Thursday, December 17, 2009

Petroglyphs CBC

This year's edition of the Petroglyphs CBC will play out on December 27.
Petroglyphs Count Circle (click to enlarge)
Last year, some great birds were found, including Red-bellied Woodpecker and Great Gray Owl.
Great Gray Owl near Jack Lake courtesy of Anne Anthony
Nature lovers and birders of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Please contact Tony Bigg at tanddbigg [at] sympatico [dot] com or phone 1-705-652-7541.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We've moved...

We're hosting a new blog in northern Ontario.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Something had to give. Yesterday morning, the five very mature nestlings were crowded on the nest. I checked on them a few hours later and there were only two birds on the nest. I glanced overhead and saw the missing three perched on one of the rafters.

Today, all five were outside, perched on the roof of the boathouse. They took regular flights in the company of the adults and seemed very adept on the wing.

Full credit goes to my neighbour who only complained about the droppings.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Almost fledged

This nest of Barn Swallows in our neighbour's boathouse is one of few we've seen this year. Several cottagers who perennially host several families have told me that their boathouses are vacant this summer.

This family is almost set to go. There have been three adults attending five, then four young. Here's what they looked like only four days ago.

Because the nest was off to one side of the structure, most droppings fall clear of the boat - undoubtedly a fortuitous choice by the parents.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Odds and ends

The fate of the backyard Tree Swallow brood is unknown. Three days ago the parents were relentlessly feeding the noisy chicks, one of which appeared in the doorway, looking like it was close to fledging. The next day, there were no swallows to be seen or heard. I suspect that fledglings might have dropped from the nest on to the well worn path of the local feral cat.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seen from the canoe

I went out for a very pleasant evening paddle, past three active Osprey nests and a summer Double-crested Cormorant roost on a small island.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Loons

With a few mid-day whoops, this loon family began its migration from the cattail marsh in the back bay, past my dock and out to the nursery area sheltered by a cluster of small islands, about 1.3 km away. The chicks were fed small fish fry along the way.

This is the third consecutive year we've watched the loons exit the nesting area. The dates vary and may be related to fluctuating water levels earlier in the spring, when nesting commences.

July 5, 2007
June 19, 2008
June 24, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Waterfowl in the bay

As always, Canada Geese are making a good living on the groomed lawn in the neighbourhood. In addition to three families, there appear to be several no-breeding adults on our shore.

This fresh brood of Mallards appeared on our shore. In most years we see one or two Wood Duck broods in the bay.

This evening, I was sitting at our picnic table when I heard a noise overhead. I glanced up in time to see a female Hooded merganser flying from the old, diseased Sugar Maple that shades our cottage. It's likely that the merganser's nesting in cavitity about 8 m. up, in a rotted out knothole. This certainly merits closer monitoring.

American Avocet visits the Greater Stony Lake Area

Local birder Jerry Ball found this beautiful American Avocet on a cattle watering pond in the south end of Peterborough (Greater Stony Lake Area) a couple of days ago. I was in the area today and was very happy to observe the bird dashing about, catching insects in the shallow water.

To my knowledge, this is the first record for Peterborough County. Sadler (1983) makes no mention of the species.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pine Warbler

This male Pine Warbler was flitting about the White Cedars in front of the cottage this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Woodland birds

Our feeders have only a handful of species attending frequently - Hairy Woopecker, both nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-winged Blackbird (mostly females), Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch and a lone Pine Siskin this morning - the first in weeks.

A late afternoon walk through the hardwoods near our home turned up very few birds although I had good looks at Scarlet Tanager, Veery, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Black-throated Green Warbler.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shield-edge birding

I was out with a friend to do a little birding at the edge of the shield, Between Bobcaygeon and Burleigh Falls. I was very pleased to see and hear some late warblers - Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Mourning and Canada, which hadn't materialized around our cottage. Also new to me were a few open country birds - Clay-colored Sparrow, Bobolink and Savannah Sparrow. Near Woodview, we encountered some Evening Grosbeaks and some Small Yellow Lady Slipper Orchids growing in a boggy wetland - new to me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heron on water lily roots

Twenty metres off our shore is an island composed of uprooted water lily rhizomes. The uprooting occurred when the lake level was drawn down in the winter. Ice formed withing the matrix of roots and when the water level was increased, the rising ice tore the roots up from the mud. Now, on any given day, our odd little island may provide footing for Great Blue Herons, Hooded Merganser, Northern Map Turtle, beaver and muskrat.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spotted Sandpiper

This Spotted Sandpiper landed for a moment on our dock and then flew to the neighbour's. The species nests on the lake but seldom visits out bay.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Yard Birds

We are accustomed to seeing Evening Grosbeaks looking resplendent against a snowy background. It's unusual for us to see them in late may and to hear their calls along with those of BAOR, WOTH, WAVI, and PIWA.

I took a ten minute stroll around the house mid-morning and noted the following:

Canada Goose
Ring-billed Gull
Red-shouldered Hawk with prey (being mobbed blackbirds)
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Common Flicker
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Northern Waterthrush
Black and White Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

Monday, May 18, 2009

A green birding day.

I went cycling/birding this morning and afternoon around the eastern end of the lake, south along a county road through rich hardwood stands, flooded meadows, limestone barrens and old farms.

Among the known breeding birds on this route are Cerulean, Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers. A pulse of additional northbound warblers at this point in May allows the possibility of seeing 20+ species of warbler. Alas, this wasn't to be. If I count the species I hear around our home (Pine, Yellow-rumped and Northern Waterthrush), I ended up with only 15 species. Few were singing. The highlights were three male Golden-winged and one male Blue-winged Warbler, all in spots where we'd seen these species before.

Other additions to the year list were Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Red-headed Woodpecker, Warbling and Philadelphia Vireos, Magnolia and Black-throated Blue Warblers, Eastern Towhee, Sandhill Crane and Red-headed Woodpecker.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Skyped hummingbird

This isn't just another bad image of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It's actually an image captured through the built-in video camera on my MacBook during a Skype "videoconference" with Martha. This is her capture from the video that I was streaming to her, via my wireless router.

The sensitivity of the built-in microphone and the high fidelity of the audio stream are better than you might expect. If I point the WIFI enabled laptop towards an open window, Martha, who's sitting at her desktop computer 1300 km away, has no trouble picking out the songs of Baltimore Oriole, Tree Swallow, Pine and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Skype is pretty awesome - perhaps the coolest thing ever to come out of Estonia.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

This pair has been visiting throughout the last few days.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tree Swallows nesting?

We found an old next box when we moved here. It looked like it had once been used by House Wrens. After cleaning it out, we installed it about 4 metre off the ground on a hydro pole. It appears that a pair of Tree Swallows are keenly interested.