Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.

Dec 162017
 

The necropsy results from the September 3 Mallard deaths on Tobin Court in Peterborough were released by MNRF on December 16, 2017. They ruled out poisoning. They did extensive testing for botulism, which is a reason that the results took so long. The results for botulism were negative, as well. However, they did indicate that botulism is extremely tough to test for and can result in false negative test results. So, it looks like we will never know what exactly happened but, if anything, the neighbours can be assured that it was not as a result of poisoning.

Barb Evett

Mallard deaths – Peterborough – Sept. 3, 2017 – Barb Evett

Dec 112017
 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 16, 2017 12:29 by Dan Chronowic
– 615 Weller Street Peterborough, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41133580
– Comments: “Flew low over the house heading in a NE direction.”

Peregrine – Karl Egressy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 14, 2017 12:30 by Jenn Baici
– 428 Douro 8th Line, Douro-Dummer CA-ON (44.3629,-78.2578), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41105680
– Comments: “Perched in deciduous tree along rural concession line ”

Peregrine perched on steel girder – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-winged Blackbirds:  Just enjoying a cup of coffee (December 15) whilst viewing a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds at my feeder. Third time this week for them. They are a welcome sight, given the paucity of winter bird list rarities and fall “leftovers“.  Michael Gillespie, David Fife Line, Keene

Red-winged Blackbird at feeder at Reifel Bird Sanctuary near Vancouver – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker: I have a Red-belly coming to my feeder regularly at 733 Ford Crescent, Cavan. Ken Rumble

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female) – Jennifer MacKenzie Dec 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-winged Crossbills: Today (December 10) during the noon hour, I was just finishing preparing my lunch when through the kitchen window, I noticed a chunky, little finch atop one of the spruces that form the border between the field and forest east of the yard. The scope revealed it to be the first White-winged Crossbill that I have seen this year. It was a female. A scan of the rest of the tops of spruces turned up a second, and it was a male. They both seemed wary, actively looking about. Neither of them ventured lower to feed on the abundant cone seeds just below them. I watched for about ten minutes, and then off they went together.  Tim Dyson – Warsaw

White-winged Crossbill (female) – Wikimedia

Male White-winged Crossbill – Wikimedia

Dec 082017
 

N.B. Whenever I refer to “home”, it is between Warsaw and Lakefield, south of the Sawer Creek Wetland.

Passerines and other birds and animals.

  • A Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew over my kayak as I began to paddle up the Indian River from Back Dam Park at Warsaw on September 9th. It called twice upon landing across the river.
  • This was the last date I saw the Great Egret that I had originally discovered there on August 5th.
  • Two Red Crossbills were also seen and heard a little way up the river on that day, and others were seen and/or heard several times over the course of the fall at Warsaw, at home, and spots around Stoney Lake, Northey’s Bay Road, and Nepthon. No real “flocks” as yet, but birds numbered from one to six individuals when encountered. Most recent were six at home on December 5th.
  • An American Pipit was skulking about in a pasture south of Long Lake, NW of Warsaw, on September 28th.
  • Pine Siskins have been occasional from early October to present. With the exception of 40+ birds seen near Warsaw on November 22nd, (and not unlike the crossbills that have been around), siskin numbers remain rather low.
  • On October 26th, at Nephton Ridge, I saw my last Monarch of the year. It was #532 for 2017, which is more than double my previous highest annual count since I began counting them seven years ago. Of the 532, 31 were observed as road fatalities.
  • Also on October 26th, I heard a Greater Yellowlegs call before dawn from the starry sky above at home, and another near Nephton Ridge later that morning.
  • One Tundra Swan with nine Canada Geese was seen flying overhead at home on October 27th, 28th and 30th. A lone Tundra Swan flew over the same location on November 2nd. I wondered if it was the one who had been flying with the nine geese?
  • On September 24th, I stepped out of dense cedars into a pasture and found myself very close to two Sandhill Cranes. They seemed at ease as long as I stayed in motion, just walking about as they were. Whenever I stopped or crouched, they moved away from me.

  • The loud calling of just over 300 Sandhill Cranes in two groups on Nov. 17th was heard as the birds were heading westward over my house. I photographed each entire flock at wide angle so I could later zoom the images on the computer and get an exact count. The first flock at 2:13pm numbered 173 birds and the second group four minutes later contained 128 for a combined total of 301 cranes. These birds were very likely the same, or associated with the large groups that Bill Buddle had reported at about 2:30pm the same day over Lakefield.

  • Ed Heuvel and I saw a much smaller flock of seven birds over his house between Cottesloe and Norwood on Nov. 23rd.
  • No doubt due to the warmth of early December, two Eastern Chipmunks were seen running across Round Lake Road north of Havelock on December 4th. They had all but disappeared not too long ago, and I’ve now seen five back out just this month.
  • Another warm weather sighting was of a Leopard Frog hopping across the yard at home on December 5th. I took some photos, and half an hour later, it was nowhere to be found.

  • On December 8th 2017, Ed Heuvel reported a road-killed Virginia Opossum he had just seen along Hwy 7 south of Sherbrooke Street.

   Raptors of interest

  • On September 11th, an immature Peregrine appeared amidst twenty-four kettling Turkey Vultures NW of Warsaw. The falcon harassed a couple of the vultures before peeling off on its own, heading SW.

  • As is my habit if I am out in the yard after dark during the fall or winter, I called for owls. From about the 24th of September until about the 3rd of November, Saw-whet Owls move about during their annual fall migration. The first that responded to my calls this year was a single bird on September 29th. On October 18th, however, no less than four of the little owls showed up inside of about a minute of my first attempt at calling. One was in the spruces to the east of the yard, while the other three were surrounding me, within the small grove of apple trees where I stood. With the three of them looking at each other more than at me, I found it easy to take some photos of the two that were closest to me, (about two metres away).
  • Dates later than the average “end date” of their normal migration that I have called one in this year have been November 8th, 12th, 27th and December 1st. These likely represent one or more wintering birds, and all have been at home near Warsaw.

