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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Fledgling Copper Hawks in Scarborough

My husband and I discovered a Cooper Hawk nest where we often take walks. We've watched the mom and Dad for a few weeks, and the last time we checked on them, there were 4 fledgling hawks that had been born probably 2 weeks or so before our visit. They seem to be doing well! Hopefully next year, the family will be here too, and increasing :-)

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Point Pelee Trip 2016

Finally getting around to going through my photos from Point Pelee, which my husband and I visited mid May.

We have been saying for 4 years or so, that we want to make the trip down there. It was going to be a bit pricey because it is a 4 1/2 hr drive or so, from where we live, so staying over was basically a necessity. So, I made it kind of like my 50th birthday, and our 2nd year wedding anniversary, and my one sort of "bigger" vacation activity for this year, all rolled into one. We stayed at the Talbot Trail Inn, which as I mentioned in my earlier Rondeau Post, was super great! We saved on eating out by doing a grocery shop for all our lunch and brekkie stuff, and had a nice one night of the 2 we were there, dinner out at Armando's Italian restaurant. There are not a lot of restaurants to choose from in Leamington, so it seemed to us, actually.

Pelee is a pretty much full day hiking day, so we took lunch, snacks and water, as well as sun screen to reapply. We were gone 8 hours and we walked pretty much the whole distance, stopping our car 2 times in 2 areas, to park then walk, as well as the last little bit, we jumped on the trolley train to the point drop off, and walked down to the point. The point is actually not a large amount of land, mainly it is just a narrow point that reaches out into the lake, and it has a tree right on it's edge. The waves were quite surly the day we were there so it was cool seeing all the water splashing up onto the point. It can be quite perilous so one needs to be careful there, and not be venturing too close to the tip nor trying to enter the water.

There were quite a few beach areas to walk along, gorgeous textures on the long fallen and dried huge tree trunks of drift wood. The marshland there is hugely expansive, far beyond what we are used to seeing in Toronto or the Durham Region, which also does boast of quite a few natural wetland areas. There is a few story wood walk up tower platform which allows one to look far over the marshland into the distance. It is like being in another place other than Ontario. We were treated to a real close encounter with all the nesting barn swallows under the steps of the wood walk up.

What can I say, people go there that time of year, mainly because they are birders. Granted, in the Toronto area, especially at Tommy Thompson Park, you hear and see a lot of birds and a large variety of migrant and resident birds at that. However, it was noticeably well increased at Point Pelee, both in sounds and sighting. Warblers are everywhere, just popping up and in and out all around us. Catbirds, even a Scarlet Tanager. The elusive worm eating warbler though, that many die hard photographer birders were looking for there, eluded John and I lol! Some did see it though, we heard in conversations as we passed others on the paths.

There were also trees there that one does not see in eastern Ontario as much. One being the Kentucky Coffee Tree. Some of the oldest existing trees we have grow along one path there at the park. It's very awe striking if one is into trees.

Quite unexpected, was to discover a male turkey, in full display, stalking the female turkeys, all of them on the beach near the point, in the evening light. Not a bird we would have imagined seeing there lol!

What a gorgeous place on earth Point Pelee is, even the surrounding towns, and the road leading to the park entrance, with people's homes right on the shores of Lake Erie, waves crashing up against their backyard shoreline.

yellow warbler in nest

Monday, 6 June 2016

Cooper Hawk Nest Near Our Place

We often walk over to the ravine that is near our condo. It is not a far walk, but once you get into the ravine entrance, you could conceivably walk for miles, east towards McCowan, then towards Markham Rd., into the Highland Creek area. We often go as far as McCowan, but have walked for 4 hours or so, and done the longer route.

Last time we were there, John noticed a huge stick nest up in a tree. It was quite visible from certain spots. We saw the partially silhouetted head of a hawk in it, and I thought it to be a Red Tailed Hawk.

Today, on a day off from work, after renewing our library cards, we decided to head over and see how the hawk was doing.

There was a city worker mowing the meadow area just north of where the nest is, and as he left, passing us as we stepped aside and out of his way, the one hawk took off from the nest and was circling. It didn't seem to like all the noise, and it flew back and forth finally settling in a tree near the nest. I got a couple photos of it, enough to see that it was not a Red Tail Hawk, it was a Cooper's Hawk. We decided to walk on and leave it alone, let it settle down and go back to its business.

Later on, we stopped to see how it was doing, on our way out. I could see a bird seemingly feeding another bird, or pulling from something below in the nest then lifting its head. The bird popped up its head. It has yellow eyes and it seems larger than the one that flew from the nest earlier. Not sure if it is a female being brought food by the smaller male, or a single juvi hawk. Hard to know 100%, could be the female sitting on eggs still, or a juvenile pretty close to fledging. It was large. Hard to see from the distance the photos were taken from too, and the amount of the bird that I was able to discern in the photo. I purposely over exposed the photo when I tool it so I could see as much detail as possible later on. Looking in person it is too far and in total silhouette.

We also were treated to a pair of crows chasing a red tailed hawk through the sky.

The ravine is a pretty place to walk. Generally, someone will stop and talk to us for a few moments, and it is quite enjoyable. Many are long time area residents and we learn quite a bit from them. We saw a lot of swallow tails, mostly the yellow Eastern ones, but we did see a black swallowtail butterfly closer to our condo, on the walk back.