birds!
    The Waxwing bird is my favorite bird!Thank you for your kind comment!
    Have a relaxing weekend! Stay well and safe!
    Dimi...

    ReplyDelete
  47. Another good post with wonderful bird and nature photos! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hello. Beautiful area. I can imagine there's a lot of birds out there. Photos are so fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  49. How beautiful birds you show again David. Wonderful to have all those different in front of the lens. Nice to see the swallows in their hole, beautiful how they make that construction work.
    Have a nice weekend, greetings Tinie

    ReplyDelete
  50. Oh David, once again you take us there to your beautiful world with its green fields and red barns and gorgeous birds. I loved that nuthatch photo so very much. And the sweet eggs. So pale and lovely. Each and every photo is a gem.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Both,
    You are so fortunate to have these areas that are free of people, over here all our favourite areas appear to be full of idiots with no care for social distancing just to wander at will and if you bump into somebody??? Super post with such a variation in images, well done Miriam,. Good to see the flycatchers an d your waxwibg is so beautiful.
    you both stay safe
    John

    ReplyDelete
  52. Great bird photos and beautiful scenery, too!
    If I had to pick favorites, it would be the Kingbirds!

    ReplyDelete
  53. It is aways such a delight to visit your blog to enjoy the beauty of your local birds. I envy you the green that surrounds this area.

    ReplyDelete
  54. incredible images! I am impressed! Have a lovely weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  55. The wealth of bird life in your area is marvelous, and I always enjoy seeing the variety. Today, the cliff swallows caught my eye. The most interesting nesting ground I ever found was in western Kansas, at Monument Rocks. Kansas was under water during the Cretaceous period; today, portions of the exposed seabed remain as fantastic forms rising up into the air, and the birds find them convenient for nesting. It's quite a sight; I have a few photos here, and if you scroll to the last two photos, you can see the nests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful photographs, Linda. How on earth did I miss this area when I visited Kansas?

      Delete
    2. I wouldn't have known about Monument Rocks had a friend from Kansas not tipped me off before I traveled there. The place is well-promoted by the various tourism boards and such, and it seems that plenty of geologists make pilgrimage there, but it is in the middle of the proverbial 'nowhere,' and certainly isn't a place that selfie-takers would trek to. When I visited, there was a couple there when I arrived in the early morning, but no one else appeared in the several hours I stayed.

      Delete
  56. Hi David,
    You are without any doubt a talented writer. Every time it is interesting to read about your activities, the way you describe your "adventures" is a pleasure to read. And let's not forget the pictures, Miriam deserves also compliments for her contribution. Covid-19 has not influenced your live too much as I read about what you are still able to do. What a luck that wildlife is bringing so much distraction.
    Greetings, Kees

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for those kind words, Kees.

      Delete
    2. I fully agree with the compliments Kees is writing here above to Miriam and you.
      Wishing you a lot of health,
      Corrie

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Corrie. We are not looking for compliments but I appreciate it very much when readers take the time to convey them. Stay well!

      Delete
  57. That waxing portrait is picture post card perfect!
    You sharing this post with us at I'd Rather B Birdin this week is much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I like the Eastern Kingbirds. Similar to some of the Flycatchers we get here.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Son preciosas esas aves y una maravilla por disfrutar de ellas teniéndolas tan cerca de casa, es lo bueno de vivir en un ambiente lejos de la ciudad.
    Un beso enorme!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Fantastic images David. The Cedar Waxwing are brilliant and Eastern Phoebe.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Oh! I see that you love not only birds but also flowers.
    Miraim has an excellent hand, because they grow great and bloom beautifully.
    Thank you that I could see picturesque landscapes and other interesting birds. I always watch them with great pleasure.
    Greetings to Miriam and for you from distant Poland:)

    ReplyDelete
  62. Isn’t it amazing, the different nests birds are programmed to build? No plans, no YouTube videos, they just do it. We have one cardinal who doesn’t seem to get it, though. She has half built two haphazard attempts, one in a redbud tree, the other low in an azalea bush, both falling apart. Now she seems to have gone on somewhere else! Poor dear. Must be frustrating! The hanging pots in your backyard are lovely,