  • Ed Heuvel flushed a Short-eared Owl from the ground on the morning of Oct. 17th on his 40 acre property NW of Norwood while out for a walk with his dog. Ed has turned what was once a sloping old field into a thriving tallgrass prairie, having seeded it with many native prairie plant species. I thought it quite fitting for such a bird to turn up in this “new” prairie grassland habitat. Good one, Ed!!
  • Paddling up the Indian River from Back Dam again on October 21st, Angela and I saw a few good raptors during our time on the water. First was an immature Northern Goshawk flying overhead, and then, about two minutes later, an immature Cooper’s Hawk following almost the exact same “path”. A while later, paddling back downstream, Angela spotted an adult male Merlin as it perched in the dead top branches of a spruce. Driving back through Warsaw, a Red-tailed Hawk soared low over the village. We headed up Payne’s Line towards home and spotted the first Golden Eagle of the season (a sub-adult bird) slowly soaring not far from the large metal tower there. We took a few photos and headed home. The next day, I saw another (immature this time) Golden Eagle fly over, east to west, from the yard at home.

  • I was accompanied by three friends, (Drew Monkman, Martin Parker, and Ed Heuvel) on Oct. 26th for a few hours of raptor watching in the Nephton Ridge/Kosh Lake area at the east end of County Road #6. My one intent for the day was to point out to Drew, his first “Ontario” Golden Eagle. Well, unless the “eagle sp.” we saw that morning was a Golden, we did not see one. However, we were treated to 8 Bald Eagles which, apart from one 4th winter bird, all were adults. At one point, four adult Balds soared together directly overhead. A while later, two adults came along together, and after that, another by itself. Since there was such a lack of immature eagles, and the fact that four adults had come from different directions, soared a while together, and then dispersed somewhat northward… we questioned how many of them might have actually even been migrants, or perhaps local breeding birds. Additional raptors for the day were five Red-tailed Hawks, and two (one adult and one immature) Red-shouldered Hawks.

  • Just after 11:00am on Nov. 11th a group of large birds caught my eye to the north of the house. On closer inspection, I could see three Common Ravens dive-bombing an immature Golden Eagle. I watched them for several minutes before the ravens went east and the eagle, west.

  • On October 29th a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk was seen perched in a tree along County Rd #6 just west of Camp Line. It was the first of the season for me, and since, I’ve seen another eight Rough-legs between Norwood and Lakefield. Of the nine seen so far, three have been dark morph birds.
  • Having had seen no immature Bald Eagles during the autumn season as yet, on the morning of Nov. 17th, two 1st winter birds, and then a 2nd winter bird appeared soaring over my yard in a ten-minute period. They all seemed to come from the west, and once a considerable altitude was reached, they each headed off in completely different directions. I suspect that they had all spent some time feeding together, and were now dispersing. It was only two days after the annual rifle deer hunt had ended, and I wondered if they had just dined on the gut pile of a deer left somewhere by hunters.
  • The great backyard birding continued on November 26th, as no sooner had I sat in the yard with my morning coffee, an immature Northern Goshawk flew from east to west. If that wasn’t enough, my fourth Golden Eagle of the season (an adult) appeared over the forest to the east, soared two circles, and headed back east just after noon.
  • Nov. 29th an adult rufous morph Red-tailed Hawk soared over the yard. I had to run in and get the scope as it looked not like a typical Red-tail. The rusty-red undersides and the dark brown back were easily seen with the optics. It had been a long time since I’ve seen this variety of the species.
  • On the night of December 01 – 02, after calling at home for Screech, Saw-whet, and Boreal Owls, (the latter, because you never know if you don’t try), I finally stirred an Eastern Screech Owl who called for quite a while afterwards. And briefly, a Northern Saw-whet Owl answered my calls with the “tew, tew, tew” call. About an hour later, just after mid-night, while bringing in some firewood, the pair of Northern Barred Owls that live on the property year-round, began calling with hoots which soon morphed into their monkey-like “whacka, whacka, whacka” calls. Not too bad for spending a little time in the yard after dark!!
  • Just after 2:00pm on December 6th, I saw a large, pale bird far out to the east, soaring in wide circles. It appeared gull-like as it moved quite fast in the strong winds. I got the scope on it just before it passed in behind the treetops and out of my view. Revealed by the scope was the darkish under-body contrasting with entirely white undersides of the wings of an immature Snowy Owl. Unless my memory is misfiring, this would be the first of this species I have seen this century. If that wasn’t enough stimulation for one day, a little over an hour later, I saw a second Snowy for the day as it flew into strong south winds at 3:15pm. The latter bird was decidedly whiter than the first, with very few dark markings. The first bird simply would not show up in the photos I took, (too far), and the camera was nowhere near me as I watched the second owl sail past much closer. Both were heading in a north-to-south direction, lending a little support to the idea that they might have been in migration at the time.
  • On December 7th while I still lay in bed, through the window next to me, I spotted a 1st winter Bald Eagle fly past over the trees to the east. It soared briefly and then continued on in a SE direction.
  • While moving the fallen foliage around with the leaf blower on December 8th at home, I looked up, (as I find I constantly am doing these days) and saw two large, dark birds very high almost straight above me. Before I was able to grab the scope, I could see that they were eagles. Once in focus, the white bases of tails and primaries with all other plumage completely dark, identified them both as 1st winter Golden Eagles. A strong and steady SW wind pushed them NW of me. They were only about ten wingspans (about 20 m) apart and one was just a little ahead of the other. They slowed briefly once or twice, but never paused to soar while I had them in view.

