After intense pressure all week from my so-called friend, I have now completed sifting through the +1000 photos from the twelve hours Ann and I spent together last Saturday.
I began the day just before 8 a.m. at the Red-tailed Hawk's nest at the SCC, arriving slightly ahead of Ann and was greeted by one of the young hawks crying out, but was unable to locate him until Ann drove in, he was obviously waiting for his "other" mom. We took advantage of the early morning light to enjoy two of the hawks:
This one's standing on a branch that he clumsily horses around with, learning that it's tough to pick it up with one's beak when one is standing on it!
...chowing down on an unlucky dragonfly that I couldn't identify before its demise:
Who knew that Red-tailed Hawks are birders! He's watching a small bird that's landed on a branch above him:
We were hard-pressed to leave the hawks for our ultimate birding destination outside of the city, as every day with them is a gift, in my mind, but we spent almost an hour there with the two of them before hitting the highway for Tiny Marsh, a new birding hotspot for me situated northwest of Elmvale. Cottage traffic on highway 400 bogged us down, even on a Saturday morning, but we arrived there at 11 a.m.:
Tiny Marsh ain't so tiny, actually, it's a whopping 600 hectares of marsh and 300 hectares of field and forest, a tiny detail that Ann neglected to tell me, as I innocently wander off like a lamb to the slaughter below in flipflops versus my usual hiking boots:
We began with the trail out into the marsh in front of the Nature Centre and Observation Area, seen on the right-hand side below:
Our first good bird for the day was a skittish Common Moorhen that ran across the path right in front of us, Quick-armed Annie was successful in getting great shots, here's a link to her post:
For the most part and as expected, it was a quiet day on the birding front, but here are some random shots from the day...a Great Blue Heron:
A pair of Pied-billed Grebes:
In the wooded area our attention was drawn to an adult Great-crested Flycatcher and we were thrilled to see a juvenile!
A view of the marsh from one of the observation towers:
My mandatory Cedar Waxwing photos for the day:
Ann leads the charge along Trotter Dyke:
A view of the marsh from the dyke, with blustery northwest winds that developed to help ease our pain and suffering from the humidex:
A Black-crowned Night-Heron that I apparently literally scared the crap out of (sorry, I could not resist), another Pooparazzi shot for the record:
A Song Sparrow hanging on for dear life in the wind:
Black Terns galore frolicked on the east side of the dyke, both adults that were beginning to molt (left) and immatures (right):
A Pied-billed Grebe is in the background:
To make up for not identifying the dragonfly that met its fate at the
hands beak of the Red-tailed, here's a male Widow Skimmer on the edge of the dyke:
We left Tiny Marsh and drove along its forested north side, but were met with total silence as it was too late in the afternoon, so we hit the road again and checked out the west side of Cook's Bay for Bald Eagles, with no luck, other than this feather on the ground (it measures 26.5 cm, any guesses, anyone??):
Ravenshoe Road was our next stop, an Osprey nest with two babies in it was worthwhile. Mom flew in shortly after our arrival, but Dad landed on a pole further away with a catfish that he ate solo, the pig, here's Mom and the babies:
We drove to the very end of Ravenshoe Road, passing the house where the Snowy Owl was seen with Doug back in January, it was odd to be here without any snow on the ground! A single Great Blue Heron had found refuge in a field:
But our day was not done, as we returned to fetch my car by the SCC, Ann and I were both compelled to take advantage of the Golden Hour, it was 6:30 p.m. and the lighting was perfect.
Two of the three Red-tails did not disappoint, one of them started off on the roof-top of the SCC, then soared to great heights, almost as if they were trying to impress us:
They would return to earth between flights, basking in the glow of the Golden Hour before sunset:
The pair remained on the roof-top as Ann and I departed at 7 p.m., after a wonderful day together in various parts of the province, book-ended by the Red-tails. Each day with them is a gift.