Archive for October, 2013

Mourning Dove 11/31/13


Mourning Doves breed here in the highlands of Cape Breton and are a year round bird found in more developed and agricultural areas, but you won’t find them in the forests. They like open and mixed cover areas where they can forage for seeds, nuts, and fruit on the ground. Like herons and egrets there’s no scientific distinction between doves and pigeons, just appearance, with the former being the smaller, more slender members of the Columbid family.


Horned Lark 10/30/13


Larks are ground foraging birds of open country like you’ll find in the arctic, or dry arid areas, or mountaintops above the treeline. This one was part of a small flock of a dozen (which included a Lapland Longspur) I watched foraging for weed seeds along the beach. This adult is in the more subdued wnon-breeding plumage, compared to spring and summer breeding duds which more boldly marked with the feathered “horns” at the back of the black stripe above the eye. Called Shorelarks in Europe and Asia.


Ruffed Grouse 10/28/13


Quite a few Ruffed Grouse on the lower end road this fall, this one crossing the Jimmy’s Lane. I’ve also seen them in the trees at the dusk pecking on Mountain Ash berries.


American Crow 10/26/13


Love crow stories . . . my friend John David here was just telling me about a crow he used to watch catch fish in the brook. —  Pleasant Bay Harbour, NS.


Downy Woodpecker female 10/24/13


Downy Woodpecker males have a red patch at the back of the head and the juves have red patches on their foreheads, so this bird having neither is an adult female. She’s hitching down an old snag in my backyard looking for a snack. The rows of holes in the bark she’s grasping were made by a sapsucker when this Mountain Ash was alive, but the sapsucker drilled it to death. Now it’s full of bugs that attract the woodpeckers, nuthatches, and wrens.

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Blue Jay 10/23/13


Can you tell this bird has just noticed me? Corvids (crows and jays) are very much aware, much more so than most other birds like sandpipers or warblers. When those birds are aware of you, they are aware of a big lumpen threat they know enough to steer clear of, but they aren’t aware of you as an individual. Blue Jays know you as an individual, they live in the same neighborhood and see you all the time. This one knows I’ll chase it with my camera, and I could see the “oh him!” speech balloon forming right over its head right before disappearing with its prize (it had been whacking the acorn against the lilacs trying to crack it). Great sumac colors this year.


Broad-winged Hawk juvenile 10/21/13


This is one of those photos that was all shadow until I adjusted the exposure in Photoshop to something like normal. It landed in a tree just above me and I got off a couple snaps before I’d had a chance to ID it or adjust the exposure, and by the time I did it spotted me and was gone. Juve Broad-wings are similar to juve Red-shouldered Hawks, but a bit smaller and stouter, and the breast markings are tear-shaped spots rather than streaks.


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