July 22, 2014


Tasting his world.

This fox snake was about 5 feet, 175cm long.

It was captured, weighed, tagged and released in the same area all within a few hours.
Unfortunately they are a threatened species in our area.

Pantherophis gloydi

 Eastern Fox Snakes have a reddish head and a yellowish-brown body with dark blotches down the back and a row of smaller blotches along each side.
Fox snakes are good swimmers, and they have been recorded swimming over two kilometres between islands.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

July 21, 2014

We have a lot of bluejays around right now as the young have fledged and are coming into our feeders.

Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period.

The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

July 20, 2014



When you were a kid could you jump over two?

Based on the spots I think they are leopard frogs.

Remember, never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

July 17, 2014



This common grackle took a break to come to the pond for a quick drink.
Much smaller than the Great Tailed Grackle I posted a few days back, this is a common summer bird around the Great Lakes.

Quiscalus quiscula

Grackles have a hard keel on the inside of the upper mandible that they use for sawing open acorns. Typically they score the outside of the narrow end, then bite the acorn open.

The oldest recorded Common Grackle was 22 years 11 months old.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

July 16, 2014


A black winged red bird.

As compared to a red winged black bird.

We had scarlet tanagers passing through earlier in the spring and, as usual I was captivated by their intense colour.
This is a bird that should make you do a double take.

Piranga olivacea

On the wintering grounds in South America the Scarlet Tanager joins mixed species foraging flocks with flycatchers, antbirds, woodcreepers, and resident tropical tanagers.

The female Scarlet Tanager sings a song similar to the male's, but softer, shorter, and less harsh. She sings in answer to the male's song and while she is gathering nesting material.

source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

July 15, 2014


Black headed, red breasted American Thrush

Young robins can be confusing if only for a minute or two.

This one doesn't have the typical black head and red breast of an adult.
It has a disk like patch on its cheek reminiscent of several other thrushes.
Robins, like some other birds have regional variations of songs.
We once followed an odd looking bird with a some what familiar song for 30 minutes in South Carolina.
It turned out to a robin.
Well a birder can't follow a robin for 30 minutes trying to identify it so it became a black headed, red breasted American thrush

Turdus migratorius

Robins eat a lot of fruit in fall and winter. When they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they sometimes become intoxicated.

The oldest recorded American Robin was 13 years and 11 months old.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

July 14, 2014


A Game of Stones

I’m not sure if this young Baltimore Oriole was looking for something to eat when it started picking up this stone.
It picked it up and dropped it three times that I saw.

 Then it very deliberately flipped it with its bill into the shallow water of the pond.

Icterus galbula

Smaller and more slender than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized, sturdy-bodied songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Look for their long, thick-based, pointed bills, a hallmark of the blackbird family they belong to.

Baltimore Orioles got their name from their bold orange-and-black plumage: they sport the same colours as the heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family (who also gave their name to Maryland’s largest city).

Baltimore Orioles sometimes use their slender beaks to feed in an unusual way, called “gaping”: they stab the closed bill into soft fruits, then open their mouths to cut a juicy swath from which they drink with their brushy-tipped tongues.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?