Thursday, 29 October 2020

COVID Walks along The Mill Race, St. Jacobs, ON

     The series of outings I initiated last month, now known as COVID walks, involving small groups of eager birders, has been very well received, and it was apparent that we should continue with them. The Mill Race in St. Jacobs seemed like a perfect spot to run the third set of walks, and spaces were quickly filled.

Sunday 25 October 2020

Participants: Jason Earle, Walter Friesen, Tara Hurley, Stephanie Shaw, Brian Smith, Joel Ziegler

Jason, Stephanie, Joel, Tara, Brian, David, Walter

     As soon as everyone got to know each other, we set off along the trail, happy to be together on a crisp Ontario morning, anxious to see what we could discover.

     It was not long before a male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) decided to welcome us to his world.

     The Mill Race Trail is one of the best places I know where a sighting of White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is almost a safe bet, and often there are multiple views of this enchanting little bird. Such was the case today.

     The other aspect of the trail which birders and non-birders alike, young and old, and in between, find appealing is the fact that Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) have become so accustomed to humans bringing food for them, that the chance to feed from the hand is virtually assured.

     I took along seed so that everyone could try it out, and the chickadees were equal opportunity visitors, and without exception everyone experienced the pleasure.
     None was more thrilled than Walter, who despite his many years and many walks, had never previously had the joy of doing so. In fact the birds seemed to understand this and made up for lost time, alighting on his outstretched hand more than anyone else's. He became The Chickadee Whisperer! We did not manage to capture a bird on his hand but witness the sheer joy on his face as a bird left with its prize of a hulled sunflower seed.

     And Brian was sharing the pleasure of the moment too. In fact, it captures the essence of the walk, the time spent together, the enchantment of immersion in nature, and the primal response to intimate association with a wild creature.
     How could you not be impressed with the resplendent garb of a male Mallard (Anas platyrynchos)?

     Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is our smallest woodpecker, and in many respects respects resembles the similar, but larger Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus). 

     There are various ways to tell the two birds apart, but for novices it is sometimes difficult.
     The surest way to do this when dealing with a male, is that the red crown patch on a Downy Woodpecker is solid, whereas on a Hairy Woodpecker it is broken. 
     Miriam, to her great credit, upon hearing me explain this marker to the group, captured a picture of a male from the rear, showing the continuous head ornamentation.

     Now that's cooperation! Both from the woodpecker and from Miriam!
     As I mentioned earlier White-breasted Nuthatch is a constant companion too, and Stephanie actually succeeded in having one feed from her hand but the only picture we got was blurred unfortunately.

     Brian wasted no opportunity to offer food on his outstretched hand.

     We saw a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) but none seemed willing to pose close enough for a decent picture.

     If you needed to be reminded that fall is a glorious time of year, you had only to look around.

     This Japanese Barberry (Family: Berberidaceae) looked exceptionally splendid to me.

     Stephanie derived a good deal of enjoyment from feeding the chickadees.

     Sheep in an adjacent farmer's field could hardly be classed as wildlife, but were nonetheless pleasant to see for all that.

     Perhaps this female Mallard had enjoyed our visit and came to say goodbye.

     We had certainly relished our time on the trail. And we'll be back tomorrow to do it all again with a new group of eager naturalists. I can hardly wait!

All bird species noted: Mallard, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Starling, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal.  Total: 17.

Monday 26 October 2020

Participants: Lynn Conway, Karen Golets, Beth Hobson, Curtiss MacDonald, Cathi Stewart
   Cathi, David, Curtiss, Karen, Lynn, Beth

     Even before we entered the trail proper, a male Downy Woodpecker entertained us as it fed on sunflower seed left by some kind human benefactor.

     It is a familiar bird, but delightful in every way, permitting close approach, and even taking food from the hand on rare occasions.
     There is a sense of irony that Miriam recently saw a live shrew in our backyard, and today we saw another one , lured no doubt by the ready availability of bird seed. It would dart out from the hollow centre of this stump and retreat just as quickly.

     It was really difficult to get a picture, since it was visible for the briefest of moments and I think there is insufficient detail to even attempt identification.

     We left the shrew to its own devices and ambled along a little farther.

      A beautiful leaf caught Miriam's attention.

