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Monday, 1 November 2021

Two Outings to RIM Park for Waterloo Regional Nature

      COVID, while still a spectre hanging over our heads, seems to influence our daily activities less than it has done since the very beginning of the pandemic and I was happy to be able to offer a couple of outings to RIM Park, Waterloo, for keen members and friends.

27 October 2021
RIM Park, Waterloo, ON

Leader: David Gascoigne

Members: Miriam Bauman, Lynn Conway, Lisa DenBesten, Anna Harper, Karl Malhotra, Mary Ann Vanden Elzen, Curtiss MacDonald, Zach Summerhayes.

Guest: Lucille Bordman

Zach, Lynn, Mary Ann, Karl, Curtiss, David. Lisa, Anna, Lucille

     It was a very pleasant late October day, and while the birds were a little sparse, it was quite wonderful to be outside together, enjoying each other's company, with nary a mask in sight!



     Miriam was unable to take many pictures, so I will draw from my archives for some of them, making sure as far as possible that they are from RIM Park at the same time of year.
     There were large numbers of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) gorging on buckthorn berries; some migratory, but many no doubt part of the contingent that elects to stay here all winter, in ever greater numbers it seems.


     Flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) were also travelling through the area, but like the robins, more of them are toughing out the winters and eschewing migration.


     It was a distinct pleasure to see a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) fly over, and only a couple of weeks earlier we had photographed this species at RIM Park.


     Fungi, for the most part, have passed their prime, often being little more than squishy masses by now, but a couple of interesting types were still pristine.



     This stash of cones was a bit of a puzzle.


     It is obviously not random and we wondered who might be responsible for it. Perhaps it is the work of American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus); from The Mammals of Canada, A.W.F. Banfield (1987) - "The squirrel may cut anywhere from ten to a hundred cones, before it descends to carry the cones to its cache."
     As might be expected, a few Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) joined us from time to time.


     All of the Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) we saw, to the best of my recollection, were females.


     There were remarkably few sparrows. We had a fleeting glimpse at a Song Sparrow (Melopsiza melodia) and a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) zoomed into the undergrowth, flashing their white outer tail feathers.


     In times past, Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) has not been shy in the undergrowth seen below, but today there was nary a one.



     Thanks to everyone who joined me on this walk. I thought that Curtiss put it well, "Every bird is a bonus, but simply to be out enjoying the fresh air with like-minded people is satisfaction enough."

31 October 2021
RIM Park, Waterloo, ON and Bechtel Park, Waterloo, ON

Leader: David Gascoigne

Members: Miriam Bauman, Lyndsey Butcher, Victoria Ho, Jenny Lorette, Tara Natter, Tracey Rainer, Selwyn Tomkun

Guests: André Bastel, Elaine Gallant

Jenny, Tracey, Victoria, Selwyn, Elaine, David, Lindsey, Tara, André

     It is always a delight to welcome guests on our walks, but there is added satisfaction when it is someone from out-of-province. Elaine Gallant from New Brunswick is visiting her daughter, Lindsey; she is a keen and proficient birder and made a great addition to our group.
     Victoria always cuts a striking figure, but when she brings out her Halloween spider for its annual encounter with the world, the result is stunning.


     Autumn leaves were the order of the day.



     If anything, birds were even harder to find than on the 27th, but we did have a few pockets of activity.
     This Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinensis) kept returning to the same area, obviously finding food there, and flying off to add to its winter cache.


     Several Blue Jays, alert to the same source of food, alternated with each other and with the woodpecker in adding to their stash.


     Tracey was especially thrilled when a Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) deigned to boldly flash its colours.


     Some kinglets migrate but, incredibly, many of these tiny birds, barely bigger than a hummingbird, will spend the winter here.
     Does a tree in fall not look splendid?



Bechtel Park, Waterloo, ON

     Tracey mentioned that she had searched long and hard in Bechtel Park to find an Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) but without sucess.
     Since we were not far away, Miriam and I offered to accompany them over there to show them where we had located "our" owl.
     Selwyn and Victoria indicated that they wished to come too; then Lindsey said to her mom, "Do you want to go?", so other than Tara and André, we all went to Bechtel woods.


