Monday, May 29, 2023

Meanderings of Late

11 May, 2023
Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     A Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was there to welcome us to the park - a very agreeable beginning to our visit.

     Many years ago Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) was one of the most common birds found in an eastern deciduous woodland, but this is no longer the case. Its place seems to have been taken somewhat by its close cousin, Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus).

     Alternate-leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) was looking exceptionally handsome, I thought.

     Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata) was, as is often the case, the most common warbler.

     The presence of this Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) no doubt caused many songbirds to remain hidden and silent.

     Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is much maligned, but is by any measure a very handsome bird.

     A male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) revived memories of Cuba where it was very common, preparing for its long migratory journey.

     Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is both interesting and beautiful, and it always brings great pleasure when we come across it.

12 May, 2023
Benjamin Park, Waterloo, ON

     The White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) bears the honour of being the Flower of Ontario, and it is one of our favourite blooms.

     It carpets our woodlands and really brings us joy.

     Every flower is special.

     Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) is also spectacularly beautiful, but I think for us, white reigns supreme. I could tell you that it's on account of my purity and  virtue, but I doubt that you would believe me!

     May-Apple (Podophyllum peltatum) puts in an appearance around the same time as the trilliums.

     Miriam really managed to capture the sublime iridescence of a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) in this picture.

     Wood Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvatica) is a lovely component of the woodland carpet.

     Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula) as usual was reluctant to show its ruby crown.

14 May, 2023
SpruceHaven, St. Agatha, ON

     "Springtime is bustin' out all over," to borrow from Rodgers and Hammerstein, and nowhere is it more apparent than at SpruceHaven.
     Just look at this resplendent male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis).

     Does your heart not burst with happiness at the mere sight of such charm and beauty?
     Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) have returned in good numbers and they too bestow considerable enchantment on us.

     They have wasted no time in claiming occupancy of the nest boxes we have provided for them. After all it's the least we can do, having removed so many natural cavities, and imported aggressive House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) to evict them, sometimes with lethal consequences.

     Fortunately, at SpruceHaven the guerrilla warfare with House Sparrows is not a significant factor in the breeding success of this glorious hirundine.

     Once before I discovered the nest of a Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), close to the house actually, so perhaps this individual is a male with his partner incubating eggs.

     We have had a moderate degree of success with Eastern Bluebirds (Sialis sialia) and hope that they too will call SpruceHaven home this year.

16 May, 2023
Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum) has been quite common this year - as it usually is - and always delightful, with its endearing tail-pumping behaviour.

     Several British blogs have recently featured bluebell woodlands where the floral carpet is breathtakingly beautiful. We don't have anything to rival that in Ontario, but I thought that dense patches of Forget-me-nots have a certain charm too.

     It is quite clear that Midland Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata) did not have floral appreciation on their minds when they clambered aboard a log to bask in the temperature-regulating spring sunshine.

     Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) is widespread and common throughout the woodlands of southern Ontario.

     Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta) is edible and eagerly sought after by foragers.

     While I am very fond of mushrooms, I prefer to leave wild specimens in place as part of the forest ecosystem.
     A Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) is always a welcome sight.

     As mentioned earlier, Warbling Vireo, is common, often heard singing incessantly before being sighted.

     A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is always a model of refined elegance.

     This robust male House Sparrow seems to have attracted the attention of two females. What a lucky chap!

     Red-eyed Vireo, erstwhile champion of the woodlands, is sometimes hard to find in recent times.

18 May, 2023
Dryden Tract, Cambridge, ON

     We joined the lovely Lisa Den Besten to meander through this enchanting grove of ancient forest, with warblers at every step of the way. That doesn't mean that we have photographs, however; now that the trees are fully leafed out warblers can be frustratingly difficult to see, even as they sing gleefully right above your head.
     Trilliums at your feet are much easier.

     An Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) trilled gaily to us and then perched where we could snap a picture.

     Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) is like a good many humans, a few of whom I even know - getting old and a little flaky!

     I know that Marit can never get enough of Trilliums so here is one more picture just for her.

     What an impressive representation of forest renewal as the flower is thriving in the decaying remains of an old tree now returning life-sustaining nutrients to the forest floor.
     Just before we ended our walk two male Scarlet Tanagers (Piranga olivacea) vied for the attention of a female.

     If you were going to write your own ending to the tale you couldn't do much better than that!
David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.


  1. You saw so many beauties, and the photos are fantastic. I especially love the scarlet tanager, the grackle and the starling, fabulous pis from Miriam! And I love the new header with you and Miriam, so pretty - I mean Miriam is so pretty! Hugs, Valerie xxxxx

    1. I shall probably take weeks to recover from this slight!

    2. An elegant and learned man like you doesn't need to be pretty!

    3. How quickly you have redeemed yourself!

  2. Hari Om
    Oh the glory of late spring abounds! And your new header photo is lovely. YAM xx

  3. Another fine stroll with lots of beautiful sightings. What a wonderful new header.

  4. ...keep meandering, my arthritis is holding me back.

