Friday, 7 May 2021

Still Close to Home

      The restrictions on movement imposed by the Provincial Government in response to COVID are in effect until 20 May, so at least for a while we will not be wandering far afield.

28 April 2021
Benjamin Park Trail, Waterloo, ON

     How fortunate we are to have this trail so close to our house. From our front door to the start of the trail is less than five minutes walk.
     Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia verginica) comes in both white and pink forms - absolutely stunning either way.

     I think you could set out in a dour mood and be instantly transformed as soon as you came across these very aptly named spring beauties.
     Black-and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia) is generally one of the earliest neotropical warblers to arrive back in southern Ontario and this year was no exception.

    It is a very appealing little bird and in many respects emulates our resident nuthatches as it clambers up and down trunks and branches, sometimes upside down, searching for spider eggs, insect larvae and other tasty treats.

     This individual entertained us for a few minutes before moving off to another section of the woods.

     Daffodils (family Amaryllidaceae) are common in woodlands, along highway verges and in meadows, and I am never quite sure how they got there and which species I am dealing with. They are incredibly attractive, and I am going with Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). 

     If any of my botanical friends care to offer further elucidation or correction, feel free to do so.
     Once again, I must own up to a little confusion. I am pretty sure that the blossom shown below is some kind of cherry (Genus Prunus) - but that is where my "educated" guess ends.

     I have no doubt that there are people reading this blog with far greater botanical knowledge than I, and help is eagerly sought and appreciated.
     Field Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) is familiar to all, and about this one I have no doubt.

01 May 2021
Benjamin Park Trail, Waterloo, ON

     White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) is beginning to bloom throughout the region and woodlands are carpeted with Ontario's Provincial Flower.

     Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are eagerly seeking nest cavities in which to raise a family, and every potentially suitable hole needs to be thoroughly checked.

    A really close inspection is necessary.

     And if it looks good, it's time to start on some spring cleaning.

     Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa) may still be commonly found flitting through any suitable stretch of woodland.

02 May 2021

Conservation Meadows Storm Water Management Area, Waterloo, ON

     Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are breeding all over the region. Some protective males seem to prefer an elevated vantage point to exercise dominance over their breeding territory.

     The individual above flew down, making a great commotion, when a dog strayed too close to its partner on the nest.

     What the dog was doing off leash, wandering around at will, is another matter entirely.

Small wetland on Beaver Creek Road, Waterloo, ON

     I was all set to take a picture of a displaying Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), but by the time I pressed the button, it had left.
     The picture of the tree with its emerging leaves, however (Acer, sp), is quite delightful by itself.

Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     Turtles of all types are emerging from their long hibernation beneath the mud, Midland Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata) among them.

     Families of Canada Geese are popping up everywhere.

     The geese at Lakeside Park are so habituated to the constant presence of humans they display no hostility even if you are quite close to their young.
     The goslings are the very epitome of cuteness.

     Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris), a personal favourite, are punctuating wetlands throughout the region.

     Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) were abundant and noisy. It's hard to get an accurate count since it is always possible to tally the same bird twice as it moves around in the trees, but twenty might be a conservative estimate.

          There are many old trees with cavities suitable for nesting and this one looks as though a staircase has been constructed up to the front entrance.

     Miriam and I have not had especially good luck finding warblers this spring, so we were happy to come upon this male American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) gleaning insects from the emerging leaves.

     A male Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) seems to be elongating his body as much as possible,  to give the appearance of being bigger and more desirable to a passing female, one might surmise.

     Perhaps some enterprising young adventurers had ambitions for castaway survival when they started to build a shelter, but no doubt thought better of it and went home for dinner.

     This female duck had found a quiet place to rest, to escape the over-zealous attention of several males, perhaps.     

     It has all the features of a Mallard (Anas platyrynchos) x American Black Duck (Anas rubipres) hybrid.
     I am already accumulating pictures from several local walks for the next post, so stay tuned for more soon!