1st winter Golden Eagle – USFWS

Tim Dyson – Warsaw

Dec 032017
 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 09, 2017 12:01 by Ben Taylor
– Charlotte and Rubidge, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40994101
– Comments: “Seen flying east along Charlotte Street. Stocky bird with steady, powerful wingbeats.”

Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) (1)
– Reported Dec 09, 2017 08:48 by Matthew Tobey
– Otonabee River b/w Peterborough and Lakefield, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Hunting on far shore north of lock 24.”

Northern Shrike – Tom Northey

(Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 09, 2017 10:20 by Ian Sturdee
– Cordova Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “On rock island in middle of lake. Probable young female female- heavily patterned. ”

Snowy Owl – Wendy Leszkowicz

Snowy Owl: I photographed this Snowy Owl on December 4 near Colborne. The bird was just south of the 401 on County Road 25, just past Purdy Corners.  Jeff Keller

Snowy Owl – Colborne – Dec. 4, 2017 – Jeff Keller

 

Northern Goshawk (American) (Accipiter gentilis atricapillus/laingi) (1)
– Reported Dec 06, 2017 11:10 by Luke Berg
– Lansdowne St W at The Parkway, Peterborough CA-ON , Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “First winter bird flying south over Lansdowne, briefly pursuing a flock of pigeons. ”

Northern Goshawk – Wikimedia

Red-bellied Woodpecker:  This red-bellied has been visiting my office window feeder at Camp Kawartha on Clear Lake. Jacob Rodenburg

Red-bellied Woodpecker at Camp Kawartha – December 4, 2017 – Jacob Rodenburg

Snowy Owl:  We sighted and photographed this Snowy Owl this morning, Dec. 3 at 8:30 AM on Clear Lake.  John McGregor

Dec 022017
 

 

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 02, 2017 09:40 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–E side Airport Rd opposite Peterborough Municipal Airport, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “perched atop ventilation ducts on roof of easternmost blue building (Flying Colours Corp) on N side airport. Record shot from 500 m to S.”

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 01, 2017 07:25 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Truthfully in Kawartha Lakes…Sitting on green marker buoy across lake directly out from launch. Seen well through scope in good viewing conditions with limited haze. Some markings on breast, clean white head.”

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1) Yesterday afternoon, November 30, I was lucky enough to have a Snowy Owl perch on top of my house around noon. I only noticed when I heard the crows alarm-calling. I live right on George Street in Peterborough and added the observation to eBird if you’re interested in exactly where he was. He was beautiful and rested there for about 20 minutes. It was a first for me and a very timely sighting given your article!   Jenn Baici

 

Snowy Owl (Karin Laine)

Snowy Owl (Nima Taghaboni)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redhead (Aythya americana) (1)
– Reported Dec 02, 2017 11:13 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map:
– Checklist:
– Comments: “male, in with HOME in mixed flock to W of cormorant colony on island”

male Redhead – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great morning of birding in Peterborough and southern Peterborough County

The highlight of our birding outing this morning, November 29, were the waterfowl at Pengelley Landing on Rice Lake, located at the bottom of Scriven Road. They included 400 Common Mergansers, 200 Hooded Mergansers, 500 Canada Geese and 1 Common Loon. We also saw a Rough-legged Hawk on Country Road 2, just east of Bailieboro. In Peterborough, we found 2 American Coots by the Silver Bean Cafe at Millenium Park, 2 Pied-billed Grebes at the T-wharf on Little Lake, 64 American Goldfinch and 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet at Little Lake Cemetery and 24 American Robins at GreenUP Ecology Park.  The goldfinch were eating seeds from the abundant cones on the Eastern White Cedar. The robins were feeding on European Buckthorn berries.

Drew Monkman, Martin Parker and Brian Wales

Common Merganser (female), Wikimedia

Common Merganser male – Wikimedia

male Hooded Merganser – Peter Beales

Pied-billed Grebe – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rough-legged Hawk (Karl Egressy)

American Coot (Karl Egressy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Nov 25, 2017 08:01 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Yellow rump, faint yellow on sides, white chin/throat. Feeding along waters edge near railway bridge. Calling frequently. ”

Yellow-rumped Warbler at feeder – Nov. 28, 2014 Franmor Dr. Ptbo – Sue Prentice

Cackling Goose (Richardson’s) (Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii) (1)
– Reported Nov 26, 2017 13:46 by Martin Parker
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “With large Canada Goose flock near shore on Rice Lake.”

Cackling Goose (foreground) – Brendan Boyd

Nov 302017
 

I thought you might be interested in loon observations which were recorded on Jack’s Lake during the 2017 season.  The results are based on  four lake-wide surveys as well as numerous other random observations. A total of 37 volunteers participated in the 2017 program.  Jack’s Lake Association volunteers have participated in the Canada Lakes Loon Survey since its inception in 1982. Despite high water levels during the nesting period, we believe that 5-6 loon pairs nested successfully and produced a total of 8 young-of-the-year.  As of a week ago, several large juveniles were still present on the lake. Click here to read the full report.  Steve Kerr

Common loon chick-sept-20-2016-carl-welbourne

Nesting loon on Otonabee River – May 31, 2016 – Jacob Rodenburg

 

Nov 282017
 

I am a PhD student at Trent University studying wild turkey populations in the Peterborough area. More specifically, I study wild turkey social structure and behaviour. Part of my research is to investigate the usefulness of platforms such as eBird and iNaturalist in estimating wild turkey population size.

