Saturday, 3 October 2020

WRN Teens and COVID Walks

SpruceHaven, St. Agatha, ON      

     The restored grassland at SpruceHaven, known as the Sanctuary Field, is coming along very well, and we are all delighted at the way a native ecosystem is emerging before our eyes. It will be a a couple more years before it resembles a tall grass prairie, as native plants continue to sink deep roots and become established, but the initial results are very encouraging.
     In the fullness of time, the native plants will crowd out weed species but at present various species of thistle (Asteraceae spp.), Common Burdock (Arctium minus), Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) are problematic, as they invade the grassland and need to be removed as much as possible.
     The WRN teens and their adult volunteers pitched in to help with this effort and we are extremely grateful for their dedication and hard work.

     Michelle MacMillan one of the adult enthusiasts was handy with her camera and captured the following two images.

Jared with a Staghorn Sumac

Megan, Taliah, Jared, Quinn, Nicole, Clara, Quin, Linden

     And Marg Paré, the leader of this remarkable group of teenagers, and a person who has doggedly kept them involved throughout the pandemic, provided the following picture.

Nicole, Clara

     It was a good thing that Marg had her camera handy because I had not taken mine and she provided the following three images also.


Michelle and Jared


     It was a day to work hard, have fun, share in the fellowship of people committed to common goals, and provide some much needed human contact following prolonged periods of isolation.
     Thanks to everyone involved.

COVID Walks to the Linear Trail, Cambridge, ON

     Regular readers of my blog will remember from an earlier post that on behalf of Waterloo Region Nature I organized a series of "COVID Walks". They were a great success and a second round was called for. 
     The destination of choice for this series was the Linear Trail in Cambridge, ON, and I was joined by an enthusiastic group each day to take part to take part in a ramble in search of birds, pleasant conversation, old friendships renewed and new ones cemented. Several new members of our club took part in their first hike and it was heart-warming to see their enthusiasm and to be able to share a little knowledge with them, and to help them with identification.
     Miriam was a true stalwart and came along on every single hike, and took all the photographs you will see in these accounts, unless otherwise noted.

Monday 28 September 2020

Participants: Christine Alexander, Walter Friesen, Brian Smith (one person cancelled due to having had  exposure to someone who might have COVID-19).

Christine, Brian, David, Walter

     We set off through the leafy, woodland section of the trail, ready for an exciting morning of birding (and we would not be disappointed, as it turned out).

     It was not long before we were walking alongside the Speed River, quite splendid in the warm sunshine of early morning.

     There were many Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) along the river, and this male shows the second moult following the reacquisition of flight feathers following the eclipse moult, and males were seen in various stages of their advance towards what Kortight (1943) charmingly describes as "full winter dress".

     The picture also shows the speculum to great advantage.
     The level of the river was sufficiently low that shorebirds were present.  Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) was the most common species, keeping company with both Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) as shown in the picture below, and Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca).

     One of the most frequently asked questions by novice birders and others uncertain of their shorebird ID skills, is how does one tell a Greater from a Lesser Yellowlegs? Well, if you can have the two species stand together it helps a lot!

     We estimate that we saw at least three Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) as they moved up and down the river, and finally one was perched in full view, not close mind you, but unimpeded, and Miriam took this fine picture.

     I think at one point or another everyone commented that nothing quite compares to a walk along a river, and if you can share it with agreeable companions, so much the better.

     This young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) will very soon be winging his way south to spend the winter months in Central America or Northern South America.

     It was captivating for all of us to see two female Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) resting together on a rock in the river.

     Fungi, for the casual observer are not easy to identify (precisely the reason that they should never be consumed without expert guidance, or having absolute certainty yourself), but I am fairly sure that these fine specimens are Lepista irina.

     If I could see the splendid autumn red of Staghorn Sumac a thousand times a minute, I swear I would be equally gob-smacked each time.

     The confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers is a gathering place for many species of birds, and at times aggregations of deer, especially during the autumn rut, but none were present today.

     We have also, on occasion seen Coyote (Canis latrans) and Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) in this area.
     Today we had to be content with mostly Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis).

     The species may not be rare, but the panoply of "Wild Canada" is a joy to behold.
     This Ring-bill Gull had found a commanding perch.

