Thursday, 13 May 2021

We're Still in Lockdown - and it was just extended.

      It looks as though my posts will be from home and local jaunts for a while to come. Our current lockdown, due to end on 20 May, was just extended to 2 June. I am really starting to wonder whether "normal" is something we will ever see again.

08 May 2021
Our Backyard, Waterloo, ON

     A Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) paid us a brief visit just one time. Fortunately, Miriam had her camera handy and was able to fire off a few shots.

     Take a look at that bill and you will not wonder how the bird got its name!

     We have seen a few others out on the trails, but there have been no further visits to the garden, at least not observed by us.
     White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) by contrast has an been agreeable regular.

     Rabbits are the bane of a gardener's existence and Miriam was not amused to see three of them hopping around in the backyard.

     The squirrel in the background is not entirely benign either, being quite capable of digging up bulbs, chewing the bark off the maple tree and generally rearranging things as it sees fit - often on a mere whim, without apparent purpose or malice, all the while chasing birds, other squirrels, chipmunks and any visitor considered persona non grata in squirreldom.
     The rabbits, on the other hand, are selective diners with high standards, accepting only the finest new shoots as they emerge above the soil. There appears to be a direct correlation between their discriminating palate and the desirability of the plant. Our favourite flowers are always selected first, at their tender succulent best, and are chewed down until nary a sign remains that they ever existed! If we acquire a new plant and cherish it, that is tantamount to issuing a dining card to a rabbit! I am quite sure we could plant weeds and they would ignore them.

09 May 2021
Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) is a species I am used to seeing in migration, moving through southern Ontario to occupy breeding territories a little farther north. It was with great pleasure, therefore, that this individual was spotted at Lakeside Park.

     Families of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are seen throughout the region, with adults frequently chaperoning their babies across busy roads, where traffic comes to a standstill to permit safe passage.

     The irony is not lost on me that concerned motorists who will go to extraordinary lengths at times to help the goslings, will in a few short weeks be cursing these same individuals when they leave their droppings at golf courses and parks.
     Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is not infrequently seen on lawns and other grassy areas in search of ants which it captures with a very active tongue, and dines with great gusto, all the while improving the chances for humans to have a picnic without risk of hordes of stinging insects.

     Bravo, Flicker!

11 May 2021
Hood Century Farm, Flamborough, ON

     It was a cold, blustery day, with a biting wind. The temperature never climbed above 5.5 degrees and I am sure that the wind chill took it down to freezing or lower. 
     Aerial insectivores have a difficulty time under such conditions, and Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were uncharacteristically resting on the ground to conserve energy.

      Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) is the default sparrow of this grassland haven and we had no difficulty seeing several.

     The signature bird, however, is Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) and we were there to scout them out in preparation for a visit the following day with a friend who is writing a book, which will include a chapter on this species at risk.

     It is a magical experience to watch ardent males making display flights across a meadow, uttering their joyful, burbling song.

     Given the cold conditions and the intensity of the wind, most seemed resigned to trying their luck from a perch in the grassland.

11 May 2021
Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     We were back at home by lunchtime following our Bobolink expedition, and while Miriam busied herself with other matters, I decided to go down to Lakeside Park.
     Warblers and vireos are almost constantly in motion and are difficult to photograph, and I make no claim that the pictures below of a Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) are anything but mediocre, but I offer them so that you have the pleasure of seeing this delightful little bird.

     I was able to do a little better with Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata)

     And I was happy to see my first Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) of the year.

12 May 2021
Our backyard, Waterloo, ON

     If I had to predict the first bird in the yard every day, even before it is completely light, Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) would be it.

     There are always a half dozen or so and on rare occasions we have had over twenty.
     As mentioned above, White-crowned Sparrow has been a daily visitor of late and we are always very happy to see this perky, energetic species.

     We would dearly love to roam farther afield, to visit my daughter in Ottawa, to make a road trip, but under present conditions, that simply is not an option. So, for the time being I will continue to bring you local highlights. It's the best I can do!