  1. Those little goslings will grow fast.

  2. Hari OM
    Another outstanding outing! That daffy is not wild, David - definitely an escaped cultivar and I would suggest it is a Barret Browning or close relative. YAM xx

    1. What puzzles me is how they 'escape". There are literally hundreds of them, and they are widespread.

    2. Hari OM
      this is the conundrum in any environment with non-natives and cultivated (much altered) native plants... careless disposal via compost, bird seed distribution, and in the case of bulbs and tubers such as these are, simply multiplication by their very nature and left uncontrolled. Yxx

    3. "Multiplication by their very nature" is one thing, but plants 50 or 100 metres apart is a different matter entirely. In any event, they are beautiful and add colour and pleasure to our walks.

  3. I think that you are spot on by saying that the white blossom looks like cherry - it resembles the wild cherry Prunus avium. Perhaps you could go back sometime and check out its fruit in the late summer/early autumn.

  4. I will very, very happily walk with you and Miriam any time you care to invite us.
    Close to home for you, exotica in species and/or season for me. Many thanks. As always.

  5. I consider the following two photos as very interesting:
    1. the photo with the male goose up, overlooking the breeding territory
    2. the old tree with a "staircase' to the nesting cavity.
    You've mentioned the word 'entertained'. Well, that's how I feel when feeding the birds. They sometimes offer me "the best show in town".

  6. Hopefully better times come soon and the restrictions due to this pandemic are lifted; here this year it has worsened locally and nationally, although there is a slight drop in cases.
    Despite this, this is good for exploring our neighborhood and finding the large number of beauties that there are, sometimes overlooked because we think of going to other places and even thinking that they are better places than where we live and most of the places where we live and sometimes not true.

  7. Beautiful spring flowers and birds David!❤

  8. All very good, but I was quite taken with the first flower, Virginia Spring Beauty.

  9. I'm impressed with the new birds I met; the yellow warbler and the neotropical black and white warbler. I learned a new word, too. And John is right, the Virginia Spring Beauty surely is.

  10. Hello David,
    You´ve had a lot to enjoy. Beautiful springflowers and birds.
    Have a great weekend ahead.

  11. Wonderful photos of the birds and the spring, David. I hope you will soon be able to live without restrictions. How fortunate you are to have the trail close to your house.

  12. All lovely plants and birds in springtime just wonderful to see.

  13. The Canada Goose on the roof reminded me of the old nursery rhyme that started with "I'm the king of the castle" - he looks quite cocky standing up there.

  14. The flowers are so pretty, and I love the little warbler. I saw a lady robin today.


  15. I think you have become a great botanist, David. I give you right in everything :)
    The wild prunus grows in the areas around here too. Yes, the Caltha palustris is very beautiful. I'm very happy to see the Blue Jay as well. It's have a beautiful color.
    Happy weekend!

  16. Love the flowers you show, David. Virginia Spring and 'forget me not' are pretty.The birds are busy in spring. American Yellow Warbler posed Myriam's picture. The kids of Canadian geese are cute!

  17. Hi David.

    You show beautiful flower types.
    I find beautiful birds the black and white warbler very beautiful.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  18. The narcissus, with its lovely “bugle” centre, and the yellow warbler inspire a sunny mood, despite the ongoing pandemic saga.

  19. Buenos días querido amigo David. Ya de vuelta y recuperado de la vista, también me sometí a la intervención que tenía pendiente de la extirpación de la vesícula, así pues, de momento me han dejado nuevo, me falta simplemente la vacuna que ya me han llamado, pero la he retrasado hasta estar algo mejor de la intervención.
    Gracias por tus muestras de apoyo querido amigo.
    Como siempre, nos dejas otro precioso reportaje tanto de aves como de bellas plantas, siempre es un gran placer leerte amigo y profesor David.
    Recibe un fuerte abrazo de este tu amigo incondicional español Juan.

  20. Hello David,
    The Warblers are moving through here now. Great shots of the B&W Warbler and the Yellow Warbler. Beautiful variety of wildflowers, I love the Forget-me-nots. The Chickadee and the goslings are so cute too. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for the visit and comment on my blog.

  21. Birders always have lots of photos of the spot where a bird was perched just before they got the shutter depressed. It’s a genre! You are lucky that your target was siting in a pretty spot! Someone should do a whole slide show of this genre of photo!

    I do like your not-birdless images too!

    best... mae at

  22. Wonderful birds. That Blue Jay looks royal.

  23. The wildflowers are so welcome on a hike! And I love that yellow Warbler! Lots of beautiful birds this morning! Enjoy your weekend!