     Christine and Walter certainly enjoyed the view.

     We watched this Greater Yellowlegs perched on one leg for several minutes, finally realizing as it started to move around, that in fact it had only one leg. 

     Despite this apparent disadvantage it was coping well as far as we could tell.
     A Killdeer presented an interesting pose.

     We were reminded again that fall in southern Ontario is a sumptuous extravagance of beauty each year.

     What good fortune is our lot, to be able to enjoy this magnificence all around the province.
     It appeared that a family of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) were moving  along with us. There were at least four individuals and possibly five.

     A Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates picoides) put in an appearance.....

     ..... and so did a Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).

     Earlier we had seen both Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) and Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus), meaning that out of the six regular species of woodpecker to be found here, we had dipped on only Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) - quite remarkable really.
     When we arrived back at the parking lot a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) was feeding on cracked corn that someone puts out each day.

     It had been an auspicious start to this series of walks, with good companions who enjoyed the experience, and I was glad to have been able to facilitate it.

All bird species counted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Mourning Dove, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Starling, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Total: 28

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Participants: Hannah Enns, Sandye Moores, Andrew Wesolowski, Lorraine Wesolowski (plus one other person who did not wish to be named, nor appear in the group picture).

Andrew, Lorraine, Sandye, David, Hannah

     Before we even left the parking area a Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) paid us a visit, and a group of Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) perched high in a tree.

     I have visited the Linear Trail many times, but I confess to never having noticed the sign or the plaque shown below, but they obviously have been here for some time.

     It is perhaps a good thing that I am a little more observant with birds!
     We set off along the trail, eyes focussed and ears tuned in, but it was a little quiet along the woodland section.

     The Speed River was host to a number of Mallards and Canada Geese.

     The reeds may look empty but deep within them were hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and periodically they would explode out of their cover and whirl around, some perching in trees, others returning to the safety of dense cover.

     A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) stalked deliberately, looking for hapless prey that might cross its path.

     We do not see many American Robins (Turdus migratorius) at this time of the year, so we were pleased to encounter this individual feeding on plentiful buckthorn berries.

     Several Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) were spotted, generally in dense cover, but Lorraine finally succeeded in getting an excellent picture.

     A tangle of weeds caught on a rock in the river provided an excellent perch for a pair of Mallards.

     Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a common species, but its familiarity does not render it any less spectacular.

     As we were about to turn around to make our way back, Andrew shot this picture.

     I am not sure why I was looking so happy, but I am sure the sentiment represented the general mood of the day.
     We noticed one of the Canada Geese with an unusual head pattern. It is perhaps a touch of leucism, but I am really not sure.

     We observed Northern Flicker several times, but seeing the bird and having it in the right position for a photograph are two different things. We were, therefore, delighted when Miriam was able to capture images of this juvenile.

     Perhaps the best moment of the whole walk came close to the end. A Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) plunged into the water and came up with a fish in its talons. As it veered around and started to gain height Lorraine succeeded with a picture for the record books.

     I can't think of a much better way to end the walk!

All bird species counted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Common Starling, Grey Catbird, American Robin, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal.  Total: 24

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Participants: Lynn Conway, Denise Leschak, Bill Prociw, Liz Prociw, Roger Suffling

Roger, Lynn, David, Liz, Bill

     The primary aim of our outings is to discover the bird life along the trail, but other organisms, such as this Northern Caddisfly (Limnephilidae sp.), do not escape our attention.

     Smooth Ruellia (Ruellia strepens) was quite abundant, surely at the northern limits of its range.

     As is the case every day, the river is nothing short of inspirational as we wander alongside it.

     Who could doubt that Roger was enjoying his morning's excursion?

     The Western Osprey was once again very obliging for our eager observers, perching in a tree at fairly close range, and unimpeded by intervening branches.

    It is without a doubt a magnificent bird, soon to be lost to us until next spring.

     We saw Belted Kingfishers quite frequently, flying up and down the river, and this male came to rest directly in front of us.

     I think I should try my hand at composing an ode to the river! It is due an homage of one kind or another.

     As is so often the case, resourceful American Crows (Corvus brachyrynchos) were seen along the shore and plodding through shallow water in search of good things to eat.

     The kingfisher deity was smiling on us today; having delivered the male for a picture it followed up with a female.

