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Tuesday
Jun232009

Spotlight - Simcoe Nature Board

01_10_09 Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl         (copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne    All Rights Reserved)

Every now and then we will be doing a Spotlight post. This post will highlight a favourite photographer, website or blog that we really enjoy.

For the first entry we'll be looking at the Simcoe Nature Board. This is a forum where people in the Simcoe region in Ontario post what they've been seeing and where they've been seeing it.  It's been a great resource for us to find new locations to visit in our area and we got to see our first Snowy Owl from a post last November.
Monday
Jun222009

Last Week in Birds

05_18_09 American Redstart
American Redstart-Male         (Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne All Rights Reserved)

We'll be posting a weekly update,  giving a species total for the week, the best day and our highlights.

For the week June 15 to 21 - total species spotted: 60

High Day Count -45 at Luther Marsh Nature Reserve (report to come soon.)

Highlights of the week included two life birds (fancy birding term stating its the first time seeing a particular bird) in a Red-breasted Merganser at Tiny Marsh and a hunting pair of Northern Harriers at Luther Marsh.  Other highlights included Indigo Bunting and Green Herons still at Bear Creek and Common Yellowthroat/American Redstart at Luther Marsh.
Sunday
Jun212009

Bird of the Week - Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager
Female Summer Tanager   (Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne All rights reserved)

To commemorate the first day of summer, the Bird of the Week has to be the Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). This medium-sized songbird summers mainly in the Southern US and winters in Central and South America.  On occasion the Summer Tanager will be spotted in Canada.

The Tanager breeds in open forests and is a bee and wasp specialist.  It can be easily distinguished from a Scarlet Tanager by its uniformed colour; where male Scrarlets have black wings, the male Summer is strictly red. It is the only all-red bird found in North America.

Summer Tanager
Shot at Point Peele National Park  (Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne All rights reserved)
Wednesday
Jun172009

Torrance Barrens

Torrence Barren Scenic #4

(Copyright 2009 Kelly Roussy  All Rights Reserved)

Back in April, while on a drive up to Bala, we inadvertently stumbled upon Torrance Barrens Conservation Reserve.  We were fascinated by the unfamiliar landscape of scratched bedrock, low/dry shrubs, sparse trees and a variety of wetlands.

It was due to the dedication of the local community along with various conservation agencies that Torrance Barrens was officially designated a Dark Sky Reserve in 1999, the first of its kind in Canada.  A Dark Sky Reserve is a protected space that is free from the intrusion of urban light pollution.  This makes Torrance Barrens THE ideal location to view the night skies.

The areas landscape was formed during the last ice age; drawn by glacial movements and sculpted by the receding waters of glacial lakes Algonquin and Nipissing.

We recently visited the area again.  Unfortunately, the bugs drove me crazy, so we didn't stay too long.  But in the short hour we were there, we spotted many birds (Brown Thrasher, Brown Headed Cowbird, Song Sparrow,) and many wildflowers (Orange Hawkweed, Northern Pitcher Plant, Tall Corydalis.)

On the right you will find, under Blogroll, a link to more information about visiting this amazing place.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Orange Hawkweed

(Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne  All Rights Reserved)
Sunday
Jun142009

Nesting pair of Green Herons?


05_13_09 Green Heron

(Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne  All Rights Reserved)

A very quiet day for birds at Bear Creek Wetlands today, located on Ferndale Drive in the west end of Barrie.  I was surprised to spot a pair of Green Herons.  Yesterday, Kelly and I had seen a lone Green Heron at Bear Creek  and with the sighting today hopefully we have a nesting pair :)  With hardly any bird action, I focused on Dragonflies, Damselflies and Butterflies and got to see my first Monarch Butterfly of the season.

Marsh Bluet
Marsh Bluet (Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne All Rights Reserved)
Saturday
Jun132009

Watch out for Turtles

What you looking at

(Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne   All rights reserved)

Just a friendly reminder to keep an eye out for turtles crossing the road, we saw a lot of turtle carnage on our travels today.
Friday
Jun122009

Bird of the Week - Black Capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee

(Copyright 2008 Nathan Beaulne)

A Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a small songbird from the Tit family.  They reside mostly in mixed woods throughout Canada, Alaska and Northern US states. The bird doesn't migrate during winter like most birds but will move short distances in search of a good food supply.

Chickadees have a complex set of calls.  The most familiar call would be the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" for which the bird is named. They will often add notes to standard calls  to warn of danger or to announce a food source.

Chickadees are quite inquisitive little birds and at times will will approach us humans without any fear and feed right out of your hand.  The shot below was taken at RBG in Hamilton and Kelly was hand feeding Chickadees for the first time.

Watcha got in your hand?

(Copyright 2008 Nathan Beaulne)
Thursday
Jun112009

The Hummingbird Feeder is Up!

05_11_09 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Female (Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne)

We finally put up our feeder today.  I am more than excited to shoot these fascinating birds.  It's amazing how their wings beat 55-75 times per second!  As Hummingbirds love the colour red, I also plan on filling our patio with red flowers, which is great because red is my favorite colour too.
Wednesday
Jun102009

Scanlon Creek and Rogers Reservoir Conservation Areas

IMG_1372

(Copyright 2009 Kelly Roussy)

It was a perfect spring morning.  The sun was shining; the sky was blue.  After breakfast, we decided to grab our gear, pack-up the car, and head to Scanlon Creek Conservation Area for a hike.

Originally, the Scanlon Creek area was colonized by early settlers. The most notable being Mark Scanlon, who built several sawmills along the creek between 1824 and 1860.  The properties of the area were eventually amalgamated and by 1965, the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area was formed.

We made our way to the parking area and walked to the 'Head of Trails,' guided along the way by a beautiful array of wildflowers including buttercups, anemones and daisies. We decided to hike the Kingfisher Trail, one of several trails that run through the park. We were no more than 30 seconds into our hike when the realization of a huge error occurred:  WE FORGOT THE BUG SPRAY!  The mosquitoes were everywhere in the thick forested areas of the trail.  We tried to stop and shoot some beautifully flowering Mayapples but were quickly eaten alive.  So, we hastily made our way to the boardwalk along the Scanlon Reservoir where the open sunlight and cool breeze kept the pests away.

We leisurely walked the rickety old boardwalk.  We were rewarded with the sighting of a Canvasback Duck, a life bird for us!  We explored the reservoir area for awhile, then decided to walk the road back to the car instead of taking the mosquito infested trail. Along the way back, we saw circling overhead, two beautiful Ospreys - what a treat!

04_19_09 Osprey in Flight

(Copyright 2009 Nathan Beaulne)

After what became an off-roading adventure through the roads of the park, and spotting a beautiful Indigo Bunting, we headed back to the highway and down to Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area on the 2nd Concession, just East of Highway 11. The trail was packed with people on foot, on bike, and on 4 x 4.  We cruised the area for an hour or so before deciding to head to Canal Road and then home.

Bird species spotted: 30
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