Notes From a N. W. Ontario Backyard – September 2017

Hello again!  Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written a post from my yard.  It’s been an exceptionally busy summer because my husband and I have been doing not just a renovation but a complete kitchen rebuild, floor to roof, new ceiling and all.  A huge undertaking, as you can well imagine!

I haven’t been doing much photography this summer, due to the reno, but I’ve had a few good sightings here and there either in my yard or nearby.

Male Purple Finch in beautiful spring plumage.

The Evening Grosbeaks disappeared for the summer. It didn’t help that I had to put all feed away due to bears. I saw a beautiful male EVGB in the yard last week so hopefully, they’ll be returning soon, now that I have some feed out there again.

This was an adorable scene, watching mama Downy feed her fluffy son back in early June.

I was so pleased to have a whole family of Red Breasted Nuthatches take over my yard for the summer!  They had 3 young who were nothing short of adorable to watch as their parents taught them the lay of the yard.

Young Red Breasted Nuthatch in my honeysuckle shrub

The local Chickadees also brought their young to the yard.  I’ve had about a dozen Chickadees flitting around the yard all summer.

Fluffy young Chickadee

I had loads of Pine Siskins move into the yard in late winter, many more than normal.  Like the Evening Grosbeaks, however, they disappeared about mid summer & I have not seen once since June.

Pine Siskin on the birdbath.

My husband and I took a break from the kitchen reno the first week of August and took a little trip to clear our heads a bit.  We went up to Moosonee, Ont. for 3 days.  We were lucky enough to have friends up there (who we only knew online until then!) who were willing to play tour guides for us so we were able to spend nearly 3 solid days on the water, seeing the area around Moosonee & Moose Factory Island.  We were even able to get to the opening waters of James Bay.  We visited a STUNNING migratory bird sanctuary …. easily one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Moosonee migratory bird sanctuary

Moosonee – Ospreys nesting on man-made nesting platforms

We were hoping to see a Beluga whale during our water travels but no such luck.  We did, however, have a wonderful encounter with a curious Bearded Seal who came around to check us out!

Bearded Seal scoping us out.

By the time we got home, we were right into late summer.  The Goldfinches returned the yard, bringing with them a couple of youngsters that I have not been quick enough to photograph.

Male American Goldfinch

Hummingbird season got off to a fairly slow start but once mid summer rolled around, activity at the flowers and feeders was constant.  Adults & juveniles, someone was in the yard nearly all the time.  I got buzzed a number of times by scrappy Hummers chasing each other around & out of the yard.  Great fun!  Sadly, their season is mostly over now although I did see a Hummingbird at my phlox flowers yesterday (Sept. 13).  I will leave my feeders out until month’s end.

Juvenile male Ruby Throated Hummingbird at Monarda blossom

Interestingly, a pair of Sandhill Cranes hung out for a little over a week, in a field at the top of my street where apartment buildings used to stand.  Judging from their size difference, I suspect the smaller one is a Lesser Sandhill Crane, the smallest type.  It has the red forehead patch of an adult (juveniles lack that red patch).  Any ornithologists out there that can confirm from this photo?

Sandhill Cranes

A couple of other juveniles showed up in the yard this August. They were a little tricky for me to i.d as they would barely sit still for a few seconds!  They sure were fun to watch though.

Juvenile Ruby Crowned?? Kinglet in my pine trees

Juvenile Blue Headed Vireo in my pine trees

The woods behind my back gate is full of Red Eyed Vireos and Ovenbirds all summer long.  I never saw a single Ovenbird this season but one day, a flock of 20+ Red Eyed Vireos came into the yard … a definite first to have more than 2!!  They went into my Mountain Ash tree, then moved on to my Ornamental Crab Apple Tree, then on to my pine trees and then away to my birch tree on my front lawn.  Great fun to watch!

Around this time, I had a great thing happen in my backyard: a Warbler fall-out!  It was between 8 and 8:30pm when I first noticed the Yellow Rumped Warblers …. well over 20 of them.  They were the first ones to come down to my level where I could see them clearly.  I grabbed the camera and then just stood on the back deck near the pine trees and waited.  Slowly, a few of the others started to come down closer to me and within camera range.  Here are the ones I was able to i.d:

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler … so freakin’ cute!!

American Redstart

Northern Parula

A stunning Magnolia Warbler

In my best season ever, I counted 9 Warbler species and 3 Vireo species in my yard during fall migration.  I’ll be watching closely as this season progresses.

I hope you’ve enjoyed catching up on my spring-summer-fall report.  Thanks for reading!!

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8 Responses to Notes From a N. W. Ontario Backyard – September 2017

  1. Tammie Hache says:

    Aw, thanks, Gilda! 🙂

  2. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Shari. 🙂 Moosonee was a fascinating place to visit. I was sure hoping for a whale sighting but had to settle for the seal. 😉 I normally try to blog here all year round, it’s just that this summer was incredibly busy …. little time for photography OR blogging.

  3. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Rosie. 🙂 I always have 2 hummer feeders up: one in the front and one in the back. The one in the front gets used the most but then, there are the most flowers in the back.

  4. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Dave, it’s a lot of fun. 🙂

  5. gilda blackmore says:

    You have been missed!

  6. Shari O'Brien says:

    I love your blog and your photos are excellent. I was particularly interested in the Sandhill Cranes. There sure is a difference in size although the markings are identical. I saw my first Sandhill Cranes at James Bay and one year in early June we saw a whale in the Moosonee river. Moosonee is a place I enjoy visiting whenever I can.
    Do you do a Fall-Winter-Spring blog as well. If so, I’ll be looking forward to reading that.
    Thank you …..Shari O’Brien

  7. Rosie LaLonde says:

    Beautiful pictures as usual!! How lucky to have 20+ vireos! I usually have a few in my bay magnolia (A gorgeous tree for higher latitudes that blooms in June, filling the yard with fragrance in the evening) eating the berries that form after the buds and flowers disappear.
    I also had a chickadee family and laughed when the youngsters were first flying, trying to land on my clothesline and ending up upside down — or crash landing on my platform feeder. I am hoping the whole family will stay all winter!
    Hummers are still here, although the one to first arrive has successfully chased all the others away for good. Next year I’m putting up two feeders as I have in the past.
    Thanks for the post!! Can’t wait till the feeder cam comes on, and I hope by then your renovations will be done!

  8. Dave O'Neill says:

    Wonder blog. Quite the array of birds through your yard.