I am running a pilot project this winter in Peterborough County and am requesting that folks submit wild turkey sightings by either adding observations to eBird or by submitting photos of any flocks seen to the Peterborough Wild Turkey Count project on iNaturalist (you’ll need to join the project first). You can add observations on your computer by following either of the links below, or through the eBird or iNaturalist mobile apps.

eBird: http://ebird.org/

iNaturalist: https://www. inaturalist.org/projects/peterborough-wild-turkey-count

On either platform, the most important information to include is a) where you saw the wild turkey(s), and b) how many wild turkeys you saw. We are especially interested in observations submitted between December 1st, 2017 and March 31st, 2018. Eventually, I hope to expand this project and explore whether citizen science platforms can be applied to estimate wild turkey population size for larger areas, such as province of Ontario – so stay tuned! Thank you in advance for any and all wild turkey observations you’re able to contribute this winter. I am hoping to gather as many observations as possible, so please spread the word!

Happy sighting!

Jenn Baici   jenniferbaici@trentu.ca

Wild Turkeys – Wasyl Bakowsky

Nov 202017
 

Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) (1)
– Reported Nov 19, 2017 12:42 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “basic adult, around 400-500 m directly S of landing”

Red-necked Grebe. The grebe in the lower right is in winter plumage.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) (3)
– Reported Nov 19, 2017 12:42 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.1289379,-78.3067542&ll=44.1289379,-78.3067542
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40598643

Horned Grebe in winter plumage – Wikimedia

Nov 182017
 

The news about the American Chestnut trees that I have been bringing along up near Kinmount for the last 15 years is not good, I’m afraid. First: None of the nuts I planted last Fall sprouted so I had no new seedlings to plant this year. Second: I think because we had such a cold and wet Spring, only one of my three trees produced blossoms. Being dioecious (separate male and female trees), this meant there was virtually no hope of producing viable nuts this Summer, unless there are surviving American Chestnut trees nearby. Third: I hope it was due to a late frost but the new growth of leaves on all three of my trees exhibited noticeable deformation, although the remainder of the trees remained healthy-looking until they dropped their leaves. I’m hopeful that this isn’t a symptom of that devastating blight.
I am happy to report though that we saw bats at our cabin regularly through the Summer. I would say that their numbers are coming back up there. We also saw quite a few Monarch butterflies; more than in the past several Summers. We have never seen so many Moose as this summer: Two siblings (I presume) together on a game camera in the Spring, one big bull Moose in September and another, different bull Moose just a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, only two days after we saw the first bull Moose in our meadow, huge rack and all, my wife had a collision with him on Crystal Lake Road. Miraculously, and thankfully, she was completely unhurt, although the car was extensively damaged. The only other bit of good news coming from that is that the Moose ran off into the woods, apparently unhurt. The Moose we caught on camera a couple of weeks ago was younger, with a smaller rack and he appeared healthy.
We saw a Quail crossing Fire Route 397, and I believe they are considered endangered in Ontario now. For the first time ever we captured a Pine Marten (I believe) on a game camera. We also caught many does, a few bucks, several foxes, turkeys, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, coyotes/wolves/coywolves . . . and a hunter trespassing on our property, shotgun in hand, who stole one of our game cameras. As always, notifying the police is a waste of time. He better not have shot one of our quail, or anything else for that matter.

Michael Doran, Peterborough

Pine Marten – Gord Belyea

American Chestnut leaves and nuts (Wikimedia)

Nov 142017
 

I sent you a note about this time last year about a small flock of Sandhill Cranes passing over Lakefield. Well, this year they have been joined by some friends. At about 2:30 this afternoon, November 17, about 4 flocks of the size of the group in the picture passed over Lakefield, some calling with the deep rolling kr-r-r-oo as described in an old Peterson guide book. One big flock circled about for awhile south of us – probably up over the Lakefield quarry – until it reformed into two or three smaller flocks and then they followed a couple of groups that passed about 10 minutes earlier and seemed to be heading west to northwest. There were probably over 200 birds in total…. a wonderful sight.  Bill Buddle

Sandhill Cranes – November 17, 2017 – Lakefield – Bill Buddle

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Nov 14, 2017 09:58 by Travis Cameron
– Lakefield (General), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Flying west over County Road 29 ~250m south of Maples Corners.”

An immature Snowy Owl in flight – probably a female (Karl Egressy)

 

We are witnessing scores of Mourning Doves this fall here near Bailieboro, ON. We’re in the country, so we’re used to these birds, but this is unbelievable. They are in at least two flocks. I counted 30 in one. And they eat berries; just ask my car. L. Harries

Mourning Dove – Karl Egressy

 

Here’s a picture of three Trumpeter Swans (two adults and one juvenile) that I photographed on Upper Buckhorn Lake on Nov. 12, 2017.  Derry Fairweather

Trumpeter Swans – November 12, 2017 – Buckhorn Lake – Derry Fairweather

 

I had a Yellow-rumped Warbler at my feeder yesterday, November 12. Hopefully , the seeds will sustain/attract it until December 1st for the official winter bird list! So far, the resident Red-bellied Woodpecker has ignored the suet and chooses the feeder seeds every time. It is certainly a different behaviour for a woodpecker. Michael Gillespie, Keene

Yellow-rumped Warbler at feeder – Nov. 28, 2014 Franmor Dr. Ptbo – Sue Prentice

 

I found this lovely Witch Hazel blooming in a wild area of Ecology Park today, November 12. It could so easily be overlooked! I read that they bloom at this time of year in order to take advantage of the lack of competition for the few flies and moths that are still active. We did see both that day.   Sue Paradisis

Witch Hazel 2 – Ecology Park – Nov. 13, 2017 – Sue Paradisis

 

 

Witch Hazel – Ecology Park – Nov. 13, 2017 – Sue Paradisis

 

 

 

Nov 122017
 

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) (1)
– Reported Nov 11, 2017 10:04 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “male”

American Wigeon (Mareca americana) (1)
– Reported Nov 11, 2017 10:04 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
– Comments: “male”

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) (1)
– Reported Nov 12, 2017 09:11 by Matthew Garvin
– South Chemong Lake off Arnott Rd., Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female/immature type. Diving near shore. Great looks. Large bulky beak, white crescent at base of beak and white spot rear of eye. No white wing patches.”

