This blog reflects 365 days of photos taken along a portion of the Tom Taylor Trail, in Newmarket, Ontario. It was an opportunity to work on my own observation skills as well as to learn about photography. I’ll occasionally update this site but have posted more regularly and recently on Flickr, where all of my photos are in the public domain.
This spring has been very cold and perhaps that is why I have been seeing some unusual birds. Yesterday as I walked home from the train, I saw a variety of warblers that were new to me.
Like the warblers, this Redstart was moving around so quickly and far back in the brush I could barely get a snap of it. At first I thought it might be an oriole but it’s orange is in the wrong places.
I usually see a pair of yellow warblers each year but for many years I may have been seeing them but assumed they were finches from a quick view of yellow feathers in a bush. They’re obviously very different.
The dog and I walk along the river and, while he’s sniffing the grass, I keep an eye on the river. Even on a windy day, you can see ripples that aren’t natural on the water. I saw some and watched as a creature swam the river and popped up on our side. A weasel!
It paused at the river bank and then slowly jumped its way across the low underbrush until it came up almost right to me and the dog. Which was the first time he saw the weasel – he’d been huffing and puffing at me while I stood still, and hadn’t been looking at the animal coming towards us.
The weasel continued to move around the grass looking for an auspicious place to cross, I’m assuming, the path. By the time we looked back, he’d disappeared.
I’d not seen a Myrtle warbler before – and hadn’t known it under it’s Yellow Rump (or “Butter Butt”) name. The purpose of this site was to help with my observation skills and visually I’m better, but the birds make me realize how little I can distinguish one bird’s call from another. The finches and cardinals are obvious, but often I’ll see something like this bird because I’ve heard a call I don’t recognize!
I wasn’t sure at first that these are the same type of bird, but this one clearly has the yellow spot on the head. I find bird watching in spring to be hard as the juveniles do not yet share the coloring of their adults.
I’ve seen more monarchs in the last few days than I’ve seen all summer. The butterflies are well provided for as milkweed goes. It’s everywhere. But this monarch butterfly was spending its time in the plentiful goldenrod, bee balm, and prairie coneflowers.
This weekend was extremely hot. I was out early with the dog to try to get in a walk before we both melted. As we passed a large outflow pipe, this beaver was floating on the river. Not a ripple from it as it seemed to just enjoy being in the cool water. After a moment it gained a bit of headway, and disappeared as a bike rider rattled by behind us.
It is late summer along the Holland River and the purple asters have taken over from the white daisies. They’re especially striking amongst the tall yellow goldenrod.
The cinquefoils – five petaled yellow wildflowers – were out and there were some tiny crickets bobbing amongst them.
One afternoon on the way home, the water was deep and the ducks were dabbling. Then a muskrat swam up and started grabbing the rushes from near the edge of the pond.
The yellow tips on a bunch of birds zipping around in the rain finally clued me in that these were the cedar waxwings. I thought I’d seen them before, but those were the Bohemians.