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Monday, 30 November 2020

Catching up.....

     A while ago, I came across a delightful word, one that I had never heard before. The word is gruntled and it indicates the opposite sentiment of the familiar expression, disgruntled. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? And it has a nice ring to it, so I am gruntled to wander through a few highlights of the past few days, with a glance back at Lily (I can hear the applause) a couple of weeks ago!

Lily, Friday 13 November 2020




   
 I could add a few words to these pictures, but your own reactions will suffice I am sure.
     On 20 November, when we would normally have met Heather and Lily for our regular Friday morning walk, they were away at the family cottage, so we skipped a week.

Friday 27 November 2020

     The Mill Race was our chosen spot and it looked very inviting as we began our walk.


     I cannot even estimate how many times Miriam and I have meandered along the Mill Race, but even Lily has done it a few times now. It is a pity, in a way, that she will not remember any of it, but we will doubtless be bringing her here for years to come.




     Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is not an unusual bird, but it is not always easy to spot, and most have migrated south by now. A few remain and tough out the winter with us.

     Actually, given the weather of late, with bright sunshine day after day and temperatures well above freezing, we are in danger of forgetting what winter is like!
     Trees denuded of leaves often present quite a stark image and this mass of branches caught our attention.


     Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) can generally be easily found along the Mill Race and this individual was snacking on corn.


     American Beavers (Castor canadensis) seem to have been exceptionally busy this year, and they are nothing if not ambitious!


     They have built up their lodge, and laid in a winter food storage, in the process taking over half the path, and possession is ninth tenths of the law as we well know.



     Lily was totally unimpressed with it all and decided to have a snooze.


     A Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was puffed out, not to keep warm I might add, for it was several degrees above freezing. Perhaps it was impressed by its own importance!


     Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) swam along beside us most of the time, and we remarked to each other that they are truly handsome ducks.


     A few leaves still clung to their branches, imparting a splash of brightness to a bare and largely colourless woodland.


     European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) can be found at different points along the trail and this patch seems to attract Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) in great numbers, sometimes as many as a dozen feeding on the berries, taking advantage of easy pickings.


     A female was resting up, digesting the last engorgement, waiting to feast again. Buckthorn berries pass rapidly through the bird's digestive tract, so the wait will not be a long one.


    Lily's eyes followed all the action - a year from now we will perhaps have taught her the names of the birds and she will be calling them out to us.


     She is a biologist in waiting!

Saturday 28 November 2020

     For the first time in many weeks I decided to venture a little farther afield, and made off towards Lake Ontario to areas I knew would present no difficulty in maintaining the social distancing required during the pandemic. The change of scenery felt good.
     Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a rare winter visitor to southern Ontario, and I was delighted to see a pair at Lakefront Promenade in Mississauga. I had great looks at the birds through my telescope but they were a little far out for good photographs, at least with my basic equipment.

Harlequin Duck ♂

Harlequin Duck ♀

     Flotillas of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) sailed by, looking quite splendid in diffused November sunlight, which at times cast a subtle glow upon the water.



     A stop at Bronte Harbour in Oakville yielded unusually few birds, but a couple of female Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) were keeping company with each other.


     Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a resident species at Bronte, adding a bit of a regal presence to the harbour, now emptied of boats that have been stored on land for the winter. 



     Given the balmy weather, no doubt many weekend mariners wished their craft were still available for a last excursion on the lake. It is much easier to take advantage of good weather for a final round of golf than to contemplate putting a sailboat back in the water.
     While I was out for the morning, Miriam was visited by a Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) which no doubt caused great consternation among the songbirds. She was unable to get a good picture, but this one memorializes the visit.


     Given the chance, I am sure that the hawk would have breakfasted on Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens).


     And a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) would have made a substantial lunch.


Sunday 29 November 2020

     Always a regular in our yard, Mourning Doves of late have become particularly abundant, and for the past few days fifteen of them have congregated together. They are scattered throughout with some in trees, a few along the fence and others on the ground, so it is impossible to encompass them all in one shot, but this will give you an idea.



     One individual found a sunny spot to catch the warm rays of the sun and do a little feather maintenance.



     A House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) and an American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) were content to feed side-by-side on the feeders. 
     

     Sunflower hearts are always good! 




 

54 comments:

  1. Beavers are the most active. :)
    The last photo is an example of being generous.
    ps - the man cuts wood for his own house.

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  2. Hi David, thanks for sharing the latest wildlife from your area, and once again, little Lily is the star ������ of the show for me. The narration ducks are beautiful, I have only seen them here in the zoo. And I'm still hoping you will export some cardinals here one day, your geese are doing very well here. Have a nice afternoon, hugs, Valerie

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  3. You always make me feel I am walking along with you, and Lily of course!

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing ALL of the beauties and wonders.
    I like gruntled as a word and have used it for years. It is remarkable anti-onomatopeic though.

