Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bohemian Waxwings

Upon crossing a bridge on my way home this afternoon, I spied a small flock of birds in a tree above the river, and so I circled back to try to get a picture of them. Their curosity about me was not as keen as mine was of them, and they left as soon as I started taking some pictures.

Their profile identified them as Waxwings but I was not sure if they were Bohemians or Cedars.
Only later, after down- loading, and doing some cropping and editing, was I able to see the rufous coloured undertail and yellow-tipped wings that are character -istic of Bohemian Waxwings. I'm hoping that they show up in my yard tomorrow as we still have some berries left on a few vines that they might find appetizing.
For a previous posting on Bohemian Waxwings:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Northern Cardinal

This handsome,
male, Northern
Cardinal has
been a visitor
in our feeder
area for
most of the

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Blue Jay Without Tail Feathers

It took me a few seconds or so to realize what was different about this Blue Jay, then I saw it; or rather I didn't see it, for its long tail feathers were missing! It must have had some sort of scary encounter to cause it to be without them. I had noticed it yesterday amongst the feeders and then had forgotten about it. But when seeing it was still here today I thought I would take a few pictures of it. Above; the photos show a comparison between a jay with a tail and the one without. Blue Jays are magnificent looking with their blue, white and black patterning and their presence is a constant source of beauty around our trees during the winter season. This morning we have 5 or 6 about on this snowy day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sharp-shinned Hawk

This Sharp- shinned Hawk appeared at our feeders twice yesterday. Both times it stayed for quite a while and seemed to be in no hurry to leave, then suddenly; it would give chase to a small bird nearby.

NOTE: When using the SEARCH BLOG option at the top, upper left of this page and typing the word, "Sharp-shinned" in the space provided; 4 previous posts on Sharp-shinned Hawks can be viewed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Field Full of White-tailed Deer

Driving by this winter landscape yesterday I suddenly realized that the large number of animals in this field were White-tailed Deer and I backed up my car so as to get a better view. A very beautiful scene. There were 16 in all. Thirteen can be counted in the picture and three more are out of the frame to the left. I checked on the same area later on today and found 17 deer feeding at the same location.

NOTE: When using the SEARCH BLOG option at the top, upper left of this page and typing the word, "deer" in the space provided; 18 previous posts on White-tailed Deer can be viewed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Very 'Red' Redpoll

We have a lot of Common Redpolls visiting our feeder area each day. Now and then I see one that stands out from all of the others because of a difference in its appearance. This male Common Redpoll, which I saw this morning, was noticably outstanding as it appeared to have an excessive amount of red on its breast and feathers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Picture of an Eagle: Leaving

Sometimes you see what you think might have been the perfect picture! Like the American Eagle I saw this afternoon standing in an open, snowy field: wow! I had just driven over a rise when I saw the Eagle in the field, but the noise of my car slowing and stopping alerted it to possible danger and it immediately flew off across the road and over the tree tops beyond. These are the only two pictures I was able to get. Hoping that I might get another glimpse I scanned all the trees on the other side of the river, which was adjacent to the road, and then drove on, before returning to the area again. I then parked my car and waited for a half an hour or so in hopes that it might return; but no luck!
In the middle of the landscape above you can see a slight, darker, area in the snow. That is where the Eagle had been when I first saw it.

NOTE: When using the SEARCH BLOG option at the top, upper left of this page and typing the word, "eagle" in the space provided; 8 previous posts on American Eagles can be viewed. A couple of the blogs that are included contain only the word, eagle, and not pictures.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sunshine and Freezing Temperatures!

Appear -ances can sometimes be deceiving and in this case the impression of a warm, sunny day couldn't be further from the reality of it. With an actual reading of -24 degrees C outside my window yesterday morning, and with the additional wind chill factor, some areas were experiencing temperatures of around -30 degrees C.
"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..... its COLD out here!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Black Squirrel

I don't think I've ever featured an out of province squirrel before, but here is the exception: a Black Squirrel. I saw this squirrel, (or perhaps there was more than one), while spending the past week in Montreal, Quebec. I noticed it appear daily in the back yard of the residence where we were visiting. While researching Black Squirrels I kept coming up with basically the same information. From what I have read; apparently the Black Squirrel is not a separate species from the Gray Squirrel but those that are black have a high level of melanin, black pigment, in their hair. The only other place where I have seen Black Squirrels was in Toronto, Ontario when we had once lived there for a year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