Male and female Surf Scoter – Omar Runolfsson

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (4)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 15:57 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female type. All black with pale cheeks and stubby bills. swimming with GRSC”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (1)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 14:45 by John Bick
– Sandy Point Bay, Pigeon Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.4989386,-78.4914737&ll=44.4989386,-78.4914737
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40328843
– Comments: “Gray coloured large grebe with long neck and long bill, pale on side of face. Diving in grebe-fashion.”

Red-necked Grebe on Otonabee – Tom Northey

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (3)
– Reported Nov 06, 2017 07:22 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Snow Bunting (photo by Serena Formenti)

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (11)
– Reported Nov 05, 2017 14:45 by John Bick
– Sandy Point Bay, Pigeon Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Feeding on seeds on ground near dock at Pigeon Lake Campers’ Resort. Took flight often showing white wing patches. All in winter plumage with rusty brown heads and eye patches, streaked backs.”

Snow Bunting (from Crossley ID Guide)

Nov 122017
 

Date: Sunday, 12 Nov 2017 11:47:24 -0500
From: Ron Tozer  rtozer@vianet.ca
To: ontbirds  birdalert@ontbirds.ca
Subject: [Ontbirds] Algonquin Park Birding Report: early November

Click here to visit up-to-date Ontbirds Archive

As of today, November 12, there is a heavy covering of snow on the ground and a few shallow ponds and small lakes along the Highway 60 Corridor are ice-covered. However, it is still fall even if it felt like winter on a couple of minus 15-degree mornings this week. There were fresh Bear tracks in the snow on the Visitor Centre parking lot yesterday, for example. Recent locations for observations of the boreal specialties are as follows:

Spruce Grouse: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Black-backed Woodpecker: Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Gray Jay: Opeongo Road, Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

Boreal Chickadee: Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed section

The abundant cones on most conifer species in Algonquin appear to have been significantly affected by the sustained and unprecedented period of hot days in the latter half of September. The cones opened and limited inspection suggests that many (most?) of the seeds may have been released. It remains to be seen how this will affect finch numbers this winter.

There have been recent observations of nearly all of the expected finches, but in low numbers.

Pine Grosbeak: sightings of single birds on November 4 and 11.

Purple Finch: regular in low numbers.

Red Crossbill: regular in low numbers; four seen almost daily this week at the Visitor Centre. Recordings of larger-billed Type 1 and smaller-billed Type 3 confirmed by Matt Young (Cornell) recently.

White-winged Crossbill: low numbers present, but reported less frequently than Red Crossbill.

Common Redpoll: observations of one to four birds on October 20 and 21 but no reports since.

Pine Siskin: low numbers but likely the most numerous finch currently; 40 at Visitor Centre on November 8.

American Goldfinch: regular in low numbers; 17 at Visitor Centre on November 10.

Evening Grosbeak: one to three at Visitor Centre this week.

Good birding.

Ron Tozer, Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired), Dwight, ON

DIRECTIONS:

Gray Jay -Tom Northey Algonquin Park – March 2014

Algonquin Provincial Park is 2.5 hours north of Peterborough via Highways 28, 62, 127 and 60. Kilometre markers along Highway 60 in the Park go from the West Gate (km 0) to near the East Gate (km 56). The Visitor Centre exhibits, bookstore and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm in winter. The Visitor Centre is also open on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm with limited services, including self-serve hot and cold beverages plus snacks available in the restaurant. Get your park permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding locations mentioned here) at the East Gate or the West Gate. Locations are also described here.

Displaying Spruce Grouse – Tom Northey

Pine Grosbeak – Wikimedia

Nov 022017
 

Red-shouldered Hawk (lineatus Group) (Buteo lineatus [lineatus Group]) (1)
– Reported Nov 04, 2017 10:32 by Luke Berg
– Luke’s Yard, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40302920
– Comments: “Adult at 1453h. ”

Red-shouldered Hawk (Brendan Boyd)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Nov 02, 2017 09:20 by Iain Rayner
– PTBO – Robinson Place, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40260768

Peregrine Falcon (Wikimedia photo)

Oct 232017
 

 

 October 28 – For the second time this week, a Cooper’s Hawk was in my yard today. I knew it was around because a couple of dozen Mourning Doves flew out of the spruce tree they roost in.  Sue Paradisis

Cooper’s Hawk on Rock Pigeon – Helen Nicolaides Keller

 

 Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (2)
– Reported Oct 28, 2017 11:59 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Dirtyish cheeks and neck, long bill”

Red-necked Grebe. The grebe in the lower right is in winter plumage. – Wikimedia

 
October 27 – I had four Red-shouldered Hawks here at home today, plus nine Red-tailed Hawks, and one  Sharp-shinned Hawk for my hours sitting out in between chopping wood. The Red-shouldered Hawks were three adults and one immature, and the Red-tailed Hawks were about half and half. The Sharp-shinned Hawk? Couldn’t tell – a bit too high. For a little while at least, it was hopping around the sky here!! No more Monarchs since #532 on October 26 at Nephton. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a November sighting, but if I am going to, I’ll bet it will be this year. This last week of October is certainly the best week of the year, not only to count Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles, but also Red-shouldered Hawks, as well. I am glad to be getting out and looking up.  Tim Dyson, Warsaw

Red-shouldered Hawk – Karl Egressy

 

Monarch – Saw a Monarch today, October 26, on Nephton Ridge, near Petroglyph Provincial Park. Was gliding southward about 50′ above ground despite temperature around 8C!  Drew Monkman