     A small group of Canada Geese cruised in to make their descent to the river, honking all the while in a greeting that is as Canadian as winter snow.

     Oh what a glorious sight it is to see CANADA Geese arrive in such fashion! Would that I were a talented painter to capture such a scene.
     Towards the end of our walk we spotted a large and lumbering Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) moving through shallow water, a farewell much appreciated by all.

All bird species counted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Greater Yellowlegs, Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Western Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, House Finch, American Goldfinch, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird. Total: 22

Thursday 01 October 2020

Participants: Carol Anderson, Ross Getsinger, Bev Raimbault, Mary Ann Vanden Elzen

Ross, Carol, Mary Ann, David, Bev

     For Ross and Carol, brand new members of Waterloo Region Nature, it was their first event ever with the Club, so we were especially happy to welcome them, and we set off along the trail together.

     There were interesting pockets of birds feeding in the woodland and navigating through the vegetation along the banks of the Speed River. Photographs were hard to come by, however, as warblers flitted rapidly and constantly, and were able to hide behind leaves, seldom venturing into the open even for a brief moment.
     We did spot a Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) and were able to view it for some time, but it was fairly distant and the light was not conducive to good photography.

     One or more of the Belted Kingfishers presented themselves at the outdoor portrait studio each day, and this morning was no exception.

     Canada Goose is about as common a species as one can imagine, but always elegant and graceful.

     The Red-winged Blackbird shown below will soon be winging his way south with all his congeners.

     A couple of Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) entertained us by putting on a classic display of flycatching.

     I know that Ross and Carol plan to take in Fraser Gibson's upcoming fern walk, so they are jumping into club activities with both feet. I will look forward to seeing them again on bird walks in the future.

All bird species counted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Grey Catbird, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Red-winged Blackbird, Nashville Warbler, Palm Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Northern Cardinal.  Total: 22

Saturday 03 October 2020

Participants: Barb Bowman, Jim Bowman, Victoria Ho, Curtiss MacDonald, Karen Golets Pancer, Selwyn Tomkun

Barb, Jim, Miriam, Curtiss, Karen, Selwyn, Victoria

     It was a little cool when we met at 09h:00, but pleasant, and we all set off in good spirits, anxious to find a few birds and enjoy actual physical company during this time of COVID confinement. It was a special pleasure to welcome Karen, a new member of our club, enjoying her first walk with us.
     A White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) was not long in greeting us on the trail.

    I believe this mushroom is Pleurotus ostreatus Hypsizygus tessulatus, an edible oyster mushroom, but even though it was in peak condition we eschewed the pleasure of gathering a few without the benefit of expert confirmation (where are you Greg Michalenko when we need you?).
Greg has weighed in and advises that this species is Hypsizygus tessulatus. Thank you Greg.

     Mallards are like great friends, always there when you need them, but at times unappreciated because of their familiarity.

     This female Northern Cardinal was busy with feather maintenance when we came across her, a task she continued, unperturbed by our presence.

     Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata), and  Audubon's Warbler (Setophaga auduboni) are sometimes considered a single species known as Yellow-rumped Warbler, and this diagnostic feature is shown in the second picture below.

     The confluence of the Speed and Grand Rivers presented us with a wonderful panorama, as it always does, and a lone Great Blue Heron kept company with Ring-billed Gulls.

     They were joined by fifteen Double-crested Cormorants.

     The highlight of our stop here was the arrival of a mature Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), cruising over the water and finally coming to rest quite far away, but still visible - a majestic bird by any reckoning.

     A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) was equally far away.

     The sun was now shining and we could feel its warmth on our backs, and the full flush of fall was revealed in all its beauty.

     The Western Osprey we have been seeing frequently at this location is still present and once again showed well for everyone to enjoy.

     Surely quite soon this bird will be heading south.
     A second Great Blue Heron was enjoyed by all.

     During this series of walks Northern Flicker has been a constant (and very agreeable) companion, and today was no exception.

     The white rump, conspicuous in flight, is clearly shown in the image below.

     What would a bird walk in Canada be without Canada Geese?

     It was a good day for woodpeckers and as we neared the end of our walk we saw Red-bellied Woodpecker.....

