Hillside Park, Waterloo, ON
As we move closer to the end of September, mornings are decidedly cool, the days are crisp, and the colours of autumn are manifest.
Each day brings another reminder of fall, and the nights draw in closer. It is time to think of soups and stews, to dig out scarves and sweaters.
Young American Robins (Turdus migratorius) are rapidly developing the skills they will need to survive, migrate, and return to breed next spring.
Miriam and I watched this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) for several minutes at close range. It seemed totally unperturbed by our presence as it went about its business.
It was perhaps the most inefficient heron we have ever seen for we did not observe a single strike! At times it approached the creek bank and seemed to be seeking prey there, but as far as we could tell it went on its way hungry.
Riverside Park, Cambridge, ON
For any number of reasons I did not get around to blogging about our Friday walk with Heather and Lily last week, so today you will be treated to two such outings!
Before going any further, take a look at our precious little girl.
It is remarkable to see the changes each week and Lily is now clearly following objects, reacting to sounds and quite possibly is able to distinguish colours.
Riverside Park attracts a number of people who bring bird seed in their pockets to deposit along the rail of the boardwalk, and the birds have learned where to come for a predictable source of food. Among them are Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), vivid red, and it is postulated that red may be the first colour that babies can clearly recognize. I am convinced that Lily reacted to a cardinal with a little throaty chuckle.
As you may note, many of the birds are now in various stages of moult, and this male looked a little scruffy.
The female didn't look appreciably better either.
But for Lily, there were flashes of colour, the noise of birds quarreling, the whirring of the wings of a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) and it appeared to me that she was absorbing it all.
In the centre of the picture below you will see a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) undergoing moult before migration.
We were relieved to see this Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) go about its business and not bother us.
It does not even bear thinking about the anguish a sting from an angry female wasp would cause a baby - and an angry female will sting repeatedly at the least provocation.
Purple-stemmed Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea) is a common plant in southern Ontario and was abundant at Riverside Park, in the wet swampy areas it prefers.
American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) are aggressive creatures and always manage to secure their share of available food.
This Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was not at his or her most elegant, but it is still a striking bird.
There were several Blue Jays in the area, screeching loudly as they sailed in to perch or feed. I wonder whether Lily picked up on that? Will she learn the speech of birds along with the speech of humans? I suspect she will.
A basking Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) paid no attention to all the commotion.
Soon it will be trapped beneath the ice where it survives due to chemicals in the blood that effectively act as antifreeze.
A Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a handsome bird often overlooked due to its familiarity.
No matter that you do it a thousand times, to have a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) come to your hand to feed is a rare treat and always a thrill.
RIM Park, Waterloo, ON
Two days shy of her three-month birthday, we met Lily at RIM Park, having been transported there by her personal chauffeur, Heather - aka Mom!
It was a cool morning and she was suitably dressed to stay warm.
Migrating warblers and other small passerines are not the easiest subjects to photograph, so I have reached into the archives for pictures of some of the captivating neotropical migrants we saw.
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)
Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)
Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata)
It was a textbook fall day, cool, but with bright sunshine and we were very happy to be out together.
And what shall I leave you with? A couple more pictures of Lily, of course!
À la prochaine mes amis!