Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Can't Help Myself....

My time with the Long-tailed Ducks earlier last week was so much fun that it was impossible for me to stay away, so a few days later I returned to the harbour at sunrise. This time it was much colder, resulting in less open water which worked to my advantage as the male and female Long-tailed Ducks were now even closer to me. I crawled across the boulders and wedged myself in place to spend an hour with them:

The water on the back of the male at times sparkled like beautiful diamonds in the early light:

Considering a dive:

The female always dove first, followed by the male:

Yet the male always swam in closer to me after re-surfacing:

...and he'd be gone:


My patience paid off as the male began a spectacular preening session, just look at that tail!

Hard work, this is serious stuff!

Taking the plunge:

The fine couple are together for a change...

...but not for long, the ripples from the female's dive can be seen on the right:

...and the male follows her:

A few minutes later, their diving routine continues:

The male moves in closer to me yet again:

Another dive:

Suddenly another male swims into the area from under the pier: 

The first one isn't impressed...

...and he makes his way closer to the female:

A scuffle breaks out between the three of them:

...and the intruding male is banished. 

Until a third male appears from under the pier!

Notice the plumage difference between the two males:

The new male was also interested in the clicks of my camera but eventually moved on:

My last looks at the diving male, as it was time for me to crawl out from between the boulders:

I continued on my way and was successful in finding a sunbathing Eastern Screech-Owl for my Year List:

Interesting reflections in the canal reminded me of autumn golds and bronzes in Algonquin six months earlier: 

Even though I was further away from the Long-tails at my next stop, I was very pleased with the images I captured:  

A preening male:


Calm waters with reflections:

Textured backdrop:

Black and white beauty:

A sip of water:


Yes, there's a Long-tail in them thar waters!


And it wasn't all about Long-tailed Ducks NO, REALLY??!!, as a few White-winged Scoters were close to the pier as well:

So ended another memorable trip to Lake Ontario for Long-tailed Ducks, I just couldn't help myself! 

Speaking of which, perhaps the Snowy Owls I encountered today will be my last good views for the season? 

This is one wretched flight shot of the first one I saw this morning. I have to say, without a doubt, that she is the most massive female I've seen all winter. She was huge, as in don't-mess-with-me huge. I pity her prey, if they were to see her coming at them:

The next female was tiny by comparison, and therefore a lot less frightening: 

And just when you thought there'd be no more Snowy Owl pics, heheheeee. I can't help myself. 

Bring on migration.

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