August Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard

Late summer already … it’s such a shame that the shortest season of the year has to disappear in a blink!  I think it should be a rule that summer runs more slowly than the other 3 seasons, don’t you??

I was very excited this week to have another first-ever sighting for the backyard:  a Blue Headed Vireo!  This is the 4th Vireo species I have had visit my yard in the past few years.  The other 3 were Red Eyed (VERY common here), Philadelphia (I’ve only ever seen 2) and a super rare White Eyed Vireo in November a few years ago.

Blue Headed Vireo

Bad photo, I know, but it still good for documenting this Blue Headed Vireo in my crabapple tree!

I had some Warblers move through my backyard this week, a definite sign of late summer.  A nice assortment to start fall migration:  Tennessee (adult and juvenile), Black & White (juvenile), American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow Rumped (adults and juveniles).  Between late summer and October of 2014, I documented 9 different Warbler species in my yard.  Hoping for a repeat performance this year.  🙂

Immature Yellow Rumped Warbler

One of 4 juvenile Yellow Rumped Warblers in the backyard

Northern Waterthrush

I see an average of 1 or 2 Northern Waterthrush in my yard each year.

Immature Yellow Rumped Warbler With Lunch

Juvenile Yellow Rumped Warbler with a snack

Along with the Warblers, I’m still seeing quite a few other types of young birds in my yard although the begging behaviour has slowed dramatically.

Immature White Throated Sparrow

One of two juvenile White Throated Sparrows

Immature Common Grackle With Pine Bug

Such a good bird! This juvenile Grackle caught a Pine Beetle for dinner!

Grackle Bath Time

The juvenile Grackles have been making regular use of the birdbath this week


A whole family of 6 Chickadees showed up last week … 2 adults and 4 begging youngsters

Now that we are into late summer (egads!!), Hummingbird activity in the yard has picked up dramatically.  I’m now seeing males, females AND juveniles in the yard almost constantly.  There is LOTS of bickering and squabbling going on as they fight over the feeders and flowerbeds.  Great entertainment!  Sadly, I know the male Hummers have already begun their fall migration.  Females and youngsters will be here for upwards of another 5 weeks or so.

Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird at Feeder

Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird at one of my feeders

Every year in mid to late July, I see Common Nighthawks zooming across the evening skies in my neighbourhood.  Their visits are timed to match the annual hatching of the flying ants.  When the ants have all hatched and disappeared in early August, the Nighthawks are gone too.  They are such incredible aerial acrobats and really are something pretty spectacular to see, especially when the evening sun hits them and those white wing bars stand out like neon.  About 5 years ago, the number of Nighthawks in this area was in the thousands.  Since then, for some reason, I’m lucky to see one or two dozen.

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

The only other sighting to note this week is a small flock of 7 Evening Grosbeaks that visited the neighbourhood a few days ago.  I’m hoping they will stay for the winter (bad word, I know!) and give me impressive numbers to watch for the longest season of the year.

Until next month, thanks for reading!


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5 Responses to August Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard

  1. Scott says:

    Hi Gilda. You are getting a nice assortment of birds in your back yard.I saw my first Blue-headed Vireo this summer here in NE Saskatchewan (in the forest, not my yard). I couldn’t get much of a photo, but I did record its song.
    We’re getting a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinches and American Redstarts lately. Seldom get Grackles at the feeder but lots of Blue Jays!

  2. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Nancy … I really do get a great assortment of birds here. 🙂

  3. What a great selection of birds you had! I enjoy looking at Ontario blogs since we sometimes see the same migrants. Thanks for a nice post.

  4. Tammie Hache says:

    LOL! Gilda, you are one of the FEW people I have heard say something nice about Grackles! (I like them, personally 😉 )

  5. Gilda Blackmore says:

    I love the young Grackle in the birdbath.
    (Would it be OK if I come to stay with you next summer?)