Total Pageviews

Jun 30, 2011

Deer in Holland Marsh Swamp

I spotted this white-tailed doe in the Holland Marsh swamp this afternoon.   She was poised beautifully atop a huge clump of willow tree stumps with the sun highlighting her tan colour against the backdrop of green everywhere.   It was a terrific photo if she would just wait while I stopped the car and got out with my camera.   It wasn't to be, of course.   As soon as I stopped the car, she fell from her perch and splashed in the canal which, at that point, is filled with with slash, cuttings, and stumps from the canal widening that has been underway for some time.   She was up to her chest in water and thrashing about in debris.   Eventually she dragged herself from the canal into shallower water in the swamp.   I took a couple of photos after she had calmed herself and wondered how long it would take for her to make her way out of the 100-acre swamp and back to gentler farmscapes nearby.   Further along the canal road, I spotted several Great Blue Herons, one of which is pictured below.
                                                                                                                             Photos by BarrytheBirder
Please comment if you wish.

Jun 28, 2011

This moment in June ~ rare indeed

BarrytheBirder Photos
MKing Township - near Kettleby and SnowballM

Please comment if you wish.

Jun 27, 2011

Today's colour is yellow

50 acres of maturing mustard, south of Kettleby, Ontario
Summer goldfinches at the feeders
Yellow (but not so mellow) mailbox on Jane Street in King Township
Ozark Sundrops in our backyard garden

MM"...And the yellow god forever gazes down".MM
                                                                                               - J.Milton Hayes 1884-1940
Please comment if you wish.

Jun 23, 2011

3-year-old budding naturalist

This is my 3-year-old grandson using my magnifying glass for the first time today.   He was a little under the weather and I was babysitting him.   At top he is examining a snail on a garden path. Below he is becoming a botanist.   There was a third shot of him magnifying the end of Molly the Cat's nose but she licked the lens.   I got the shot but then lost it in the blogosphere while trying to drop it into this space.   Curses!   Oh well, Spencer enjoyed himself and you can never start them too young. 
    Please comment if you wish.                                                                                   BarrytheBirder Photos

Jun 20, 2011

Seen along the way to Ottawa

I suppose I should blog some of my pretty photos, taken along the Trans-Canada Highway, on my journeys to and from Ottawa to visit my granddaughters.   Yes, I'll get to work on that.   Please comment if you wish.

Jun 16, 2011

Each life is a legacy

All the riches in the world
and pockets full of gold
mean naught compared
to the finiteness
of one's allotted time on earth.
Better to ponder the wealth of richness
inside each person on our planet,
then the years you are given
become a legacy.

Verse and photo by BarrytheBirder
Please comment if you wish.

Jun 15, 2011

I claim this island in the name of Canada

Near Orangeville, Ontario
Photo by BarrytheBirder
Please comment if you wish.

Along the 18th Sideroad

Wild Iris
Painted Turtle lays her eggs at the side of the road
A beautifully flowered Viburnum ~ possibly a Hobblebush
Photos by BarrytheBirder
Please comment if you wish.

Jun 13, 2011

Young Goldfinches learn about feeders

The Niger seed feeders, which we keep going year-around, are getting a little crowded as the young Goldfinches are trying to figure our the protocol and etiquette of feeder feeding.   There's lots of fluttering and flapping for position, high-pitched shrieking, and panicky pleading with mom to be fed as though they were still in the nest.   Slowly but surely the intemperate offspring are getting the hang of it.   We certainly don't need to keep the feeders going in the summer, but the Goldfinches are just so darned pretty.   Please comment if you wish.

