Lasalle Marina (Eastern Screech Owl) to Windermere (Northern Shovelers)

Lasalle Marina

Yes, the Eastern Screech Owl was visible!

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl resting in tree cavity

Eastern Screech Owl is not fully asleep

Eastern Screech Owl is not fully asleep

Our eyes met.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

A couple hundred waterfowl including Canvasbacks were busily courting, diving, romping, preening and engaged in all manner of self-absorbed activity as they s-l-o-w-l-y (iceburg slow) drifted west. They failed to notice/couldn’t give a fig that I was on a schedule.  Hrmph!

Lift Bridge

This is one of two Northern Mockingbirds guarding their territory near the Lift Bridge. The mocker initially caught my attention when it handily banished the Red-tailed Hawk.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

These two female White-winged Scoters were inseparable.  They often drifted near the pier without any fear whatsoever.

Can almost see a smile

Can almost see a smile

d Scoter missing lower beak

White-winged Scoter missing lower beak

This ship’s bright colours brightened what was otherwise a drab day.

Gorgeous ship

Gorgeous ship

Hendrie Valley

This Carolina Wren pumped left then right prior to leaving the perch.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

A Winter Wren busily gleaned logs and shrubbery for insects.

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

As I flipped through the December issue of Countryfile magazine last Friday I learned the history of the Winter Wren’s connection with St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day).  Fergus Collins wrote, “Dawn in a Middle Eastern City sees a young man on the run – pursued by soldiers for preaching a heretical message on street corners. In the rough, arid farmland beyond the city walls he scans desperately for somewhere to hide, with armoured men closing in.  At the last second, he dives into a bush and, scarcely daring to breathe, he waits.  The soldiers stop, mystified at the sudden vanishing of their prey, and soon drift away in a listless search…But the young man has disturbed the tiny tenant of the bush, a wren, which scolds the intruder with its alarm call before performing its shattering cascade of song.  The soldiers glance over, catch sight of the startled fugitive in the bush and swiftly haul him into a captivity that ends with a brutal public stoning.”

Three sparrow species were represented, American Tree, White-throated and Song.

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

I heard and saw a Belted Kingfisher but couldn’t get a photograph.

Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Hairy, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinch were all present along the boardwalk.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Tip for you, when you are near a group of noisy birds always check the opposite side of the boardwalk.

Red-tailed Hawk waiting for opportunity to strike

Red-tailed Hawk waiting for opportunity to strike

Grindstone Creek is noticeably low. Northern Shovelers, Gadwall and Mallards were milling about but they weren’t close enough to shore to get decent photographs.

Low water level

Low water level

Opposite pond

Opposite pond

American Crows were searching for exposed morsels.

American Crow

American Crow

One of the ponds hosted a male Common Goldeneye and two female Buffleheads.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Windermere Basin

Finally, Ruddy Ducks!

Hooded Merganser (foreground) with Ruddy Duck in background

Hooded Merganser (foreground) with Ruddy Duck in background

Both trails end near the intersection of Eastport Drive and Woodward Avenue.  Skittish Hooded Mergansers and Green-winged Teal departed rather quickly.

Male Green-winged Teal

Male Green-winged Teal

Here we had close and marvy views of Northern Shovelers.

Per Pete Dunn, "An aquatic vacuum cleaner. Feed with head down, neck extended and bill submerged for extended periods of time."

Per Pete Dunn, “An aquatic vacuum cleaner. Feed with head down, neck extended and bill submerged for extended periods of time”.

Male Northern Shoveler (2)

Male Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler (male)

Female Northern Shoveler foraging

Female Northern Shoveler foraging

Female Northern Shoveler foraging

Female Northern Shoveler

Double-crested Cormorants were most accommodating.   It’ll be interesting to see if they overwinter.

One Cormorant a-swimming

One Cormorant a-swimming

I've got this feeling somebody's watching me

I’ve got this feeling somebody’s watching me

Injured Double-Crested Comorant

Loafing Double-Crested Comorants (one with a wing issue)

Drying wings

Drying wings with upward wing stretch posture

Cormorant grouping

Loafing Double-crested Cormorants – apparently they spend 57% of daylight hours loafing (Source: Cornell, Birds of North America)

Drone

We met two wonderful lads operating this drone.

Drone

Drone

I struck up a conversation with them about the nature of their work, the operation of the drone, security features relating to no-fly and/or sensitive areas, their educational background, etc.  One lad is the principal of Burlington Films, a local digital media company. Take a look at their video Burlington films aerial reel at http://burlingtonfilms.com/  You may recognize some local spots. Was really a treat to meet local talent. We wished them all the best with their future endeavours.

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