Birds were the main attraction last week. Since songbird migration has reached its peak, and will continue for the next month or so, we had some exciting feathered visitors.
Facebook memory: aerodynamic pose (August 5 & 9, 2021)
2021: these photos show two different birds in the same aerodynamic pose moments before they visit the stream below. No wonder they can fly such long distances to migrate. The first bird is a female Scarlet Tanager, and the second is a female Yellow Warbler. Other than their size difference and beak shape, they look so similar!
2022: I haven’t seen a Scarlet Tanager at the stream yet this year. This post from last year shows how similar Scarlet Tanagers and Yellow Warblers look. The Tanager is a lot bigger though. Their different behaviour is a giveaway too -— the warbler hops around a lot, but the Tanger makes fewer, bold, quick movements.
Chestnut-sided Warbler visits the stream (August 10, 2022)
At first, I thought this was a ratty-looking Goldfinch. By now, I’ve learned not to assume that any yellowish bird is ‘just’ a Goldfinch. So I grabbed the camera, and zoomed in to discover a new guest at the stream — a male Chestnut-sided Warbler.
This bird will spend the winter in thickets, shade-coffee plantations, and second growth forest in Central America (according to All About Birds). By drinking ‘bird-friendly’, shade-grown coffee, you help prevent deforestation in regions where migratory birds spend the winter months.
I buy shade-grown coffee from my local Cloud Forest Coffee shop in Westboro, Ottawa and from the Gilligallou birding store in Almonte.
Chickadee and Chestnut-sided Warbler (August 10, 2022)
This Chickadee was also impressed with our new visitor. They didn’t seem to mind bathing together.
Goldenrod Soldier Beetle (August 10, 2022)
This Goldenrod Soldier Beetle was visiting Wild Bergamot flowers to drink nectar.
Euphorbia Corollata/Flowering Spurge (August 10, 2022)
One of the hosts of The Native Plant Podcast uses Euphorbia Corollata (tiny white flowers) in his garden designs. It looks like a native baby’s breath. I bought a couple from Fuller Native Plants in Belleville before it closed. It’s long-blooming and hasn’t been at all bothered by our dry July weather. I will have to try to collect seeds to grow more.
Yet another Monarch photo (August 10, 2022)
You must be tired of seeing my Monarch photos. This is the best one I’ve ever taken, so I had to share it. I didn’t even have to crop it!
Facebook memory: Red-eyed Vireo eating Dogwood berries (August 13, 2020)
2020: I tried and failed to get photos of this bird eating Elderberries in the hedgerow. However, I did manage to catch it eating white berries off of Red Osier Dogwood shrubs near the pond. Not all the photos are clear, but you can see it examining the cluster before choosing a snack. It’s been back a few times.
I’ve been trying to place more berry-producing shrubs near our main seating area so we can be lazy bird watchers. There’s a lot of waiting and hoping involved. If I can comfortably park myself with some knitting, a drink, and the camera, I will eventually see something interesting.
2022: the Red Osier Dogwoods by the shed don’t have many berries right now this year. The chipmunk ate some of the unripe ones. Others dried up during the dry weather in June and July. I guess I should have watered them back then.
ROD dogwoods re-bloom continuously though, so there are new green berries and flower clusters. There are also Grey Dogwood and Black Elderberries in fruit in the hedgerow.
Up and Down (August 1, 2022)
Today (August 13th), we saw a Black and White Warbler coming to the stream, but we didn’t get any photos. So, here’s a photo of a Black and White Warbler that I took at Chipmunk Trail. These warblers used to be called Black and White Creepers because they make their way up tree trunks while they hunt for insects. Nuthatches are the opposite — they work their way down tree trunks as they hunt for insects. We saw both birds on nearby trees, but going opposite directions.
Chipping Sparrow dad feeding fledgeling (August 10, 2022)
Both the Chipping and Song Sparrows are being followed around by hungry fledgelings. This Chipping Sparrow dad caught a moth near the cedar hedge and then fed it to its young one.
Tennessee Warbler visits stream (August 13, 2022)
During the next month or so, songbird migration will be at its peak here in the Ottawa area. Right on time, we saw 2 new warblers at the stream — a Black and White Warbler and a Tennessee Warbler (confirmed on iNaturalist).
My son uttered the words: “It’s probably a Goldfinch”, but I knew better than to assume that this time of year. I managed to get a few acceptable photos before it disappeared behind some leaves. The white eyebrow, pale belly, and lack of wingbars (stripes) helped us tentatively identify this warbler.
Chickadee eating a sunflower seed (June 14, 2022)
As exciting as it is to have vireos, warblers and other unusual visitors in our yard, we still appreciate the summer regulars — Goldfinches, Chickadees, Song and Chipping Sparrows, Cardinals, and Robins.
Here’s a series of photos of a Chickadee eating a sunflower seed from the backyard feeder. It pinned the seed down with one foot, and then pecked away at it, taking dainty little bites.
Juvenile Cardinals at the stream (July 30, 2022)
Throughout the last few weeks of July, a very noisy Cardinal family frequented the yard. I’m grateful that I never had to care for triplets.
It is fun to watch young birds muster up the courage, and figure out how to bathe in the stream. There’s a lot of fluttering around above the water, standing on rocks looking in, and flapping when they are barely even in the water.
Here, the first 3 photos show a juvenile female going into the stream for a bath. Her timid brother was only brave enough to have a drink (last 3 photos). The male juvenile had more red in its feathers than the female. Mom looks similar, but has an orange beak.
Hummingbird! (August 14, 2022)
Today, as I was watching for Goldfinches in the mini-meadow, I spotted a big dragonfly. It was actually a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. I am so thrilled!
It visited Cardinal Flowers, Royal Catchfly (from Beaux Arbres Native Plants), Kankakee Mallows (that I grew from seed), and Jewelweed (that barely made it through the June/July dry spell).
My photos aren’t great because I was so far away. I didn’t want to move closer and risk scaring it. Time to get out the photography blind and park it near the mini-meadow.