     In nature there is beauty all around. Curtiss mentioned how he been being paying attention to the diverse forms of trees recently, remarking to us on the bizarre ways in which some of them grow.
     As you will have gathered from yesterday's account, to hand feed a chickadee is one of the goals of this walk, and everyone was anxious to give it a try.

     Beth seemed to take special delight in doing it, and in truth they were drawn to her hand, forming a steady shuttle waiting for their turn at the table.

     For at least one member of the group it was the first time visiting the Mill Race Trail.

     As you might imagine, a return visit is in the cards, and Karen too indicated that she intends to escort her grandchildren out there. I know that Lynn walks in this area frequently.
     There is magic in the air when a chickadee comes to visit!
     And there was no less magic when a Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) paused in its usual frantic flitting among the leaves to permit a picture or two.

     For an excellent account of how these tiny waifs survive our harsh and unforgiving winters, I highly recommend Winter World by Bernd Heinrich.
     Rarely, a particularly confident White-breasted Nuthatch will emulate a chickadee and land on a hand, and Karen was chosen first for this singular honour today.

     A chickadee quickly followed to ensure that the nuthatch didn't get all the food!

     While the walks I lead are principally in quest of birds, we do not neglect any interesting facet of nature, and we were delighted to be able to watch at least three Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) going about their preparations for winter, necessitating a few months spent beneath the ice, probably in a cozy beaver lodge in company with American Beavers (Castor canadensis) who readily tolerate these lodgers.

     It is a source of comfort to know that these denizens of our waterways are no longer ruthlessly hunted for their pelts.

     What is more emblematic of fall than a carpet of leaves?

      And may I offer you the scintillating qualities of water droplets - nature's finest jewels without a doubt.

     Fungi beggar the casual observer with identification issues; it is to say the least a difficult taxon, but I am confident that this specimen is Hairy Bracket Fungus (Trametes hirsuta), quite common and widespread, fruiting on hardwood logs or stumps.

     Cathi indicated a keen interest in knowing more about these fascinating organisms and is seeking to acquire Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada by George Barron, clearly the best local guide that I know of.
     The following species remains a mystery, however!

It was located at the base of a hardwood tree and was very large - easily 30cm or more I would say.
     Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) were found in large numbers industriously searching for food.

     On the ground.....

     And in the trees.....

     Curtiss and Karen had walked ahead, engaged in lively conversation, and discovered that they live in the same building.
     At times it is indeed a small world.

All bird species noted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Great Blue Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Starling, American Robin, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal.   Total: 18

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Participants: Betty Cooper. Bill Prociw, Liz Prociw, Mary Ann Vanden Elzen

Liz, Bill, David, Mary Ann, Betty

     A friendly Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) was there to greet us as we entered the trail, to the best of my memory a first-time encounter at this location.

          Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) is far more common, bold and sassy, ever willing to mooch a little food from its human friends.

     It is undeniable that it fits any definition of "cute" you care to evoke, and it is a great favourite with all who walk along the Mill Race Trail.
     A muskrat would probably not elicit the same sentimentality as a chipmunk, but is nonetheless a very pleasing sight for the ardent naturalist.

     It was Curtiss yesterday who was keen to draw our attention to trees and their various shapes, sizes and contorted configurations. Today it was Mary Ann who was quick to point them out.

     The bank seems to be getting undercut here, and this specimen seems to be in serious danger of being toppled by a strong wind.

     Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) were never out of earshot, and rarely out of sight either.

     I suspect that the resident population was being joined by a migratory component, which seems to be particularly strong this year.

     The old trestle bridge is not used as much as it was in former times when the grist mill in St. Jacobs was operating, but from time to time a train trundles over it.

     On this series of walks Red-bellied Woodpecker has been particularly hard to photograph and today that streak was maintained. 

     American Robins (Turdus migratorius) were very common, feeding on an abundance of berries. In times past every one of them would have been preparing for migration, but in recent years many have remained with us throughout the winter.

     And now, let me come to the undisputed star of the show, of this entire series of walks, in fact.
     My good friend, Betty Cooper, is ninety-three years old, and is still in great shape, and able to undertake a walk of this nature at 6°C, with a round trip length of around 2 km. Furthermore, she is the most interesting and energized conversationalist ever.

     What a pleasure it was to have her along.
     Having checked with her whether she had any objection to having her age revealed on my blog (and receiving her approval), we found a spot for her to sit to pose for a picture.

      Mary Ann, ever resourceful, found another great spot, testing it herself first.