  5. Thank you for the lovely photos of many birds and Trilliums! I love them all. They are very beautiful when they are white and when they turn pink. I love both the red and white Trilliums. No, I don't belive you ;-)
    The pink Myosotis are very pretty too. Here we have only the blue one. Thank you for special photo of the white Trillium. I enjoyed it very much David.
    Hugs and kisses, Marit

  6. Absolutely lovely! So many I recognize. I've never seen a better photo of a grackle! They are beautiful if the light hits them just right...the loud bossy cowards--lol! :)

  7. While it was wonderful, as always, David, to see and read about the bird and plant sightings, I really enjoyed the header photo of you and Miriam! You both look well and so very happy.

    1. We are very happy, Beatrice. I'm glad it shows.

  8. It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to follow your observations of fauna and flora, accompanied by your didactic comments through the window of your magnificent blog. A big hug David.

    1. Muchas gracias por tus amables palabras amigo Julio.

  9. Buenas tardes, estimados amigos, una bellísima entrada de fauna y flora y en la que he podido disfrutar con tantas y bellas floraciones que mayormente desconocía, así como algunas de las aves y he podido apreciar la gran belleza del Quiscalus quiscula con esa hermosa explosión de colorido.
    En la foto de portada estáis muy bien y además muy fotogénicos.
    Recibir un gran abrazo de vuestro siempre amigo y compadre Juan.

  10. Hello David.
    I think my day is ending happily with all these wonderful birds. What happiness and what beautiful photos! Bravo Madame 😁😉☺️.
    Big kisses

  11. they are all gorgeous, the alternate dogwood i amazing, something i have not seen or heard of. ALL of the birds are so beautiful.. Yellow birds make me feel happy and joyful. LOVE the photo of the two of you with the Old Guy In the Tree Trunk...

  12. Buen comienzo de entrada, con esa bienvenida de la primera ave. Muy buena serie fotográfica.
    Un abrazo

  13. Wonderful pictures as always. I particularly like the one of the Brown Thrasher, a personal favorite of mine, and I join the chorus of approval for your new header. Great picture!

  14. Have immensely enjoyed meandering with you on your walks to see the beauty of flora and fauna in your area. The Tree Swallow in tree is a beautiful photo;.

    1. That picture is my personal favourite out of this batch, Yvonne.

  15. I hear you on the getting old and a little (quite a lot) flaky front.
    Thank you both so much for these meanders. Solace and heart balm.
    Add me to those who love your new header too.

  16. I was trying to describe how I felt when I went into a sunflower field this week...surrounded by so much beauty. Those of us that love nature understand about these strong feelings. Many people just 'don't get it'! I love the colorful birds and interesting trees. And I always loved Trillium in the woods of NC when we lived there. You have a really nice banner photo too!

  17. I do like the new header photograph of you and Miriam.

    What a wonderful meander and such lovely photographs.
    Beautiful Monday night blog reading and viewing, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  18. You have both certainly excelled here - great header, exquisite birds, I have Trillium envy - they don't like my soil, fungi, and turtles too.

  19. I always like seeing trilliums.

  20. It's always interesting seeing things that are different to things one encounters in one's daily life but I was struck today more than usual by the fact that there was only one item of flora and fauna that I could identity as having seen here ie the House Sparrow.

  21. Incredible photos! Many of the birds are not seen here in Western Canada (as far as I know), but a few are familiar to me. I have a pair of mourning doves living somewhere nearby as they have visited my backyard.
    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Beautiful tell a story through the pictures!........Abrazotes, Marcela

  23. A scarlet tanager is a fine close to this look at birds. I must tell you, I've never liked grackles. They are too iridescently gaudy. The tanager has put on a fine red coat. The grackle's coat bears no comparison.

    1. I am a little shocked, Joanne. Sounds like avian racism to me. Take out the word "grackles" and substitute "blacks", "jews", "gays" etc and you will see how quickly you have dismissed an entire group.

  24. The blossoms are so cheerful. I can imagine their beauty as the birds sing around you. It couldn’t be more perfect? And turtles…

  25. Another fine set of photographs of birds and plants, most unfamiliar to me, a few very familiar but no less welcome. Your comment above about Grackles reminds me that in England it's an old name for the Starling. In Devon and Cornwall the word "grackle" or "grockle" is used as a derogatory term for tourists - they arrive in large numbers, make a lot of noise and mess and then disappear again!

  26. This is the best place to learn about birds and nature.

  27. The header photos if just the best with the two of you under that sign :)
    The birds are beautiful and a delight to see...thanks for sharing.

