I met Ross on Thursday morning at Claremont Conservation Area to do some hiking, as the birds continued to be somewhat scarce, but I managed to squeeze in a few to photograph in the end, mostly at the marsh in north Pickering where the young Wood Ducks were a delight to watch preening in the sunshine. Their pretty colours have really developed over the past few weeks:
Ross and I hiked our way through Claremont Conservation Area first, and other than a few Indigo Buntings and a Red-tailed Hawk, it was very quiet (maybe due to the hawk's presence??). I especially enjoyed the hike along the creek as it was in the shade, and at times Ross had to restrain me from jumping in the creek to cool down. Unbeknownst to me, he secretly took some pictures:
Unbeknownst to Ross, I secretly took some pictures too- hah!
We returned to the marsh together for the young Wood Ducks and ended up seeing more species here in twenty minutes than the few hours spent at the conservation area! We marvelled at an Eastern Phoebe catching a flying insect, then losing its grip on that insect and flying out to re-catch it, they truly are flycatchers!!
...here the bee (??) escapes...
...but not for very long:
Cedar Waxlings (yup, that's my made-up word) were flying in and out of the trees overhead:
Our next stop was Greenwood Conservation Area (a new spot for me) and Ross relentlessly cracked the whip as we walked along several charming but challenging trails in the heat- some with poison ivy, I might add, and I was still a bit skittish as I awaited the possible onset from Wednesday's session (at least I had replaced my flip-flops with hiking boots). There were several sections of the conservation area that were closed for "repairs", so we ended up going to the nearest Timmie's for
a cold water splish-splash lunch.
Rotary Park by the lake in Ajax was our final stop, and once again Ross held me back from jumping into the lake to cool down. Or maybe it was because he didn't want me to frighten off the few birds that were there on the beach, including several Gulls, Caspian, and these Common Terns:
A young Common Tern:
...a darling Northern Rough-winged Swallow:
...a male Northern Cardinal in beautiful lighting:
We came across a single bird perched on a fence with two others of a different species, all were immatures. The one on the right is a European Starling and the other one (thanks, John!) is a young House Finch:
It was odd to see them together foraging on the ground, quite oblivious to our presence:
Immature House Finch:
We wrapped up our day after six hours together in the heat and humidity, many thanks to Ross for a great day, and the ten pounds that melted off me, too!