     Betty moved over for another portrait.

     Miriam and I cannot adequately express our feelings of enormous pleasure to have Betty join us. She elevated the walk to a whole other level. And it makes me even more anxious to get this darned pandemic over and done with, so that Betty can once again come and have lunch with us.
     What a naturalist! What a treasure! What a gem!
All bird species noted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, American Robin, House Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Cardinal.  Total: 16

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Participants: Carol Anderson, Ross Getsinger, Linda Hartnup, Alan Hills, Victoria Ho, Donna Ivey, Selwyn Tomkun.

Victoria, Selwyn, David, Linda, Alan, Ross, Carol, Donna

     It was a glorious sunny day with the temperature getting up to a very pleasant 12 degrees, enjoyable for everyone, though the birds were somewhat sparse. 
     Nevertheless everyone expressed great enjoyment in an afternoon walk in the company of chickadees - to say nothing of the conviviality of friendships made or cemented, and the sheer joy of human company during the period of COVID restrictions.
     Selwyn wasted no time in reaching out his hand, laden with seed.

     The rest of the group followed suit in short order.

     For some, this was their first "chickadee on the hand" experience.
     Mallards were seldom far from us, often announcing their presence with their characteristic loud quacks.

     This female dazzled us with her beautiful speculum.

     Bur Oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) have either shed their leaves or are about to do so as they enter winter dormancy.

     Whatever the time of year, Common Dogwood (Cornus florida) is a beautiful addition to any sylvan scene.

     It was quiet on the trail, and the birds were either well-hidden or not present, and we made several stops to spend time with the chickadees.  Miriam refers to the following as "the Mill Race Pose!"

      Numerous Dark-eyed Juncos scrabbled through the leaf litter, turning up seeds and other tasty morsels, delighting everyone with their characteristic white tail flash as they shot up from the ground at the slightest disturbance.

     There was not a chickadee on the trail that Ross didn't want to make friends with.

     And who could take issue with that?

     If I am not mistaken this is the nest of a Paper Wasp (Polistes spp.), but if anyone thinks it is that of a Hornet (Vespula spp.) please let me know.

     The Mill Race looked serene bathed in autumn sunlight.

     American Robins were seen frequently, both on the ground, and gorging on berries.

     I think that Selwyn was emitting a special pheromone today, for not only did he attract many chickadees to his hand, a White-breasted Nuthatch spent serious time with him.

     Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were feasting on the same berries as the robins, and it looks as though there is an ample crop to see them through the winter.

     It was not a walk filled with many bird species but a grand experience nonetheless. It was great to be together, and for Linda and Alan their first outing with Waterloo Region Nature. I hope there will be many more.
     À la prochaine mes amis!

All bird species noted: Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Cardinal.   Total: 13

Thursday 29 October 2020

Participants: Elaine LaRonde, Sandye Moores, Diana Spearn, Min Min Tong

Elaine, Miriam, Sandye, Min Min, Diana

     Before setting off on the trail we usually check the Conestogo River from the causeway and were delighted to see a Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) still present, surely now nearing the end of its fall migration through southern Ontario.

     A Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) rattled down the river, but declined to perch anywhere visible, and a Mennonite couple went about their daily business.

     We had not been long on the trail when we saw a Mink (Mustela vison) darting along the far bank of the Mill Race, but it was mostly in deep cover, and seldom revealed itself in full view, and then only briefly. Our photograph is not of sterling quality!

     As you have already gathered everyone comes prepared to feed the chickadees and our group demonstrated its proficiency in assuming the Mill Race pose!

     It did not take long for Elaine to succeed and Min Min recorded the moment.

     You will recall the discussion above about the red patch of colour on the heads of male Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, and having captured the continuous band on the Downy Woodpecker, Miriam was able to illustrate the broken band on a Hairy Woodpecker.

     We have paid scant attention to squirrels in these daily accounts, but no walk was without the companionship of Grey Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), mainly in their black form found only in the northern part of their range. It is presumed that this colour morph confers some unknown northern adaptation.

     Reflection in the water is always interesting, and so close to Halloween, this gnarled and spindly stump seemed to fit the mood.

     Wild Teasels (Dipsacus fullonum) have become sentinels in the fields and meadows, and will poke their heads into the wind as the snows of winter descend on us.

     They nodded to us as we left to head for home.

