Wednesday, October 31, 2007

female Northern Cardinal

Its always a special treat to see a Northern Cardinal in our feeder area as we don't have that experience too often. This morning I caught a glimpse of a Cardinal silhouette in our Cranberry Tree and this afternoon it really made its presence known by staying around and feeding in our feeder area for a while. Hopefully it will become a regular visitor.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pine Grosbeaks

This is the bird species that first got me started on bird- watching. On November 10, 1999 a small flock were feeding in our High Bush Cranberry trees and I thought they were magnificent birds; especially the adult males in their rich, red colouring. I had never seen Pine Grosbeaks before and since then, that first encounter, I eagerly watch for their return to our Cranberry trees each fall. Some years they don't arrive, but this year they seem to be earlier than usual. Hopefully I will have more photo opportunities in the days and weeks ahead.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

White-tailed Deer Eating Apples

I had been driving along an old, back country road when I saw a White-tailed Deer a bit further ahead. It was foraging for apples and would look up at my car in the distance and then continue eating. I approached very slowly, stopping often to take a picture, and in this manner was able to stop abreast of it. It was curious but not frightened of my presence. At one point a car sped by from the opposite direction and the deer ran away a short distance in the open field behind it but when the car dis- appeared, the deer returned and continued feeding. When I left the deer was still there, enjoying the windfall of apples it had found.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Osprey in Late October

How late in the fall do Osprey stay around? I had thought they were long gone from our area so I was really surprised this morning to see one along the river. Our river had been extremerly low over the past few months but recent rains have raised the levels a significant amount over the past couple of weeks. I had seen a white spot in a tree on the opposite bank of the river when driving by and turned to investigate it; and I'm so very glad I did. What a great photo opportunity with the fall foilage in the background and this magnificant bird flying by.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

American Robin

Thursday, October 18, 2007

male Hairy Woodpecker

Recent days it is much easier to find birds at our feeders than in the field. We have two species of wood- peckers that visit.The Hairy Woodpecker, as is shown here drops in most days, and its smaller look-alike version, the Downy Woodpecker, shows up occasionally too. The red colouring on the back of this male Hairy's head makes identification easy as the female of this species does not have any red.

Monday, October 15, 2007

male Purple Finch

Say, "Cheese".
Male and female Purple Finch have now become regular daily visitors at our feeders.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

As this is perhaps my last butterfly sighting of the year I thought it was worthy of a posting. I had been out to a nearby pond this morning but had found nothing of interest to photograph and upon returning home I decided to take a walk around our flower gardens. At the back of our side lawn I saw this Clouded Sulphur clinging to the tall grasses at its edge. At first the butterfly was difficult to see as it blended in so well with the grasses . I pulled some of the grass in front of it to get a better focus and then having put my camera on macro placed the lens almost on top of it. I assumed it was dead as it had exhibited no movement at all. I picked the blade of grass it was on and thought I would place it on our patio table so I could study it leisurely for seldom do I get such an opportunity; but as I transferred the blade of grass to my other hand the butterfly flew away.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron blended in very well with the back- ground and I had to take a second look before I had really seen it; then it was gone before I could get a third. I was able to take only this one photo. I have seen very few Great Blue Herons in our area this summer but last year there were many.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hermit Thrush

Walking through the hushed autumn morning with soft sounds underfoot, the bird rose silently and perched in a tree a little distance from me: while its reddish tail and complete white eye ring shouted, Hermit Thrush. I have only seen this species maybe twice before and at all times it within the same locale.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sparrow Visitors at Our Feeders Today

White-throated Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow
Waiting for: Tree Sparrow and Fox Sparrow

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

White-breasted Nuthatch

Its been quite a while now since I have seen a White-breasted Nuthatch in our bird feeder area. A first glance yesterday though told me we had a Nuthatch visitor when I noticed it feeding upside down on the peanut feeder. When I had first seen White-breasted Nuthatches several years ago, before I was a birder, I had assumed it was just a different looking Black-capped Chickadee. And I know others have made the same error too, for once when I had sent a picture of a White-breasted Nuthatch to a nonbirder friend; his response was that I had only sent him a picture of a Chickadee. No mistaking this species now though, no black on its throat or chin to be found anywhere, though both species wear a black cap.

Monday, October 08, 2007

White-tailed Deer

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been frequent -ing our yard for the past while now. To the left he is feeding on our High Bush Cranberry and below is seen on the trunk of one of our Tamarack Trees.

Friday, October 05, 2007

juvenile Hooded Mergansers

These two juvenile Hooded Mergansers, sighted on October 1st, were seen in a pond where I have often seen adults of this species earlier this spring and summer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

American Bittern

Driving along hwy #105 in the Maugerville - Sheffield area we were hoping to see a few ducks or hawks, for bordering the highway on one side is the Saint John River and on the other are large open fields bordered by tall trees in the background. Having very little luck, other than sighting a small flock of Canada Geese and a few Mallards, we pulled over onto the shoulder to study the distant trees hoping for a hawk sighting. It was a fortunate choice for stopping as right there, very close to us in the open field, was an American Bittern.

Of course the Bittern saw us also and striking what appeared to be a rather nonchalant pose, it slowly strolled a short distance away before taking off in flight.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First Winter White-crowned Sparrow

Being not used to seeing White-crowned Sparrows in the wild , but rather in my feeder area, I at first was a bit mystified as to what species this little sparrow was. The orange-pink bill though was the determining clue when I checked my bird guidebooks and it led me right to White-crowned Sparrows. Below is a juvenile White-crowned that was in our feeder area this morning.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Baby Snapping Turtles

Subject: Twenty Baby Snapping Turtles Hatched: Oct. 01, 2000

Although this hatching of baby Snapping Turtles was on the same calendar day as today, October 1st; the year was 2000. We usually see Snapping Turtles laying eggs each year in June however we have only been fortunate enough to see the actually hatching of the baby turtles on three different occasions.

"It looks like you got there at just the right time. Gritty looking bunch, aren't they?"

Those comments which I had received from my son, after having sent him some of the pictures which I had taken while watching 20 baby Snapping Turtles emerging from their nest, reflected my thoughts also; for after having watched the nest site since the laying of the eggs on June 27, 2000; I began to think that perhaps we had missed the hatching. However on October 1, 2000, I arrived at the nest site at exactly the right moment to see a baby Snapping
Turtle emerge.
The patterned details of the shell could be detected, and its distinctive serrated edge was easily observed. The baby turtles all turned in the same direction after emerging and immediately made their way through the grassy edge of the steep embankment and then downhill to the river.

I didn't know what to expect but I discoverd that just one hole, of about 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" in diameter, was the exit used by all of the baby turtles . The exit hole is the center dark spot in the photos above. Also I have observed over the years that the same nest location has been used over and over again.