     
Success was our reward!


     This diminutive little owl was at the lip of its hole for all to see.
     Elaine was especially ecstatic, and Tracey and Jenny no less, since it was a lifer for all of them. I am not quite sure whether it was a first for Selwyn and Victoria, but they were thrilled in any event.
     A couple of Hairy Woodpeckers (Leuconotopicus villosus) plied their trade, but it's hard to compete with an owl, and I think they were paid scant attention!


     Another great outing with wonderful people came to a close.
     In a couple of weeks time we'll do it all again.     

72 comments:

  1. Hi David, first of all I must say how beautiful your new header is, wow! And your group photos are good, a resolute band of trusty followers with their leader! You saw some fabulous birds and the fungi was great, never seen one like that before. But that spider on Victoria's hat, eeeeeek! Have a wonderful week, hugs, Valerie

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  2. Yes!
    It was another great trip with great people.
    David, thank you so much for seeing so many beautiful birds in your photos.
    Hugs and greetings:)

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  3. I'm so glad you found the owl again, David. It is so cute. The trees in fall is so beautiful, and I love to watch them over and over again.
    Hugs from your friend in Norway.

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  4. Again, striking photos. All the friends ready to head out are ready to go!

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  5. The colors of the feathers are almost not real! The photos are great.

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  6. The cover photo is a great bravo.

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  7. Marvellous that you can get out and about again like this. Twelve months ago it would have seemed impossible. Gives me hope that we too will once again be able to do the same - at the moment, we are sort of tagging along a year behind the rest of the world.

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    1. I think that mostly NZ has been ahead of the world.

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  8. WONDERFUL.
    I so enjoy our outings (even if mine is viewed from far away). And an owl would always be a highlight for me.
    I also loved that hat spider. A true beauty.

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  9. Buenas tardes amigo mío, en primer lugar, decirte que la foto de portada es maravillosa. Como siempre, un extraordinario paseo que, como bien dices, si no se dio bien la captura, el mero hecho de estar con buenos amigos y agradable compañía ya es toda una recompensa sumada al privilegio de poder contemplar ese búho chillón.
    Un gran abrazo amigo y compadre David y te deseo un gran mes de noviembre.

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  10. All the birds you have met are beautiful. Robin is wonderful.

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  11. Hi David, there is nothing more rewarding than sharing activities in nature with friends who enjoy the same interests as you. Excellent photos of very beautiful birds. greetings Julio

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  12. Hari OM
    Another fine ramble with etherfriends! (And aren't archival images a blessing?!) YAM xx

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  13. Beautiful photographs, I especially like your American Robins.

    Happy November wishes.

    All the best Jan

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  14. And, once again, I enjoy going along the outing with you...thank you. :)

    A little beauty, a little darling, Lily is. :)

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  15. Yes. The first time for Victoria and I to see the eastern screech owl (megascops asio) -and it was so close ! One of the best trips. Fresh air, good companies, and talks on the walk makes me happy.

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    1. I will look forward to doing it again often, Selwyn.

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  16. Love the owl.
    A happy bunch of folk there and all the birds are lovely along with all the photos.

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  17. A couple of successful walks and I got a real sense of joy from your post as you can all meet up again outdoors and maskless. Marvellous photos of the birds but the star of the show has to be the owl.

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  18. Hi David - three places to see ... and how lovely most of the group wanted to see the little Screech Owl - gorgeous. Not quite cold yet - but Autumn/Fall obviously has arrived. Curtis did put it well:"Every bird is a bonus, but simply to be out enjoying the fresh air with like-minded people is satisfaction enough."

    We have some sun today too ... cheers Hilary

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  19. Que de belles photos! Les oiseaux sont nombreux et les couleurs d'automne très jolies.
    La belle araignée sur le chapeau est sympa, j'aime beaucoup.
    Bonne journée

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  20. How great that you take your friends to see the owl - and it is there!!!!!
    Otherwise I think Curtiss said it all.
    Lisbeth

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  21. Very Autumnal walk... Lovely birds and settings... Happy week...