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  5. Lily sera sans doute très bien reconnaitre les oiseaux plus tard!
    Le canard arlequin est très joli.
    Les castors ont bien travaillé.
    Bonne soirée

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  6. Hello David,

    Thank you for the photo of Blue Jay. What is Sunflower hearts? Seeds of sunflower? I buy sunflower seeds without peel. It's much more expensive, but I'm very happy to have them without peel.

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    1. That's it exactly, Marit. We call them sunflower hearts here>

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    2. Spot on :)
      Then I learned a new word today, David.

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  7. La niña me parece encantadora. Ya desde pequeña está aprendiendo a amar la Naturaleza.

    Me ha encantado la cantidad de imágenes que has tomado y la gran variedad de aves que he visto a través de ellas.

    Buenas Noches.

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  8. Always a pleasure to catch up with Lily (and you of course, David!) Beavers have been re-introduced to the Holnicote Estate in Exmoor and have just completed their first hydrological engineering project. This is of great interest to me as I used to lead walks out from Holnicote House some years ago.

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  9. Hello,

    Lily is adorable, cute photos. Great sightings and outing! I love the Brown Creeper and the Harlequins. It has been awhile since I have seen both. The beaver's lodge looks messy so close to the trail. Take care, have a happy new week!

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  10. If only I had known that you would be in Mississauga - I would have asked you to watch out for my big brother and his wife, give a wave and blow them a kiss from me.
    There seem to have been many babies, like lovely Lily, born during this momentous year. In years to come I wonder if it will become one of their topics of conversation - oh yes! I was born in that dreadful year of the virus.
    I love that little Downy Woodpecker, is it considerably smaller than most Woodpeckers.

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    1. It is the smallest of our woodpeckers, Rosemary. In many countries it would be known as a pygmy woodpecker.

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  11. Wonderful photos of your wildlife and Lily.

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  12. A wonderful outing David with some great sightings. The Northern Cardinal is so nice to see. Photos of Lily are priceless. Have a wonderful day.

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  13. Enjoyed your catching up. Lily is a joy whenever she shows up in a post. Thank you for identifying the mystery bird at my birdbath. I would have never guessed. The beaver den got me to searching for more information about beaver interactions with humans. The Wildlife Rescue League website is pretty informative in that one never rids an area of beaver if it is an area of interest to beavers. One must adapt to the beavers. That's probably the way it works with all wildlife if we care.

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  14. Lily is sure a charmer, even sound asleep! I’ve never seen a female cardinal that is yellow like that. Ours are all brown. I’m not so sure about “gruntled” being synonymous with pleased. It sounds the opposite even without the “dis” prefix, no matter how logical it looks. Had to laugh at the beaver lodge overtaking the path. Soon the walkers will be required to walk on the verge!

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  15. The swans with their gracious appearance, and the flotillas of geese, are always a great sight!

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  16. Thank you for sharing so much beauty, especially precious Lily.

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  17. I'll have to remember "gruntled" next time I play scrabble. Haha … funny how you heard me clapping all the way from the west coast about Lily! Seeing doves in my backyard would be quite the treat, too. We have plenty of pigeons, especially in Vancouver, but few doves and rarely in my yard.

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  18. Our Lily just turned 16. Our two Lilys are adorable.

    Someday, she will grab your hand and say, "Come on, Grandpa!" You lucky man!

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  19. Always great to see Lily, and the birds are grand, too.

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  20. Cardinals are rare on the island but some have been around in a few locations this fall. I haven’t seen any however. Nor have I ever seen a Harlequin Duck. Just gorgeous.

    Lily is a cutie for sure.

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    1. Hi Marie: When you still lived in Newfoundland you could have found them there without a great deal of difficulty. Something to keep in mind if you go back for a visit. I have also seen them at Gaspé, QC and on Vancouver Island they are quite common in rocky coves all around the coast. One of my sisters-in-laws lives in Victoria and when we visit her I see Harlequin Ducks every day.

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  21. Always a delight to catch up with Lily and you. She is super CUTE! Love the fabulous photos of Lily and your wildlife.

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  22. All the photos are lovely and interesting to see.
    Lily sure is growing, sweet thing.

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  23. Great set of pictures - I often wonder how far birders would go to see Mallard if they were rare! (Miles I think!)
    Are the Mute Swans native?

    Cheers - and stay safe - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: you should enjoy this weeks WBW!

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  24. Hi David.

    You show many beautiful things.
    That Harlequin duck is really great.
    Lily has a lot to look back on when she can see all this.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  25. I am gruntled to read your use of gruntled. I have come across it but it doesn't come to mind when I could use it. Maybe now with this reminder, it will come to the fore of my tiny brain.

    Is that female cardinal yellower than usual? I don't see cardinals around here although I am sure they exist but just don't remember them being this yellow.

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    1. It is on the pale end of the spectrum, and I confess to not noticing it at the time, so perhaps we need to go back and find it again!

