Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spotted sandpiper

Its spotted and its a sandpiper so go figure... its called a Spotted Sandpiper.  The most easily recognized and the easiest sandpiper to identify.  I saw it at the Peterson's rocks  ( for those of you familiar with my area.  I see them there ever year.  Not in numbers but only one

is needed for the photo capture.  If you don't see it at first you might be alerted to  its presence by its peep peep sound. This is a delightful little waterbird  to watch and it walks with a bit of a bobbing fashion. It apparently likes rocky shores.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An American Bittern

It had been quite a while since I had seen a Bittern but this morning I didn't immediately recognize it.  It seemed to be a large bird crouched over when walking which I thought as strange.  Then it stood up tall and I thought ah ha! A Great Blue Heron but I did notice the obvious striping at its neck and as soon as I got home I looked in my Sibley's guide to birds and it was then that I saw a picture of an American Bittern and I immediately knew that I had seen a Bittern and the crouching and hunching that I had seen fit right in with the appearance of the bird I had seen and it wasn't a Heron as I had originally thought!

Look carefully and you will find the Bittern crouching in the grass.
                      Look at the handsome striping at this big bird's neck!
                               And you might have noticed that this Bittern    appears  to have a snootsy attitude with its nose ( beak ) stuck up in the air.  Yes, you were right as that is one of the characteristics of this handsome bird!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Painted Turtle for Saturday Critters

While driving along the Branch Road yesterday afternoon we saw a Painted Turtle crossing the road.  It was my first turtle sighting this spring.  Usually I spy turtles resting along pond- side shores or on half submerged logs or in mounds of grasses, however we have had very high waters this spring and many possible resting places have been obscured or covered with high waters.

This turtle we saw yesterday had had enough of too much water and headed out for higher ground.
  When I saw it I immediately got out of our track so that I could get a closeup of it.
Before I could cross the road to follow the turtle I heard a vehicle approaching and I had grave concerns for the turtle's safety.  These  crossings are hazards for these slow moving domed creatures. 

The vehicle passed  and I crossed the road to look down on the turtle and I got a glimpse of its yellow shell underneath and saw the red markings edging its upper shell.
This turtle was quite small but had done well to survive as long as it had.
From the crushed rock under the turtle you can see that it had left the paved area and was now free to continue on its journey.
Painted turtles are very colourful with their red and yellow markings.  the one I had seen yesterday did not allow for much of its markings to show so I shall include a picture from my archives to show more of its identifying markings.  I love the artistry of Painted Turtles and think they are well named!
I am linking today with Eileen's Saturday Critters which can be found at:
Have a wonderful day everyone and if you are in Canada enjoy the long weekend.
I usually go for a drive every morning hoping to find some treasure of nature and today I found two painted turtles resting upon a mound which has reappeared in a favourite pond due to shrinking flood waters. Look at the center of the picture below to see the sun basking turtles.
 I have cropped the picture above to better show the two turtles on the mound.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cliff Swallows Gathering Mud for Nest Building

On May 17th, 2017, I chanced upon a group of Cliff Swallows gathering mud for nest building .I had encountered the same species and same activity the previous year on May 21st. so I immediately knew what they were about and their purpose.

Above a Cliff Swallow with a beak full of mud.
There were several large puddles by the road side and that is where the Swallows were gathering the mud from.  The swallows would use their open beaks to collect the mud to carry to their nest building location to dab it onto their nest.
The Swallows would use their beak to gather  a large dab of mud.
Their industry was constant as they applied themselves to the mud gathering task.There were many swallows and the activity reminded me  of a barn building bee that I had heard of or  had  read stories of such community building projects in the long ago. Every body was helping  in this group of swallows that I had observed,

everybody(bird)was busy!
is a solitary cliff swallow standing alone. Its amazing that with so much activity I was able to capture this solitary inactive pose 
I was only able to see one swallow nest almost completed. there was a swallow just emerging from the nest under construction.

The outline behind the new nest shows the outline of a previous structure there as it was last year.The old nest had obviously been removed from the house, hopefully not until the baby swallows had fledged. I assume from the amount of activity taking place that there were many other nests being built yesterday.
 I was enjoying myself with a ring side seat while sitting in my car with the window rolled down using my 300 mm lens to try to capture  much of the activity.  Some of the following pictures may help you get an idea of the beauty of what I was experiencing!  These swallows were such beautiful birds!

 I hope you have enjoyed the viewing as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with  you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Northern Shovelor Pair

I recall the first time I had seen a Northern Shovelor!  I was fascinated with its Shovel- like bill and the handsome colours of the male with the large russet coloured patch on his body and the blue shoulder patch and its green speculum and its orange legs and its dark green head.

I found a pair of Shovelors fairly near by a few days ago and I have been checking each day to see if they are still  in the same location and they are!  The female's patterning follows very much the same routine of many female species.  Compared to the male of their species they take a back seat to beauty as can be seen in the photo below.  The female is not outstanding in the eye- catching department, however she also has the fascinating jumble  sized bill.
The Shovelor is a dabbling duck and it uses its oversize bill to filter vegetation and food substances through the comb like edges of its shovel bill.  When reading about Shovelors in Sibley's guide to Birds, he had written that "Shovelors do not dip for their food.
This information confused me somewhat as I had taken several pictures of these Shovelors dipping and I had thought that they were searching for food at the bottom of the water inlet that I had found them in!
However with further research I found mention of Shovelor's dipping as a characteristic of their mating rituals!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if they nested at that location and I got to see Baby shovelors in the near future!  It is a treasure to know of these interesting locations and possibilities.  I shall keep tabs on thse two over the coming days!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ring- necked Ducks for Saturday Critters

I don't see Ring-necked Ducks often and when I do its only in the spring.  When I do see a group of these ducks they have a tendency to disappear all at once as they dive under water often when in a pond op lake , but these two(pair) that I saw the other did not but just stayed in view the entire time! There was a reason for that as the water they are on was a flloded area of a very large field which did not afford them a diving possibility due to lack of depth..  We have experienced so much rain recently that it must be so confusing to all ducks deciding to use the waters.
  I am connecting today with Eileen at : Thank you to Eileen for hosting!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. today is yard sale Saturday and our neighbours are hosting one just across the street.  Who knows what obscure treasure awaits?