I thought this Prothonotary Warbler photo was in keeping with the upcoming season. Hopefully there is a healthy number of them that arrive here in the next few weeks!
The last few days have been productive. That isn't surprising, since this is the time of year when many signs of spring are gaining momentum: early migrant birds are relatively abundant, and the next wave is arriving; reptiles and amphibians are becoming more noticeable; native wildflowers are appearing, and butterflies are becoming more numerous. Yaaay!
Winter Wrens have been back for a few days, but they are so hard to photograph. They are constantly on the move it seems, playing hide and seek amongst the branches and debris on the forest floor or swamp. Once in awhile, you get lucky.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are starting to be a bit more numerous. They are almost as hard to photograph as Winter Wrens. This one was photographed through a fence at the maintenance yard of Rondeau, into the row of White Cedars, so not as clean and sharp as I would like.
The star of last spring at Rondeau was the White-winged Dove. It was quite predictable and remained for several months. This spring, every time I went by the cottage lot that hosted it in 2016, I would slow down and glance in, but it wasn't until this past Sunday when I wasn't at the park, that it was first seen for this year. It was noted carrying on similar behaviour....checking out its reflection in the sun roof of the cottage owner's car and calling regularly. I got to see it a couple of days later. Too bad it didn't think to bring a mate along with it!
The trails have been good for other things besides birds, of course. I recently noted my first of the year (FOY) Eastern Ribbon Snake swimming along a slough, slithering over logs, etc. It looks much like the more abundant Eastern Garter Snake, except that it normally inhabits swampy areas, has more vivid yellow lines down its back and has a small white dot in front of its eye. The reddish brown colouration along its sides are on slightly different rows of scales as well. This species is declining in Ontario, and is designated as Special Concern under the Endangered Species Act 2007.
From Rondeau I sometimes scoot over to Erieau in a round-about way home. The pair of Bald Eagles nesting in a woodlot along Fargo Road have been more successful this season than they were in 2016. There are two little ones in the nest. Garry Sadler sent along a photo he had showing an adult and two small young. At my most recent check of the nest, one adult was perched on the side and there was a very brief showing of a young bird's head for a fraction of a second. No photo, however.
The sheltered areas of the canal along the south side trail is a great spot for basking turtles. It isn't hard to find a couple of dozen Painted Turtles out. I haven't come across the much rarer and designated Threatened Blanding's Turtle yet, but I am sure it won't be long.