Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tufted Titmice and Tundra Swans

November 29th, 2015 (cloudy with a bit of drizzle)

Dufferin Islands

As I wasn’t satisfied with the brief views we had of the Tufted Titmouse last week, we headed out early Saturday morning with the hope of lingering views.  We were not disappointed.  On our arrival we found four or five titmice  actively feasting at a feeder.  The birds intelligently avoided the crushed Ritz crackers someone left for them.

Titmouse at feeder

Titmouse at feeder

A White-breasted Nuthatch attended the photo op.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

I also got some natural shots of the titmice in the vicinity of the feeder.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse (2)

Tufted Titmouse

My eyesight’s not that great when I’m uber excited.  What I thought was a ruffled patch of feathers was actually a fish hook.  Fortunately the bird seems no worse for wear.

Hooked Tufted Titmouse

Hooked Tufted Titmouse

A trio of photographers erected a contraption nearby with the aim of taking “clean” photographs of the titmice.  This consisted of two tripod-like stands, one with an attractive branch in its clamp while the other offered peanuts from a cup.  I thought we had photoed it but I guess not.  As expected, the birds landed on the branch for a few seconds prior to heading for the treat.  Permission granted, I snapped a couple photographs.

Tufted Titmouse with a peanut

Tufted Titmouse with a peanut

Clean shot fail

Clean shot fail

Titmouse

Titmouse

Nice!

Tufted Titmouse

A singing Carolina Wren drew me away from the action.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

I found this Brown Creeper in the same area.

Foraging Brown Creeper

Foraging Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

On the opposite side hyperactive activity caught my attention.  Looking through the camera lens I was surprised to see a late Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  This little bird, and the mate I saw shortly thereafter, should have migrated a long time ago.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher foraging

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher foraging

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (2)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

It’s always fab to see a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

In terms of waterfowl, we had Mallards, American Black Ducks and four domestic geese.  The geese, we were told, arrived in the summer.

Domestic Goose

Domestic Goose

Niagara River Parkway

We left Dufferin Islands for a drive along the Niagara River Parkway to the Friendship Trail area in Fort Erie.

As expected, birders were fully engaged at the Niagara River gull watch.

Gull watching along the Niagara River

Gull watching along the Niagara River

We had close views of Bonaparte’s Gulls.

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

In terms of highlights, we viewed 2,500 Buffleheads (someone else kindly estimated their number), a Common Loon (one of three we saw along the route) and about 100 Tundra Swans.

Partial view of over 2,000 Buffleheads

Partial view of over 2,000 Buffleheads

Male and female Buffleheads

Male and female Buffleheads

Common Loon

Common Loon

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans

It was lovely to see this lone Red-tailed Hawk on the hunt.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

We made a couple turns and ultimately headed up on Helena Street.   Here we chanced upon a home overrun with Wild Turkeys on the front and side yards.  After satisfying ourselves that this was not, in fact, a turkey farm, (the house was bordered by fields), we took a few photographs.   Pretty crazy cool!

Wild Turkeys at front of home

Wild Turkeys at front of home

More Wild Turkeys

More Wild Turkeys

Our final bird of the day was an American Kestrel spotted just past the International Flatwater Centre in Welland.

American Kestrel (fuzzy pic)

American Kestrel (fuzzy pic)

‘Twas a great day!

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