  24. Hello. You have great nature areas near you. So many different birds and beautiful plants.
    Wonderful photos.

  25. Estoy feliz de ver lo que nos muestras en esta entrada, me encantan las aves y las plantas. Abrazos amigo David.

  26. You're right -- goslings are at their peak cuteness now. Love that sweet warbler and glad you found one and of course the spring blooms make me smile. What a wonderful series of visits!

  27. Wonderful photos of the spring flowers and birds. The little goslings are rather cute.


  28. All birds are beautiful, but the little one resembling a blacksmith is probably the funniest. A lovely walk.

  29. Another lovely post, David, which strongly reinforces the message that you have much on offer, nature-wise, within easy reach of your home. It has not escaped my notice, however, that matters botanical seem to be on the rise in comparison to the ornithological side of of your blog, even if the science is not quite there yet!

    1. You are quite right, Richard. We have always been interested in the botanical aspects of our walks, but pay little attention to them when the birding is active, but when it is slow the flowers are right there and they don't move!

  30. Signs of spring everywhere. Those spring beauties and other flowers do lift the spirits as does the sight of birds being birds always. And the mourning cloak picture is perfect.

  31. So nice, thank you very much. Great walk ... I did it in one day :-)
    The Canada geese are beautiful ... so classy.
    The day before yesterday I saw the first stork with us, soon there will be many.
    This weekend we have fantastic weather, tomorrow over 20 degrees Celsius and tomorrow is Mother's Day ... Coffee in the garden :-))
    Many greetings to you. Viola

  32. I never tire of seeing the plants that don't thrive here, like the spring beauty and forget-me-nots. The Black and White Warbler is one of my very favorites. I may or may not have said that every time I see it, I think of Coco Chanel with her little black dress and pearls. Black and white is a wonderful combination wherever it appears.

  33. What a lovely and relaxing post that was to read. Thanks!

  34. Il y'a beaucoup de fleurs aujourd'hui, j'aime beaucoup.
    Il y'en de très jolies et j'en reconnais certaines que je vois aussi chez moi.
    On aurait envie de câliner un bébé oie, ça doit être tout doux.
    Très mignon la piruline.
    Bon weekend

  35. Una delicia de entrada amigo. Siempre gusta llegar a esta casa tuya. Gracias David por comparti tanta belleza.
    La flor blanca es de Cerezo y la azul Nomeolvides alpina. No sé si conoces :

    Es muy útil. Le metes la foto y te identifica cualquier planta.
    Buen fin de semana. Cuidaros.
    Un abrazo.

  36. Buenas noches amigo David!
    such a beautiful post that celebrates life.
    Like the beautiful rose
    I like all the flowers
    life is more precious with them
    And those baby geese... how sweet they are!
    but later when they grow up... mamma mia,
    when i was little they would run me,
    they did not want that
    i will cross his path for a second! lol
    sending lots of love and affection
    all the way to Ontario
    and the beautiful spring blossomed.

  37. Baby geese already! Spring in action.
    The grackles at my place all strut around with their beaks pointed to the sky and being as tall as they can make themselves. They are such funny characters, but noisy with not so pleasant voices--LOL!

  38. Hi David … the Virginia Spring Beauty is beautiful – what a delightful little ‘Beauty’ … B+W warblers, aren’t they lovely and must be fun seeing them run up and down the trees … Wonderful Spring flowers … and the Forget-me-not … stunning little plants …
    It must be hard work moving house every year! Those Mourning Cloaks are so true to their name.
    Those Midland Painted Turtles just a delight … Canada Geese do appear in their droves, don’t they … and the goslings – gorgeous …
    Handsome Blue Jays … so pleased you’ve found the Yellow Warbler … the Common Grackle – he doesn’t look common!
    Excellent that we’ll be seeing more of your locality … enjoy the week ahead … cheers Hilary

  39. Extraordinary adventures & sightings this week. From beautiful flower blossoms to nests & occupants. Even an over zealous unleashed dog. And all within a 5 minute walk from your door.
    As always, an excellent post & much appreciated that you shared it with us this week!

