Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

August 25, 2011

M6n Moment August 25, 2011

Working on some stories but for the moment I thought I would share something from today, and in future with such special sightings I will title the blog the same...

Today I spotted at least 7 Baltimore Orioles in the backyard!  There might even have been 8.  August is coming to an end, and I know the Orioles are preparing for fall migration.  It makes me sad to see them go but it also gives me something to look forward to next year as Spring arrives and once again so do they.

Other species visiting today include Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, House Sparrows and American Goldfinches.  Oh, and of course, the Rock Dove, more known as Pigeon.  Ring-billed Gulls and a Killdeer were seen flying overhead.

I am curious where the Mourning Doves and House Finches are of late?  It's been some time since I recall seeing either.  Hmmmmmm?

Here are a few pics from the yard this week...  thanks for looking, see you again soon!

A male adult Baltimore Oriole.  Two for certain have been visiting this summer.

The Black-capped Chickadees have been making more frequent visits as August moves along.  The little guys are starting to flock for the coming cold months.
 An adult male Northern Cardinal who frequents the feeders daily.
An adult male Hairy Woodpecker who has trained me in giving him shelled peanuts in the same spot whenever he announces his arrival to the backyard.  Did you really think I trained him?  C'mon!
Another Baltimore Oriole.  I am guessing a young male.  Four of them were poking their heads out of the cedars this morning.  Also know at least two females visit.  So yes, we are now up to 8 Orioles this August.  Last August our record was 5.

Perhaps not the most exciting blog from me but if not anything else, it lets you all know I am still around.

August 7, 2011

Red-tail Hawks on my block!

So, the high humidity has kept me closer to home these days. And with the awful cat slaughter at one of my more frequent areas to visit (see blog). I've ventured into other areas with less people traffic I know of very close to home. No public pools here for the masses to cool themselves with. There is one small playground with some swings, jungle gym and a slide that goes quite un-noticed. A few trails go off towards the Humber River and occasionally I see dog walkers but not many.

I guess it's not a very desirable area to most with the hydro field and north travel is blocked by a rail line which is, of course, fenced off. And lucky for me as it's got a nice selection of birds in the area. An abundance of berry producing shrubs make it a good meal spot for a number of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, American Goldfinches and Eastern Kingbirds all reside in this area. I've even seen Grey Catbirds too! One can watch Chimney Swifts, Tree, Cliff and Barn Swallows constantly fly over as well.

A quite young Catbird I found 2 weeks ago

There are a wide variety of insects in the area like this 12 Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

And this Bee Fly is pretty awesome too!

But the coolest thing to see and can't help but distinctly hear the screech of are a pair of Red-tail Hawks and their young'un. Big beautiful birds soaring the skies, overlooking the fields below and often sitting atop trees and hydro towers. I've seen them every visit now for a couple weeks. And most of the time they are out of reach of my camera lens but still a sight to see with my own eyes. Please enjoy a few cropped shots I am posting here of this beautiful pair before I return with some words...

I am always looking to the sky for my first sightings of these guys

And from this, I usually find a place or two they are landing in

Here is the second one. Quick looks leave me guessing who is the mother, father or baby.

They sure talk to each other a lot.

And not too often do I get to witness something like this...

And seconds later this which has me thinking I was quite excited to witness and probably shaking as I try to capture the best in flight shot ever and did not succeed (but it was still amazing to watch).

I know without a doubt that the adult pair were visiting my backyard last winter and enjoying the occasional Pigeon meal. I was fortunate to come home from work one afternoon to find them right after a fresh kill and watched them for over half an hour with their meal. Between my house and where I see this pair now is much to close to have a second pair.

One of them outside my kitchen window with a Pigeon wing he tore off and flew to the tree branch with. The other stayed on the ground with the rest of the carcass.

Watching this pair has me reassuring myself on my decision that if Canada were to have a national bird... the Red-tail Hawk must be it. I blogged about that last year. Do you agree?

I can spend lengthy amounts of time watching these birds just going about their day over this park. It's so easy to forget the outside world when in the presence of them despite the sounds of cars down the road and planes overhead. People just don't exist to me in this moment. I hope to have some more pics and maybe a Hawk adventure to share in the coming weeks.

August 2, 2011

Opossum visitor and article

I did a phone interview not long ago about Opossums seeing as we had one in the backyard quite often through the winter months. The article finally was published and here it is

Our Opossum was noticed some time back in November of 2010. The first time was in the early morning and it was under one of my bird feeders. I was stunned to see it and so excited too! I rarely see Opossums in my travels minus the ones that didn't make it across a road. So yes, seeing a live one was really cool! It was a morning of freezing rain so I didn't stay out too long with the camera. It stayed out there for some time and then probably went off to sleep some place.

February rolls around and it's a Wednesday afternoon, wind chill temperatures in around -30c and looking out to the backyard after I got home from work I see this 'Possum once again. I am stoked! I have a new camera/lens (much thanks to Angie) so off I go out there. Of course I love to just watch these creatures but to get a couple nice pics is great for memories. That's one thing I have to say about me photoing wildlife, yes I love to get nice pics, but looking back at my photos over the years, I can still be taken back to a certain time and place, and have fond memories of a moment away from the world of humans.

My first good look at her once I got outside.

So as I watched this little critter have it's meal of spilled seed I am once again thinking of how fortunate we are to live in an area of Toronto where there is so much wildlife around us if we just stop for a moment in our busy lives. Look at that nose! What a cutie!

They have a long rat-like tail and very sharp teeth which often leave people thinking they are nasty aggressive creatures. In fact they are quite the opposite. Ever hear of the term "playing 'possum"? They can play dead in some situations. But more often they will dart away to safety than fight anything. Here she is eating the nyjer. Yep, lots of teeth in there.

I saw her a number of times over the remaining weeks of winter and usually in the hours of 3pm to 7pm. She must've been quite cold and hungry to come out during the day time since Opossums are nocturnal creatures (night creatures). I was happy Angie got to see her finally after my first few sightings were right after work and Ang wasn't home yet. Look at those eyes! Don't they just melt you? We named her "Virginia". This species is actually called "Virginia Opossum"... how convenient.

I see an Opossum some nights when I come home from work (being on very different hours than back in the winter). I'd like to think it's her. She's been sitting on my driveway a couple times, and once with a Raccoon. It was kinda funny to see them, no fighting, just sitting there together, probably chatting about what's on the menu in the neighbourhood.  But, as my headlights get a fix on her when I am nearing my drive, she darts off into the darkness.  "Good night" is what runs through my mind as I turn into the driveway.