Rainy days make for road trips ahead of their arrival, not to mention some spectacular sunsets the night before:
Four minutes later:
Two minutes later
marking the arrival of the mosquitoes, grrrrr:
Yesterday's sunrise was equally sick:
Tessa and I headed off in good time ahead of the inclement weather, with no particular destination in mind as I frequently make it up along the way depending upon what I do or don't see.
It was already pretty quiet as no doubt the birds sensed what was coming with high winds and rain, but Savannah Sparrows were plentiful:
We found ourselves back at Carden and it was totally deserted (thank you, all of you fair-weather birders, hah!).
A busy Bobolink mother collected a meal for her family:
A pretty American Goldfinch posed in front of a typical Carden background:
A banded Loggerhead Shrike was an unexpected sight on Black Bear Road:
For my non-birding audience, the Loggerhead Shrike is an endangered species, and the past few years have not been kind to them. An enlargement of the photo provides a better view of the band colours:
Both of these photos have been sent to Ontario's Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Program for their records.
(By the way, Black Bear Road is on its way to becoming my new favorite road in Carden and is aptly named, as Justin and I found out last week when we saw this bear print while exploring it!)
The skinny neck of an Upland Sandpiper is usually easy to see, as per this photo sequence from earlier in the season...
...ahead of an intensive preening session:
Yesterday's view of an Upland Sandpiper was subdued by comparison, and its posture hid the thin neck:
It was getting noticeably darker and the north/ northeast winds were picking up so we headed for home, but not after seeing a few more Turkey Vultures that I always have a soft spot for
NO KIDDING, I'M A FREAK :
Speaking of which, I was at the very southern border of Carden when I spotted some roadkill action going on with a pair of Turkey Vultures so of course I pulled over for a stakeout, using my car as a blind:
There wasn't much roadkill left, which was unrecognizable from a distance:
But the Vultures were still eyeing it, one was on the ground and the other was on a fence post:
Both front windows were all the way down, with the roadkill stakeout focused on my side of the car. Tessa was chilling in the back, as always, and both rear windows were completely shut.
A very good thing, as it turned out.
After almost ten minutes I decided to pack it in, so I placed my camera on the passenger seat. Remember that my focus had been out of the driver's side of the car, so suddenly something dark and large on the passenger side of the car caught my eye:
OMG sixty feet away, there was a black bear standing up looking at me!
Needless to say I was shocked by the unexpected but somehow managed to keep it together (unlike my prior bear encounter in Carden a week earlier, arggggh) and retrieve my camera that of course had all the wrong settings.
By now the bear had "stood down" and was on all fours:
As mentioned, my camera settings weren't ideal, nor was the placement of vegetation right in front of it, but eye contact was still entirely possible:
For sure the bear was aware of our presence long before we were, thanks to the wind direction with both of my front windows down. Thankfully Tessa remained oblivious to its presence but the curious bear stood up a second time to investigate us as I scrambled to tweak my camera settings. I was too late to capture the moment of it standing, but managed a few shots of its backside as the bear bolted off:
What was to be another "quiet" road trip ended up being just the opposite, but what a thrill it was to see this when I least expected to!