Subscribe to Blog
RSS
Archive
January February March April May June July August September October November December (2)
January (8) February (6) March April May June July August September October November December

Red-shouldered Hawk

December 08, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The Red-shouldered Hawk is now a Nova Scotia nesting bird and a year round resident. This example has returned from its summer time wanderings to over winter at the same nursery I photographed it at last year.

The personality of a bird is normally not a diagnostic tool but the personality differences between the Red-shouldered Hawk and the closely related Red-tailed Hawk is striking. The Red-tailed Hawk is a flighty bird flying away at the slightest provocation whereas the Red-shouldered Hawk will sit and look at you or ignore you as it scans the area for its next meal.

Red-shouldered Hawk


Black-headed Grosbeak

December 05, 2023

This rare bird almost turned into a tale of woe for me. I set up with a view of the feeder from the road expecting some distant photos. But wait! The Black-headed Grosbeak popped up in front of me in a multiflora tangle almost void of fruit. This intrepid forager found some of the last remaining offerings. This supplements the bird and the winter bird photographic opportunity.

So.......my camera would not focus no matter what I did. I managed these photos using manual focus. Somewhere along the way I touched the wrong key or software button. This camera will be leaving my service since this should not happen,...ever.

This visit of the Black-headed Grosbeak is a 16th record for Nova Scotia and the first for December. In all likelihood it will stay all winter.

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak 100Black-headed Grosbeak 100 Black-headed Grosbeak 101Black-headed Grosbeak 101 Black-headed Grosbeak 102Black-headed Grosbeak 102 Black-headed Grosbeak 103Black-headed Grosbeak 103

 

Black-headed Grosbeak 104Black-headed Grosbeak 104

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Black-headed grosbeak
Male in California, United States
Duration: 9 seconds.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Pheucticus
Species:
P. melanocephalus
Binomial name
Pheucticus melanocephalus
(Swainson, 1827)
  Breeding
  Migration
  Year-round
  Nonbreeding

The black-headed grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) is a medium-sized, seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the rose-breasted grosbeak (P. ludovicianus) with which it hybridizes on the American Great Plains.

The 19 cm (7.5 in) long, 47 g (1.7 oz) black-headed grosbeak is a migratory bird, with nesting grounds from southwestern British Columbia, through the western half of the United States, into central Mexico. It occurs as a vagrant further south in Central America.

Description

Photograph of female
The female of this species looks similar to the female of the rose-breasted grosbeak and is best separated on geographical range.

Measurements:[2]

  • Length: 7.1–7.5 in (18–19 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2–1.7 oz (34–48 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.6 inches (32 cm)

The black-headed grosbeak is similar in size to a common starling. As per its name, the male has a black head, and black wings and tail with prominent white patches. Its breast is dark to tawny orange in color, and its belly is yellow. The female has a brown head, neck, and back with sparrow-like black streaks. She also has white streaks down the middle of her head, over her eyes, and on her cheeks. Her breast is white, and wings and tail are grayish-brown with two white wing bars and yellowish wing edges.

 


Nova Scotia's 2023 Premier Bird, the Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

December 02, 2023

I first photographed the Grey-crowned Rosy Finch January 23, 2023. It is Nova Scotia's first confirmed record. I was not satisfied with my edits from the original posting so I went back to my RAW images of last January and tried again. The finch was consuming sunflower seeds as it should to survive our nasty winter and these seeds do compromise the photos around the beak, but who cares?

Grey-crowned Rosy Finch

Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 352Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 352 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 353Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 353 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 355Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 355 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 356Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 356 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 357Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 357 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 358Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 358 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 359Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 359 Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 360Grey-crowned Rosy Finch 360


Sanderlings and Friends

November 22, 2023

There was a shorebird melee at Sandy Cove's Beach in Halifax. I found European Starlings (always present year round), Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black Ducks, and one Bairds Sandpiper.

European Starlings

Sanderlings

Black Ducks and Sanderlings

Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers and one Baird's Sandpiper


Yellow-breasted Chat

November 22, 2023

This beautiful Yellow-breasted Chat will try to overwinter in our merciless climate. I had one in my back yard for some time several years ago as I attempted to save it. I fed it grape jelly, suet, red grapes and peanut butter all combined in a mesh bag heated by flood lights so they would be constantly warm. The chat would even stand on the lights to warm up. Yet for all my effort it still vanished. It must have build up enough body fat to make a run for the Carolinas. I hope so.

