Heron observation + a Brant + Hanlan’s Point trip

Valley Inn, Hamilton

Am having a marvy time photographing juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron having a bit of an scratch

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron having a bit of an scratch

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron waiting in the shadows

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron waiting in the shadows

Two of us observed and photographed this juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron as it foraged in the rain.  We believed we were recording tool-baiting behaviour. “Herons place bait, either natural or artificial, in the water to lure prey. The behavior is called Baiting. They can use real food, such as bread, maize, or dead insect, or choose as a lure something that floats, such as stick. Fish are attracted to the lure, coming within striking range of the baiting bird.” (See here)

Black-crowned Night Heron checking if bait attracted prey

Black-crowned Night Heron checking if bait attracted prey

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron retrieving the bit of wood

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron retrieving the bit of wood

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron rethinking strategy

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron rethinking strategy

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron retrieving the bit of wood from water

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron retrieving the bit of wood from water

Black-crowned Night-Heron with stick

Black-crowned Night-Heron with stick

This went on for a few more minutes. Afterwards the heron waded over to where we were standing then hopped onto the edge of the pier, mere feet from us.

Landing less than 20 feet from us

Landing less than 20 feet from us

We weren’t quite sure how to interpret this look!

Looking for parental guidance perhaps?

Looking for parental guidance perhaps?

Recently, this beaver tarried for about ten minutes to consume lunch.  What a thrill!

Beaver consuming lunch

Beaver consuming lunch

Cute beaver

Cute beaver

The Lesser Yellowlegs are quite entertaining. When not foraging they are fighting.

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs stand-off

Lesser Yellowlegs stand-off

See how well the Green Heron camouflages with its surroundings.

Nicely camouflaged Green Heron

Nicely camouflaged Green Heron

This is one of five Northern Shovelers observed last Friday.

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

Gotta love this Great Blue Heron.

Mirror, mirror on the wall who's the fairest of them all? (Great Blue Heron)

Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all? (Great Blue Heron)

I took a brief walk through yesterday noting a seed notice posted at the Cherry Hill Gate entrance.

Seed notice at Cherry Hill Gate entrance

Seed notice at Cherry Hill Gate entrance

Interesting. I still think they need to state clearly that only nyger or black-oiled sunflower seeds should be offered.  In the past week or so I’ve removed beer nuts, flavoured peanuts, and pumpkin seeds left as offerings to the birds by visitors.

Bayshore Park, Hamilton

A Brant arrived at Bayshore Park in Hamilton on September 22, where it remains to date (September 28th).  I made a beeline to the park after work. The Brant had an unbridled appetite.  I had to wait eons for the bird to look up.  It felt like eons because I was also contending with flies (horseflies?) feasting on my legs.

Brant at Bayfront Park, Hamilton

Brant at Bayfront Park, Hamilton

Brant strolling in the evening

Brant strolling in the evening

Brant preening

Brant preening

Brant (in profile)

Brant (in profile)

Heading back to the parking lot I stopped to photograph this juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron foraging in the water beneath a large weeping willow.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron

Whilst doing so I heard, “Is the Brant still here?”  Lo, it was the voice of B. Coombs.  After greetings and confirming directions, I let it slip that I was thinking of joining the Toronto Ornithological Club’s outing he was leading at the Toronto Islands on Saturday, September 24th.  And so I did avec mon Sherpa.  Loads of birds.  Seventy-one species were observed during the walk from Hanlan’s Point to Centre Island.  The Blue Jay count was estimated 500! ‘Twas a never-ending stream of jays. There were fourteen species of warblers.  We observed Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, and two Common Ravens soaring over the city as we stood on the ferry dock. Here are a few photographs:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Northern Harrier (juvenile)

Northern Harrier (juvenile)

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow

female Rusty Blackbird

female Rusty Blackbird

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

I left prior to the last leg of the trip and missed out on an American Bittern.  This was after missing  a photo op of a Grey-cheeked Thrush due to a poorly timed washroom break.  As the song goes, “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all”. Lol!

Back on shore, we had a lovely lunch at Stoney’s Bread Company in Oakville.  The soup is to die for!

Last week at Lasalle Marina, Common Mergansers, a Great Blue Heron, a Belted Kingfisher and this Pied-billed Grebe were observed.

Pied-bill grebe

Pied-billed grebe

Am still having loads of fun and good eats!

 

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