Sunday, June 14, 2015

Backyard Birds

A few Sundays, the weather was nice for an outing (unlike today's grey and rainy pattern) but I didn't have enough time.  So I wandered the backyard and the gardens in the church.  Although there wasn't a lot of activity, I still saw a few different visitors.

A Chipping Sparrow has nested for the last year in our neighbour's big spruce tree.  It is quite vocal, all through the day. I got a nice close photo of it on a budding tulip tree. Chipping Sparrows look a lot like an American Tree Sparrow, but one distinguishing feature is they have a solid black bill, top and bottom. The American Tree Sparrow's bottom is light yellow.

Chipping Sparrow.

 Up in a Lynden tree, a Baltimore Oriole was busily catching bugs which were drinking the nectar from the blossoms. It was making a pretty good catch and was too busy to notice me.

Baltimore Oriole in Lynden Tree blossoms.

In our Crab Apple tree, I notice some movement and got only one or two pictures of what at that time I thought was a Eastern Wood Pewee. But I'm pretty sure this is a Flycatcher.  In that case, it is either a Willow or Alder Flycatcher. They are very hard to tell apart, the clearest distinction being their call. Since I didn't hear anything, I don't know.  I'd lean to the the Alder given the eye ring: according to this site that is a feature that can help with IDing.  If you don't know, apparently you call it simply by Trail Flycatcher, which is what it was called before they knew there were two species.

Trail's Flycatcher (maybe Alder?)

Till next time....
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Virginia Rail at Grass Lake

Back in the later days of April, I headed to Grass Lake, a favourite spot that almost always has something there for me to find and enjoy.  I wasn't there long when I heard the familiar, buzzy, two syllable calls of Virginia rails talking one to another. I crawled down the steep slope of the grassy bank towards the newly growing cat tail bull rushes and waited for movement and quick glimpses of this usually concealed bird.

Virginia Rail hiding in the vegetation.
It took a while, but I was rewarded...

As I was heading out, a muskrat left the same area I had been watching. Maybe he had been watching me the whole time too... I hadn't noticed him till I went to leave.


Till next time...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork.