It had been weeks since Ann and I had been out nerding together (despite the last post on Pelee, which was months ago!), so off we went last Monday morning. We initially feared we'd be jinxed as the first significant rain the area had seen in
En route to the cottage, Ann spotted a Turkey Vulture. But not just one, several, we did a hasty u-turn on one of the busiest roads in the area for gravel trucks and were amazed by what we saw for the next half hour:
And no, they were not flying away from us, they were roosting in these trees, at least eight of them, gradually we were able to approach them as they moved from tree to tree:
One of my Sibley guides confirms that Turkey Vultures sun their spread wings and by doing so, are also able to warm themselves up and rid themselves of any nighttime dew (as well as torrential downpours?)
This one comes in for a beautiful, perfect landing. I've never been so close to one in the wild before:
...one of its feathers is left behind as it lands:
Another theory is that they adopt this posture to realign their flight feathers after hours of soaring:
Admittedly, we went insane watching this spectacle, but it was truly intriguing to see their group dynamics, and they didn't seem to mind our presence:
Phew, only just a few Turkey Vulture pictures to edit there...
Our next special bird for the day was a fresh-looking young Eastern Kingbird near the Ganaraska Forest:
But the rains started back up, so our next stop was at the cottage to have lunch with mom, as well as to have a visit with one of our resident Loons that had made its way back to the swamp:
Leg stretches were in order:
And despite the drizzle that had returned, Ann and I tolerated it as we realized that the Loon's mate was in the vicinity...
...for what I refer to as a- wait for it- Rain Date ♥♥♥:
...not even the rain stopped them from doing a late-season courtship dance with each other, as they both simultaneously dipped their heads into the water, it was beautiful to watch them:
By now it was time to retreat to the car to dry off our camera equipment, and our next thrill for the day was finding a family of Merlins, both parents with their four young ones, here are three of them, a first to see this many together!
The last one takes off to join the rest of the family, I suspect there aren't too many songbirds in the area with that many hungry Merlins flying around!
One of the Osprey parents by the bridge was off in the distance (actually, Ann was also way off in the distance by now, shhhhhhhhhh!)...
...while a fledged young Osprey makes a rough landing on the hydro wire:
Meanwhile back at the poison ivy nest, one of the babies checks us out...
...but then we realize there are two in the nest!
We look forward to them fledging within the next little while:
On the way back to the cottage, a pair of Wild Turkeys were scurrying across a field with their poults, another first for me to see young ones in the wild, as the only other poults I've seen were at the Toronto Wildlife Centre:
Our final Osprey family in Scugog were enjoying the sunshine, the adult is on the left:
The baby's eyes are still that striking orange colour I so love:
So this was one of those days where timing was everything, from seeing the roosting Turkey Vultures before they began their rocking flight for the day, my cottage Loons dirty-dancing in the rain, an entire Merlin family, an entire Wild Turkey family, and lots of Osprey to boot!! Life is good!