Monarch Butterfly – Terry Carpenter

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Oct 27, 2017 07:50 by Scott Gibson
– Downtown – MNR Building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Peregrine – often seen on MNR Bldg & sometimes clock tower in downtown Peterborough (Rick Stankiewicz)

Mallard: Here’s a photo of a leucistic (lacking normal pigment) Mallard photographed this summer near Whitaker Street, west of Armour Street North in Peterborough. The bird departed in early October. We nick-named the bird “Miss Vicky”!  Gord Young

Leucistic mallard – Whitaker Mills, Ptbo – summer 2017 – Gord Young

American Robin:  Watched a small flock today, October 23, feeding on abundant berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia) at Roper Park –  Drew Monkman

Robin feeding on E. Red Cedar berries at Roper Park 2017-10-23 – Drew Monkman

Berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar – Sept. 19, 2017 – PRHC – Drew Monkman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren:  Turned up at my feeder today, October 23.  Phil McKeating, Creekwood Drive, near Harper Park in Peterborough

 

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (2)
– Reported Oct 23, 2017 07:44 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female type. Black ducks with pale cheek”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia

 

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 10:45 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “calling (‘crick’) from high in Red Pine then in flight W over beaver pond; W side entrance loop road around 250 m N of locked gate at CR 56.”

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 08:25 by Brian Wales
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “white goose with clear grinning patch along beak”

SNGO – Rice L. – Oct. 18, 2014 -Ron Mackay

 

Oct. 22 – Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 07:06 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Yard – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Red Crossbill – male – Wikimedia

Oct 222017
 

Just had to share this with someone who would appreciate it! I live in Peterborough at 29 Weller Crescent. Today, October 22, at around 11:00 am, a Pileated Woodpecker landed on the chain link fence and ate the berries from the Virginia Creeper. I was able to watch him for a couple of minutes, and got to within about 20 feet. I was so struck by the perfect colour swatch on his head and the lines on his face. I don’t remember ever seeing one in the 22 years we have lived here. What a gift on a beautiful day! Now, back to cutting down the buckthorns in the woodsy back part of the yard!  Cathy Gogo

We always have Pileated Woodpeckers around our place on Buckhorn Lake. Usually they are on the cedar trees and all those trees are still standing with many holes in them. Tonight, October 6, they were on the maple trees. Curious as to why, but obviously they are finding insects. Wondering how healthy those trees are? Derry Fairweather, Buckhorn Lake
Note: I suspect there are carpenter ants in the maples. This doesn’t mean the trees are dying, however. D.M.

Pileated Woodpecker on maple – Oct. 2017 – Derry Fairweather

Oct 212017
 

Oct. 21 – Narrow-winged Tree Cricket – Rob Tonus found this very late tree cricket on the grass beside the Rotary-Greenway Trail, just south of Nichol’s Oval Park. Note the reddish cap. This species sings at only at night, producing a mellow trill of variable length (usually 2-10 seconds). It is reminiscent of an American Toad. Drew Monkman

Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus) 2 – Nichol’s Oval – Oct. 21, 2017 – D. Monkman

 

Oct 21 – Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 21, 2017 15:44 by Warren Dunlop
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “adult, white morph”

Snow Geese (Marcel Boulay)

 

October 20 – Monarch butterfly – I saw a very late Monarch today on County Road 16 at Edenderry Line. This is my latest date ever. There were also 10 Wild Turkeys in the same field.  Drew Monkman

Monarch on Boneset flowers – Drew Monkman

 

October 20 – Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) (1)
– Reported Oct 20, 2017 08:02 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Calling and then finaly seen moveing through hedgerow. Well seen from close distance. Black back head and tail, rusty sides. White patch on wing and white either side of tail”

Eastern Towhee – Karl Egressy

October 17 – Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1)
– Reported Oct 17, 2017 20:00 by Michael Mechan
– James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

October 15 – Just looked out the window and there were Chipping Sparrows everywhere. I was counting and at 18 when the White-throats came back again and I gave up. They are loving the spruce and birch seeds.    Sue Paradisis

Chipping Sparrow – Karl Egressy

 

 

October 14  – American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 17:23 by Amie MacDonald
– Peterborough–Loggerhead Marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (from The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds)

October 14 – Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) (3)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 09:23 by Chris Risley
– Trent University: N. end of DNA building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Lincoln’s Sparrow – Wikimedia

 

October 11 – Virginia Opossum

On or about this date, Hugh Kidd trapped and released a Virginia Opossum at the east end of the 7th Line of Selwyn, near the Otonabee River. Report via Leo Conlin

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

Oct 132017
 

11 October 2017 – Project FeederWatch celebrated its 30th anniversary last winter, thanks to dedicated participants who observe birds at their feeders. The information collected through this project over three decades allows scientists to measure important changes in North America’s winter bird populations over time. All are invited to join in this fun and easy activity, and help Project FeederWatch achieve even more!

Since Project FeederWatch began, more than 69,000 participants have counted more than 142 million birds and submitted over 2.5 million checklists. This wealth of information has allowed researchers at Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to track impacts of climate change on bird communities, incidence of disease in wild birds, bird population declines and expansions, and other significant topics. Nearly 30 scientific papers have been published using data from Project FeederWatch.

Project FeederWatch also provides learning opportunities and enjoyment to its community of volunteers. Catherine Swan of Brantford, ON, wrote: “I have been doing FeederWatch since it began and have enjoyed every year. My whole family is now hooked on identifying birds and counting them. Thanks for the fun!” If you have a bird feeder or yard that attracts birds, why not pursue an interest in these fascinating animals while contributing to a valuable North America-wide project?

Through an annual registration of $35, participants fund Project FeederWatch – it’s free for Bird Studies Canada members. Canadian participants receive a subscription to BSC’s magazine BirdWatch Canada, a poster of common feeder birds, a calendar, last season’s results, and access to online data tools. Bird Studies Canada and Cornell Lab of Ornithology also share expert advice to help participants identify, understand, and look after feeder birds.

