Saturday, June 03, 2023

News from Home and a Couple of Walks

 At home, Waterloo, ON
10 May, 2023

     A House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) was singing incessantly in our backyard and we hoped that he would check out the fine selection of nest boxes available for him; clearly they did not meet his expectations, however.

     I have heard him singing a couple of times since, but the accommodation remains unoccupied. Maybe next year.....

27 May, 2023

     Without a doubt, American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is the most common visitor to our yard, often two individuals together and sometimes three.

     In years past they have nested in our bushes, but there is no sign of such activity this year.

28 May, 2023

     Last year several pupae of Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes) we raised indoors entered diapause and overwintered in our garage. 
     Today, the first butterfly emerged, much to our delight - such a gorgeous insect.

    And there are more to come. Three more to be exact.

     You cannot imagine our happiness!
     On the same day, we were greeted at the front door by a Masked Hunter (Reduvius personatus), dust clinging to the viscous hairs on its body - very welcome, but hardly in the same class as the swallowtail!

21 May, 2023
Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON

     A female Ring-necked Duck (Aytha collaris) seems to have been left behind as her congeners have moved out of this area.

     Perhaps she'll move north and find love!
     Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) is a lovely plant, especially at this time of year.

     This spring, Miriam and I were initially hard-pressed to find a Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), but once we located our first one they seemed to pop up everywhere.

     A Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) played hide and seek with us, with emphasis on hide!

     Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are rarely so obstructionist.

     Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum) is both common and endearing.

     Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is generally the first warbler to arrive in the spring and and lingers long after other species have departed in the fall.

     Hairy Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus), on the other hand, is a year-round resident.

22 May, 2023
RIM Park, Waterloo, ON

     It would be a rare occasion when we don't spot a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) stealthily stalking its prey.

     It is a patient and skillful hunter with an eclectic diet. It will take anything it can subdue and swallow. And what it can swallow has the capacity to make you gasp with astonishment!
     Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is the commonest shorebird in our area and even non-birders become familiar with its call.

     This Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has young to feed and is carrying fresh protein back to the nest.

     Here is an epic demonstration of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) doing what Canada Geese do so well, much to the chagrin of pedestrians and golfers.

     Grey Catbird is a proficient mimic of the songs of many other bird species and and most birders have been fooled by them at one time or another.

     A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a very striking bird.

      American Redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) sang almost constantly as we walked along the trails, and every so often a beautiful male would pause long enough for a picture.

     American Yellow Warblers (Setophaga aestiva) were no less prolific.

     Wild Geraniums (Geranium maculatum) are delicate and beautiful, yet hardy, and are a captivating component of the woodland.

     Northern Azures (Celastrina lucia) flit from plant to plant, and once in a while even land permitting a picture to be taken. Better not waste too much time though!

     A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, seen here gathering nesting material, is subdued in colouration, as befits her extended tour of duty on the nest to incubate her eggs.  Muted hues assist in camouflaging her from would-be predators.

     We observed this individual for several minutes, watching her return to a dense bush, the apparent site of the nest. The male, was never far away, and copulated with the female to cement the pair bond, while she did all the work gathering dried grass and building the nest.

     The division of labour in nature is not always fair by anthropogenic standards, but the male will perform yeoman duty when the eggs hatch and he delivers food to the female and the newly emerged young.
     There are other walks to report on, but I'll leave that for another time. Until then be sure to enjoy nature and take good care of it. We have done a very poor job so far.

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. There is always something new and exciting to see and appreciate every single day. We just have to pay attention...
    Have a very enjoyable weekend.

  2. That last image is so true! Unfortunately. You have shown lots of wondrous birds again, and your butterflies are fantastic, well done. But that dusty creepy-crawly was rather scary for me! My fave today is the American redstart, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing, dear David, big hugs, Valerie xxxxx

  3. ...these are fabulous images. Canada geese make me glad that cows don't fly! Humans can be messer and geese.

  4. You have so much variety in the birds, David. It is wonderful that you are hatching butterflies, and they are so pretty. The birds are all so beautiful, but my biggest favorite is the Blue Jay. I could see new pictures of it all the time. Hugs and kisses, Marit

  5. I linger on each photo. The last set--so sad but true.

    1. And we show no inclination to change our ways.

  6. Hari OM
    Another joyous round up on your neighbours and guests! I have to say I got a lovely surprise on my return to the Hutch, when I heard a woodpecker pecking somewhere up the hill from here; first time ever hearing that in these parts! YAM xx

  7. Your photos are very enjoyable. We do have a nesting robin in a bush near our (narrow) driveway. The bird complains loudly when we get in or out of the car. HIS territory!
    best, mae at

  8. It must be exciting to see the Swallowtails emerge and take flight, something like watching a child take her first steps! That dusty spider needs a bath but I imagine it doesn’t care. That could be a scary sight if it was larger. Not so the birds! Beauties all. Nesting is underway here too and the birds are less visible with the leaves out as well.