  1. The best you can do is absolutely amazing.
    That said, I am very, very sorry that your lock down has been extended.

  2. Such a variety of birds you come across absolutely delightful, I loved the rabbit and squirrel photo.

  3. Hari OM
    Your best beats the jinkers out of my archive mines! Things are supposedly opening up here over the course of the next two or three weeks... but then again there are murmurings about maybe not... sigh... YAM xx

  4. Wascally wabbit!

    Locals can see the tulips here, and I have been taking many photographs.

  5. beautiful photos of birds as always,... I enjoy to read descriptions of birds...

    # It seems that the countries with vaccination rate over 50% of their population are relax now:
    - Israel
    - Bhutan
    - USA

  6. Very beautiful diversity of birds in the surroundings of your city, although there's lockdown and that hurts us in the freedom of choice in the places to visit, it's a good opportunity to see better and discover new things in our neighborhood. Restrictions have also been made around here these days, we are worse off in cases than last year.
    Of all those beauties that you show us, without a doubt, the one that I would like to see the most is the Northern Flicker, so similar in shape to our Colaptes but so different in its color.

  7. Hola, que tal David!
    thank you for sharing these beautiful birds with everyone,
    even despite the eternal confinement. I have been quite amused by
    the little bird that sings at the top of its lungs despite the intense
    wind and the "fiery machos" jajajajaja!
    They are all so sweet, pretty hares, rabbits, squirrels... adorable.
    Even the green shoots! despite the cold, spring is advancing,
    in these parts is very cold too.
    Sending hugs for you and your family,
    i hope you can meet again soon.
    Bye Bye.

  8. Rose-breasted Grosbeak is so beautiful, David - I love the a variety of birds, squirrel and rabbits . Beautiful photos  as alway.I am so sorry that your lockdown will not end. Here in Denmark we are opening again, but all the elderly people and most people with diseases have had their vaccines.

  9. We've been told that if we're vaccinated, we no longer need to wear masks inside or out. Outside is fine, but I'll continue to wear my mask inside. Vaccination is not a guarantee.


  10. Hello David,
    What a beautiful birds you are showing!! I am so amazed about the photo's because it's so difficult for me to take a good picture of them.
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead

  11. I'm sorry there is no relaxation. It's a little better here. The mask is no longer mandatory outdoors.

  12. You are doing an excellent job with your collection of birds from your backyard and a short distance from your home. Hopefully the lockdown works and helps control the virus.

  13. You must feel very fortunate to see all this in your backyard and nearby. The Warbler is beautiful, as is the sparrow in your last photo.

  14. Hi David,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your lockdown. Here we have opened up, but I fear that we might lock down later again. The vaccines are delayed, and it goes very slow here with it.
    Beautiful photos of the birds, and the Rose-breastet Grosbeak was very pretty. I'm sorry to tell you about the weather here, because last night we had 21 degrees here ;)
    I hope you get warmer weather soon.
    Happy weekend!

  15. Your Blue-Headed Vireo picture shows how well even brightly coloured birds can blend into the appropriate background - our Blue Tits can do the same. Sorry to hear that your wings are still clipped by the Covid regulations; ours are beginning to lift but new variants are on the rise so it wouldn't surprise me if our politicians, eventually and possibly too late, reimpose restrictions.

  16. Hi David! Good that you have so many fabulous birds and animals nearby. Sorry about the lockdown, that's hard that it's been extended. The rabbits there seem to be as cheeky as the ones here, and I'm sorry they're eating your best blooms, that's sad. My fave today is the bobolink, I've never heard of them before. They are starting to loosen up the lockdown here, but only for people who have been completely vaccinated. Have a great day, take care, hope your lockdown will soon end! Hugs to you both, Valerie

  17. Hello,
    Wonderful collection of bird photos, you have a great variety near by. The bunny is cute, I know they are bad critter to have in the garden. I enjoy seeing any wildlife. The Bobolink and Blue-headed Vireo are a few of my favorites. Take care, have a happy weekend!

