From April 15 to 19 we’ve been walking in the early-ish morning to witness the spring migration. The black-crowned night heron has been here for several days and we saw the great blue heron on Saturday and Sunday. The kinglets, golden and ruby-crowned are still here, having arrived a few days later than usual.
I’ve put up a few photos:
Wednesday, April 15
A special April present
Geese Decked In Snow
Still morning on the way back
Four of at least 15 cormorants
Perhaps a female rose-breasted grosbeak…
Same jay, now recognizable!
Bluejay fluffing in the cold…
A lesson learned for 2020
Male redwing, there are many more
A relatively uncommon red squirrel has its place among a host of greys
A decent look at a pair of Black-crowned night herons that have been here fore a few days
Female yellow-bellied sapsucker
Perennial geranium sprouting in the front garden. Lucky I didn’t step on it!
Cold on the feet, maybe?
Thin film of ice on the creek…
Iris reticulata, a dwarf iris, has a lovely leaf pattern
Hopscotch on the way home, anyone?
We saw a male yellow-bellied sapsucker and only one ruby-crowned kinglet, spent quality time with the night herons and spooked the great blue heron, who has eluded my still camera thus far this year.
During the spring and fall we often see lots of Blue Jays passing through “Our Woods.” Sometimes a few, like this one, hang around in winter and feed from the old feeder off our deck landing. This one has been coming regularly this winter, causing my wife and I to talk about their seemingly weird migration pattern. So I checked our National Geographic “Field Guide to the Birds of North America,” which we bought last year to replace our old Peterson guide that went missing. I like this one because it puts Range Maps next to the bird photos, but descriptive info is on the brief side and it includes so many species that it’s also heavier to lug around than the more area-specialized Peterson Guide we had. For Birds of Canada we have a large coffee table size book. And there’s always the Internet and, if we’re out for a walk, the Audubon app on my iPad mini.
Classified as ‘year round’ in southern Ontario, Blue Jays actually fly further north than the GTA in spring to breed. That explains why we rarely see them in the summer.
The above photo was opportunistically taken with my SONY Alpha A-6000 using the old 18-55 mm SONY E-mount lens fully-zoomed. I was using spot focus and mid speed continuous shooting drive mode.
Though they stay through the winter we don’t regularly see this bird at our feeder, but he was there today. I spooked him when approaching the patio door to the back yard. He returned later to our maple tree, where he was when I took these through our dining room bay window “hiding” behind our 46-year-old, oft-pruned lemon “tree,” grown from seed in 1972 as a fun thing to show our first two children.
The above were taken with my Sony A-6000 and its (55-210 mm) lens fully zoomed using medium speed continuous shooting at 1/1250 s and f/13. Never could have done that in the really old days with Kodachrome-25 film!!
A great way to get motivated to look for the first kinglets and warblers – later this month…
Second look at the set I shot on March 25, with a little more time to play with the results of the 6 quickies I took from our deck. The sun was just enough with lots of cloud cover and unreliable openings. The moments needed seizing, and three shots were discarded due to insufficient sun.
I include the sepia photo again and two zoomed shots with slight cropping and brightness reduced just with the iPad’s software. All 3 photos were taken with a Sony 18-55 mm zoom lens on the A-6000 body.
As we went out for our walk in Our Woods Friday at 6:30 we were startled by this handsome critter on a hanging basket. I had my new Sony Alpha A-6000 around my neck. Took this on iAuto with autofocus without disturbing its dreams. Just learned how to upload to the iPad from the camera.
May 16: goodbye Insight Vacations Highlights of Eastern Europe Bus Tour. Now for four self-planned nightsin Vienna and a change to more affordable digs. The concierge at the Hilton on Am Stadtpark was very helpful. He suggested leaving our bags with Hilton and leaving asap for Melk. I phoned the amazing Tina at K&T Boardinghouse, where we had booked 4 nights months before, to let them know we would be arriving much later than 9 AM because we were seizing the nice day and going to Melk. Tina suggested 6 PM and promised there would be someone there to welcome us. Going to Melk first made it possible to buy a money-saving 3-consecutive-day transit pass for our last 3 days in Vienna. We grabbed the U3 line right across the street. It took us 3 stops to Westbahnhof Station where we bought our tickets for Melk Abbey for €51 pp. These combi-tickets included the train from Westbahnhof Station to Melk, admission to the Abbey, a Danube boat from Melk to Krems and a train on a different line from Krems back to Vienna.
Time to tidy up our spring birding. This year, for the first time, about 55 double-crested cormorants rested in the two little “lakes” near our house. First time I’ve ever seen cormorants in this neck of Our Woods. We took flight before they did – left May 2 on a tour of 6 major cities that were formerly behind the “iron curtain.” Came back – with my head spinning – to find a pair of these distinguished looking divers still with us. They are apparently in numbers too great to be appreciated in the fine Ontario cottage country of Muskoka. And I finally got a decent photo of the yellow-rumped warbler before we flew away. We missed the peak of the spring warbler migration, and saw only one species yesterday. It was a female American redstart. Didn’t get a decent photo of it due to the lush May foliage. Saw two red-tailed hawks soaring high above us – a treat to see them enjoying 25 km air currents. Today the blue heron was still fishing, harassed by our plentiful red-winged blackbirds protecting their nests near the shore. So here are a few more photos before this blog moves on to the arts and architecture of Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.