Thursday, 25 June 2015

Scenes of Summer

Summertime on the farm means a busy schedule and it is sometimes harder to to fit in birding.  During my free time, I am often exploring around the farm or some other birding hotspot in the area.  No special rarities around our area lately. The last one for me was a drake northern pintail at the Mitchel Sewage Lagoons, somewhat unusual for this time of year.

Regardless of rarities or not, birding is still enjoyable and I thought I would share some recent pictures taken over the past week.
Many swallows around home have left the nest, but this tree swallow was still in residence at the Mitchel Sewage Lagoons.

Lots of eastern kingbirds around.

Plenty of great-crested flycatchers as well.
The resident bobolinks have been quite active.
And of course nice days like this are a great opportunity to catch up on some preening.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Birds n Bugs, Some Recent Observations

A casual check of a patch of milkweed near our house revealed what I have been looking forward to for a long time.

Monarch butterfly sightings are beginning to dot the map in Ontario, but this is my first sighting this year.  I know an egg means an adult butterfly passed through here.  I have experience raising monarchs in the past and this year hope to purchase monarch tags from monarch watch in time for fall migration.

A few other recent pictures:
Ebony jewelwing female.  Jewelwings are common this time of year.

Ebony jewelwing male.

Savannah sparrow, there are many of them nesting on our farm.

Another common sight, our ponds raise big batches of Canada geese each year.
It's a great time of year to be outdoors.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Birds and Butterflies on the Ellice Swamp Rail Trail

I spent part of my afternoon walking the rail trail of the Ellice Swamp.  I had been wanting to return to this location for a while and even though I only had half an hour, I decided to walk the trail.  Cloud cover was slowly rolling in and the wind had picked up as I arrived.

  As I prepared to enter the trail, I noticed a painted turtle along the shoulder of the road, slowly attempting to cross.  It is common to see turtles attempting to cross roads this time of year and sadly many are hit while doing so.  I could see which direction this turtle was headed and so I moved it to the other side safely off the road.
The turtle pulled into its shell when I came over.

Safely on the other side of the road.

With my turtle transporting complete, I headed off along the trail.  The wind was blowing fairly strong at this point and the turkey vultures were some of the first birds I saw soaring on the wind currents.
Turkey vultures against the clouds.  I could have cropped the image, but I liked the look of the immense size of the sky.
I saw a buttrefly fluttering around and at first thought it was a first-of-year monarch.  I didn't get a close look, but based on size and brief glimpses, I concluded it must have been the monarch look-alike, the viceroy.
This photo of a viceroy was taken a couple years ago near Erieau Ontario.  Note the vertical black stripe on the bottom wing that can set it apart from monarchs.

The monarchs lack the stripe on the bottom wing and are slightly larger than the viceroy as seen in this picture taken last year.

The milkweed along the trail was ready for the monarchs whenever they do arrive.