  18. Hi David.

    What beautiful colored birds you show.
    Really super so many beautiful things as you show every time.
    Super beautiful.
    I love it.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  19. That darn lockdown, but I think it is the right thing overall.
    The head of the bobolink really pleased me.

  20. We have just learned that those vaccinated may ditch the masks. Woohoo!!

  21. Beautiful bird photoes David!Love the litle rabbit as well:)))

    I think the new normal is wearing a mask in public..there is still a long way to go before the world is free from covid if it never will be.. we are good sheltered with the pfizer vaccine I feel very free with it So now we have to have booster in autumm as well..I feel very MNRA!!hehe hehehehe my body is full of those antidots!!

    Ok have beautiful day over there. Give Big hug to my favourite blogger child Hope update pictures from little princess soon

    1. As soon as we are able to get together with Heather and Lily I will post pictures, Anita.

  22. Lovely photos of the birds, David. A few years ago we had a problem with some rabbits munching in our veg garden. They look cute but can be pests.

  23. I was excited to see your bobolinks! I just love hearing them, or loved I should say. They and the meadowlarks were the sound of summer when I was growing up in the north. Sorry and surprised that you are still in lockdown. I haven’t kept up but I thought your numbers were better than the U.S. and we are really opening up in the last few days.

  24. The best you can do is amazing!
    I do love rabbits and squirrels but they can be hungry, pesky little devils.

  25. A lively array of birds you have spotted and photographed. Too many to pick a favorite. The first year I began gardening, a Flicker visited our gardens, but I have never seen one since. I have a soft spot for mourning doves. I could listen to their cooing forever.

  26. Hallo David,

    Wat komen daar in Canada toch mooie soorten vogels voor, soorten die je hier nooit ziet. Een enkeling heb ik wel eens vogelshow op een tentoonstelling gezien, vogels die als kooi vogel gehouden worden. Heel mooi allemaal. Ik hoop dat bij jullie de maatregelen ook snel versoepeld worden zodat je je familie weer kunt opzoeken.


  27. A mí me encantó tu reportaje, tienes muchos pájaros en tu patio y son preciosos. Abrazos.

  28. I'm sorry to hear about the lockdown extension. It is so frustrating when all you want to do is to get out. You've still managed to get some lovely photos though.

  29. Ici les restrictions commencent à se lever le 19 mai, mais nous n'avons déjà plus les limites de KM.
    Le cardinal est joli. J'imagine que les lapins peuvent vite devenir embêtant dans le jardin, parfois ils coupent juste des plantes parce qu'elles sont sur leur chemin et ils ne veulent pas contourner lol.
    Bon weekend

  30. Hello David,
    You had some wonderful bird sightings during your local outing. I hope the lockdown ends soon, we have been given our freedom now. We are vaccinated but a little timid about going on a long distance trip. I hope you get to see your daughter soon. I had a few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks stop by on their way north. Great collection of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  31. I've had a busy week, just getting caught up!
    What an amazing array. Eye candy, you can always be counted on for those!

  32. Hello. Wonderful birds, great collection. You have beautiful and special looking birds compared to Finnish birds.
    Take care.

  33. I hope things improve where you live. We are better here but still staying close to home. We hope to see the Bobolinks here this month (we saw them in May last year) and how neat to get the pics of the tree swallow. They are so hard to photograph flying overhead! Beautiful photos and I love the wood duck in the banner!

  34. Lovely birds all and I am just getting to know the different sparrows. Daughter has had the white crowned in her yard in Richmond just outside Ottawa going on 15 years now and I love to see their distinctive heads. So one I can identify! Meanwhile I've resorted to planting flowering bushes instead of bulbs- with our 12 acres backing 25 acres in one direction and 13 in another, I can't win against the wildlife!

  35. I'm sorry to hear your lock down got extended. Ugh. Here in the US, the ever changing CDC guidelines now say, "no masks or social distancing for the vaccinated, indoors and outdoors" as of Thursday (May 13, 2021), but our Governor here in Connecticut couldn't be bothered to change his Executive Order, so the rules are still in force here until May 19. However, I intend to keep wearing my mask, because I'm still erring on the side of caution, which I've been doing all along, regardless of whatever easing of the rules they've done.

