Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2 Swallows , a Mink and a Raven

A few days ago , a friend and I ventured out to the Blackstrap Lake area, and also around part of Brightwater Marsh, which is now completely dry.
Here are some photos taken on that trip ...

Common Raven - These don't often sit still long enough for a photo, but this handsome bird did, well, maybe for one second longer than normal anyway. The wind was blowing and exposed some of his undercoat :

Purple Martin - It was a nice surprise to find this lone bird sitting on a fence wire at eye level and not 30ft up on the top of a pole :

Tree Swallow - I never get bored of the beautiful coloration on these little insect eaters :

Mink - Here's a good advertisment for survival of the fittest. This stunning streamlined predator made short work of dispatching the hapless Richardson's Ground Squirrel when it popped its head out of its burrow :

Thursday, June 12, 2008

White Robin at the Forestry Farm Park

I recently visited the Forestry Farm Park as it can often be a great place to find birds.
There are many trees and shrubs there and in the morning it is generally quiet.
I had heard reports of a Leucistic (Partial albino) American Robin being present there for some weeks and until now had not had a chance to see it.
Luckily for me, after an hour of searching the grounds I located it hopping along the ground and behaving just like any other Robin does, looking for worms and skulking about among the leaf litter.
Other birds seen at the park that morning consisted of American Goldfinch , Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Common Grackle.

Here are some photos...

American Robin :

Common Grackle :

American Crow :

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Butterflies , Mammals and a few more Birds...

A few days ago , a friend and I thought we'd look around President Murray Park to see if there were any migrants still lingering around.
It ended up being fairly quiet there , but we still got to see a few species that tend to like that park because of all the Spruce Trees, such as White-winged Crossbill and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
It was at this park that I noticed one of our more striking Butterflies sunbathing on a tree branch ...

Tiger Swallowtail :

We then tried another city park downtown were it was also fairly quiet.
We did find a couple of Warbling Vireos that chose to stay very high in the trees, also a Catbird, Yellow & Tennessee Warblers.

Warbling Vireo :

Gray Catbird - This one was in full song :

The next day was rainy, but I thought I'd go see what was along the river...

Yellow Warbler - I found this one right at the top of a hill overlooking the Weir. It was being blown about in the wind but still sang its heart out:

Gray Catbird - Here's one I found just north of the train bridge . I had to sneak the lens through some tree branches as the bird sensed I was close by :

Least Chipmunk: I saw a number of these accompanied by some Richardson's Ground Squirrels on the train tracks foraging for food. It took very kindly to a piece of coconut cookie I gave it :

Cottontail Rabbit - On the way home I cut through Cosmopolitan Park where this Rabbit made an appearance on the trail infront of me :

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Variety of Riverbank Birds...

I've been going out as often as possible and trying to catch as many migrants as they pass through.
Unfortunately many of the Warblers didn't make an appearance with only a few species showing up locally.
I did find some nice things though, and for once the light was on my side ( in most cases )
There is quite the variety of birds in this update and more photos than usual ...

As per usual - left clicking on the photos will make them full size.

Black & White Warbler - This female was in Cosmopolitan Park on one of the lower trails :

Baltimore Oriole - I found this male singing first thing in the morning:

Swainson's Thrush - there were many of these last week along the trails. I even heard one singing which I've only ever heard in the Forest before :

Olive-sided Flycatcher - I've never had much luck finding these, in fact I didn't see one at all last year, even up North, This one was sitting quietly,very high up on a dead branch,on the Meewasin Trail :

Blue-headed Vireo - This was the highlight of the day for me as it appeared out of nowhere when I was mimicking a Warbling Vireo call to see what would come in...
He stayed under the tree canopy for the most part in the shade , but then popped his head out into the sun for a second , giving me a look at those snazzy white spectacles :

Common Tern - I found this lone bird sunbathing on a rock near the Weir. It was later joined by another one and they flew off together :

Western Grebe - This handsome Grebe was swimming alone underneath the CN Bridge :

Clay-colored Sparrow - Right now these are singing almost everywhere along the river:

Brown Thrasher - This one seems to be playing hide and seek, and was eating old berries leftover from last year :

Swainson's Hawk - I found a nesting pair not far from the weir on the west side of the river. This one was looking for food :

Canada Geese Goslings - These little guys were enjoying the sunny day :

Yellow Warbler - Pretty much everywhere you walk along the river you will hear these singing right now. Getting their photo can be tricky though :

Least Flycatcher - with it's "Che-bekk!" call. These are more often heard than seen :

Spotted Towhee - These seemed to be quite vocal for awhile, but I've not heard one for a week now. This one seemed very intent on attracting a mate :