     .....and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

All bird species counted: Canada Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Western Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Myrtle Warbler, Northern Cardinal.  Total: 29

General comments

     To go birding is always a great pleasure. The excitement of discovering nature in all its myriad forms, and seeking out birds, using one's knowledge of song, habitat and behaviour is a challenge, and a source of profound satisfaction every time. Sometimes there is the added thrill of a bird performing behaviours one has not previously encountered, finding species out of their normal range and not to be expected here, or present beyond their normal period of residency in this area. 
     When one is able to share this activity with others the entire euphoric experience is magnified a thousandfold, and I have been very fortunate over these five days on the Linear Trail, to enjoy the company of a superb group of fellow naturalists. To each of them, I am deeply grateful for their company on these walks, conferring on me great pleasure. To have been able to alleviate some of the claustrophobic confinement imposed by the need to comply with COVID restrictions has brought an added dimension of joy to each of us.
     I reserve my greatest debt of gratitude to Miriam who has come with me on every walk, helped out in every way possible, taken nearly all the pictures, and has been the all round wonderful companion she has been since the day I first met her.
     I will look forward to doing it again. 


  1. WOW!
    Oh David, this was a joy to look at and read from start to finish.
    Being outside just lifts the spirit doesn't it.
    The Autumn colours, wonderful birds and scenes were a joy to see.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    All the best Jan

  2. Thank goodness for folks like you and Miriam who are willing to lead walks like these! Good for you.

  3. It means so much more on the walk when you have such a knowledgeable leader; It is most frustrating when you go out alone, see something but don't know what it is. Thanks David. Beautiful photos, Miriam.

  4. The restoration of native grass lands is a magnificent project. Good for those volunteers and teens.

  5. Yes! You’re looking very pleased with yourself!! : )
    And rightly so. Those organized Covid walks were a success.
    The WRN teens and their adult volunteers are doing a great job.
    Last but not least ... the photographer and the writer did a fantastic job.
    : )

  6. What an amazing assortment of birds and autumn scenery! Enjoyed each and every photo in your post. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  7. Wonderful photos of your beautiful wildlife. Thank you for sharing.

  8. A big, big hooray for the team of masked volunteers. All of them.
    I will admit to a tinge of jealousy that I cannot attend your Covid walks, but thank you (so much) for the long distance treat.

  9. Everyone working hard to make the area better, it's good to see.
    The cardinal is looking angry, maybe it' the angle taken.
    Pretty scenery there with the autumn shades, always a pleasure to see along with the birds.

  10. Amazing interesting to know about this project

  11. Looks like you had a fun and full week, David. I love hat voungsters are gathering to do something to save the future of the planet and are helping to build a nature reserve, thAT'S fantastic! And you saw so many wonderful species o your walks. My fave today is the crested Kingfisher, so elegant. And good that you have such a faithful companion in Miriam, it's so good to have some support with everything. And 29 bird species in one week is fabulous. Well done, both of you, and greeting to all your sturdy co-walkers. Have a wonderful Sunday, hugs, Valerie

  12. It must be wonderful to have a area like that to walk in, David. The Western Osprey is so beautiful.
    Great photos!

  13. Quelle belle balade!J'ai une préférence pour les photos du pic à ventre roux.
    Il y'a aussi les belles couleurs des feuillages de l'automne, rouge, dorée...
    C'est bien ces initiatives avec les jeunes, cela leur apprend à respecter la nature, ici ils font des sorties avec les primaires et collèges pour ramasser les déchets sur la voie verte...
    Bon dimanche

  14. Rivers provide exciting places for bird and vegetation lovers. The teen volunteers as well as the adult participants in guided naturalistic walks, have experienced Nature's beauty and variety in a way that gives them sheer joy and satisfaction.

