Wednesday 29 March 2017

Odds and ends from this winter

As we are finally through winter with new spring migrants appearing each and every day, I thought I would post several random photos I took in the past two months.

Fish Crows have once again taken up residence in Port Dalhousie which is along Lake Ontario in the west part of St. Catharines. I will be checking this spot semi-regularly this spring in hopes of finding a nest! I aloso had an exciting find on March 28, as a Fish Crow decided to spend about 15 minutes in the vicinity of my yard and my neighbours' yards.

Fish Crow - Port Dalhousie, Niagara Region

Back in January, I finally saw my first Mudpuppy in Ontario after Dan and Garth Riley discovered a location for this species near Thorold, Ontario. This was not a species I had expected to see so close to home! The remaining Ontario herps that I have yet to see include Wood Turtle, Northern Dusky Salamander and Mountain Dusky Salamander. The latter two species' ranges in Ontario are limited to a few small seeps in the Niagara gorge; hopefully I will connect with at least Northern Dusky Salamander this spring as it is supposedly a little more widespread than Mountain Dusky Salamander.

Mudpuppy - Thorold, Niagara Region

I finally snapped my first acceptable photos of Rock Pigeon in Ontario the other day...exciting, I know...

Rock Pigeon - Port Dalhousie, Niagara Region

While we are on the theme of non-native species, here is a European Starling. It is a species that is surprisingly wary and tough to approach closely for photos.

European Starling - above Niagara Falls, Niagara Region

In January, Laura and I visited Dan Riley and his girlfriend Nikki for a weekend north of Lindsay, Ontario. Laura's keen eyes spotted this Barred Owl while we were out for a hike one afternoon.

Barred Owl - Ken Reid Conservation Area, City of Kawartha Lakes

American Kestrels is a beautiful species that I don't appreciate as much as I should. This one was hunting from a roadside hydro wire.

American Kestrel - Snug Harbour, City of Kawartha Lakes

A late winter snowstorm a few weeks ago dumped 40+ cm of snow on us here in Niagara Falls. Hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and American Robins were swarming the feeders and open water at Dufferin Islands the following day.

American Robin - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

Red-winged Blackbird - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

Black-capped Chickadee - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

The female Pine Warbler successfully overwintered at Dufferin Islands, though I have not seen the male in a number of weeks.
Pine Warbler - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

Eastern Gray Squirrels don't get much love, but they certainly have a lot of character.

Eastern Gray Squirrel - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

This Ring-billed Gull was one of thousands that arrived in southern Ontario in late February; one of the earliest migrants that we see in the province. It was a little entertaining watching it struggle to choke down this fish!

Ring-billed Gull - Dufferin Islands, Niagara Region

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