Yellow-breasted Chat

 


Even More Sandhill Crane Photographs

November 22, 2023

The Sandhill Crane family continues to linger and feed in the corn field stubble. I have photographed them in previous years scratching away the snow to find the corn so they may stay awhile yet. The corn field stubble makes for the worst possible background to photograph these elegant birds.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane 550Sandhill Crane 550 Sandhill Crane 551Sandhill Crane 551 Sandhill Crane 552Sandhill Crane 552 Sandhill Crane 770Sandhill Crane 770 Sandhill Crane 771Sandhill Crane 771 Sandhill Crane 772Sandhill Crane 772 Sandhill Crane 773Sandhill Crane 773 Sandhill Crane 774Sandhill Crane 774 Sandhill Crane 775Sandhill Crane 775 Sandhill Crane 776Sandhill Crane 776 Sandhill Crane 777Sandhill Crane 777 Sandhill Crane 778Sandhill Crane 778 Sandhill Crane 779Sandhill Crane 779 Sandhill Crane 780Sandhill Crane 780 Sandhill Crane 781Sandhill Crane 781 Sandhill Crane 782Sandhill Crane 782 Sandhill Crane 783Sandhill Crane 783 Sandhill Crane 784Sandhill Crane 784 Sandhill Crane 785Sandhill Crane 785 Sandhill Crane 786Sandhill Crane 786

 


Upland Sandpiper

November 08, 2023

The Upland Sandpiper is near to an annual regular, albeit in small numbers. It is still considered rare and certainly hard to find.

Laura and I first met this friendly species in Manitoba where often as not it would sit on a post and signal its pleasure with a wolf whistle song. We came to call it "button eyes" due to its piercing glare. Like the Manitoba Upland Sandpiper the Halifax visitor was friendly and not easily startled although like most birds if you get too close you will end up photographing its backside.

Upland Sandpiper

 

 

 


Vermilion Flycatcher

November 06, 2023

I visited Chebogue Point to view and photograph the Vermilion Flycatcher. The Chebogue Point dairy farm is a rich bird area probably due to the rich variety of edible insects that inhabit the place primarily Stable Flies and Stable Fly maggots. The thousands of Stable Fly larvae may sustain a mix of birds this winter and the warmth created by hundreds of dairy cattle in their heated enclosures should provide ample if not luxurious accommodation for several overwintering birds. Predation by several resident barn cats and the ever present Merlins that also overwinter in this situation thanks primarily due to the hundreds if not thousands of local starlings, a reslilent and intelligent bird species. Also present were Palm Warblers, Song Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Photographing the Vermilion Flycatcher was challenging thanks to my camera's inability to focus the bird which was usually present behind branches and also its active nature. I trashed dozens of out of focus photographs and images of branches absent of birds. Nevertheless out of this melee I obtained one decent photo of the Vermilion Flycatcher. Two images shown below are crops of the wider field photograph.

This visitation of the Vermilion Flycatcher would be the fourth confirmed record according to Dr. Ian Mclarens , "All the Birds of Nova Scotia".  It has been reported before in the last decade but without photographs it is difficult to confirm the record.

Vermilion Flycatcher

If your interested in more details of this rare bird here it is:

Courtesy of Wikipedia
 
Vermilion flycatcher
Temporal range: 1.15–0 Ma (present)
 
Red bird in a tree
Duration: 40 seconds.
Call of vermilion flycatcher
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae
Genus: Pyrocephalus
Species:
P. obscurus
Binomial name
Pyrocephalus obscurus
Gould, 1839
Subspecies

See text

Range map[2]
  Year-round
  Breeding
  Nonbreeding

The vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus obscurus) is a small passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family found throughout South America and southern North America. It is a striking exception among the generally drab Tyrannidae due to its vermilion-red coloration. The males have bright red crowns, chests, and underparts, with brownish wings and tails. Females lack the vivid red coloration and can be hard to identify—they may be confused for the Say's phoebe. The vermilion flycatcher's song is a pit pit pit pidddrrrreeedrr, which is variable and important in establishing a territory. Riparian habitats and semi-open environments are preferred. As aerial insectivores, they catch their prey while flying. Their several months-long molt begins in summer.

Despite being socially monogamous, vermilion flycatchers will engage in extra-pair copulation. They also practice within-species brood parasitism, whereby females lay their eggs in the nest of another individual. Females build shallow open cup nests and incubate the brown-speckled whitish eggs. The male feeds the female during incubation. Two broods of two or three eggs are laid in a season lasting from March through June. Once hatched, both males and females feed the chicks, which are ready to fledge after 15 days.

The species was first described in the late 1830s as a result of the voyages of Charles Darwin. The taxonomy of the genus Pyrocephalus was revised in 2016, which led to the identification of several new species from the vermilion flycatcher's subspecies, including the now-extinct San Cristóbal flycatcher. Populations have declined because of habitat loss, though the species remains abundant. The overall population numbers are in the millions, thus the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers it a species of least concern.