To join, visit www.birdscanada.org/feederwatch or contact the Canadian coordinator at 1-888-448-2473 or pfw@birdscanada.org. In the United States, call 1-866-989-2473.

Armstrong Bird Food and Wild Birds Unlimited are national sponsors of Project FeederWatch in Canada. The partnerships aim to inspire more Canadians to discover the fun of FeederWatch and the importance of Citizen Science.

Project FeederWatch is a joint research and education project of Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Oct 122017
 

October 10: I had my first two Dark-eyed Juncos today. Sue Paradisis, Peterborough

Dark-eyed Junco by Marcel Boulay

October 9: Today there was a Peregrine at the Buckhorn Lock. I was travelling south when it flew over the bridge at handrail height and landed in a tree about ten feet away from the east (lower Buckhorn) side of the bridge. Have other people seen that one or do you think it was passing through?  David Beaucage Johnson, Curve Lake

Peregrine – Karl Egressy

October 6: I have been hearing this annoying screeching coming from my maple tree out front in the evening for the past few weeks. It started during a hot weather spell in mid-September, and hasn’t stopped since. It starts soon after the sun sets and lasts all night, until the break of dawn. I thought at first it was some kind of bird, but after doing some research, I found that it is, in fact, an insect: a Common True Katydid. Hard to believe a bug can make such a loud, annoying noise, but apparently katydids do. The odd thing is that we live much farther north than what I thought was the katydid’s usual range…we live on the outskirts of Ottawa, about 40km to the East. In any event, I have attached a sound clip I took this evening (be sure to turn up the volume, I didn’t have the record volume at maximum when I recorded the clip). Although it’s annoying, I feel a little sad for the poor thing. I do believe he may be calling for a mate, but I doubt he’ll find one this far from home. Lynne Laviolette-Snyder, Embrun, ON (near Ottawa)

Common True Katydid (Wikimedia)

October 8: I spotted a Blue-spotted Salamander on a piece of armour stone at the waters edge on the upper portion of Buckhorn Lake last night. The worm on the hook was not me trying to catch the salamander; it was for reference.  We were catching crayfish.  I saw the salamander at 10 pm last night. It was approximately 9″ in length with blue spots all over its body but mainly on the tail, feet and lower portion of body.  Shawn Filteau

Blue-spotted Salamander – Shawn Filteau

 

 

Oct 122017
 

Happy to report that between October 5th to 7th we were able to deliver twenty-three Snapping Turtle hatchlings to shallow muddy areas on our stretch of the Indian River. But the event was puzzling in a couple of ways.

Back on July 1st we witnessed an adult Snapping Turtle in our gravelled turning circle spend at least an hour, probably more, excavating a hole and laying her eggs. Although we couldn’t see the eggs from our vantage point in the house, we observed her finally swinging side to side, bracing herself using front feet and tail as she covered in the hole with her hind feet. We protected the site with chicken wire weighed down with stone on all sides, and so far this covered site shows no indication of disturbance or any natural breakout. However, on October 5th after spotting a number of hatchlings wandering around on the gravelled turning circle and driveway, we identified the source and it was one totally unknown to us: – a small hole about four inches wide, which was about 18 feet away from the protected area. It was from here that we could see hatchlings emerging.

All the hatchlings that we found had absorbed their sacs. Only one looked very poorly but after a while perked up while it was sitting in a shallow tray with some water. Apart from the twenty-three, there were another three we found that had been crushed by traffic on the road. We actually saw only six emerge from the nest over the three days, some with a bit of help, while most of the others were found wandering around and may have first emerged on October 4th when we were away for the day. Almost all of the latter were heading west up the gravelled surface towards the road, a distance about 320 feet, whereas the river is about 270 feet away on a downward slope in the opposite direction. If we hadn’t regularly monitored the drive with some help from interested neighbours, most of the hatchlings would probably have either been run over on the road or perished for lack of appropriate habitat.

This is not the first time that we have had hatchlings choosing to go westwards, away from the river, rather than heading east towards water. This is in stark contrast to our first encounter with hatchlings back in 2007, when we encountered seven young snappers on our property; all were heading east towards the river following a stone path alongside our house. Something appears wrong, but we don’t know what.

Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles 2 – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

Snapping turtles 3 – October 2017 – Peter & Stephenie Armstrong

 

Oct 062017
 

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) (1)
– Reported Oct 05, 2017 16:55 by Scott Gibson
– Fairbairn marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “continuing; hoping to get some pics today but much skulkier than on Monday; only catching few quick glimpses.”

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) (1)
– Reported Oct 05, 2017 09:45 by Dan Luckman
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Continuing bird”

NOTE: For details about identifying the Nelson’s Sparrow and hear its song, click HERE

Nelson’s Sparrow (photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren)

 

Oct 022017
 

I live in Northumberland County – Baltimore to be exact, 10 km north of Cobourg near the Balls Mills conservation area. We are surrounded by forest. Our own property is 3 acres of forest that backs on to Baltimore creek. Beyond that is a mix of forest, marsh and farm land. Anyway, Since July I have noticed that there are no more Red Squirrels around! There used to always be 3 or 4 hanging around, getting into my feeders and making a racket! It’s so quiet without them that it’s bothering me now. I’ve had one Gray Squirrel (black colour morph) come by a few times, and they are actually rare to see in this forest environment normally. What could account for their sudden disappearance? We’ve lived here 5 years now, and they’ve always been around. I’m assuming a predator of some kind might be present, but I expected the space to be re-populated rather quickly. I have a game camera set up on, and I’ve caught everything you can name – coyote, fox, raccoon, deer, etc. I even caught a blurry image of what I believe to be a Fisher.  In past years they would be busy gathering all the cones from the conifers, but this year the cones are all still there and it’s a bumper crop! Anyway, I was wondering if you might provide some insight or opinion?