All bird species noted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Yellowlegs, Mourning Dove, Ring-billed Gull, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal.   Total: 17

Mammals seen during the five outings: Shrew sp., Eastern Cottontail, Eastern Chipmunk, Grey Squirrel, American Red Squirrel, Muskrat, Mink, White-tailed Deer

General Comments

     The restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus have affected some more than others, but the common complaint voiced by most,  concerns the lack of contact with friends and family, surely the most basic and instinctive component of human sociability. These COVID walks, in some small measure, have alleviated some of that stress, providing naturalists with the opportunity to assemble safely with like-minded people to enjoy nature together.
     I am very appreciative of all those who have joined me on our outings and I hope we will be doing it again soon. COVID may have us down, but it certainly does not have us out!


  1. Aw, I'd like to experience a chickadee visitation again.

  2. Wonderful outing David! Thanks to both you and Miriam for leading it and to Miriam for the wonderful photos!

    1. It was our pleasure entirely, Sandye, and it is always great to see you,

  3. I am amazed by the variety of birds you all saw during these walks. And beavers as well, wow!

  4. Well, apart from the 20 or so minutes it's taken me to enjoy that post, all I can say is how absolutely gobsmacked I am at all the birds coming down onto your hands to take food, Even the birds that live in my own garden and wait for me to fill the feeders and will stay in the nearby hedges and, in one case, even stay within a couple of feet on the ground (a Dunnock) would not come close enough to feed from my hand.

    As for all the colours, trees and other creatures, I am enthralled.

  5. It's your shots of the muskrats that particularly draws my eye.

  6. Hi David,
    Beautiful photos as always. The Covid walks is a nice thing to do without any danger. I have walked alone in the wood the last days and have seen the most beautiful colors. The Blue Jay is so pretty.

  7. Oh David.
    While I thoroughly enjoyed this post I will also admit to some serious envy.
    And some awe. I hope to be as active and engaged as Betty as I age (but harbour some doubts).
    Thank you for sharing the joy, the beauty and the wonder. Huge thanks to Miriam as well.
    And for me at least, handfeeding birds NEVER gets old. In the last few weeks a sulphur crested vandal has taken to perching on a knee to get some seed and our smiles threaten to split our face.

    1. Those cockatoos know who has a soft spot for them. I think your reaction to their vandalism is the same as a mother's reaction to a child who behaves badly. You may get mad at them for a moment or two, but you don't stop loving them.

  8. Just love seeing these outings, from young to old, everyone appears to enjoy the beauty you show them. David, thank you to you and Miriam for sharing your love of nature on your walks and with us on your blog.

  9. What a dedicated walk leader you are David! Well done. Great pictures too, and what a range of things you saw!

  10. It's always great to be able to vicariously enjoy your walks. Love the pictures!

  11. Hi David,
    Victoria and Selwyn enjoyed the sunshine walk very much as always. The weather was so pleasant we had to stay a bit longer and we got to see the same birds but much closer, especially the red belly. I have a video of the white breasted nuthatch feeding on Victoria's hand . We saw the mink on the other side of the river. Thanks to Miriam for the photo of the nuthatch on my hand . PS: Selwyn just learned a new word too, "pheromone"

  12. Hi David & Miriam,
    Thanks so much for a wonderful walk, sharing your knowledge and company. We really enjoyed meeting everyone, the beautiful trail and of course, the adorable chickadees and nuthatches 😊 We look forward to more outings!
    Excellent blog and photography. Thanks again and a bientot! Linda & Alan

  13. It was my pleasure entirely. Look forward to seeing you both again.

  14. What a wonderful array of wildlife. Thank you for sharing it with us. I must say it looks as though it is getting quite cold already and see from the temps you mentioned that it is.

  15. Hari OM
    Gracious, what a veritable feast of description and images you and Miriam have brought us today - I fell like I walked with you! I was also taken with the new header/banner... are those mollymawks? Great shot! YAM xx

    1. They are indeed. The principal species you see is Salvin's Albatross and there is a tiny Storm Petrel in the bottom right corner.

    2. Hari OM
      ah yes... I saw that and it is so out of proportion to the 'squad' that I thought it a bit of flotsam! What a fabulous way to demonstrate the sizes. Love it. YAM xx

  16. Many lovely photos of your journey there.
    The birds are amazing to see, always lovely to see nature.
    The scenery is beautiful too.
    Take care.