  15. Thanks so much for sharing this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Have a glorious week ahead!

  16. Hello David,
    What an action packed post, so many great walks. It is awesome to see the young adults out there helping with the restoration of the grassland. A wonderful variety of bird sightings and beautiful photos. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

  17. The place where it was worked is already beautiful and will be even more beautiful!

  18. Hello David, you must have so energy to be able to do all these walks with the people. Show them all the interesting things, birds, aninmals and more. You are also so lucky to have Miriam by your side suporting you and doing her bid with the photographs. Not every spouce have the same interests. Than to writhe a blog of all the walks with the all the information. Amazing. A selfish remark om my part is that it is great to find this fantastic photo of the Osprey. Thank you :)
    Take care,

  19. Buenos días querido amigo, que gran labor la realizada por esos jóvenes en ese bello prado, es de agradecer que gente así esté tan involucrada en ese bello proyecto. En cuanto a ti y Miriam que decir, siempre tan dispuestos a colaborar en esos bellos parajes transmitiendo todo vuestro entusiasmo y conocimiento por las bellas aves que lo habitan, así como esa esplendida naturaleza que se desarrolla y puebla en tan bello lugar.
    Debes hacerte el ánimo y escribir un libro sobre esa bella zona de Ontario y sus habitantes, sería un enorme placer poder adquirir un ejemplar y tener en sitio privilegiado en mi biblioteca.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo, profesor y compadre David.

  20. Hi David.

    I enjoyed all your photos.
    Beautiful birds and the eagles are superb.

    How nice that these young people also help to make everything right and also get a little connected with nature.

    Super david that you make many happy to discover nature with your walks.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  21. Grand walks all around, the array of birds, I love them all.

  22. Amazing, how lucky we are to have you share your adventures!

  23. Hi David, a beautiful blog with a much beautiful birds and shorebirds. Shorebirds are my favourite birds. I think it was a nice walk. You were lucky to see at he end the Western osprey. Thanks for sharing your walk with us. Greetings Caroline

  24. Wow! What a wonderful post! I will be back to visit and enjoy it again several times in the week to come!
    But today I just want to tell you, we saw the first Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the Fall migration at our feeders here in north Mississippi yesterday! Wish they would stay the winter, but alas, they are headed farther south.
    Have a blessed day!

  25. Hi David,

    This is a great story of people who are willing to help and enjoy nature. Good for envyone to have some company and experts to learn from. I nice to do some social walks and talks during this Covid time.
    You've seen so many birds and I especially like the photo's of belted kingfisher and the Osprey, wonderful. Off course all the other species are amazing aswell, the woodpeckers and the song- and shorebirds too.
    I thing you're looking so happy because uou've a wonderful wife that joins you on these walks!
    Furthermore the landscapes are wonderful with allready a lot of autumn colors. I've seen a lot of mushroom down here this week but the leaves are still mostly green.
    Enjoy your sunday.

    Big hug,

  26. Thanks for your wonderful posts, David and for a terrific outing on Tuesday. Both you and Miriam always make birding trips a pleasure and I enjoyed it very much. Stay safe and take care.


    1. It was a pleasure to have you along, Sandye, and I am glad that you enjoyed it.

  27. David!
    Thanks a lot for this blog !. We are its fans because we can meet and admire interesting birds.
    During these beautiful walks, we also get to know the picturesque nature and the great mood of the participants.
    David, thank you so much for another informative post and excellent photos!
    Hugs and greetings from far away Poland.

  28. how wonderful to get the teens out and working with this important task. They also learned to take good care of nature. And having fun at the same time.
    The rest of your post proves you live in a rich natural environment. I hope it will stay that way. Loved especially the beautiful shots of the Osprey. :)

  29. The pictures of the teens working on the grassland project, as well as all the wonderful pictures from your walks, are such a balm to the spirit this morning, one that is very much needed.

  30. Bravo for all the volunteers!
    I enjoyed your fantastic photos David. There is such a variety of birds in your region. And Autumn colours are beginning to show as well, which is wonderful.

  31. Another wonderful outing, David. Friends helping out, autumn colours brightening the day, all the bird sightings, and the nice autumn weather. Excellent photos of all the birds and scenery. A wonderful post and narrative. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

  32. Another wonderful outing, David. Friends helping out, autumn colours brightening the day, all the bird sightings, and the nice autumn weather. Excellent photos of all the birds and scenery. A wonderful post and narrative. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

  33. Nice to see that people are still gathering outdoors and enjoying time together. Also nice to see people coming together to work for the betterment of nature. Something we all need to do! I always enjoy your photos. They are exceptional.

  34. It is wonderful to see young people involved in preserving nature.

    The birding expeditions look like fun and what a great activity to fill the time during the pandemic, in nature, observing birds.

