Yellow-headed Blackbirds, especially in their breeding plumage, are always a highlight. One or more birds have been noted fairly regularly at the Angler Line wetland, as they were in 2014. I got out there this evening, just as the thunderstorm was approaching, and at first there was no Yellow-headeds to be seen or heard. There was Green Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Egret and others. However after the storm passed, one bird eventually popped up and began its non-musical (to human ears) song. This photo is from a sunnier day about a week ago.....I did manage a couple of more distant shots this evening.
Great Horned Owls are of interest, especially when they are nesting. Some readers will remember the family of owls that nested in a broken Black Cherry tree in Paxton's Bush on the north side of Chatham a couple of years ago. I'm not sure where they were nesting in 2014, but this spring they are in a broken Sugar Maple, but much higher up. However they are farther away from the main trail, and seem to be staying at the nest longer than in 2013.
|2013 nest in a Black Cherry|
|Owlet sitting at the edge of the 2015 nest|
|Wilson's Phalarope female|
|Flock of Dunlin|
A few Hooded Warblers have turned up as well. Fortunately it is a breeding species of southern Ontario that is increasing gradually....it wasn't that long ago that it was considered a really rare bird.
|Hooded Warbler male|
Wildflowers abound. I've shown a fair number in previous posts, so I won't repeat them here. It is always nice to see a good showing of our provincial flower.
A Species At Risk type of shrub or small tree is this Eastern Flowering Dogwood. It is a plant of woodlands with sandy soils. It used to grow at Rondeau but hasn't been seen for several decades, presumably due to heavy deer browsing during the years when the numbers of wintering deer was approaching 600! What at first glance seems to be white 'petals' aren't really petals at all. They are deciduous bracts or bud scales. The actual flowers are the tiny greenish parts in the middle, which will develop into red berries in the late summer to early autumn. The bracts in this photo are not quite fully out; hence they are still on the greenish-yellow side. They should be brighter white in a couple of days.
Answer to the Dunlin flock photo: by counting them in the printed photo, I came up with 229 birds! It has been my experience that most birders underestimate the number of birds in a flock. How many did you estimate?