  40. Un reportaje precioso del que me ha gustado mucho saber que cerca de casa tenéis un espacio natural del que disgrutar, ya sea de las bellezas florales como de los pajarillos. El "No me olvides" es inconfundible!! Ver gansos y tortugas también me ha gustado.
    Pronto tendremos más movilidad, mucho ánimo.
    Besos y abrazos.

  41. I don't think I've ever heard of a Black-And-White Warbler before, or seen a picture for that matter. I'm delighted to make its acquaintance. Daffodils can grow from seed too if the seed pods are left to develop.

  42. The flowers are lovely, and the little warbler is adorable!

    Happy Sunday, David!

  43. aww ... colorful flowers nearby your home, so wonderful.

    Thank you for sharing a lot of beautiful photos

  44. Hi friend David,
    The measures have therefore been extended again, until 20 May! Here in the Netherlands, we will hear next Tuesday whether there will be any relaxation from 18 May.
    Lovely such a path right next to the duer and I see lovely flowers. This beautiful black and white warbler is great to see.
    The little forget-me-nots have a special meaning to me and when I see them I have to swallow again 😪
    Your chick is beautiful again and the butterfly is great.
    Turtles, geese, a beautiful jay, duck and flowers. A wonderful walk with a lot to see.
    Stay safe.
    Big hug from the Netherlands xx

  45. Love this post. So nice to see the different woodland flowers as well as your local birds. Of course the latter I would love to see in real life but it is never going to happen.
    It looks like our curfew will remain until at least next month but then it might only be lifted by a couple of hours! We have an appointment in Angouleme on Tuesday evening at 18h30, such a pain as we have to arrange forms to travel with as we will never be home by 19h00, it is at least a 35 minute drive and we have no idea how long the appointment might take!!!
    Keep well and take care both of you. Diane

  46. Hi David, nature is extraordinary especially in the spring and it is always a pleasure to be able to appreciate it through your "looks".
    Beautiful flowers, wonderful birds, I loved all the photos, but I especially liked the family of geese, the little ones are a tenderness.
    Hugs and all the best for you and Miriam.

  47. I was looking for Canada geese yesterday but did not find any :( and no goslings. I was surprised and dissappointed. So much beautiful flowers and wildlife. Your spring is way ahed of ours. It is still cold where I live.

  48. What wonderful photos! The Yellow Warbler is divine, and looks like a jewel in the tree. And I have never seen a Grackle this pretty! The Black & white Warbler is so special!

  49. Some lovely Spring flowers there. We, on the other hand, are now moving towards the end of Autumn with everything quietening down although here with no snow there are flowers all year round.

  50. It was nice to walk along with you, David, and enjoy the flowers and birds.
    A lot of the flowers are the same or look like flowers groing over here, but birds as colorful as the Blue Jay or the Yellow Warbler don't fly here. So I enjoy these pictures extra.

    Best regards, Corrie

  51. I enjoy visiting your blog to look at all the critters and the pretty flowers. Birds too need to spring clean their homes. Imaging having a geese on the roof top! Those are cute goslings. The tree trunk with steps leading to the cavity is a great find. Have a great new week.

  52. Love everything and the staircase mushrooms on the tree jumped out at me.

  53. I love your spring flowers. I haven’t seen yellow violets since I was a kid. We had tons of violets on our property, including the yellow and white ones and I was forever picking bouquets “for my mom” who pretended each one was thrilling.

  54. Lovely photos, the Black and White Warbler definitely reminds me of a Nuthatch, quite a classic pose. A staircase of mushrooms seems quite perfect!

  55. Hello David ,
    The flowers show their full beauty, look at and enjoy here in Germany, too, it seems that nature is just exploding everywhere It is blooming, one of the most beautiful times
    Greetings Frank

  56. "The goslings are the very epitome of cuteness."
    I do agree :)

    All the best Jan

  57. Wiosna, wiosna! Cudownie wyglądają ptaki wśród bladozielonych małych liści. Jakże piękne są drobne kwiaty wychodzące nieśmiało z podłoża! To dobry czas na spacer i na obserwację przyrody.

  58. Wow, impressive group of images! I picked up some trash from a river bank the other day because I knew it would wash into the water.