Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard – May 2016

Hello again!  I hope you’re enjoying spring migration.  It seems to be a little slower than normal up here but this month, we’re finally seeing a few migrants moving through.

Common Loon

Always so wonderful to hear the calls of Common Loons

Hooded Merganser with Common Goldeneye Pair

My favourite duck, the Hooded Merganser on the left with a pair of Common Goldeneye Ducks.

Ring Necked Ducks

A striking pair of Ring-Necked Ducks.

In late April, I was thrilled to see a flock of Rusty Blackbirds in my yard.  They stayed for just a couple of days and then moved on.  Some years I see them, some years I don’t.  These lovely blackbirds are seriously declining but a cause has not yet been found. Hopefully, I’ll see them again during Fall migration.

Rusty Blackbirds

Flock of Rusty Blackbirds

Male Rusty Blackbird

The glossy black male Rusty Blackbird

Another beautiful blackbird visited a few times this spring – a stunning male Yellow-Headed Blackbird was in my yard at least 3 times.  This mostly western blackbird is being seen in this region almost every year now.

Male Yellow Headed Blackbird

Male Yellow-Headed Blackbird

An assortment of Sparrows have been around including White Crowned (below), White Throated, American Tree and Chipping Sparrows.

White Crowned Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow

A single Mourning Dove visited the yard for about a week.  I normally only see 2 or 3 Doves in a season.

Mourning Dove & Purple Finch

Mourning Dove with male Purple Finch

Northern Flickers have been exceptionally busy … and noisy! … lately.  Hammering on everything in sight to be as loud as possible and calling, calling, calling!  At one point, there were 4 Flickers in my area …. there was no mistaking that!

Male Northern Flicker

Male Northern Flicker

Goldfinches are always late arrivals and this fellow didn’t show up until last week.  He was here again today but so far, I’ve only seen the one.

Male Goldfinch

Male American Goldfinch

Juncos and Purple Finches will nest here.  I’m always hopeful to see the young of both.

Female Purple with male Junco

Male Dark Eyed Junco (top) with female Purple Finch

On a trip out to our camp last week, we came across quite a few of these handsome fellows:  Spruce Grouse.  I don’t often see them but we saw 5 that day.

Male Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

A couple of days ago, I received a phone call from a friend telling me that there was a Swan on our local lake.  I ran around a bit trying to track it down but could only ever see a white dot on the other side of the lake.  I stopped at another friend’s house where there is a lovely dock and we watched it for a while.  After about 20 minutes, we suddenly realized that the Swan, a Trumpeter, was slowly swimming right toward us.  Surprising since there were 3 good size, rowdy dogs playing in the water!  The curious Swan swam up to within 30 feet of shore and honked at the dogs.  We had beautiful viewings of it from the dock.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

On a recent trip out of town, my husband and I had some nice sightings of wildlife.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes nest around here so we watch for them every year.

Black Bear

Black Bear – my first sighting of the season.

Cow Moose



First Chipmunk of the season … put up yer dukes!

One evening last week, we had our season’s first thunderstorm and this beautiful rainbow (was actually a double) was the result.


Portion of a double rainbow.

I have my annual Great Canadian Birdathon coming up this weekend.  I’ve raised $820 this year, my best ever.  Thank you sooo much to those who have donated.  If you would like to donate to my birdathon, it’s not too late!  Follow this link to make a pledge and again ….. thank you!

On May 28th & 29th, we’ll be in Dorion, ON., for their annual Dorion’s Canyon Country Birding Festival .  It’s the highlight of my spring!  Professional birders & guides lead us through a day and a half of hiking around Dorion & Nipigon, Ont. birding hotspots.  In that time, we normally tally over 120 species.  Great fun!

Well, that’s it for this month.  Thanks so much for reading and …….. Happy Sightings!

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8 Responses to Notes From a NW Ontario Backyard – May 2016

  1. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Laurie!

  2. Laurie Mason says:

    Love your pics!
    i miss the loons here in Alberta. Apparently they’re around but not in my ‘backyard’!
    Good luck on your ‘hunting’ trip!
    Laurie at Camrose – a great migration spot!!! Woo Hoo!

  3. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks, Marcia. 🙂 Believe it or not, those two species are ‘common’ here. 🙂

  4. Marcia Stager says:

    Love the loon picture. How wonderful that you could see a Sandhill Crane and a Spruce Grouse. They are on my “must see” list.

  5. Angie says:

    Love seeing the birds you see in your yard and the wildlife around you.

  6. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Julie … enjoy the long weekend! T.

  7. Julie says:

    Great photos! I especially love the waterfowl pictures with the Loon, of course, being my favorite. Enjoy your upcoming events.