    ReplyDelete
  63. Your travels are always interesting, David. I love A Cedar Waxwing on your photo, I embroidered this bird years ago, is so sweet one. The swans look great and graceful, I see the landscape around your place is so quite and peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Places near the residence of each one of us can be in many occasions, if not always, very interesting to visit, it has its biological diversity that is worth observing, even more so when due to the Covid-19 pandemic we cannot going to distant places, it's a time to take advantage to see in more detail the beings that surround us. I found the swallow nests interesting, they visit us in the summer, they are not very common where I live. Another thing that caught my attention is the resemblance of Tyrannus tyrannus with the juveniles of Tyrannus savana from our latitudes, especially for the length of the tail, this species is a short-tailed brother of the southern flycatcher. Another known as Podilymbus podiceps and the different blue birds make the illustration of your story about the outings you are making even more enjoyable, always so well narrated and that makes you want to read.
    Un gran abrazo, amigo

    ReplyDelete
  65. How many beautiful birds, I especially loved the Cedar Waxwing.
    You live in a spectacular place, with beautiful scenery and surrounded by nature, allowing you to take beautiful and rewarding walks.

    ReplyDelete
  66. One day I am going to see a blue-bird in the feather. One day! I suspect that you will know this, but the aggressive display put on by (male?) Mute Swans is called Busking - so, I suppose it it a performance of sorts!

    The Brown Falcon shots were taken on the same road as the Brolga sighting, just a little way away. They road is a public road, so we can still use it. The rest of the WTP is still shut.

    Hope all is well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
  67. What good news about the Bluebirds! Also on discovering the Swallows, just goes to show there's always something new to find isn't there :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And as of last Sunday a full clutch of five eggs is now being incubated.

      Delete
  68. Thank you, David, for continuing to share so much beauty with us! The world sure needs more of THIS right now.

    Your description of observing the bluebird egg hatching is what should be required study for all kids. A sober reminder that no matter what the world may be doing at any given time, nature faithfully repeats its cycle of life!

    Happy to see "our" Phoebe and Kingbird made it home safely. You truly have a beautiful slice of paradise to explore.

    We've been getting side-swiped the past few days from Tropical Storm Cristobal rain bands. Can't complain, though, as we need the rain.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Adoro suas imagens dos pássaros!
    Boa semana.

    ReplyDelete
  70. As much as enjoyed this posting of the birds, I also appreciated that you showed photos of the areas you and Miriam have to explore. How fortunate to have such wonderful places so near. I hope you will be able to show more of the young when they hatch in the nests. The bludbird eggs are quite colorful and the first time I've seen any.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Wonderful Pictures!The fourth bird we have alot of here in Norway!

    It is also so Nice to see good Things from Your Place(specialy in these times)The landscape is so beautiful and calming!Must be Nice to be there around.Happy week to you and Miriam :)

    ReplyDelete
  72. how wonderful to have such nature and wildlife close to home. I would certainly love it. You are probably never bored :) Great shots as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hi David,

    Did I understand it right that you saw the baby blue birds coming out of the eggs? How wonderful if that is! Good to read that the nestboxes are filled with eggs and later on feeding mums and dads. Also the nesting Swallows are nice to see, the make a great piece of architecture every year.
    You wrote that the bald eagle is more common now, I think it amazing that you can see and photograph such a huge bird and I would love to see one.
    I'm glad you're both well and are enjoying the evironment that looks nice and peaceful with the green fields, river and lovely birds.

    Big hug,
    Marianne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marianne: Tree Swallows not Eastern Bluebirds and the eggs were in the initial stages of being breached. I did not actually observe the young birds breaking free.

      Delete
  74. Goodness, my brain is fudge. By the time I read your last post, and went to comment I couldn't remember WHICH specie of swallow. Cliff swallows. The nests are wonderful. sigh.
    Such clear, crisp photos. Cataracts... sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Still ff and I'm as green as the trees in your blog hahahahaha .... So nice and so beautiful to see these birds. The swallows but also the osprey and the sea eagle and the pied grebe. Really a special grebe to see (for me then).
    Seeing those beautiful flycatchers is also going green 💚A masterfully beautiful post :-)
    Dear greetings, Helma

    ReplyDelete