Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard – November 2016

Someone Flipped The Winter Switch!

Hello again!  It is most definitely winter up here in NW Ontario.  In the past 3 days, we’ve gone from heavy rain to heavy freezing rain (about a 1/2 inch worth!) and now to blowing snow and about -15C wind chills.  I had to bring all my birds feeders in to thaw the ice off of them and put fresh ones out to get through the rest of the storm.  I guess I can safely say it’s cold outside enough now to put the suet feeder out.

For the first time, I finally managed to catch 4 of my 6 Blue Jays at once on the platform feeder.  You can see that one got hit with a gust of wind that really messed up its ‘do.  They seldom tolerate each other.

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4 Blue Jays on the platform feeder in the freezing rain

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Handsome Blue Jay standing on the webcam in the freezing rain, awaiting his turn at the trough

The Ruffed Grouse have been coming around, mostly morning and evening.  This one is a female and she tolerates the Blue Jay for a minute or two.  The male Grouse will not tolerate the Jays at ALL and will instantly show aggression with wide open tail feathers and a fully displayed ruff (fluffed out neck feathers).

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Female Ruffed Grouse barely tolerating the Blue Jay on the platform feeder

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Female Ruffed Grouse preparing to leave the feeder for the night.

A small flock of Purple Finches was hanging around the yard for a few weeks.  The Dark Eyed Juncos have migrated for the season but the Purples are still here, as are a small number of Goldfinches.

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2 male Purple Finches with a male Dark Eyed Junco

It’s funny:  my neighbourhood is absolutely polluted with Red Breasted Nuthatches but they seldom come into the yard.  This one was here off and on for a few days, hauling away and hiding small chunks of peanut.  Hopefully, a couple will stay around for the winter.

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Red Breasted Nuthatch getting ready to hide a peanut morsel in the bark of my pine tree

Black Capped Chickadees come to the feeders regularly.  I see anywhere from 3 to 6 of them daily.  This little cutie is in my crab apple tree, enjoying a snack.

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Black Capped Chickadee working on a seed

I normally have 3 Crows that visit the feeders daily but this week, a glorious Raven showed up.  It visited the feeders for 2 days, about 20 minutes straight on each day.  A very striking bird!

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A Raven that was delicately eating peanuts

I was thrilled to see the season’s first Common Redpolls last week!  Three of them showed up and they were about three weeks earlier than normal.  A fourth one has joined them now and I expect many more to showed up in the coming weeks.

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Male Common Redpoll

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Female Common Redpoll

Evening Grosbeak numbers have picked up in recent weeks.  I can see anywhere from 10 to nearly 40 on the feeders or below at any given time.

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Male & female Evening Grosbeaks on the platform feeder

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This female Evening Grosbeak had just been nibbling at the pine cone

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2 female Evening Grosbeaks on the winter birdbath for a drink of water

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This handsome male Evening Grosbeak had also been working over the pine cones

Pine Grosbeak numbers continue to increase as more migrants move in for the winter season.  This handsome male was sitting on a branch in my crab apple tree.  The female was posing beautifully for me in my Pine tree.

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Male Pine Grosbeak

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Female Pine Grosbeak

An exceptional treat in the yard this week was a visit from a pair of Bohemian Waxwings.  I had seen them visiting my neighbour’s fruit shrubs but got lucky one day and saw them in my ornamental crab apple tree.

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Bohemian Waxwings

Aside from birds, I had a couple of other nice sightings this week.  I have been going out walking most days with a friend and we walk to a bridge about a mile from here.  We’ve seen a few ducks there recently including a pair of Common Goldeneye, a lone Bufflehead Duck and an absolutely lovely lone female Long Tailed Duck … a species I’m lucky to see once, maybe twice per year as they pass through.

Up at the other end of our local Manitouwadge Lake, I came upon a brand new, under-construction beaver house with 2 beavers outside of it.  They both appeared quite small so they may be the teenagers of the family.

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The first beaver outside of the new house. It quickly dove when I first approached.

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This second, and smaller, beaver was more curious and actually swam up to look at me.  It’s body (without the tail) was no more than a foot long.

And to end this month, did everyone get a chance to see the stunning Super Moon last week?  I finally have a camera worthy of taking photos of the moon!

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Thanks so much for reading.  You’ll hear from me again just before Christmas.  🙂

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12 Responses to Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard – November 2016

  1. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Laura … I’ll trade you a Pine Grosbeak for a Cardinal!

  2. What wonderful winter birds you have in NW Ontario… send some down to Ottawa! Great article, I enjoyed it!

  3. Tammie Hache says:

    Thank you, Ingrid. 🙂

  4. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Gilda … it’s coming up in a couple of weeks! 🙂

  5. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Karen. I dearly love the Evening Grosbeaks but up here too, numbers have declined dramatically. Breaks my heart. 🙁

  6. Tammie Hache says:

    Thank you, Ronda … we never stop learning as it’s impossible to know everything about birds!

  7. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Rosie!

  8. Ingrid says:

    very nice pictures Tammie

  9. gilda blackmore says:

    Oh! What a wonderful beginning to the winter season! I can only imagine how exciting this is!
    Can’t wait for your next post.

  10. Karen Peltier says:

    I absolutely love your photos and your blog. Great photo of the moon!
    TG you have Evening Grosbeaks. I used to see them when we lived in Muskoka. Now we live in Brantford and have only ever seen one in the five years we have been here.

  11. Ronda Bandy says:

    Thanks for listing what the birds are, I am very new to bird watching and I have a lot to learn. Thanks!

  12. Rosie says:

    Thank you! I enjoy your bird feeders and especially the pictures and accounts of birds visiting the area. While we have some of the birds I see in your yard, many of them are so different than the birds we see here north of Chicago by the lake.