  17. These guided walks in Nature are a blessed, enjoyable activity, especially during these trying times of covid-19. You had lovely participants in the group.
    (I like feeding birds but not from my hand).

  18. Hi David! It's great to read about your walks, your meeting and sightings of birds and other wild life, and to see you all together as a group. That's something I miss so much thee days. Solitary walks are not the same. Lovely to see the birds eating out of your hands, that's a wonderful feeling. And kudos to your Betty who is so fit and do't look anything like her 93 years, wow! You have some beautiful trails for bird walking, that' sure, and I'm glad that so many people show interest in joining in. Keep up the good work! Have a great day, take care, hugs, Valerie

  19. Replies
    1. PS
      The fish caught will eat it or sell it.

  20. Buenos días amigo David, preciosos paseos otoñales de COVID, bella naturaleza otoñal, y gran cantidad de avistamientos todo ello acompañado de buenos amigos, imposible de pedir más. Me asombra la cantidad de buenos amigos encontrados en el camino y sobre todo la facilidad de esos pajarillos para comer en la mano. ¡Que gran privilegio!
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre David.

  21. Quelle multitude d'animaux!Beaucoup de beaux oiseaux comme d'habitude.
    La sittelle est très jolie. Quelle chance de les voir se nourrir dans la main, une balade inoubliable.
    Bonne journée

  22. Hello David,

    Your Covid walks sound great, wonderful group of nature lovers and bird sightings. I love seeing the people hand feeding the birds, they do look happy holding out their hands for the birds to land on. The kinglet is one of my favorite birds, great photos. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

  23. Hi David.

    I sat down to view and read everything in peace.
    Wonderful your explanation and how cool that you can make so many people happy with the walks.
    And there was plenty to see and enjoy with every walk.
    I also enjoyed it, thank you for putting in so much time to put everything on your blog and let others enjoy it so well.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  24. Fantastic idea for walks in this difficult Covid time.
    David, you are great !!!. You encouraged a large group of nature enthusiasts to relax together. Thank you very much for seeing so many beautiful birds.

    I wish you good health and send you the power of cordiality.

  25. I am learning to recognize many more bird species from reading your posts!

  26. A truly remarkable post,David, on so many counts, not least of which was finding five consecutive days with good weather - here, of late, we would have difficulty in finding five consecutive hours! Your dedication in taking groups on the same route on those five days is also commendable, but I suspect was as highly enjoyable for you as it was for your participants. Such a delightful way to make new friends. As you say, however, the star of the show has to be Betty - a wonderful 93 years young!

  27. So much to see! Lots of lovely birds and cute critters. The beavers are terrific.

  28. David, I'm not sure if I've read more than one post here but all were enjoyable reads. So many birds well captured for our admiring eyes! I've tried to entice the chickadees at my feeder to land on my hand, but no luck. I've also put out suet cakes this season for the first time and am still waiting for visitors of the woodpecker variety. Thank you for sharing it all and I want to be a Betty. Imagine possessing that health and mind at such a good age (as we say at home in Newfoundland)!

  29. what a great covid walk David, your friends bird-lovers are such enthusiastic. I respect 93 year old Betty Cooper for her energy and love of life.
    I also liked hand feeding the tits, as I did in the park in January. They eagerly ate seeds and sat on my palm 2-3 birds at a time.

  30. Hi David - what a wonderful series of walks, with a great range of birds to see - you and Miriam give us such excellent information, together with Miriam's photos ... loved seeing the Muskrats, the Mink and then the Mennonites ... surprisingly some emigrated to Ireland in 1991 ... was an interesting snippet of emigration/ immigration ... also Betty - fantastic to see her and I do hope you'll get together over lunch fairly soon. All the best - Hilary

  31. hello David
    You can see very well that the fun has displaced the corona worries, that's how it should be. Everyone can use a little distance from corvid19 and in nature with a safe distance it's completely OK.
    Stay healthy
    Greetings Frank

  32. It's wonderful that your Covid walks were a success. All those great sightings are so nice to see. It must be incredible to have those little birds eat out of your hands. Thanks for sharing all the beauty of the journey with us. Have a nice weekend, David.