English House Sparrow

Its not often that I post a picture of an English House Sparrow as we do not have them visiting our feeder area in New Brunswick; although they are a species present in the province. However, while presently visiting in Montreal, I spied a few outside our window here this morning. To the upper left is a male English Sparrow and to the right is a female.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weather Matters

How wonderful it is; enjoying above freezing tempera -tures and spring like conditions this past week! There is still a lot of snow on the ground but we also have some areas now showing large patches of grass. The arrival of a Common Grackle on Wednesday added to the spring like illusion, and it is still here. The yellow background of the dry grass behind the Blue Jay created an opportunity to capture a photo portraying a mellow sense of warmth in the strong afternoon sun. It is a nice change to post such a colourful picture from the colourless, snow-dominated photos that I have been posting this past December.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rusty Blackbirds in Sheffield

Having decided go in search of hawks along the Saint John River in the Mauger -ville, Sheffield area, I hoped that I might get a glimpse of the Rusty Blackbirds that I had been hearing reports of having been sighted in that area too . We were lucky for we saw them! Four Rusty Blackbirds were feeding high in a tree along highway 105 near Sheffield on January 8th.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Common Grackle in January!

I wonder where this bird has been? It has obviously survived the freezing cold and heavy snowfalls of December. Perhaps our present mild, above freezing temperatures we are presently enjoying has set it on the move. I noticed it in our feeder area today around mid-afternoon. It was quite a surprise to look out and see a Common Grackle feeding there. This is not a usual January sighting for us.

Rough-legged Hawk at Sheffield

We decided to go to the Maugerville/Sheffield area yesterday in search of hawks. We found a light phase Rough-legged Hawk and as well saw: an American Eagle, 4 Rusty Blackbirds and a small flock of Snowbirds.

The Rough-legged Hawk breeds in the Arctic regions and during the winter months moves into regions of southern Canada and the U.S. At this time of year we can most often find one or more of these hawks hunting the open fields bordering the Saint John River at Sheffield. We found this hawk, in the photo above, perched in a tree overlooking hwy #105, but as our car approached slowly it left its perch and flew across an open field and landed in a tree a fair distance away.
The arrow in the photo above shows where the Rough-legged landed in a distant tree after having left its perch in the tree by the highway. The following pictures of its flight were taken from the same distance. These edited photos do not display the sharpness and details which I would have preferred, however they do show the Rough-legged's landing approach.

Other posts on Rough-legged Hawks can be found at:

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hoary Redpolls

During January, 2004, I had a confirmed Hoary Redpoll sighting at our feeders. It visited our area for a few days and I was able to take photos of it perched on a feeder beside a Common Redpoll. Its white, unstreaked breast, smaller beak, white, unstreaked rump, and unstreaked under tail all said, "Hoary Redpoll"; as well as its overall lighter appearance compared to the other Redpolls there. The first three pictures posted above are of a confirmed Hoary Redpoll sighting in 2004.

Since that sighting I sometimes will notice one particular Redpoll that stands out among all the others being much lighter in colour, and I start to wonder if it might be a Hoary Redpoll.
Such a sighting occurred on December 29th. On that particular snowy day I thought I saw an American Goldfinch at our nyger seed feeder. The bird appeared yellowish-white in colour and was much lighter compared to the other birds there. However, I knew it wasn't a Goldfinch when I saw the red patch on its crown.
In November of this fall/winter season my first sighting of Redpolls included two; one very light in colour and one much darker. Look carefully in the photo above and you will find both Redpolls. Notice the distinct differences in their colouring.
We have a lot of Redpolls at our feeders these winter days and it is always interesting to watch and study the flock; and wonder if there might be a Hoary Redpoll among them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Portrait of a Northern Shrike

The dark mask of this Northern Shrike does not seem to be as fully developed as you would see on an adult Norther Shrike. Also the scaled, brownish breast suggests a first winter shrike of this species. This predator, which feeds on small birds, showed up in our feeder area this week but was not successful in its hunt.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sharp-shinned Hawk

When I first saw it, it was perched in our Silver Maple and the rest of the feeder area was totally empty of other birds. By its size and the narrow white edging on its tail feathers, as well as its square tail, rather than the slight rounded curve of a Cooper's, we identified it as a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk. The second time it arrived; it swooped in fast, and just as fast a flight of little birds erupted flying in the opposite direction. It didn't give chase but it did pounce on something on the ground nearby; although I wonder if it was just practicing pouncing for there was no sign of any prey there.