    Great post!

  9. Walking with you is always a pleasure ... I see so much, I learn so much and I enjoy everything but the human mess. It is so shameful and we are supposed to be the intelligent ones, Ha! Be well, my friend ...
    Andrea @ From the Sol

  10. The photos of the various birds are lovely, and I appreciate you naming them for us. Some I've seen locally, others are new to me. I believe I have a wren visiting my bird house, though I'm not certain it has a mate nearby.
    The photo of the geese and their droppings made me chuckle. The last series didn't. We truly are an irresponsible series.

  11. Hello David,
    Wonderful photos from your garden and your outings. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a favorite, they are beautiful birds. Great captures of the Butterfly and the Sumac is pretty. I am not sure if we see that plant here. Have a great weekend and happy birding.

  12. Las aves que vemos por aquí son las más comunes. Por eso venir a verte es un lujo amigo, por la cantidad de ellas que nos descubres. De la serie de hoy me quedo con el Arendajo azul y la Reinita Amarilla.
    Gracias David por estar🤗
    Buen fin de semana para vosotros.
    Un abrazo.

  13. I love seeing the animal and bird tracks here. We are fortunate in this area to see very little...or no trash on the trails. Love seeing the colorful birds.

  14. Wonderful bird pictures, many of them of birds who may have passed through my yard weeks ago. It's good to see they made it home for the summer! As for that last picture, what can one say? It brought tears to my eyes.

  15. Your new header is bright and fabulous! The last picture tells a very clear story about humankind that is for sure.

  16. this year I have seen 3 robins like this one, first one ever for me. our commond every day are the Ibis, jays, cardinals, and now the owls. the male cardinal sometimes is beyond the word incessant, he sounds like someone whisling for their dog to come home. I wish we had yellow birds, they are my favorite. we have teeny little twittering birds, not sure what they are.

  17. As an avid ditch diver, I don't think 'we' are responsible. So many are working hard to tidy our world, and do better. You are so discouraging!
    We've catbirds, as well, and a grosbeak.

    1. I am not sure what a ditch diver does, but in the assumption that you clean up trash, it is sad that you need to do so. As for being discouraging, the facts speak for themselves. Mothers are now feeding their babies microplastics in breast milk, and if that's not discouraging I am not sure what is.

  18. I'm always amazed at the sheer number of images of birds and insects you manage to publish every time you post. Another fine selection here once again. I did consider making a trip to the Tring Museum while out that way, but time was against us.

  19. Parece que el nido que le ha gustado, no le ha gustado al visitante. Prueba a ponerle aloimentos cerca, a ver si poco a poco se acosntumbra a ese lugar.
    Un abrazo

  20. The first butterfly has a very successful coloring.

  21. What beautiful photos of the wildlife you captured. the last image is very sad. As my wife says, "humans ruin everything" and I have to agree. Thanks for sharing this lovley post, David

  22. Devant chez moi il y'a la voie verte, et les gens jettent leurs mégots de cigarettes, bouteilles, mouchoirs, emballage de gâteaux. J'ai vu qu'aux actualités ils reparlaient des tonnes de déchets abandonnés sur les plus hauts sommets de montagne. C'est une honte, gravir les montagnes, s'y prendre en photo, être fier de son exploit et y laisser tous ces déchets sous prétexte de s'alléger pour re descendre. Ces gens me dégoutent.
    Heureusement il y'a de si jolis oiseaux à observer, les geais bleus sont tellement beaux et j'aime aussi vos papillons.
    Bonne soirée

  23. I so enjoyed seeing your all of your wonderful photographs except the last one!!!
    This is so sad to see and there are no signs of improvement!

    On a positive note I do like your header picture :)

    All the best Jan

  24. Your shot of the Jay is my favourite.

  25. Humans could take examples from nature, but rarely do and you know this even better than most people, David. The Canada Goose present similar issues on the river walk here, and that gives one the opportunity to practice one's agility in dodging them. And, I can imagine your happiness (and Miriam's too) at seeing the Black Swallowtail emerge. One year, we raised Eastern Yellow Swallowtails.

  26. Oooh. And ahhh. Thank you and Miriam. So very much.

  27. Siempre soy feliz viendo tus reportajes. Un abrazo.

  28. There's always something of interest on your blog David, well done, it gives old men like me something to enjoy. Take care, Mike.

