Black-billed Cuckoo and Northern Mockingbird

Hendrie Valley remains a favourite spot.  This Black-billed Cuckoo was a recent visitor. A lovely surprise and a new species for me!

Black-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo

In the Grindstone area Osprey and Bald Eagles reign supreme.  Mornings and afternoons are best to observe them on the hunt.

Osprey in flight

Osprey in flight

Turkey Vultures, Green Herons, Black-Crowned Night-Herons and Great Blue Herons also linger here. The resident Carolina Wren usually belts out a protracted song from somewhere in the vicinity of the condemned house. He’s loud but rather skulky.

This past Saturday I spotted one of two newly arrived Great Egrets.

Great Egret

Great Egret

The sight and sounds of these Hairy Woodpeckers were a nice treat.

Adult and Juvenile Hairy Woodpeckers

Adult and Juvenile Hairy Woodpeckers

Juvenile Wood Ducks are presently showing well at the boardwalk.

Juvenile Wood Duck

Juvenile Wood Duck

I was fortunate to capture this one in flight at Grindstone.

Wood Duck in flight

Wood Duck in flight

Blue gray Gnatcatchers actively forage the trees bordering the boardwalk. This one was found gleaning insects along the fence bordering Hendrie Park.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

And finally, a delightful pair of Common Yellowthroats are displaying beautifully. Their activity piqued my interest. Both gathered insects but there did not appear to be a nest. The male called with some constancy. The female to a lesser extent. A local birding couple asked if I had seen anything interesting. I divulged the location of the yellowthroats. When we encountered each other some time later I was told the male was courting the female. They observed the male drop a mouthful of insects in favour of a large green insect in a bid to capture the female’s attention. Notwithstanding his excellent foraging skills, the female remained uninterested.

Male Common Yellowthroat

Male Common Yellowthroat

Male Common Yellowthroat with insects

Male Common Yellowthroat with insects

Male Common Yellowthroat with insect(s)

Male Common Yellowthroat with insect(s)

Female Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat

Female Common Yellowthroat

Walking the grounds of Hendrie Park I encountered Chipping Sparrows and these Robins.

Juvenile American Robin being fed

Juvenile American Robin being fed

Bronte Marina

The previous Saturday evening we observed this Red-necked Grebe consuming a fairly good sized fish.

Red-necked Grebe with fish

Red-necked Grebe with fish

Fish swallowed whole

Fish swallowed whole

The look of satisfaction

The look of satisfaction

Windermere Basin

Last Sunday morning started with a view of this Great Blue Heron in a most unusual pose.

Great Blue Heron sunning

Great Blue Heron sunning

Van Wagners Beach

This is one of two Sanderlings foraging on the beach.

Sanderling

Sanderling

After leaving them, given the pedestrian traffic on the trail (joggers, cyclists, walkers) and the fact that I can’t text and walk, I pulled off on to the lawn to type a message. While doing so a bird flew near my face. I turned to see this Northern Mockingbird.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird on the alert

Northern Mockingbird on the alert

Mockingbirds are known to be strong defenders of their territory. Suspecting a nest was nearby I backed waaaay off and watched, curious to observe how other pedestrians fared. The mocker would only react if the individual(s) dawdled near a particular tree. With a little bit of patience the location of the nest was revealed. While the nestlings were being fed the mocker stood guard. I took only a few photographs solely to ascertain a nestling count as the mockingbird population has declined due to the harsh winter.

One nestling visible

One nestling visible

Adult Northern Mockingbird bringing food to three nestling

Adult Northern Mockingbird bringing food to three nestling

A nestling being fed

A nestling being fed

On Saturday evening we were happy to pop into a field of sunflowers just west of Ausenco Engineering off the Service Road, in Burlington. We accidentally flushed an Eastern Bluebird as we pulled up. Of course, it was impossible to relocate in the field. All was not for naught. Chipping Sparrows and Cedar Waxwings kept us company.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Field of sunflowers

Field of sunflowers

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