  28. Hello David,
    What a beautiful header photo you have for your blog.
    I like the Myrtle Warbler and the Starling.
    Every day starlings come here to get food on my balcony and that is to feed the young they have now.
    The swallow is also very beautiful.
    Greetings Irma

  29. Beautiful variety of birds and flowers. I love the Trillium and the Warbling Vireo is a favorite. Take care, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

  30. Très jolie photo sur la bannière!
    Tous ces oiseaux sont si beaux! Les reflets du quiscale sont incroyables!
    Et j'aime aussi beaucoup toutes les jolies fleurs. Bonne journée

  31. I have, as always, much enjoyed this latest post from you, David, wonderfully enhanced by Miriam's photography. I feel that I should make special mention of the excellence of the shot of the Common Grackle, the first shot of the Tree Swallow, and that of the Dryad's Saddle. The composition of the Tree Swallow shot is absolute perfection.

    With my very best wishes to you both - - - Richard

    1. Coming from you, Richard, that is high praise indeed. She will be glowing all day.

  32. Como siempre un maravilloso reportaje. Las aves que tenéis por ahí son preciosas, como lo es la fotografía del encabezado, los dos se os ve muy guapos y felices. Abrazos para los dos.

  33. Turtles enjoy the sun. Cover photo - precious!

  34. You have lovely meanders! Your new header is just delightful, as well!

  35. Hello David, :=)
    So so sorry I am late commenting, but it is always a great pleasure to visit. Firstly your Header photo of you and Miriam is lovely. I hadn't realised that the carving was that of an old man until Sandra mentioned it, and I went back to see.I was just concentrating on how happy you both look, just lovely to see. The iridescence of the Common Grackle is very special and also the Common Starling, both excellent examples of Miriam's fine photography. Beautiful captures of the Tree Swallows,.Eastern Bluebird and Scarlet Tanger. The woodland carpet of Forget-me-nots and Trilliums are gorgeous. I had no idea of the existence of a red Trillium, as I have only seen white and lilac/pink Thank you David, and Miriam. for making a delightful post, which I have enjoyed immensely.
    All, the best to you both,
    Hugs and kisses

  36. Hi David.

    Nice picture of you with that big tree stump.
    Beautiful Blue Jay
    Beautiful Birds and Flowers
    I think the Bruinen Thrasher is a beautiful bird
    Beautiful series.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  37. Thanks for the photos of beautiful birds and flowers.
    In this season the cities around here are full of common starlings, many people don't like them but I love to see this kind of birds flying over the trees.
    It's important to put boxes under the roofs, here I put boxes for the bats.

  38. new header picture! always enjoy the photos of the birds and such a wonderful variety but I especially liked the pictures of the flowers and the shagbark hickory.

  39. What a superlative collection of photos! I enjoyed looking through them all, and especially love the photo of you both in the header :)

  40. Loving the trillium, bluebird and wild mushroom. I've never seen a morel in person. Keep cool out there!

  41. I too love the new header. Your photos allow me to see birds I'm unable to spot on my own. Scarlet tanager was a stunner!

  42. Your photos are beautiful and I feel lucky that you took me along on your several woodland walks. Birds that were common once here have also been replaced by others (or just disappeared) and we always wonder if climate change is inspiring more southern birds to explore habitats that they couldn’t previously adapt to. Or if it’s other changes in the seemingly natural (but not really) environment.
    best, mae at

  43. I am so fond of trilliums and miss their spring emergence. You captured so many! and your walks and the bird spotting are amazing in their success and capture of these marvelous creatures. Is your header new? It's lovely!

    1. Yes the header is new. I might leave it there for a while!

  44. Hi David,
    Wow, beautiful flowers en flower carpets I love the Trillium! Stunning birds are now in your area. And chapeau for Miriam everything is so beautifully captured.
    By the way I have send you an other email. about the Sand Martin Wall.
    Best regards,

  45. Great nature photos and I love your header picture. The text about the old tree returning to the soil made me smile, because I have seen signs about that very thing on so many nature walks.

  46. Hello David,
    beautiful head picture of you two.. the post is very extensive, everything from flora and fauna to it is well documented.. so it's fun to look at
    Greetings Frank

  47. Uwielbiam oglądać zdjęcia kwiatów w naturze. te które pokazałeś dla mnie są nieco egzotyczne :-) Zdarza się, że uprawiamy je w ogrodach jako ciekawostki.
    Dziękuję za kolejną relację ze świata ptaków. Scarlet Tanagers ma niesamowita barwę, Eastern Bluebirds zresztą też. ;-)

  48. Love your new header.
    You and Miriam make a beautiful couple.

  49. David!
    I love the header photo! Excellent!!!!
    You showed a lot of natural beauties in one post.
    I always read your posts on my phone, but I can't comment.
    I'm catching up on commenting now.
    Hugs and greetings :)

  50. You have such an abundance of beautiful birds in your area. I can fully understand why you love to be out there and watch and listen to them. The Trillium is a beautiful flower, how delightful that it is the flower of Ontario. I like the pink one as well.
    I have to compliment you on your new header. What a lovely picture of you and Miriam!

  51. The header photo of your blog is fantastic!
    Nature always has so much to offer us, from vegetation to the animal kingdom.
    Thank you for all these extraordinary photos, it would be impossible to choose one photo in particular, as they all brightened my eyes and colored my day.


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We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.