Foreign Climes Canada 2019 Aug 5, 2019 12:56:40 GMT
Post by rowanberry on Aug 5, 2019 12:56:40 GMT
Just back from Canada, and so thought I'd post the best out of the photos I took this year.
Mainly the same species as last summer, but I did get to see a few new ones...
There were a lot of song sparrows- these tend to be more solitary than our sparrows, and each one seems to claim a specific small shrub or bush out in the middle of open grassland. After a few days I could just about guarantee where I would be able to find one, and this bird became quite accustomed to having its photograph taken! It would swoop down to the ground, catch an insect and then retreat back to its own particular shrub. As long as I didn't get too close, it didn't mind.
There was a tall dead 'widow-maker' a lot of birds liked to perch in and sun themselves during early morning. Usually it was Eastern kingbird flycatchers and North American robins, often along with large Northern Flicker woodpeckers and sometimes this very vocal Nuthatch.
Cedar waxwings are usually seen in the autumn eating berries- they are migratory just like Blue Jays, so I was fortunate to see both of these. I really like Blue Jays, even though they are very squawky and often arrive in noisy groups.
Last year I only saw Baltimore Orioles, but this year I also got to see the less common Orchard Oriole- a handsome russet-coloured bird. The Baltimore variety arrive in squabbling family groups, with parents and fledglings all piling into the feeder (they love grape jelly!) but the Orchards I only saw one at a time and very infrequently.
There are always birds perched on overhead wires, watching the ditches and fields alongside gravel roads- especially since harvesting has started now. Newly mown fields attract a huge variety, and it's the first time I had an opportunity to photograph a Western Meadowlark, and a Swallow taking a break from catching mosquitoes. It it weren't for Swallows and Flycatchers, the mosquitoes would make life unbearable... which they very nearly do anyway.
Two little birds I'm always pleased to get photos of... North American Goldfinch, (they love thistle seeds just like our British ones) and Hummingbirds. Fortunately there were quite a few Hummers about this year- last summer I only saw one. I wasn't able to get a decent photo of the Ruby-throated male, but got quite a few of this tiny female.
I really wanted to get some good bird of prey pics this year but didn't manage it- the only large ones I saw were too far off in the distance to even identify. I saw several American Kestrels, though- usually hunting mice over the hayfields.
Two nice butterflies: I think the first is one called an American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) and this very flitty Monarch. It took me days to get a photo of a Monarch, and this one finally obliged on my last day there... not a great shot, but these are just about my favourite butterfly so I was still happy with it.
The third butterfly I'm not sure of- there were a lot of these about, usually nestled down in the grass and very hard to see since they are nearly black.
Of the mammals seen, mainly small ones again... a baby North American red squirrel peering out of its nest, a chipmunk eating berries, and a Ground Squirrel, which I have mistakenly entitled a prairie dog!
My best sighting was of a young buck standing right by the side of the road... he stood there staring back and posing beautifully, with his antlers all covered in velvet.