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  22. great nature shots as always.
    LOVE your new header :)

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  23. Hi David.

    Nice that you could go out into nature with some people.
    Beautiful birds and Fungi and mushrooms.
    The owl is very beautiful.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  24. Hello,
    Great reports on your bird walks. I love the woodpeckers and the screech owl. We are seeing the Kinglets and Juncos here now too. Take care, enjoy your day!

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  25. The owl blends right in to the tree. I like your new header, David.

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  26. Nice blog header. Wonderful to be able to have nature outings with friends. As always, birds are beautiful. That spider is not scary. Not easy to spot the owl. Have a beautiful day.

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  27. Amazing bird walk photographs David

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  28. Stunning set of photos and I love Victoria's Halloween spider, it is wonderful. I was delighted the other day to see the Little Owl here. It is nesting in a new place and I am not sure quite where. We have heard the pair all summer but no sightings. The leaves are now falling and vision is almost back, I might even get some photos over winter. Best wishes to you both, Diane

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  29. I'd love to go on a walk like that, David, with such wonderful birds and fabulous autumn colours. However, even if I was aware of one locally, I would hesitate to join it as Covid is very much on the rise here. It was estimated last week that 1 in 54 people in UK (or maybe it was England - either way, it was relevant to us) currently had Covid!

    I hope that Miriam's inability to take photos was only due to lack of opportunity, rather than problems with equipment or self?

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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    1. She is fine, Richard. There just wasn't much to photograph.

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  30. hello David
    Excursions with a guide who knows exactly where to see what makes such excursions unique, the spider comes before the owl ;-))
    Greetings Frank

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  31. Querido David pocas cosas superan el placer de una buena caminata por la naturaleza en buena compañía, para mi es especial. Son unas fotos espectaculares de aves maravillosas y los colores del otoño alegran nuestra retina. Me encanta la araña de Victoria se ve muy guapa. Un enorme abrazo.

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  32. I would love to join one of those groups, David. Such fun!

    Mushrooms are plentiful now. There is always something to see!

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    1. When you come to Ontario there will be a place in the leader's car for you, Marie.

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  33. Looks like two great days out - and seeing an owl in daytime is special.

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  34. I forgot to mention that I love your new banner photo. And this looks like just the best excursion! So many sightings -- you have the magic touch! I think all your blog pals, including me, would like to join your gang on a walk like that one!

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  35. How wonderful that you can get out and about again.

    Once again, jaw-dropping captures of the beautiful birds.

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  36. How lovely to be able to show off 'your' owl, a nice ending to your day out!

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  37. A couple of wonderful outings. Nice to be able to "share" your owl with others - they can be infuriatingly difficult spot if you don't know exactly where to look.

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  38. That spider on the hat threw me for a loop. Haha.

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  39. Fue una buena salida. Con el otoño ya regalando colores. Muchos pájaros avistásteis. La araña de Victoria es espectacular.
    Buen miércoles David.
    Un abrazo.

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  40. Kolejne niesamowite obserwacje! Zachwycam się dzięciołami.
    Widzę jaka macie pasję i jak szczęśliwi są ludzie na takich wspólnych wycieczkach. Gratuluję!

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  41. It's happy news that you have been able to once again sponsor such entertaining and informative outings!

    The owl would have made my day! No matter whether the participants are experienced or not, I know they appreciate your efforts to make their adventure special.

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  42. Hi David!
    Beautiful pictures and species!
    Greetings from Argentina.

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  43. Bravo. Wonderful pics.

    Happy Thursday

    Much💛love

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  44. Hi David, beautiful photos of the birds. Cute little owl. I like very much the group photo. I think you are a excellent leader. Thank you for your kind comment. Have a nice day.

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  45. David, these are exceptional photos. Thanks for a wonderful post.

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  46. I'm glad you saw that owl and made some people's life list more complete. They are great little owls. Wow. What a super selection of birds you saw. And the woods looks so pretty too. Have a wonderful rest of your week.

