Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hendrie Valley Marsh, RBG, Burlington, ON - February 19, 2011

I was supposed to meet Dave (the gentlemen I met at Dufferin Islands Park) for a Saturday morning at Hendrie Valley Marsh at Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, but the winds were very high, so he thought better of it.  I ended up still going and glad I did - the valley was rather calm, and I ended up seeing lots of different birds.  My first birding on my own and had a lot of fun.

"The Lady"   Female Cardinal
"Close-up"  Male Cardinal

White Breasted Nuthatch

"Saving for Another Day" - White Breasted Nuthatch
"Just Going Down the Hatch" - White Breasted Nutchatch

"Keepin' Warm on a Cold Day" - Blue Jay

Male Downy Wood Pecker
Woodpeckers are a marvelously designed bird.  In order to survive the brutal onslaught on their brains (roughly 1000 times the force of gravity), a woodpecker has a number of things which protects the pursuit of a bug from killing them:
 - They have a long tongue which actually curls up behind and around their brain, acting partially as a cushion.
- They have spongy bones in their head to help absorb the impact
- They have a sponge-like absorber between their beak and their skull to reduce the impact.
- They have muscles which contract to protect the brain while they are pecking.
 These special characteristics are parts of what is called irreducible complexity - meaning important characteristics of an animal that all need to be present for the creature to survive.
Beautifully designed.

This little muskrat was making lots of noise under the boardwalk cracking through the ice.  Their eyesight is quite poor, so I was able to drop down and get quite close to get this shot.

I was on my way home, and saw this Red-tailed Hawk in a farmer's field.  I thought I'd try and see how close I could get - usually they won't let you get too near, however this time this one let me get in quite a ways, flew a bit, let me approach again, repeat.  My favourite birds are hawks and it's not that often you get this close.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

I thought I'd try and get some flight shots which I find hard to do, and this was the best one I got.  Not quite in focus as well is I'd have liked, but I like the setting of the picture.  A beautiful creature.

Red-tailed Hawk
All in all, a great 3 hours of freezing my fingers off!


  1. Nice Brian! Really makes me want to try this and introduce this to my kids too... Alas not in the budget this year. (that's what I always say)


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