Notes From a Northwestern Ontario Backyard – October 2017

Hello again and Happy Autumn/Halloween!

I cannot believe what a warm autumn we’ve been having.  It’s been wet, yes, and it’s been windy, yes but it’s been quite amazing to have 20C temperatures the week before Halloween.

Oddly enough, in the middle of these warm temperatures, we also had our first snowfall of the season, on October 15th.  I’m not sure if the birds were impressed with it or not!

Ruffed Grouse on the snowy platform feeder.

Speaking of the above photo, look who has returned to my backyard for another season:  the Ruffed Grouse!

Ruffed Grouse eating berries in my Mountain Ash tree.

It always surprises me how they come into the yard in mid to late October and visit daily all winter long, then disappear in April for the summer.  I’ve only see the one so far.  I’m really hoping it’ll bring relatives.

This is my last butterfly photo of the season.  My last Hummingbird sighting of the summer was quite late, September 24th.

Painted Lady butterfly on a Monarda blossom

Some Blackbirds have moved into my yard.  The Grackles always seem to show up when the sunflowers are almost ripe.  I’ve had some Starling flocks come through as well.  I’m really hoping for an appearance of Rusty Blackbirds this fall.

Grackle on the birdbath

I didn’t see that much for young birds in my yard this season.  Recently though, some White Throated and White Crowned Sparrows have come through with youngsters.

Adult White Throated Sparrow

Immature White Throated Sparrow

Adult White Crowned Sparrow

Immature White Crowned Sparrow

I also have Juncos visiting right now.  They nest in this area but I seldom see juveniles/immatures and I never see Juncos in mid summer.

Dark Eyed Junco

One of my favourite migrants, American Pipits, have already been and gone.  I saw a few flocks of them around my yard and around town in late September.  Yesterday during my morning walk, I was lucky enough to come across a flock of 30+ Horned Larks but I didn’t have a good zoom camera with me.

American Pipit at the edge of my front lawn

My Mountain Ash tree had a fairly good crop of berries this year and many species of birds have been nibbling at them including Warblers, Red Eyed Vireos, Flickers, Purple Finches and Cedar Waxwings.

Hairy Woodpecker grabbing a Mountain Ash berry.

I had a teaser visit from a small flock of 4 Evening Grosbeaks last week.  Last year, they were quite late showing up to the yard and I thought I wasn’t going to see them for the winter.  This year, I won’t panic about that!

Female Evening Grosbeak

Crows are coming to the yard regularly now since I started putting out peanuts again!  At least 6 Crows are here daily.

A Crow with breakfast!

Blue Jays love their peanuts too and it’s a high speed battle for them between the Crows, Blue Jays, Chickadees & Nuthatches!

Blue Jay with success!

This particularly adorable little Chickadee has been coming to my feeders for over a week now.  I have no idea what happened to its tail feathers.  The bird looks nice & healthy so it’s possibly just a moult.  No sign that it tangled with anything.  Its flight is sometimes a little wobbly but otherwise, it appears fine.  So CUTE!!

Little tailless Chickadee

Outside of my yard, I went for a morning walk through the local golf course a couple of weeks ago.  I couldn’t believe the number of Lincoln’s Sparrows I found!  Easily 25+.

Lincoln’s Sparrows

There were also large flocks of Cedar Waxwings.  I couldn’t tell at the time that there were so many juveniles.  In this photo, you see one adult Waxwing & the rest are youngsters.

Cedar Waxwings

Sandhill Cranes nest on the golf course every summer.  This handsome pair posed beautifully for me in the morning sunlight.

Sandhill Cranes

I found them again a little later, near a large flock of Canada Geese.  No one seemed too concerned about me!

Sandhill Cranes preening with Geese in the background.

I was surprised to have a close encounter with a coyote!  As I was walking, I could hear a pack of them calling, yipping, howling from the other end of the golf course.  Suddenly, this fellow answered them from the other side of a stand of trees I was near!  I kept on walking and shortly after I heard him/her, the bushes behind me started to shake and the coyote popped out on the trail about 20 feet from me.  We instantly startled each other and it immediately ran away to catch up with the pack.  This was the only photo I was able to snap.  Such beautiful animals …. and very new to this area as they, like other creatures, expand their range northward.


That’s it for this month.  Enjoy the last of autumn and have fun at Halloween.  See you in November.  🙂

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3 Responses to Notes From a Northwestern Ontario Backyard – October 2017

  1. Rob and Angie Mueller says:

    We picked a great week for vacation last week. Felt more like summer than Fall. Great weather to be out hiking. Great series of pictures Tammie! We had our first Junco arrive this weekend. The Fall weather must be on it’s way. 🙂

  2. Karen Peltier says:

    Your post cheered me right up this morning. I look forward to watching your bird cam.

  3. Rosie LaLonde says:

    Beautiful pictures! Can’t wait for the feeder cam to come on.

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