Sunday, August 30, 2015
This can be identified as an adult Herring Gull by the large yellow bill with a red spot on the lower mandible and pinkish legs. It is in nonbreeding plumage: it does not have the orange-yellow orbital ring of the breeding gull.
This Pied-bill Grebe is still in breeding plumage; it has a black ring around a pale bill. The Pied-bill Grebe also has a bill different from other grebes: it is thick and somewhat similar to a chicken's bill.
These Monarch caterpillars are on the leaves of Milkweed plants. Monarchs cannot survive without Milkweed; their caterpillars only eat Milkweed. Thus, the Monarchs need to lay their eggs on Milkweed. Monarchs are threatened due to the decline in Milkweed. So if you have a garden, plant some Milkweed.
Midges, is the common name for several species of small flies. They do not bite. Flying insect eating birds, such as swallows, love them.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
You can tell this is a Common Grackle by its long, keel shaped tail and its overall dark color, even though it is somewhat silhoutted against the sky. Also the bird has a heavy bill and pale iris, which contrasts with its dark coloring.
From Aug. 17 to Sept. 6, there is a Nighthawk watch at Hawk Hill in High Park in Toronto. It starts at 6 pm. We went to it yesterday evening. By the time we left, 39 Common Nighthawks had been counted and they were still looking for more. These Common Nighthawks are migrating to South America, primarily Argentina.
In the photo you can make out the white bars near the base of the primaries. This is a good field marking for a Common Nighthawk in flight and a fair distance away. Also, you can see the long angled pointed wings.
The Common Nighthawk is new to our Life List, which now stands at 149.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
While walking in the garden we met Cheeky, a pet Cockatiel. Cheeky has a plastic collar around the neck to prevent it from flying.
Northern Cardinals molt from late summer to mid-autumn. These two cardinals are in different stages of molting. In the first photo the cardinal is just beginning to molt. In the second photo the molting is much moe advanced.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
This photo of a female mallard with its wings spread, shows a good view of the speculum. The speculum is a brightly colored patch of plumage, often irredescent, on the secondary flying feathers of many ducks. The mallard, both male and female, have irredescent purple-blue speculums with white edges, as can be seen in this photo. Sometimes part of the speculum, depending on the birds position, can be seen when the bird is at rest. The speculum can be used to help I.D. ducks.
We sighted these two tagged Trumpeter Swans yesterday at Lower Reesor Pond and reported them to the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. The pond is located near the northeast corner of the intersection of Reesor Road and Old Finch Ave. in Toronto.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
This chickadee is in the process of molting and growing new feathers, as can be seen from its scruffy appearance. Generally August-September is the time of year when this occurs.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a new species for our Life List, which now stands at 147. Most likely a female juvenile. The juveniles and females do not have the red throat that the adult male has.
Monday, August 24, 2015
This photo was taken from a long distance and then enlarged, so it is somewhat grainy. The Wood Duck is a juvenile that is molting into an adult, probably a male. The juvenile Wood Ducks generally molt around now and complete their transformation by September.
The plover was quite distant, so the photo is somewhat grainy, but the bird is recognizable. We were able to I.D. this bird as a Black-bellied Plover (vs. American Golden Plover) as follows:
- If you look closely you can see that the undertail coverts are white (not black as in the American Golden Plover).
- The plover does not have a dark head cap, as the American Golden-Plover has.
The sod farm where we saw the plover was near the intersection of 10th Line and 15 Sideroad in New Tecumseth. Sod farms are great places to see gulls, plovers, sandpipers, etc. after the sod has been harvasted.
The Everett Gravel Pit is located on Sideroad 5 between Concession Roads 3 and 4 in the township of Adjala-Tosorontio, ON. We traveled to the gravel pit with a group from the Ontario Field Ornithologists. We also visited the Palgrave Conservation Area and sod farms in Tottenham.