  33. Hi Both,
    Another interesting read and wow again you have been so busy with all your guided walks, for that you both need congratulating for your time and effort, likewise the chickadees for keeping the participants entertained, may you and your walks carry on and keep us entertained with your interesting reads
    You both stay safe and well,
    John and Veg

  34. wonderful post. Strange that the birds comes for food on your hands. I never see that in Sweden. Only once I have seen it and it was in Queensland.

    I want to say thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I very much appreciate them. I see you know photography as well as birds :) Thank you!

  35. It was exhilarating reading about all your wildlife interactions. Your creatures are so different to ours, and going along (virtually) with you and your groups is better than watching any TV documentary.

  36. A truly wonderful post.
    I always enjoy the detail both your written words and the photographs give, it's fantastic, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  37. Of course I enjoyed seeing the variety of birds and wildlife you've shared here. I'm especially impressed by your friend Betty. I just had my 75th birthday, and seeing her, and reading about her, has encouraged me to take my own health regime a little more seriously. I'd like to have twenty more years to learn all I want to learn!

    1. I'll drink to that, Linda. i am seventy-seven years old so let's both keep on learning! I still have to grapple with all those fungi.

  38. Oh David! What a trip you took us too! I enjoyed every single photo!!! I love the maple leaves (never seen autumn yet but it's my favorite season) plus those sheep!!! I would love to hug them so much! Those birds are striking with all their colors and love to see the smiles of your participants who surely enjoyed!!!

  39. Hello David,

    You are a great leader for these bird walks. It is nice to see your friend Betty out enjoying the birds. Awesome collection of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  40. What an incredible post, David. Beautiful, fascinating, heart-warming. We readers can now share the joy of the participants of these walks.
    Thank you for your comment today. Here it's a little bit warmer today than in your area but winter is soon coming. I am happy that in March we didn't know how long this pandemic would last (and still don't know). There are anxious moments... and yet I'm among the lucky ones living in the countryside!
    Take care!!

  41. Hello. Wonderful post. You've had great walks in nature. Great photos. Thank you for sharing. Have a nice weekend.

  42. I love the colours on that duck. And how neat to feed the chickadees by hand! I haven't tried that yet, and we have plenty of them here. I love all of your critter shots, especially the beaver! I don't know what kind of wasp would build that nest, but we have lots of those around in our woods. The Blue Jays are all feeding off them at this time of year. What a lovely walk!

  43. Hi David!!!...Varied and beautiful autumn images ... Lovely birds
    Happy weekend

  44. Getting out in nature regularly has sure helped us cope with the stress of life these past few months. I don't know how people stay inside so much. And I sure hope I can still walk and enjoy my life 20 years from now like your beautiful friend Mary Ann. She is my hero! Love the birds in the beauty of the Fall surroundings...especially the Kinglet! Enjoy your weekend!

  45. I am not a bird watching fan but I can see you are having so much fun that it makes me want to join you. :)

  46. It is a pleasure to see the details of your walks, in addition to observing the beauty of the birds and other animal species and seeing the beauty of autumn in the landscape, I liked seeing how you feed the birds seeds by hand.
    Lots of hugs and kisses.

  47. Gracias por esta completa entrada amigo. He disfrutado mucho con tus fotos y los buenos paseos que os dáis por esa inmensa naturaleza. Un gusto ver a los pájaros comer en las manos. Que precioso está el otoño.
    Quiero ser como Betty Cooper, David es increible su vitalidad.
    El covid nos ha cambiado por completo la vida, nos está haciendo seres solitarios y alejándonos de familia y amigos. Y esto va para largo.
    Buen fin de semana. Cuidaros.
    Un abrazo.

  48. I love feeding and watching the birds at my feeders but I must admit I'm not so sure about feeding them out of my hand (though I can see the joy on the faces of those doing so!). Glad to know how to tell the difference in the two woodpeckers, I'm sure ours are downy woodpeckers but I'm going to check out that red patch on the back of the neck next time they're around on the suet feeder. Adding that book to my "to read" list. Interestingly, there's a science fiction title (I've not read it) by the same name. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  49. Thank you for sharing these great adventures. Now I want to hand-feed a chickadee!

  50. HI David,
    It is quite clear that many people like your initiative. With small groups you get the strongly wished for contacts, but at the same time it is quiet enough to see a lot of wildlife. The animals weren't scared off. Luckily you have got enough interesting places in your environment, so that you can see a lot of different species. Besides that, fall is a very attractive time of the year.
    Greetings, Kees

  51. Querido amigo David, los paseos se ven maravillosos ( me encantaría hacerlos ) Betty está guapísima. El nido de avispas, estoy casi segura que es Vespa velutina o avispa asiática. Abrazos.

