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Mar 30, 2013

Cowbird returns - twice

Photo by BarrytheBirder
Two male Cowbirds arrived at the feeders on a cold, snowy Mar. 20 (first day of Spring).   They were still here the next day but then suddenly disappeared...headed back south was my guess. Now, 10 days later, on a beautiful, sunny, warm (10C) Mar. 30, a Cowbird has shown up at the feeders.   I choose to think it is one of the two that were here  back on the 20th.   He is filling himself up with seeds and I wish him well on his migration.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 28, 2013

Dave Kemp's west coast spring birds

Photos by Dave Kemp
My friend Dave Kemp from Richmond, B.C., suddenly has a deluge of spring birds to photograph out on the west coast, including the beady-eyed Bittern above.   Immediately below is his photo of a Rufous Hummingbird and below that is a Marsh Wren.   At the bottom is a Red-winged Blackbird.   Great shots, Dave, and thanks for sharing the images.   Have fun, buddy.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 27, 2013

Trumpeter Swans at Kinkyle

Photos by BarrytheBirder
These lovely Trumpeter Swans decided to take a break on Crawford's Lake even though it is still frozen.   They are on the leading edge of this year's spring migration and will undoubtedly find open water as they head north.   The Kinkyle Farm is on the east side of Weston Road, halfway between the 15th and 16th Sideroads in King Township.   The re-introduction of Trumpeter Swans in the Great Lakes area is still a work in progress but seems more successful each passing year.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 26, 2013

Back in the correct nest

I think I've overcome recent internet problems and once again I am occupying this space...I hope.   Now, when  logging on to my  blog, the word blogspot must be in the internet address.   It means just barrythebirder no longer cuts it.   It has to be or a shortened version such as barrythebirder.blogspot.   Hopefully, I'm back in business.   My wife and youngest daughter got me straightened out on this one.   Bless them.   I still haven't figured out how paper clips work, so I need all the help I can get.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 21, 2013

Spring cleaning

Photos by Barry Wallace
March 20, 2013 ~ first day of spring
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 19, 2013

Anna's Hummingbird in the snow

Photo by Mary Horton
Yesterday I showed two photos of an Anna's Hummingbird taken by Dave Kemp of Richmond B.C.   Today, Mary Horton, a friend of Dave Kemp, sent along a picture of an Anna's Hummingbird, sitting on snowy apple branches, which she took last December.   This bird is one of three or four hummers that over-winter in Mary's garden.   Mary got the the picture with a little point-and-shoot Olympus camera.   According to Wikipedia, "Anna's Hummingbirds are found along the western coast of North America, from southern Canada to northern Baja, California and inland to southern Arizona.   They tend to be permanent residents within their range...".   "Anna's Hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds to spend the winter in northern climes; they are able to do this because there are enough wild flowers and food to support them.   During cold temperatures, Anna's Hummingbirds gradually gain weight during the day as they convert sugar to fat.   In addition, hummingbirds with inadequate stores of body fat or insufficient plumage are able to survive periods of sub-freezing weather by lowering their metabolic rate and entering a state of torpor.   What a delight it must be to see hummingbirds in snowy weather.   Lucky Mary.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 18, 2013

Anna's 'hummer' in B.C.

My friend Dave Kemp of Richmond, British Columbia, just sent me these wonderful shots of an Anna's Hummingbird he recently photographed in the Richmond Nature Reserve, south-west of Vancouver.   Apparently this hummingbird put on quite a show, especially when it attacked an intrusive and much larger Purple Finch (the finch weighs 8 times more than the hummer).   Dave says there was a consensus that this feisty little Anna's was "  mean son of a gun".   Dave did a great job of capturing the Anna's spectacular gorget in the top photo and a very revealing shot of the tail feathers and wings in the photo below.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures Dave.   You can view more of Dave's great photos by going to   
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 17, 2013

Spring blackbirds

Photos by BarrytheBirder
It is St. Patricks Day...three days before the first day of spring.   Two male Red-winged Blackbirds (above) arrived at the backyard feeders today.   It is sunny, windy and a bitter cold -7C.   Arriving first on the breeding grounds in this kind of weather demands a brave heart.
Evil-eyed glossy grackles have been here for several days already.    
European Starlings have been around for many days also and well into their winter moult which shows their speckled coloured markings fading to rich darker feathers and their beaks turning from a dull yellow to bright yellow-white.   Brown-headed Cowbirds will be the next to arrive and join the throng.   With this mixture of blackbirds taking over, the Blue Jays have to turn up their aggressiveness a notch or two, to maintain the pecking order.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 16, 2013

Extinction is not forever

Image - WP Clipart
My Friend Zoreh Zand sent me a link to the TED Talks video below and it is must-viewing for anyone who thinks they will never, ever see a live Passenger Pigeon.   The video presentation by Stewart Brand is about 20 minutes in length.   This is mind-expanding. 
Click on:

Mar 10, 2013

Birds in my brother's backyard

Photos by Nancy and Bob Wallace
My brother Bob (former King City good old boy) and his wife Nancy live in the bush near Nobel, Ontario, which is approximately 200 kms. due north of my home in King City, which is just north of Toronto.   While my wife Linda and I have been watching Goldfinchs, Redpolls, Juncos, etc. all winter, my brother and his wife have been seeing (as pictured above) Barred Owls, Pine Grosbeaks and Rusty Blackbirds, among other species.
And occasionally, a bobcat makes an appearance.
Please comment if you wish.

Mar 4, 2013

A week in Antigua

Photos by BarrytheBirder
My wife and I just spent a week in Antigua and while I fully intended to do lots of snorkelling, I also saw some birds - 28 to be exact.   It was no surprise that I saw the ubiquitous Bananaquit more than any other species.   I also got two life birds: a Least Tern and a Black-whiskered Vireo.   They brought my life list to 425.   Following are some pictures and the list of 28 birds.
   Green-throated Carib Hummingbird
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Zenaida Dove
Ruddy Turnstones

1.   Brown Pelican                         11. Sandwich Tern                                  21. Black-whiskered Vireo
2.   Brown Booby                           12. Royal Tern                                       22. Yellow Warbler
3.   Magnificent Frigatebird              13. Least Tern                                       23. Common Yellowthroat
4.   Snowy Egret                            14. Rock Pigeon                                    24. Orange-crowned Warbler
5.   Cattle Egret                             15. Zenaida Dove                                    25. Bananaquit 
6.   Broad-winged Hawk                  16. Common Ground Dove                      26. Black-faced Grassquit
7.   Merlin                                      17. Mangrove Cuckoo                             27. Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
8.   Ruddy Turnstone                      18. Green-throated Carib                         28. Carib Grackle
9.   Least Tern                               19. Antillean Crested Hummingbird                Life Birds
10. Laughing Gull                           20. Gray Kingbird
Please comment if you wish.