Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm Back - Wier and Burt Road Outings

Where have I been?  Yes, I've been silent for almost two months with no post and very little visiting myself to the blogs I usually frequent.  It's a combination of having been quite busy (funny, I can't really remember any more with what), and having been away on three separate vacation outings. Two were with family, and one was a week chaperoning at a church youth conference with 175 young people - that was a huge privilege and a growing experience for me. Summer was full and went by very fast.  I just got back from a four day camping trip with just my boys up at Arrowhead Provincial Park.  I'll put a post up on that in the near future.

I'm going to condense my summer pictures into a couple of compressed/combined posts or I'll never catch up, and the details of the outings is quickly slipping into oblivion.

Back at the end of June, I made two Sunday trips to two different country roads close to home - one a previously visited place on the rail trail off Wier Road.  The walk, with Justin as my trail-mate looked like it was going to become strictly a butterfly adventure rather than birding. We walked along the treed path and then into an old, overgrown apple orchard where we saw a Common Wood Nymph Butterfly.

Common Wood Nymph butterfly

As we rejoined the trail, a Eastern Comma was hanging upside down on tree trunk, nicely contrasted against the greenery behind.

Eastern Comma butterfly

Further down the trail, we noticed a small beam of sun lighting up a Mourning Cloak.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

But, though there weren't a lot of birds, quality made up for quantity as my notice of bird in the branches above us turned up a lifer! A Chestnut-sided Warbler!! (#131).  It was hard to get a clear shot of, especially since, although it didn't seem terribly afraid of me, it stayed behind the foliage. It actually seemed quite curious, moving all around us. Made it hard to get a clear shot.  Exciting find though!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler


A Sunday or so later, I headed out alone to the east of St. George to Burt Road, a closed country road.  It was a hot, humid summer afternoon so there was not a lot of activity.

Like my previous outing, my first sighting was a butterfly - a very tired, frazzled looking Northern Crescent butterfly showing only part of the glory it was given by its Maker.

Northern Crescent butterfly

An oh so common Song Sparrow was singing its heart out on top of a bush topped with wild grape vine.

Song Sparrow

A group of Turkey Vultures had just taken off from somewhere close and caught the thermals, slowly rising above me and on to the east.

soaring Turkey Vulture
As I was heading back to the car, I noticed an American Robin with white streaked colouring on its back instead of the slatey black.  It's a condition called Leucism.  It's similar to an albino, but only the bird's feathers are affected and not their skin or eyes.  It's usually a patchy appearance as well. It is not very common condition.

Leucistic American Robin

When I got home, a pair of young squirrels were having quite the game of tag beside our house.  In the low light, I only managed to get a couple presentable pictures of the action.

Rambunctious squirrel youth.


Well, hopefully this breaks the dam and the post will follow a bit more regularly again! 
Till then...
Keep enjoying His handiwork!

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