Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Trio of Trumpeters

The eBird map has had numerous trumpeter swan sightings in southern Ontario lately, but I was still pretty surprised when I saw these three birds on our pond.

I didn't want to just assume so I tried to get closer and took some photos.  The size and distinctive features left me quite certain of my identification.

It helped that I heard them later in the evening, giving their distinctive trumpet sounding call, very much different from that of a tundra swan.

The birds on our pond only hung around for the day, so I was glad that I saw them when I did. 

In other bird news, I found the first batch of goslings for the year. 

The wood ducks continue to enjoy a flooded patch of the corn field.

And in the same field, this hen turkey was trying to remain unnoticed.  They have now started spring courtship and I have heard plenty of gobbling going on.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Out and About in Perth County

Looking over the pond
We have been having some gorgeous weather over the past few days and the temperature seems to climb every day.  I try to get out and enjoy it as often as I can in my busy schedule.

Purple Finch-home feeder
The good weather also means that work around the farm is picking up and that takes priority.  However one of the advantages of the lengthening days means that there is usually time and light enough to take a walk after the chores are done for the day.

Shovelers and blue-winged teal- Mitchell Sewage Lagoons
Over the last week or so, I have had the opportunity to explore around home, at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons, Shakespeare Pond and the Ellice Swamp.
Little old lady found at the Ellice Swamp.

Some species seem to waste no time getting started on nesting and the canada goose is one of them.  There is not a lot of vegetation yet to hide the nests, but they can still sometimes be difficult to pick out.

Ducks are around in good numbers.  I found a flock of wood ducks in a flooded section of the neighbour's  field.
As well as a pair of american wigeon that have been moving around between various spots around the farm.

Tree swallows have been showing up in southern Ontario for some time already, but I saw my first for Perth county yesterday over one of our ponds.  Getting a decent photo was pretty tough.
I'm trying to expand my knowledge in forms of life other than birds.  I thought this close up of this fresh moss was rather interesting.
And one of our ash trees.  It's questionable how much longer they will last due to the continuing advance of the emerald ash borer.

This ash has an interesting history, scorched when a previous occupant of the property burned a bunch of possessions underneath.

It's great to be out and about on these nice clear evenings.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Best of the Trail Camera

Trail cameras really interest me.  They offer a unique perspective on the wildlife around us, to be able to see what goes on when no people are around. 

I have played around for the last couple years with one trail camera that I quite enjoy.  The first ever post on this blog included some trail camera photos, so some may be repeats.  However I think they are interesting and are worth including again.  Some pictures were taken before I had the time and date settings along the bottom of the photos figured out.

Wild Turkeys

White-tailed Deer

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk
 American Crow

Red Fox

Coyote (probably)  I honestly don't know for certain, but coyote seems most likely.  It would have almost been touching the camera. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Fox at the Feeder (and Other Spring Things)

I caught a glimpse of a larger sparrow underneath the feeder the other day.  It stood out from the juncos, goldfinches and american tree sparrows with which it was also feeding.  It was my first good sighting of a fox sparrow.  This species is relatively common as it moves through the area on migration.  Fox sparrows vary somewhat in appearance across their range and some evidence suggests that they should perhaps be split into different species.

Other signs of the change in seasons is the appearance of fresh plant life.  Coltsfoot is becoming rather common.

More and more turkey vultures are showing up.  Because of our unusually mild winter, many vultures actually stayed around.  We had 14 birds on the Christmas Bird Count back in December.  Apparently that was the first time they had ever been recorded on the Stratford count.

This merlin was sitting atop one of our trees along the edge of the farm.

A pair of wood ducks is being regularly seen at one of our ponds.  Hopefully they will hang around, the nest boxes are ready and waiting.
 The flooded patches in the fields are also attracting killdeer.  Yellowlegs should start showing up soon as well.
It will be interesting to see what shows up with the warmer weather expected next week.

Monday, 4 April 2016

April Snowfall

It hardly feels like April weather, after receiving a nice dumping of snow.  Just a few days ago, we were seeing this.

 All that has changed now since it snowed.  The birds have come back to the feeders in greater numbers for an easier meal.

It's great to see the goldfinches brightening up again
The snow likely won't be around for long as warmer temperatures are predicted by the beginning of next week.