  35. What wonderful sightings and hikes. I love every single bird (including some of my favorites) and would love to see a yellow leg one day. You'll all feel such ownership in Spruce Haven. What a wonderful project.

    1. When COVID finally releases its grip on us, Jeanie, and the border reopens, come on up spring or fall, and I will show you several.

  36. You have marvellous adventures! Good work on Spruce Haven.
    I love the birds, but the sumac is the best!

    1. Sumac in the fall is about as spectacular as it gets.

  37. There are many more energetic, inspiring and interesting young people in the world than many of us oldies would credit. I had the pleasure of guiding many such youngsters as they began to learn how to care for autistic and disabled youngsters at my place of work. Now, if I go back there, I find that a few of them are running the place! And I'm sure some of your young naturalists will go on to do great things.

  38. Too much information David. I liked the photos especially of woodpeckers, Canada geese and ducks. The landscapes are awesome, I think your country is beautiful in this season. I loved lakes and reflection of the yellow woods.
    The picture of a Western Osprey plunged into the water and came up with a fish is my favorite.

  39. What a marvelous walk. Your leaves are turning wonderfully.

    Oh, my northern cardinal!

  40. Long note, I read it from cover to cover and I enjoyed the images. I am very happy that there is an important group of people in your area who are working to restore something of the native environment. Very good about birdwatching in these days of pandemics, here we wanted to do the same with our club but the previous weekend it rained and this weekend I could not go out, days before, as a birthday present I received the news that a close contact to a coworker caught the virus, so as a precaution, I´m in isolation without leaving house. Luckily on my birthday it was beautiful and I was able to enjoy it well, even a little birding outing in the afternoon, the rest of the weekly hours I work. Good thing about the difference in the size of the yellowlegs, luckily I already know how to differentiate them

  41. I am so happy to know that you have young people looking after the countryside, great news. Lovely set of photos, how I would love to see an Osprey. Superb walks and your knowledge must be very special for some of the other members.

    Take care and stay safe, Diane

  42. WOW! What a fascinating series of birds and scenery!

    I really enjoy sharing your adventures , David!

  43. Hi David,
    I am almost certain that this post is a personal record: your longest post ever! It makes clear that there doesn't have to be any doubt whether you will sometimes get bored or not. There are obviously plenty of opportunities to enjoy wildlife. The pictures of the different kinds of birds look great. If you continue this way Covid-19 won't get a grip on you.
    Greetings, Kees

  44. I do enjoy following your walks from over the pond, it's almost like being there.....almost! The Belted Kingfisher is a favourite in this post and i'm a little jealous of all the Woodpeckers, I don't even think there is anywhere in the UK where there is a chance of seeing all three of our Woodpeckers!

  45. Mushrooms, fall colors, birds — so much to love. We have been doing private Covid hikes By ourselves but once in a while we meet up with other birders on the trail of something and trade pleasantries from a distance. I wonder if we will lose all our social skills by the time this is finally over??!

  46. Thank you for another virtual walk in the woods. We spied two red headed woodpeckers in our yard the other day. The one rabbit who has been visiting since the spring brought a second and yesterday there were three. Not sure how I feel about this as one of them ate my basil plant down to the stems, but they seem to be keeping the grass looking as if it has been mowed.

  47. I live in Preston not far from the confluence - e mail address is -would love to join you when you are back in the neighbourhood-I am member of WRN- I walk the river trail periodically-I was the persons on Oct 3 who conversed with Curtiss just after youy left the parking area- the gmaill address I saw below is not used very frequently --Bob Fraser--all photos outstanding

    1. Hi Bob: i remember well that you chatted with Curtiss. We have no immediate plans to be in your area again, but feel free to check the WRN website for upcoming plans. You can find both my email address and telephone number there.

  48. Wonderful shots, David, especially the woodpeckers.

  49. Hello Birdman, did you miss me ?! LOL
    I'm back! I can't resist! I missed blogging so much!
    Enjoy you day! Hugs for you and your beautiful Miriam!

    1. Welcome back, Ella. I will look forward to seeing you show up in my blog feed once again!

  50. I love going on these walks with you and your friends via the internet and would love to participate in person one day, but I'm a bit too far away. I have been taking advantage of the cooler weather and going out for walks, but sadly i don't have a nearby river to walk along. However there's a pond nearby and I see a Great Blue heron fishing for his (or her?) dinner every evening.
    And I'm very interested in identifying fungi.... so many different ones appear at this time of year.

