Rusty Blackbirds and a Cattle Egret at Valley Inn

Finally, I have some time to catch up on pre- and post-Thanksgiving birding. As I type I’m hoovering the best apple fritter I have had in years. Here’s a close up of the fritter.

Close up of apple fritter

Close up of apple fritter

This is one of six doughnuts purchased this morning from Sunshine, a relatively new bakery located on Brock Street.

Apple fritters, pumpkin delight, Burlington cream doughnuts

Apple fritters, pumpkin delight, Burlington cream doughnuts

Now that I’m relatively high on sugar here we go!cont

Two weeks ago Environment Canada forecasted a 60% chance of rain along the Golden Horseshoe. I headed to Niagara only to find their report was wrong, wrong, wrong. Anyhoo, after a couple hours at Bird Kingdom we stopped in at Dufferin Islands. Lots of Mallards and gulls. Here we had stellar looks at a Green Heron.

Green Heron - Dufferin Islands

Green Heron – Dufferin Islands

As we drove through the countryside we came upon a host of Turkey Vultures on the roof and lawn of this property.

12 Turkey Vultures on the roof

12 Turkey Vultures on the roof

15 Turkey Vultures on the lawn

15 Turkey Vultures on the lawn

Returning home, I noted report of a Sedge Wren and a couple Marsh Wrens at Van Wagners Ponds. Got the Marsh Wren.

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Yet another story of the Kinglet and I. This time, at the Lift Bridge. Noticed wee bird hopping across the promenade, then trying unsuccessfully to make it over the wall. Not only could it not fly, its beak was damaged.

injured Ruby-crowned Kinglet

injured Ruby-crowned Kinglet

I kept watch as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet returned to the woodlot where it foraged for insects.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraging as best it can with damaged beak

Ruby-crowned Kinglet foraging as best it can with damaged beak

During the Thanksgiving weekend a moderate sized flock of Blue Jays popped into Hendrie Valley on their migratory journey.

11 Blue Jays in the foreground

11 Blue Jays in the foreground

Zoomed in photo of the 13 Blue Jays further down the boardwalk (note the frost)

Zoomed in photo of the 13 Blue Jays further down the boardwalk (note the frost)

White-tailed Deer appear every now and then.

Ever had the feeling that you were being watched?

Ever felt you were being watched?

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

Kinglets (both species), Dark-eyed Juncos, Winter Wrens, White-throated, White-crowned, Swamp Sparrows were also observed as well as a Palm Warbler.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

A White-crowned Sparrow foraging in the company of two White-crowned Sparrows

A White-crowned Sparrow foraging in the company of two White-crowned Sparrows

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Got a brief glimpse of a Fox Sparrow.

Brief look at a Fox Sparrow

Brief look at a Fox Sparrow

Cedar Waxwings are busy feasting on berries.

Cedar Waxwing (juvenile)

Cedar Waxwing (juvenile)

Red-winged Blackbirds have re-appeared in good and vocal numbers.

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Three raccoons below the boardwalk beg for food. They are chubbier than their Valley Inn kin. Who could resist those eyes?

Raccoon

Raccoon

Valley Inn remains a great spot for shorebirds, Egrets, Great-blue Herons, and Black-crowned Night-Herons. While two of us observed and photographed this juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron using its bill to attract prey, the chaps behind us were shooting continuously at high speeds. Sounded like we were in a war zone. The chap beside me was aghast.  I whispered, “they’re known as the film crew”. He asked one of the photographers how many photos he takes in a day. The response: 10,000!!!  Oh, so here’s the action, in three photos.

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron using bill to attract fish

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron using bill to attract fish

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron catches fish

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron catches fish

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron successfully used bill attract and catch fish

juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron successfully used bill attract and catch fish

A small flock of Rusty Blackbirds passed through Valley Inn during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird at Valley Inn

Rusty Blackbird at Valley Inn

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Two fabulous birds were discovered at Valley Inn last week. The first, a Franklin’s Gull. I tried for it after work on Tuesday but it was long gone. The second, a Cattle Egret, found on Friday, October 14th. I was at work when I saw the notification and immediately lost focus. Should I leave early or take my chances after work? Then there was the matter of the planned birthday dinner for my confidant/Sherpa/Chief Supporter of all things Birding. How was I going to break it to him gently that I needed the bird while maintaining that I was singularly focused on his birthday? Methodology: warm smile, fresh breath and a “would you mind if we pop in to Valley Inn for five minutes… rare bird…I don’t have it…you know I missed the Franklin’s Gull this week…AND VOILA!!

Cattle Egret resting on the berm

Cattle Egret resting on the berm

Another look at the Cattle Egret

Another look at the Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret checking the sky

Cattle Egret checking the sky

Cattle Egret, Valley Inn, October 14, 2016

Cattle Egret, Valley Inn, October 14, 2016

Cattle Egret, Valley Inn

Cattle Egret, Valley Inn

Forty-five minutes later we were heading to Marciano’s Pasta Cafe in Waterdown where he had Chicken Marco Polo, and other dishes he loved, loved, loved!

Yesterday, we watched this hyperactive Mink pop in and out of the water numerous times, chasing after but not catching any of the fish. It was as if he was toying with them.  Great fun to watch!

Multitude of fish

Multitude of fish

Mink scaring the fish

Mink scaring the fish

Mink

Mink

Last night I tried my hand at photographing  the Harvest Moon. Not bad for a first attempt!

Hunters Moon (October 15, 2016)

Hunter’s Moon (October 15, 2016)

 

 

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