    Great assortment of photos. I was happy to hear your Bluebirds have some babies in the bird box nest. I've been trying to photograph a Baltimore Oriole couple that has returned again this year, but so far, no luck. (I think it's the same one, but who knows. They like the suet feeder.)

    (Note: I'm very far behind on visiting everyone's blogs, so I'm doing a quick pass through, and will try to catch up later.)

  36. I had completely forgotten the Bobolink. I'm fairly certain I've never seen one, although I might have heard one in the midwest and not known it, as Iowa's within their breeding range. Your doves are first, but it's the cardinals who are the early risers here. My 4 a.m. mockingbird isn't singing any longer, so I assume he either has a mate now, or gave it up and went to a different territory.

  37. What beautiful types of birds you photograph.
    Too bad you still have a lockdown.
    Here we have been given a little more freedom, the terraces are allowed to open just like the shops, but a limited number of people are allowed in the shop and only 50 people are allowed on a terrace.
    This lasts until May 20, maybe a little more freedom afterwards.
    We both received one corona vaccination, in three weeks we will both be fully vaccinated.
    Greetings Irma

  38. The bobolink is a fantastic sighting indeed! Naturally ALL your shares are terrific. Too bad about the extending of your area's lockdown!
    Thanks for sharing with us at IRBB this weekend!!

  39. So sorry to here that conitions are bad enough there that it has been necessary to extend your lockdown, David. Our fingers are crossed that the recent rise of the so-called 'Indian variant' doesn't do the same thing to us here, as things were starting to look relatively good.

    That Rose-breated Grosbeak looks as if it could give a careless ringer (bander) a serious nip!

    I was disappointed to hear that such a special bird as the Bobolink was a threatened species. That male is extremely handsome.

    I just thought I'd let you know - had a call from John Truman yesterday from hospital, where he has been for a fortnight with a serious case of sepsis. He's hoping to come out next week.

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

    1. That's pretty sad news about John, Richard. If you have an email address for him maybe you can send it to me and I will drop him a note. I wonder if the sepsis was in any way a reaction to the vaccinations?

    2. And as for your comment about the grosbeak, once one nailed Heather on the skin between the thumb and the forefinger. She may have even uttered a bad word or two!

    3. Something along the lines of "ouch" no doubt?!

  40. David I find the Colaptes auratus bird very useful in Canada. I want to invite him here, to my garden, to eat a lot of ants that live in the greenhouse between vegetables and flowers. They do holes in soil.Hopefully the number of cases will decrease and you will be able to travel.

  41. I know Miriam isn't fond of the bunnies (with some good reason) but oh, they are so dear! Rick (and my neighbors) have a variety of "bunny protection" on their gardens -- hardware cloth, mesh covers which are hard to see (and easy to trip on!). So far so good -- but they are cagey! Love all your beautiful birds!

  42. I wasn't surprised about the extension of the lockdown to June 2, although I was disappointed. And I agree, "normal" may not be available for quite some time.
    please can you tell me.... what is the tiny brown bird that has a little spot of red on it's head?

    1. You are probably referring to a Common Redpoll.

  43. You have so many fine birds in your area. I actually love the bill of the grosbeak. :)
    Dont think I have seen the Bobolink before but I watched a video on Youtube. It is a nice one. :)
    I think we have to see the future as "the new Normal" :(

  44. Hello David
    The local highlights are also worth seeing, great encounters and beautiful pictures.
    Greetings Frank

  45. Hi David - your local highlights are delightful - so I'm happy. Though I'm sure you're longing to get out and away to see your daughter ... this 'thing' is a nuisance ... stay safe and enjoy the burgeoning of Spring - cheers Hilary

  46. Hi David,
    lockdown or not...It keeps you busy ;-) Lots of beautiful birds and super pictures as always!
    Regards Maria