Despite today’s freezing rain storm, Spring has finally arrived in Northwestern Ontario. This post will likely be mostly a photo essay. I’ve been busy with the camera these past few weeks as migrants have been moving in.
These first 2 are not migrants but I thought the photos might show the differences between Ravens and Crows. Notice how the Raven is much ‘shaggier’ than the sleeker Crow. The Raven is also almost twice the size of the Crow.
Common Raven on my garage roof
American Crow on my platform feeder
Ruffed Grouse have still been coming into the yard almost every evening and some afternoons. This one took some cover in my spruce tree on a cold, blustery spring day.
Evening Grosbeaks are around in good numbers; seemingly more now than throughout the winter and that’s perfectly fine with me.
Male Evening Grosbeak
A female Hairy Woodpecker has been around off and on, nibbling on the peanuts. A male Downy Woodpecker has been here a few times too. Lately, I’ve been hearing the calls of a Pileated Woodpecker in my neighbourhood. 🙂
Female Hairy Woodpecker
A few Robins have been in the neighbourhood this week. This one was singing away in my front yard birch tree.
This small Merlin, a type of Falcon, was hunting my yard for a few weeks although I never found any evidence in the yard of a successful hunt.
A pair of Bohemian Waxwings were nibbling on leftover fruit in my neighbours yard this week.
Some of the only open water in town right now was quite busy this week with Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, a Greater Yellowlegs Sandpiper and an assortment of ducks including Hooded Mergansers, Mallards, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Ring-Necked Ducks. A single Swan was also seen here for just a few moments one evening but I missed it.
Canada Geese, Mallards and Common Goldeneye Ducks in flight.
An assortment of Blackbirds has shown up in the last couple of days. I enjoy having mixed flocks of Blackbirds in the yard … I consider them to be nature’s cleaning crew in the spring.
Below, my favourite! I always love having flocks of Rusty Blackbirds show up! I don’t get to see them every year but so far, this year looks promising.
Male Rusty Blackbird, 1 of about 40 on April 17’16
Another favourite, a male Red Winged Blackbird in my Crabapple tree
I guess the one below is NObody’s favourite …
Male Brown Headed Cowbird
It seems most people don’t care for these guys below either but I kinda like them. 🙂
My husband and I went out to our camp last weekend (April 8 & 9) to complete our annual Nocturnal Owl Survey. On the way out there, we came across this fellow below, in the exact same spot and even the same tree we saw him/her in 2 weeks before. This is obviously a favourite hunting perch.
Northern Hawk Owl
We also saw a flock of Gray Jays actively foraging …. they have young to feed now so they are busy birds!
There is a pair of Bald Eagles nesting on our favourite lake out there, every year. They’ve had some setbacks over the years with their first nest tree (a dead poplar) collapsing one year; they moved to another spot on the lake and rebuilt only to have a vicious storm come through a few years later and take down their nest, killing 2 of that year’s 3 young and breaking our hearts. 🙁 Now, they rebuilt in the current spot a few years ago …. in a nice, healthy, sturdy tree. Fingers crossed for a successful season for them.
Bald Eagle just outside of her nest
We thought our owl survey was going to be a bust as we didn’t hear a thing for the first 9 stops but finally on stop #10 (of 20), we had a Boreal Owl respond to our calls. A few stops after that, we picked up a pair of Boreal Owls ‘duet-ting’ (calling to each other) and on the next stop, a pair of Northern Saw-Whet Owls ‘duet-ting’. It was a cold (-10C), breezy night but it worked out in the end.
Also while out at camp, we had a beautiful Pileated Woodpecker calling loudly from a small stand of trees across the street from a camp and we found a flock of about 30 Snow Buntings in the top of those trees the next morning.
Last photo for this month: We saw this majestic adult Bald Eagle standing on the far side of our local Manitouwadge Lake yesterday. I never get tired of seeing these gorgeous birds!
Bald Eagle standing on Manitouwadge Lake, April 17’16
Other migrants have moved in this week including: Purple Finches, American Tree Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes, Dark Eyed Juncos and Pine Siskins. A variety of Sparrows and Warblers will be arriving soon along with Tree Swallows and Bluebirds. 🙂
Before I forget, I’m sorry to say that the webcam in my yard will be shutting down for the summer season on Sunday, April 24th. ‘My’ webcam is for Project FeederWatch and that season ended on April 9th. We will hopefully be up and running once again in early November. In the meantime, you can watch quite a few other webcams through Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
And on another note, I am completing my annual Great Canadian Birdathon one day in mid May. Last year, I tallied 67 species in one day …. I’m hopeful to break the 70 mark this year! If you would be interested in sponsoring me, please follow this link to donate online. If you prefer to donate by cheque, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my mailing address. Thank you for your generosity!
As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed the report from up here. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you in May!