    1. Well, if ever you find your self in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area be sure to get in touch and we can for a walk together.

  51. Wow, great post with a lot of fantastic photos. It's nice to see people getting involved with improving the landscape. We have some invasive species here in Connecticut, too, and sometimes it's hard to get them under control. That Osprey photo was stunning! I find Kingfishers to be very elusive, and hard to photograph. I can now recognize their bird call, and hear them, but good luck photographing one! (I think one lives in the woods by my house, but I've never seen it.) I snapped photos of migrating Yellowlegs one year. I love them, but I hardly ever see them. If they're there in Canada right now, maybe I have a chance of spotting them as they pass through Connecticut US on their way farther south. You have beautiful walking trails where you are. It makes me want to get out there here! (I haven't gone out much, due to erring on the side of caution with covid-19 lurking around.)

  52. David - I can only think of one thing better than reading your post, and that is to be with you when you are seeing these birds and other critters in the wild. What a joy from start to finish. You are right about the osprey in flight with the fish - a million dollar shot if there ever was one! That is a mighty big snapping turtle - I would not want to come anywhere close to its jaws. And I almost forgot how you began this post - so heartwarming to see teens out working in Nature!

  53. Hi Both,
    Another fascinating post with super images, I really think you must have more hours in Canada than we in the UK, to have all these trips out and then to put together your post, amazing. So good to see the young people involved in returning the landscape to how it should be with such a look of enjoyment, lovely to see, some excellent images Miriam, Our Osprey are already Sunning themselves in West Africa, lucky birds.
    You and yours stay safe>

  54. Hi David - we're back from the Scillies now! Once more I'm impressed by the effort put in by those youngsters in doing all that work at Sprucehaven, and by your exemplary community spirit in organising and leading those excellent Covid Walks.

    I'm a little puzzled by that Osprey - from the plumage it would appear to be this year's bird. In UK it is usual for the male adult to remain at the nest until all it brood have left before he himself leaves on migration. It looks as if this one has, for some reason, been left behind. It makes me wonder if it has a problem? Or perhaps your Ospreys behave differently to ours? I know that behaviour does very regionally, with Mediterranean-based Ospreys not migrating at all.

    Best wishes to you both - stay safe - - - Richard

    1. It is certainly late, Richard, but it has not been seen for a few days now so perhaps it has finally clued in that it should be heading elsewhere!

  55. Siempre maravillosos tus paseos, me encanta veros tan felices con tantos pájaros. Un abrazo amigo David.

  56. Disfrutar experiencias con amigos en la naturaleza es una gran alegría. Las fotos son el reflejo de lo bien que lo pasásteis. Guapo el carpintero. Gracias por compartirla.
    Buen jueves David. Cuidaros.
    Un abrazo.

  57. Great to see the young people involved in restoring the landscape. Your or Miriam's photos are always a delight, such beautiful birds. Love the reds and yellows of Autumn, so gorgeous.

    1. It grieves me to contemplate the state of the planet we are passing on to these young people, Sami.

  58. Wow, that's a lovely variety of birds, as always! I remember calling other kids 'yellow bellied sap suckers' a long, long time ago, but had no idea what I was saying!!

    I'm happy to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!!

  59. @ David – wonderful project to be involved in … the youngsters are giving extra help and learning lots too … WRN Teens – good for them. Also your Covid walks are offering much to your local birders who can join you …

    Then you share so much with us – love the Belted Kingfisher … as too the Western Osprey … these river walks appear to be so satisfying for you all. I agree the river deserves an ode … beautiful.

    Delightful – all round … thank you … Hilary

  60. Hi David awesome post ,i love the idea of the teenagers working out in nature,love all your photos,but i missed not seeing little Lily they grow so fast at this age,take care and stay safe,cheers Sheryl

  61. WOW, WOW, WOW. Que impresionante reportaje querido David. Maravilloso todo lo que nos muestras, sin duda vuestra tierra es el paraíso de las aves. Un fuerte abrazo. Las fotos son preciosas.