Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mama Mallard and her Ducklings

Sometimes I am extremely fortunate to come upon a family of ducks which occurred to me yesterday!

I think that the adult duck  of this family is a Mallard and I was able to capture a picture of her with her eight ducklings! To count the young ducks look carefully beside the adult and you will see that there are four ducklings bunched together at her side  in the photo above!
Above two ducklings and the adult duck!
In this photo above I have cropped of the last straggler in the picture of Mama with eight of her babies and you can easily see the group of four at her side!

This last photo shows all the eight babies by themselves!  They are in a hurry to reach the shore as I am sitting on the roadside in my idling car slightly elevated above them .   I missed a great picture as the mother duck leading all of the eight babies to the shore. Assuming I had plenty of time ( which I didn't) I decided to put the window down in my car to get a good clear photo without shooting through the window glass, however the slight noise of the window lowering alerted the group to my pretense and they were in a hurry to scatter to safety! to the nearby shore!
These pictures were taken yesterday and I returned to the location this morning( it is a light rainy morning having had no sunshine as yet) and I was not able to find the ducklings today... Maybe tomorrow?  I do hope so!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Female Common Mergansers

  The female I am showing today was all alone on a rock in the river.  Her location would be a good spot for nesting for there was vegetation nearby and these ducks are fresh water fishing birds and there are lots of fish in this river.  The  beautiful thing about these photos is the beautiful display of the female's( hair? ) crest of reddish feathers on her head.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Eastern Bluebird

Yesterday morning I saw a small bird perched on the fence in our backyard and from experience I have learned when seeing an unknown bird to try to get its picture and try for an id of the bird.

  So shown above is the picture I took while standing inside our back porch shooting the picture through our French doors with my new 200 mm lens. I wasn't sure if my 200 lens was strong enough to capture details at such a distance, but I did want to see what species of bird it was.  I thought I had detected a red breast through my camera viewfinder and thought it maybe was a Robin.
So inside I went to download my mystery bird picture. and below is what it was!!! Wow! I was thrilled!

    It was a handsome male Eastern bluebird!!!!!!
Although this bird was not a rarity to our yard, It was an uncommon visitor as occasionally we have noted one in our backyard.  We even made and put up bluebird house one year upon seeing one around we had hoped to entice it to stay .  However it did not,
checking the archives of my blog I see that I had blogged about an Eastern  Bluebird visit on May 26, 2008
my sighting yesterday was on May 27, 2017 and the link to the  May 26,2008 page is found by clicking on  the link posted  below.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beaver for Saturday Critters

Each day I  often drive by a large beaver pond and lately on two occasions

I have seen a Beaver swimming across the pond.  Look carefully to see the beaver as it is not far out of the water but you can see it  and the water movement it is making n the water which is full of reflected colour.
And in this third and last picture  shown below the Beaver has reached its destination and dam and at this point it disappeared among the brush and twigs at the edge of its dam.
I am connecting today to Saturday Critters which is hosted by Eileen very kindly each Saturday. this meme can be found at :

Friday, May 26, 2017

American Widgeon

It has been a long time since I had seen an American Widgeon and I was confused earlier this week when I saw a pair of ducks I couldn't identify until I saw what looked like a white stripe on the top of the male's head as I was downloading and a glimmer of memory surfaced! unhuh... Widgeon and I went to my Sibley's Guide to Birds and there it was alongside the female of this species which has a beautiful warm,soft brownish colour on its breast.

In the photo above the male is standing to the right of the photo , and the white head stripe is easily seen.  the next day I was able to get a better photo of the female Widgeon.( shown below)
As I was watching the Widgeons from above standing on a highway bridge the male lifted off ( shown above)and I was able to get a couple of good photos of the male in flight. In both of these photos the white headstripe is very evident  on the male.
Have a wonderful rainy day everyone! I hope I can find something interesting on this rainy day to post for Saturday Critters tomorrow.

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 see them  along the rocky shore of the river,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?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

R is for Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Each spring I eagerly anticipate the arrival of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak!
Yesterday I caught a glimpse of my anticipation among the newly opened foliage of our bird feeder area, known to us as Bird Alley.
                                         Its breast color is an unmistakeable eye-catching stand out!!
                                               I didn't have to wait long until it found a feeder. Unfortunately it did not contain any black oiled sunflower seeds which seams to be a food favourite of its.
                                            However the finch food in this feeder seemed to satisfy its taste!

This morning I have used lots of sunflower seeds in our feeders to welcome the return of this bird today when and if it reappears!