Pierre Gilbert, Baltimore, ON

Note: Since Pierre wrote this (August 29), one Red Squirrel is now present. It may be that a predator such as a Barred Owl is responsible for the drop in squirrel numbers. That being said, small mammals like Red Squirrels and Eastern Cottontails go through population cycles in which abundance can vary dramatically. These are poorly understood as to cause.

Pierre also reports (October 1) that the usual forest birds that visit his feeders have completely disappeared. “Where I used to fill up the feeders daily and weekly, they now sit almost full for weeks on end. Usually in abundance, I almost never see chickadees (although I hear them around) or nuthatches. Could it be that there is such a good crop of natural food that they are simply not bothering with the feeders? The only frequent visitors I have are several woodpeckers (both small and large) that visit my suet feeder. Other then that, I’ve had almost no traffic.”

Red Squirrel – Terry Carpenter

 

Sep 302017
 

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (1)
– Reported Sep 29, 2017 07:56 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (8)
– Reported Sep 29, 2017 07:38 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (from The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds)

Sep 262017
 

I was walking in Burnham Woods on the evening of September 1 and came across these strange creatures all over a young beech sapling.  I could see them all rocking back and forth. Strangest sight. Sue Paradisis

Note: After a bit of research, I discovered they are a kind of woolly aphid called Beech Blight Aphids. Click here for more information. D.M.

Beech Blight Aphids – Sue Paradisis

Beech blight aphids 2 – Sue Paradisis JPG

Sep 262017
 

Over the past ten years, we’ve seen a marked decline in the number of Red Squirrels and a steady increase in the number of Gray Squirrels on our property. This year that imbalance may change. For the first time that we are aware, we have had two broods of Red Squirrels rather than just the one.

Back in May, an adult Red Squirrel was seen transferring her young family from a birth site in one tree to a nest cavity in our signature tall White Pine. The trunk separates into two part well above ground level, possibly providing a more commodious home. By May 21, five young were darting back and forth from the nest, exploring their immediate surroundings. It was most entertaining!

By the last week of May, only one youngster was still staying close by the nest cavity when an adult female Gray Squirrel took possession of the nest with five of her own family, chasing off the one remaining Red Squirrel. Again we were entertained by the little ones running about the tree branches and eventually out exploring the surrounding landscape.

On September 6, a Red Squirrel with five young took possession of the same nest cavity. She spent some time gathering new nest material to refurbish the bedding, then possibly tired and hungry after her exertions, took a break to consume fallen sunflower seeds below a nearby bird feeder. (In all three cases the adult female had teats visible on her underside.)

For the third time, we enjoyed the antics of little ones chasing each other about the tree until they too abandoned the nest to make their own way in the world. On September 7, I was able to capture a few photos of the youngsters in the tree and close up at the cavity entrance.

Here’s hoping the survival rate is good.

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Red Squirrel in White Pine – Stephenie Armstrong

Young Red Squirrel at nest cavity in White Pine  – Stephenie Armstrong

Young Red Squirrel emerging from nest cavity – Stephenie Armstrong

Sep 262017
 

On September 7, a Black Swallowtail caterpillar, was making its way up our gravelled drive. I moved it to a safer location.

On September 9 and 10, we had another new caterpillar in our front garden. It is a fifth instar larval stage of the Hermit Sphinx moth (lintneria eremitus).  It was head down feasting on the stem of an Oregano plant.  I fear our fiddling around to get some pictures proved something of an interruption for a while, but was still happily munching along later in the morning, soon to be changing into its pupal stage I expect.

On September 13, a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was feeding on a cherry tree.

On September 18, we saw about 20 Broad-winged Hawks passing over our property in the morning.  Wonderful to see.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar – Stephenie Armstrong

 

Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Peter Armstrong

 

Broad-winged Hawk – Wikimedia

 

Hermit sphinx – Peter Armstrong

 

Hermit sphinx – top view – Peter Armstrong

 

Sep 262017
 

Meredith Carter and our planting crew found this yellowish caterpillar in Lakefield this Saturday during the TD Tree Planting event. I found a similar looking caterpillar – but more light green and pink – in late August up north in Dorset. Any idea what they are?  Erin McGauley

Note: I’m not sure of the species Meredith found, but I believe your caterpillar is a Waved Sphinx. I’ll update this posting if I find out anything more.

Unidentified caterpillar – Lakefield – Sept. 22, 2017 – Meredith Carter

Waved Sphinx caterpillar – Dorset, ON – Erin McGauley

Sep 262017
 

Last February, I photographed this Barred Owl, which was perched on my phone cable – 20′ from the front of the house, in Selwyn Township, just south of Lakefield. About 30′ to each side of him/her were my 2 bird feeders – and not a small bird in sight! It was early evening, and the owl was not one bit bothered that I was standing in the front window clicking away just to get its portrait! Ever optimistic, it stayed around for about 20 minutes. I was absolutely delighted to have it visit.

Also, the owl was heard calling out about 2 or 3 AM one night just last week. Perhaps my bird feeders will get another visit from it soon! Looking forward to fall migration as I am sure you are.

Lynda Gadd

Barred Owl – Feb. 2017 – Selwyn Township – Lynda Gadd

Sep 262017
 

Over the last two weeks, we tagged and released all of the Monarchs we raised in the classroom.  I’m also sending along two photos I took of a Giant Swallowtail at Elmhirst Resort on Rice Lake this past weekend.   Stephanie Benn

Giant Swallowtail – Elmhirst Lodge – Sept. 24, 2017 – Stephanie Benn

Giant Swallowtail 2 – Elmhirst Lodge – Sept. 24, 2017 – Stephanie Benn