 


Merlin

November 06, 2023

I photographed the Merlin at Cape Sable Island. It was cooperative, thank you very much. The larger cousin the Peregrine Falcon is less friendly and the smallest falcon species, the Kestrel is the jumpiest of the three falcon species that regularly inhabit our province. The Merlin and Peregrine Falcon overwinter in Nova Scotia whereas most of the Kestrels migrate south often in flocks.

Merlin

Merlin 300Merlin 300 Merlin 301Merlin 301 Merlin 302Merlin 302 Merlin 303Merlin 303 Merlin 304Merlin 304


American Pipit

November 06, 2023

The American Pipit was working the corn stubble on the fields of Grand Pre. It was hard to photograph thanks to the similarly coloured background.

Both the American Pipit and its usual migration companion the Snow Bunting are on the move now so look our for them.

American Pipit

American Pipit 101American Pipit 101


More Sandhill Cranes

November 06, 2023

A visit to Milford Road showed the same five Sandhill Cranes that I photographed recently. They were further away this time and there is no way to get closer thanks to the muddy corn fields. But as a photographer I never pass up an opportunity to photograph wild birds.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes 603Sandhill Cranes 603

Sandhill Cranes 300Sandhill Cranes 300 Sandhill Cranes 600Sandhill Cranes 600 Sandhill Cranes 601Sandhill Cranes 601 Sandhill Cranes 602Sandhill Cranes 602


Sandhill Cranes

October 22, 2023

It was a dreary and rainy day but just perfect for a drive around looking for Sandhill Cranes. The same family of cranes was beside Milford Road, Nova Scotia. Just like my last visit the rain let up briefly just as I found the cranes and allowed for some quick pics.

Sandhill Cranes


Setting Crescent Moon at Peggy's Cove

October 22, 2023

I had hoped to photograph The Pleiades and the Orion Nebula in one frame but it required a clear north eastern horizon but no such luck as I was frustrated once again. It's the curse of living in a beautiful coastal province. If its not clouds its fog.

All was not lost as the crescent moon was spectacular as it settled into the Atlantic directly south of my position at Peggy's Cove.

Crescent Moon Setting


Limpkin

October 18, 2023

I photographed the Limpkin in Brooklyn (Queens), Nova Scotia. The late Dr. Ian Mclaren recorded four records in his masterwork, "All the Birds of Nova Scotia", so this would be our fifth record. The Limpkin is far from its preferred tropical and semitropical environment but it has found a nature garden here in Brooklyn (Queens) where there are lots of goodies to eat. Hopefully it will build its strength and fly south soon.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Taxonomy and systematics

The limpkin is placed in the family Aramidae, which is in turn placed within the crane and rail order Gruiformes.[5] The limpkin had been suggested to be close to the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae, based upon shared bird lice. The Sibley–Ahlquist taxonomy of birds, based upon DNA–DNA hybridization, suggested that the limpkin's closest relatives were the Heliornithidae finfoots, and Sibley and Monroe even placed the species in that family in 1990.[6] More recent studies have found little support for this relationship.[7] More recent DNA studies have confirmed a close relationship with particularly the cranes,[8] with the limpkin remaining as a family close to the cranes and the two being sister taxa to the trumpeters.[9]

Although the limpkin is the only extant species in the family today, several fossils of extinct Aramidae are known from across the Americas. The earliest known species, Aramus paludigrus, is dated to the middle Miocene,[10] while the oldest supposed members of the family, Aminornis and Loncornis, have been found in early Oligocene deposits in Argentina, although whether these are indeed related is not certain;[7] in fact, Loncornis seems to be a misidentified mammal bone. Another Oligocene fossil from Europe, Parvigrus pohli (family Parvigruidae), has been described as a mosaic of the features shared by the limpkins and the cranes. It shares many morphological features with the cranes and limpkins, but also was much smaller than either group, and was more rail-like in its proportions. In the paper describing the fossil, Gerald Mayr suggested that it was similar to the stem species of the grues (the cranes and limpkins), and that the limpkins evolved massively long bills as a result of the specialisation to feeding on snails. In contrast, the cranes evolved into long-legged forms to walk and probe on open grasslands.[11]

Preferred Habitat

undefined

Limpkin

Limpkin 117Limpkin 117


Sandhill Crane

October 14, 2023

I photographed these Sandhill Cranes alongside Milford Road. They were about 1/2 kilometre distant so haze and image compression were issues I had to grapple with. It was also raining heavily at times but fortunately it let up some when I took these photos.

Sandhill Crane