November 29th, 2015 (cloudy with a bit of drizzle)
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.
A White-breasted Nuthatch attended the photo op.
I also got some natural shots of the titmice in the vicinity of the feeder.
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.
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.
A singing Carolina Wren drew me away from the action.
I found this Brown Creeper in the same area.
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.
It’s always fab to see a 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.
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.
We had close views of Bonaparte’s Gulls.
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.
It was lovely to see this lone Red-tailed Hawk on the hunt.
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!
Our final bird of the day was an American Kestrel spotted just past the International Flatwater Centre in Welland.
‘Twas a great day!