Last Saturday morning got off to a good start. I arrived at the ferry docks with sufficient time to have a one-on-one session with the ticket machine. I noted it is a repurposed parking lot ticket machine. If you decide to venture over prior to the arrival of attendants have coins and/or a credit card in hand. It does not accept paper money.
Warblers were present on Ward’s Island but as I had been there earlier in the week, I deferred to the two birders scoping the patch. I walked along to an opening in the trees and spotted a great egret flying by.
Two cats were hunting birds, near a bird feeder and latterly in a small tree.
Again, a good number of blue jays were observed and heard all over the islands. The birders counted 192.
The senior’s centre was a hub of activity. Here I spotted a brown creeper. I always love encountering these little beauties. I could watch them for hours on end. If you’ve never seen one, in searching for insects the creeper starts at the bottom of the tree and creeps upward in a spiral manner around the tree all the way to the top.
An ovenbird was also present. This bird was originally named the golden-crowned thrush. The name change is a descriptor of the bird’s ground nest, “a hole in the leaves, like a little oven”.
In the distance was a yellow-bellied sapsucker.
The species of the day was the northern flicker. In researching the species I learned that on September 6, 1927 the yellow-shafted variety was designated the Alabama state bird. The bird is known locally as the yellowhammer. During the Civil War new cavalry soldiers wearing bits of brilliant yellow cloth on the sleeves, collars and coat tails of their new uniforms were greeted as “yellerhammer, flicker, flicker” by their more seasoned peers. Later on they noted the black dots on the bird’s breast reminded them of bullet holes and the grey uniforms matched with the bird’s feathers.
Early Sunday afternoon we headed to Colonel Sam Smith for a stroll. A small group of northern shovelers were present in the larger pond. I’ve only ever encountered this waterfowl at Lasalle Marina during the winter so it was delight to get some decent shots. With their present plumage they blended in with the mallards and the gadwalls. However, the distinctive bill sets them apart from the others.
Just west of marina, we observed a peregrine falcon heading out in a westerly direction.
I headed to Hendrie where I spent some time photographing cedar waxwings. This species were once considered agricultural pest. In 1908 fruit growers in Vermont lobbied to make it legal to shoot the waxwings given the damage large flocks did to crops. The senate rejected their arguments once specimens of the birds were brought in. The senate found cedar waxwings too beautiful to kill.
At Hendrie, a green heron, a spotted sandpiper, a great egret, two great blue herons, immature bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, American crows, a turkey vulture, a Caspian tern were present as were the resident black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, northern cardinals, et al.
The juvenile wood ducks continue to thrive in the area of the foot bridge. They have lost a lot of their skittishness.
A beautifully plumed male wood duck was spotted yesterday.
From time to time over the past month or so it is not unusual to find this raccoon seeking handouts from visitors to the park. Sooooo incredibly cute.
A few male red-winged blackbirds continue on at the park. This species was also considered an agricultural pest to the point bounties were offered. In the spring of 1749 the number of red-winged blackbirds were dramatically reduced in New England. Peter Kalm reported, “an immense quantity of worms appeared on the meadows, which devoured the grass, and did great damage, so the people repented of their enmity against the corn thieves for they thought they had observed that those birds lived chiefly on such worms before the corn was ripe”.
At Lasalle Marina I found a gorgeous male northern pintail in the company of mallards.
Cooler temperatures compel me to knit. Last week I picked up Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young at my local Chapters.
Thereafter, a visit to my favourite yarn store, Romni Wools, on Queen Street West, Toronto, was in order. Here is the pattern I chose:
I think of it as art imitating life.