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  26. Lily is adorable, and the birds are great. I am smiling!

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  27. Your nature-walk photos are most enjoyable David. I always find it interesting to see such different vegetation, wild life and birds as you show - I feel quite gruntled!

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  28. Cardinals are very beautiful birds ... also the Harlequin Duck!
    Always great to see Lily!
    Have a great December, David!

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  29. Hi David, beautiful photos. Beautiful birds. But I don't like a muskusrat. Lilly is so cute. How old is she now ? Greetings Caroline

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    1. Lily will be six months old on 20 December. What do you have against Muskrats?

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  30. Lilly cada vez está más bonita.. seguro que será una buena bióloga. Todas las aves se ven preciosas. Muchos besos.

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  31. Your shot of the muskrat is my favourite of these.

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  32. All are such lovely photographs ... and isn't gruntled a great word :)

    All the best Jan

    PS Lily is growing so quickly, bless her.

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  33. Lily was a favorite subject in this post, of course, and the muskrat and cardinals come next. We are all definitely watching her grow and that six months has gone by very fast.

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  34. Buenos días amigo David, las primeras encantadoras fotos del despertar de Lily ya lo dicen todo, la cara que muestra de alegría al verte es el mejor regalo del día estoy seguro.
    El reportaje como siempre es maravilloso algunas aves van buscando algo de sol y las instantáneas son maravillosas.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre David.

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  35. Lovely photos. I love that gruntled is a real word. So many times if you remove the 'dis' prefix the word loses all meaning. I shall gruntle out into the garden now where the bobtails are soaking up the last of the sun much to the cat's frustration. He's an indoor cat so all he can do is watch through the window.

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    1. And the English language is so rich, Helen. Yet listening to some, you would think that there are but two adjectives - cool and neat. The misuse of those two words irritates me to no end.

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  36. And I learned a new word too. Lily is always a popular subject of course.
    Loved the beavers and their lodge :)

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  37. Hello David, Not seeing photos of Lily for a while is showing how fast she is growing. Eyes so allert on her serounding is one of those signs. It will be great indeed when she will call the names of birds on your walks in the years to come. I enjoyed all the birds you show us here. The Northern Cardinal is a bird I like so much.
    The Beaver is a special animal. Hope people will leave the lodge in peace as it is so close where people pass.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  38. I was quite surprised to hear of your elevated temperatures, David, and was fully expecting snowy scenes from you by now. I'm waiting on those Snowy Owl images that I'm sure will be coming before long! That seems like a lot of Mourning Doves visiting your back yard. It would be extremely unusual for any species of bird, with the exception of Starling, to visit our garden in those numbers. We did, however, once get the proverbial 'four and twenty Blackbirds' - a statement that will be lost on you if you aren't familiar with the nursery rhyme 'Sing a song of sixpence' which, given the currency mentioned therein, is probably the case?

    Seeing your response to Helen V. above, I think we get less tolerant of the evolution of language as we get older. I too get annoyed by adoption of perfectly good words for other purposes. My sister was given the name Gay long before it was given its current meaning which has invalidated the original meaning. And I still haven't bothered to work out what 'woke' now means.

    Great news today - the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in UK and is expected to start its roll-out on Monday! Fingers are firmly crossed.

    Take care, and stay safe - - - Richard

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    1. Check back in fifty minutes, Richard - and yes, we had our first major snowfall of the season yesterday. As for the meaning of the word "gay", I recently saw a banner from a newspaper article from the nineteen-fifties, which said, "Markham Lions Club Holds Gay Evening." That would certainly have a different connotation today, wouldn't it?

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  39. It all looks wonderful, DAvid. I especially love that gorgeous female cardinal. And who doesn't adore Lily?

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  40. I swear your Lily becomes more beautiful every time I see her. There's no question she's taking everything in; what she makes of it, we may know in time. I especially enjoyed seeing your goldfinches. I'm seeing more and more at the feeders, and tonight there might have been two dozen doves: mostly Mourning, but with a few White-Wings mixed in. I do love them, even though they're considered 'common.'

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  41. This is quite a post! A very "cool" post! :))))
    I saw a Blue Jay today. The first one this year. And two cardinals. They were too fast for my camera.
    Lily is a happy baby!

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  42. Lovely to see how much Lily has changed already! Fairly high restrictions are still in force here at the moment, I haven't travelled anywhere far in so long, it's nice to be able to 'get out' through other peoples posts :)

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  43. wow you have incredible blog my friend!
    loved the birds ,your photos are magnificent
    here from Susan's blog
    blessings!

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  44. Hi David - I know I'm mighty late ... but it's always wonderful to see Lily - and to share the obvious enjoyment you and Miriam have in sharing her with us ... and I love that word Gruntled ... I'll be using it somewhere soon ... beautiful images - thank you Miriam. All the best as this year wanes its way away ... Hilary

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