October 20, 2014


A surprise visitor.

I saw an animal that I thought was a squirrel near our small pond but when I looked closely I realized it was a mink.
We have had them in the yard before but not hunting in the pond.
It dove into the pond which is not much bigger than the mink. It came out with a frog which it left on the grass. It went back several more times and caught more frogs.
I went outside to get better photos and it seemed to scent me and started taking his prizes away.

Neovison vison

Minks are a voracious predator, and they eat a wide variety of prey and will store any surplus to eat later.

source -arkive.org

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October 19, 2014


Black-necked stilt.

We saw this long legged fellow in Texas a few years ago.
We had one as a rare visitor in December on the St. Clair River about 6 years ago, which is well out of its normaal range.
The St. Clair is part of the Great Lakes system in north America.

Himantopus mexicanus

Five species of rather similar-looking stilts are recognized in the genus Himantopus. They have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos.

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October 16, 2014


Where have all the peanuts gone

Long time passing
Where have all the peanuts gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the peanuts gone?
Young chipmunks have eaten them everyone
Oh, when will thye ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Apologies to Peter,Paul and Mary who recorded the real song.

He seems to be telling us that the peanut feeder is empty and his cheeks are empty as well.

Master peanut theifs one and all.

Tamius striatus
Average life span - Often less than 1 year, but can reach 5 years.
Their front feet have four toes and the back ones have five toes.

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October 15, 2014


Family bath time.

We have large numbers of chipping sparrows around right now. A group came in to the pond for to bathe.
The one on the right is an immature so he looks a little different.
The pond brings in as many if not more birds than the feeders do.

Spizella passerina
The early naturalists had a gift for description you just don’t see anymore. In 1929, Edward Forbush called the Chipping Sparrow “the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

The oldest known Chipping Sparrow was 11 years, 10 months old

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October 14, 2014


Oh, I'm just hangin' around. How about you?

I really like the way white breasted nuthatches hang upside down and look at the world.

They are regular vistors to the yard and eat the suet, peanuts and sunflower seed.

Sitta carolinensis
A common feeder bird with clean black, gray, and white markings, White-breasted Nuthatches are active, agile little birds with an appetite for insects and large, meaty seeds. They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside. White-breasted Nuthatches may be small but their voices are loud, and often their insistent nasal yammering will lead you right to them.

The oldest known White-breasted Nuthatch was 9 years 10 months old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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October 13, 2014


...and that's why they call it a white-throated sparrow.

Finally a name that makes sense.
I suppose it could be called the yellow eye-browed sparrow or the sparrow with the white stripes on its head but they went for the obvious.
Besides there is already a white-crowned sparrow and who talks about eyebrows.

Zonotrichia albicollis

Crisp facial markings make the White-throated Sparrow an attractive bird as well as a hopping, flying anatomy lesson. There’s the black eyestripe, the white crown and supercilium, the yellow lores, the white throat bordered by a black whisker, or malar stripe.
The oldest recorded White-throated Sparrow was 9 years 8 months old.

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October 12, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving

To all my non Canadian friends it is Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. The traditional meal is turkey with all the fixings which vary by family.
Hope everyone has a great day and lots to be thankful for.

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