BarrytheBirder Photos

Burbling Bobolinks appear

Photos by BarrytheBirder
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
I spotted my first Bobolinks of the season in the long-grass meadows of north Richmond Hill's Corridor Park today.   There were eight of them along with other species that like this weedy habitat, like Red-winged Blackbirds (female, below left),  Kingbirds (centre) and Savannah Sparrows (right).   Some folks describe the Bobolink song as banjo-like, while I describe it as a burbling song, like an old AM radio sound as its station selector dial is quickly spun.
Please comment if you wish

Jun 12, 2011

Few homes for Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) are the most  widespread swallows in the world and there are lots of them to go around.   There are exceptions however and southern Ontario may be one of the places.   The main reason being given is loss of habitat.   As I wander the country concessions and sideroads of King Township, I'm always looking at wooden barns of the last century crumpling into themselves and eventually being replaced, oft-times, by metal or plastic barns.   Pictured below are examples of the two, from King Township.

Barn Swallows were always able to get into old wood barns and unlike most other birds, tolerated human company while they went about their business, above the heads of cows and farmers in the stables.   Modern barns, although they have windows and doors that can be opened when required, have the ability to be hermetically-sealed so that no bird can enter and call one home.   Last week, while driving around the Holland Marsh, in King Township, I stopped at a bridge which had a wooden-beam superstructure.   There were dozens of Barn Swallows swooping under the bridge and along the canal it spanned.   They were beautiful and sounded cheerful.   I suppose the future will demand that we be thankful for the Barn Swallows we do find.   Please comment if you wish.
BtheB                                                                                                         Barn photos by BarrytheBirder

Egg-laying time for turtles

MMMCommon Snapping TurtleMMM
Cheldra serpentina
I felt obliged to move this Snapping Turtle to the edge of the road on KingTownship's 18th Sideroad,  for fear that it might be run over in the approaching twilight.   I believed it to be a female as there was fresh evidence of a recent nest-digging on the opposite side of the road.   I moved her to the side she was pointed towards.   She seemed to be stalled, maybe tired from the egg-laying process.   She certainly roused herself when I touched her and was ready to take a chunk out of me, given the chance.   The word serpentina in this turtle's Latin name refers to its abililty to move its head quickly about, like a snake, which one discovers if one tries to pick up a Snapping Turtle.  This lady 'snapper' was about 25 cm.   They will go to great lengths to find sandy soil for their egg-laying and the shoulders of gravel roads, while hazardous, are often chosen.   Please comment if you wish.

Jun 10, 2011

Oak Ridges scenes

There were Cedar Waxwings gleaning in the Creek Willows, Mallards showing off their orange feet, a Kingbird parking itself on a 'No Parking' sign, a fisherman pondering his luck, and a curious chipmunk.   And there was time to explore the ancient foundations of the Bond Lake Hotel which was built in1834 and featured 20 rooms, a grand ballroom and other buildings.   Bond Lake itself was once described by an admirer from another century as: "One of the most beautiful sheets of water in Ontario".                              
Please comment if you wish.                                                                                All photos by BarrytheBirder

Scenes at Seneca

The Seneca College Ospreys continue to tend their offspring at the top of a parking lot light standard but the young ones are yet to be seen.   In the top photo, one of the parents launches itself on a feeding patrol.   In the middle photo, one of many Canada Goose families cruises a pond.   Bottom photo shows wild yellow Irises creating a lovely contrast with plants surrounding the outflow ponds from Lake Jonda.
Please comment if you wish.

Jun 9, 2011

Stallion refuses photo-op

I drove about in hot and humid, 32-degree weather today looking for birds, but with little luck.   As I drove up King Township's 8th  Concession, I spotted this handsome fellow and quickly took his picture.   I got out of the truck and called him over to the fence.   He trotted over and I politely asked him for a close-up, explaining than I greatly admired his trendy cropped mane.   His reaction to my request is pictured below.   He whirled about and raced across his paddock, threw himself on the ground and rolled about, then regained his feet, threw his head back and gave me another horse-laugh.    As if that wasn't enough, he raced around his paddock again.   I nicknamed him "Hot Stuff", on the spot, then climbed back into my air-conditioned Jeep and headed up to Pottageville.   
  Please comment if you wish.                                                                                 Photos by BarrytheBirder