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  47. I love to look at your photos of the birds, isn't it amazing the red winged blackbird? I think we have fewer blackbirds this year, soon I'll be equipping the bird feeder and see if the blackbirds come too ... we only have them in completely black.
    I sewed hats, maybe your wife would like sew them too, sews wonderfully :-) Greetings to her too.
    Happy weekend Viola

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  48. p.s. whisnext time I have something to say other than nature and bird life ... I'll send two comments so you have the option to publish only one ... Good idea? Greetings to you from wet and cold Europe.

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    1. Feel free to comment on whatever you wish, Viola, and I will be happy to publish your words. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  49. Hello David, :=) First of all, many thanks for the correction on my post. I'm blessed to have friends who know so much, and take the time to share their superior knowledge. I'm exceedingly grateful for your input, and have now corrected my post.

    Your post is always a pleasure to see. Lovely pictures of a happy looking group of followers and guests, and beautiful bird images, even if some are from the archives, which is always good to fall back on.The Eastern Sceech Owl "Your Owl":=)) is a little darling, with it's scrunched up little face, he looks so cute. Enjoyable post as always. A big hug, and thank you.

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  50. I couldn't agree more, there is nothing more enjoyable than a walk in the woods with friends on a refreshing fall day. Your pictures remind me of many of the birds I have photographed years back when I lived close enough to nature to keep my camera with me at all times ... sadly, due to health reasons, we have moved into a suburban community that is convenient for my son and his wife ... and for us to be close to them. With the passing of our Izzi (mini aussie) I don't do much walking outside anymore and I miss it... which is why I so enjoy joining you on your walks. Wonderful pictures, memories and good on you finding that little Screech Owl. That is not an easy thing to do.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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  51. I apologize for being so late visiting. Life has gotten in the way. I absolutely LOVE your idea of a workshop. Nothing like nature and you are not confined by walls, just weather. That owl was amazing and it was wonderful that some of the people who saw it felt so honored and happy. You are truly a great guide. I was glad to see no masks, but I've reverted to wearing them again when I'm outside. It's good to know your group, I guess.

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  52. Hi David,
    To be out in the nature is a pleasure during the autumn. Changing colours, all kinds of fungi and of course some interesting visitors from abroad, partly on their way to the south. Some people like to wander in the nature in small groups, others prefer to go on their own. Whatever you do is not so important as long as you are having a good time.
    Greetings, Kees

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  53. Buen fin de semana David.
    Un abrazo.

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  54. David - I'll add to the consensus that it is a joy to spend time outdoors with like-minded people, and birds (or any wildlife) is a bonus. In this post, I particularly enjoyed seeing the Pileated Woodpecker, the Kinglet and the Eastern Screech Owl, which was well camouflaged!

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  55. Se te ve feliz con los grupos de salida, me alegra ver que todo va poco a poco a la normalidad. Me siento feliz de ver todo el recorrido, el búho me encantó. Abrazos para Miriam y para ti.

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  56. Great photos. What a beautiful area to walk in at this time of year. And once again, I love the owl photo. I'm hoping to add an owl photo (in the wild) to my list of photos. Any kind will do. Owls are one of my favorite birds. Oh, and when I saw that spider on the hat, at first I thought it was real, and cringed. Then I realized it was for Halloween. Phew.

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  57. Hi David,
    Fortunately, life is returning to normal and we can now go out and enjoy what we love most. There were certainly two fantastic walks, enjoying nature now dressed in autumn and its wonderful inhabitants, the birds. I especially loved the last two photos.

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  58. beautiful naturewalks and gorgeous bird shots. :)

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  59. Wow David...so many beautiful birds...you have such nice spots for Nature adventures. I love all of the Woodpecker sightings...and that Red Winged Blackbird is so pretty!!! Great photo there. How on earth did you see that owl? I would have not seen it at all, it's so well camouflaged. I LOVE VICTORIA'S SPIDER ON HER HAT!!! Ha! That made my morning!!! :)

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  60. Beautiful the exit you have made. The colors given by that soft light further enhance birds and flora tones, I really liked the images that you obtained. A big greeting

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