  29. Lots of birds and a few butterflies and other creatures.

  30. Lots of birds and a few butterflies and other creatures.

  31. Lovely creatures one and all. Coming back from the shop earlier today, I spotted an extended family of wood ducks just down around the corner from where I live....there would have been far more than a dozen of them. They certainly helped brighten up my morning. :)

  32. Excellent photos! You have such beautiful birds like blue jays, and butterflies to observe.

  33. Loved every picture here..amazing David

  34. What a wonderful series of photos these are David.
    I really like the Black Swallowtails, we do not see this butterfly in nature, but in a butterfly garden, which is a special greenhouse with high temperatures, where they breed butterflies.
    The Lakeside Park is really a very beautiful piece of nature.
    The blue jays and the rose-breasted cardinal are also species that do not occur with us, I think they are beautiful.
    Humans are the worst polluter on earth.
    Greetings Irma

  35. Humans do make such a mess, often wonder what their houses are link inside.
    The birds are wonderful along with the scenes of the lake and the flowers.
    Butterflies are beautiful and delicate, don't often see any down this way.
    The Blue Jay is a lovely colour and birds are fussy with their nests are you know.
    I have watched birds in a video, slow motion building a nest, just amazing.

  36. Excellent photos of your walks David. Beautiful photo of you and Miriam. Have a nice sunday.

  37. Beautiful birds and insects ! So different that we have here...
    Pictures, perfect !
    Last mosaic, sadly it's what we have now...most of human have no conscience...
    Have a nice week David !

  38. Love the new header of you and Miriam, so nice to see you both together. Some great photos here, and of course many of these birds I have only got to know through your blog of which I thank you very much. Keep well both of you, Diane

  39. Sadly, your last vignette is so very true..
    I have two birdhouses that the Wrens occupied for the last three years..This year they passed them by..I miss their chatter although I am pretty sure that I just heard one..This year has been a year of Blue Jays and Starlings..I prefer the Wrens..
    Love the Swallowtails..We have residents here who "breed" Monarchs..Lots of Milkweed here.
    I used to live along wetlands..Lots of Great Blue Herons..I remember watching one in my backyard swallow a vole...Ouch
    Have a wonderful week..

  40. Your Black Swallowtail is really beautiful - we have a yellow one but sadly I have rarely seen one since I was a child. Unfortunately we too have plenty of humans who behave like yours.

  41. I see forest geraniums for the first time. They are extremely cute. I admire the variety of birds and beautiful nature.
    Have a nice week.

  42. Cute birds and beautiful butterfly. Interesting footprints or trails left behind by dogs, crabs and birds. Oh no! So ashamed of the rubbish left behind the humans. Everywhere it is the same except maybe in Singapore where the authority is very strict about it.

    1. Singapore is impressively clean, and the whole city is so well run too.

  43. The last photo makes me sad and angry, and I don't see how this will ever stop with all the plastic that is sold when buying groceries and people still buying coffee drinks in one-way containers and water in plastic bottles. And and and.
    The birds, insects and plants are so much nicer to look at. Is the Grey Catbird similar to the Northern Mockingbird when it comes to mimicking other birds' songs? I once thought we have California Quail in our backyard when I realized it was the Northern Mockingbird! Yes, he was indeed mocking us. Recently though, there WAS a pair of California Quail not in our backyard but on the roof of our house. They stayed there for a while before they eventually moved on. Some very happy twenty minutes for me.

    1. Grey Catbird is a member of the same family as Northern Mockingbird- Mimidae - and is a very efficient mimic. Not quite as prolific as Northern Mockingbird, but very close. I have been fooled by both of them.

  44. David, es una maravilla ver cada una de las fotos de Miriam, las veo con atención y no paro de repetirte que tienes suerte de vivir en un lugar desde donde puedes observar todos esos pájaros, patos e insectos.
    La última foto me entristece mucho, ya lo hemos comentado en otras ocasiones. Algunos hacemos lo que podemos y vamos a recoger esa basura en montes y playas, mi marido practica paddle surf y con sus compañeros no descansar de recoger plásticos que encuentran en el agua.
    Mil besos.

  45. Hi David.

    It continues to enjoy all the beautiful things you show..

    Greetings from Patricia.

  46. Interesting post with many beautiful photos. As I wrote I like the Canadian Geese I remember when they invaded the sidewalks near the Bolsena Lake. They were friendly and not scared. But, I don't know why, after many years they dissapeared.

  47. My house wren is still in residence. Tried to get a photo of her peeking out yesterday but she was too cagey for me. I've not seen sign of babies and can't see within the house so we'll see. But oh, I love their trilling song! I'm sorry yours moved on.

  48. Through your photos I also walk through nature and I am always delighted with all the beauty you find. How spectacular is the
    American Redstarts.
    Thank you for always sharing amazing photos.
    We need to change our attitudes, because it is so sad to see that man is leaving a footprint of destruction.

  49. Oh wow what a wonderful collection of photos.

  50. Hi David.
    There are some beautiful species in your yard. The wren is really very pretty. All warblers are endearing, you know. Especially to Europeans.
    The site you visited is beautiful.
    Gros bisous et bonne journée


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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.