  52. Wow what a great post and I cannot tell you just how lucky you are. We are back to full lockdown. We cannot meet up with anyone. We have to have forms downloaded with name, address, date and time to even walk outside our front door. Only allowed out to shop for necessary food or to exercise, walking only within a 1 km diameter of the house. Not sure I am going to get any photos taken in the next couple of months! Stay safe, Diane

  53. Covid walks - what a gorgeous idea! People can meet in safe surroundings and enjoy the nature. Wonderful photos, I enjoyed a lot.

  54. I'm impressed! All these groups you have taken on a trip! What a joy for everyone to get out on a trip and see what one can find in nature!

    That with covid groups is a great idea! We should make it here in Norway too. There were many interesting species you show David... I really liked the bird king, it is so small and cute.It is like it has a yellow crown on its head :))) We have it too, but it hides!
    How nice you got Betty over 90 out for a walk too !! Wow !! she is one of a kind :))

    Even the Mennonite people I have never seen! Imagine someone living like that!

    Thank you so much for a super nice post David

    Greetings Anita

  55. I'm exhausted from so much walking!

    Kudos, David, for arranging these outings. I know the participants, not to mention you, are better off having participated.

    You certainly found a diverse group of subjects at which to marvel! Hopefully, we will soon be seeing your robins and waxwings here in Florida. Now, if you could push just a bit of that cool, crisp air our way, it would be much appreciated.

    A new week is upon us! Here's to good outings for all.

  56. Wonderful nature walks! Since it was such a long post, I'll make my comment short...loved seeing them being hand fed.

    I am really behind in my visiting today since "life got in the way". Thanks for linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin this week.

  57. You and Miriam certainly do lead some fantastic walks on the woods, David. What a variety of birds and wildlife you showed in this post and the hand feeding was certainly quite amazing. It was also nice to see folks out and about in nature without the need to be masked up, exactly why we try to get out as often as possible. Betty is certainly a role model to emulate.

  58. Olá David!
    Adorei viajar no seu mundo animal!
    Um esvoaçante abraço! 🌞🌺🌞
    Megy Maia🌈

  59. What a beautiful series of outings, the images speak for themselves showing the autumnal beauties, so many beautiful species of birds and mammals, with that magical atmosphere of autumn with its warm tones. I'm surprised to see wild birds eating on the hand, here I've never seen it even in the most daring.

  60. I love the idea of your Covid walks. Seeing a group of people -- whether or know they knew each other before -- join together in an activity like this is the true essence of bonding. Bonding with each other, with the birds, with nature. I'd love that experience of having the birds eat seed from my hand. I cannot imagine how special that would be.

    1. When Covid is over and the border reopens, I will take you to experience it, Jeanie.

  61. Glorious outing, David!
    I am bowled over by the variety of birds you've captured. And beavers too!

    Happy Tuesday!

  62. This is such an interesting post, David, I've really loved reading through it! It must be so joyful to be out and about outdoors in such beautiful surroundings, with a group of people who share your passion and to have so many interesting sightings! Love the photographs too - thank you for sharing!

  63. Hello David,
    excuse my late visit but really ... i'm so busy at work and with the covid that i have very little free time.
    But I enjoy all these beautiful pictures that you show here again. The red cardinal and woodpeckers in particular are one of my favorites.
    The muskrat is not popular in the Netherlands because it undercuts the dikes and that can be dangerous for us as residents because the land and our houses can disappear below the water surface if the dikes break through the digging of these rats.
    It is a wonderful initiative that you can make these walks and a welcome outing :-) I really enjoyed these beautiful photos.
    Stay safe and healthy.
    A big hug,
    Helma xx

  64. Hi David,
    Great that you could walk with friends ! Amazing that the little birds came to sit on your hands!
    Love to see the Red Cardinal, Cedar Waxwing and the woodpeckers. The American robin is stunning as well! Stay safe both of you, and give my regards also to Miriam

  65. So many great sights on your outings, nice to see people out doing the things they enjoy!

  66. What beautiful walking trails. The Fall foliage colors look great. And how fantastic is that, that the Chickadees land in one's hand, to take the bird seed?!