Jun 8, 2011

British Columbia swans & Cygnets

My old friend, Don Flucker, who left eastern Canada many years ago, for the splendour of British Columbia, sent along this pretty photo of wild Mute Swans and their 2011 cygnets that made their nest a few feet from Don's home, on a neighbour's dock.   Don's place is the Fraser River Delta, south of Vancouver, and he lives in a floating house at Ladner.   The swans are part of a group of about 24 that originated from a pair imported from England in the 1970s.  In Ontario, the feral Mute Swan population has gone through the roof in recent years.   Conservative estimates at this time place the population of the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes watershed at 25,000 birds.   The population in Ontario alone is expected to reach 30,000 in a few years.   These numbers are creating huge problems for other waterfowl and the habitats they live in.   The swans are taking over and because they have virtually no natural predators, they can displace other waterfowl at will.   And although they are an imported species to Canada, they have protection under the Migratory Bird Act, a status that is being challenged.   There are suggestions that Mute Swans should hunted as many other species are.   I can hear the outcry now.   I see no happy outcome for this tale in the near future.   Meanwhile, we can enjoy them while we can, but none of us should introduce them to our local ponds and waterways.   Please comment if you wish.

Jun 7, 2011

Early evening at Cold Creek

The top photo shows a Painted Turtle laying her eggs at the side of the main road in Cold Creek Conservation Area.   She had moistened the gravel somehow and dug a shallow nest before lowering her rear end into the wet soil and beginning the egg-laying.   In the second photo, a mink is seen on the small island in the main Cold Creek pond.   He swam to the mainland and disappeared into long grass.   Moments later a second mink appeared on the island but retreated under some longs when it spotted me.   Meanwhile, above us all, several skeins of Canada Geese flew over.   I estimated about 200 geese in flight of which four chose to drop in to the Cold Creek Pond.   They landed but saw me and lifted into the air to rejoin the  flocks that had moved on.   It seems they were unable to catch the others and they returned to the pond but on the other side of the small island, where they were unseen by me and I was unseen by them.   They started a loud conservation and I decided it was time to end tonight's ramble and headed for home.  
Please comment if you wish.  

Photos by BarrytheBirder

Jun 5, 2011

Jefferson Forest produces Acadian Flycatcher

Linda and I hiked in the 200-hectare Jefferson Forest, for the first time ever today, and came away agreeing with those who say it is one of the least disturbed areas close to Toronto.   We had only just begun our hike when we heard an Acadian Flycatcher right over our heads.   I was amazed because we were so close to the trailhead on the Stouffville-Gormley sideroad.   I fumbled for my camera but was unable to get a shot.   The bird was backlit by brilliant sunshine.   It's bold call was quite distinctive however,.   It was an auspicious start, but birds (even an Acadian Flycatcher) soon diminished in importance as we took in the magnificence of the forest itself.   I can't think of any place in Ontario to better view a mature mixed forest.   The Jefferson Forest lies east of Bayview Avenue, between the Whitchurch-Stouffville Sideroad and Bethesda Road, south of Lake Wilcox, in North Richmond Hill.

Jun 4, 2011

Distracting King Township street names

BarrytheBirder Photos
These are a few of the King Township road signs I see regularly on my bird-watching rounds.  I can offer explanations of their name origions for all but the first one.   The second one  (Fog Rd.) was named for a  longtime, Province of Ontario Queen's Printer, Frank Fog.   The third and fourth signs (Rebellion Way and Little Rebel Rd.) refer to William Lyon MacKenzie's unsuccessful revolt against British colonial rule in Upper Canada in 1837.   The fifth sign is in the Holland Marsh and refers to part of the infrastructure to support the world-famous canal system that enables the "Salad Bowl of Ontario".   The sixth photo is of a new and temporary sign in a new housing development in the village of King City and refers to a massive, monumental sculpture created by world-renown sculptor, Richard Serra, in a nearby cornfield.   The seventh and eighth pictures are also from the Holland Marsh and affectionately pay homage to former Dutch Queens Wilhelmina and her daughter, Juliana.   Unfortunately, Wilhelmina's name has been misspelled.   Last is Bird's Lane.   I include it for no other reason than this blogspot is supposed to be about birds.
Please comment if you wish.