The work week started off pretty busy, doing some extra hours both on Monday and Tuesday. The call came in again on Wednesday for another opportunity to work some more OT and I said "*expletive* that, I need to get out!" And that I did.
I knew Thursday the weather was going to turn for the worse. So more incentive to take advantage of a decent morning while I could.
I hit 3 local parks. It seems to be the way with me for a while now, not traveling far for birds unless we have to go somewhere for other reasons.
I don't care to list my fave haunts because they go rather unnoticed by the world and I am just fine with that. I like birds and wildlife, I like my alone time when I need it.
As you all know... I like to take photos, but I don't consider myself a photographer. Last Spring I ran into some guy at one of my spots and he's all super tech talk, and just wanted to talk cameras and shit while I wanted to admire 2 pairs of Hooded Mergansers that stopped in our pond for a couple days. I wondered if this was going to become a regular thing, seeing this guy, but he gave up. Not enough bang for the buck in this spot to keep him coming back. It's nice to have some "get away from it all" spots so close to home. The spots don't offer much outside of the usual suspects with the season, and many are hard to find without opening your eyes and ears, and shutting your mouth. This isn't just the reason that I don't advertise where I trek as you will see in the next paragraph.
First stop I was fortunate enough to see 2 Eastern Screech Owls. Not a surprise as I have seen the birds in the park a couple times already this year. One is a rufus morph. What I notice about this Owl is he is very skittish. He does not like being observed and quickly disappears in the box. I have to tread very lightly and not be so direct to see and try to take a photo as you can see below.
The second Owl is a gray morph. I believe this is the female of the two. She seems much larger in my observations. She also has a higher tolerance to human presence, from a respectable distance anyway.
The box the gray one was in is a further distance from where I stood compared to where I could stand with the box the rufus was in. Both are near full zoom and cropped photos. Does that make any sense?
It was a pleasure to see both Owls this morning. Normally if I spot them, it's one or the other. I had thought the Owl I was seeing earlier in the year looked different from one visit to another. I thought maybe it was the distance with the boxes, the lighting or ??? So it was more reason for me to take some photos because otherwise I may not have. Seeing a Screech Owl in a nest box like this doesn't give much more for photos than the first time around, the scenery is the same... exterior of the box. I was very thrilled when I got proof that there were two very distinct Owls around.
I know many people would love to know where this pair is, but it's Spring now, there is a very good chance they have a nest. No need to start a rush on these Owls and have one bad apple mess things up. Ask me my reasons in the fall for not giving up their home!
I made this up with one of the photos I took earlier in the year. I think it sums things up nicely.
I have been called "selfish" in the past for not divulging Owl roosts. I disagree. I sometimes think those calling me "selfish" may very well be just that themselves.
Next stop, chanced upon a male Wood Duck and he had a lady with him! I saw a lone male in this same spot a week earlier. Happy he's got a mate now. This is away from the famous Toronto spot in High Park which can draw some crowds.
Third stop as I ventured closer to home, I took notice to this partial leusistic American Robin snacking on some sumac. Lots of Robins showing up around us but this one sure stood out. The area was littered with dozens of returning Red-winged Blackbirds and Cowbirds too!
Some nice finds so close to home in such a short amount of time.
Then a little highlight at home, though not to many, was this male House Sparrow singing loud and proud atop this nest box on our pine tree. He was doing his best to bring in a lady. The song could be heard in our kitchen which drove our little blue Budge Moonie crazy. Moonie has to be louder than any other bird in ear shot.
I know so many who dislike the House Sparrows for one reason or another. I understand those with Bluebird nest boxes as one example even though it really is just a part of nature. We try to help one species in it's fight for survival and try to protect it from another. But really, I can't hate this little bird doing what nature tells him to do. It's instinct. It's not like he was the first one to fly over from the old world, with pure intent to mess up native birds in North America. We live in Toronto and while there are so many bird species that nest here, Sparrows do too.
You may recall a blog of mine a few years back when we had Chickadees nesting here, or trying to, and a pair of House Sparrows tried to take the same box. Long story short, I put a metal ring on the entry hole which reduced the size and allowed the smaller Chickadee access to the box but not the larger House Sparrow. The Sparrows still gave the Chickadees some grief until I put up another nest box about 30 ft away and all was well. Both raised families in peace and harmony. That Chickadee pair produced 5 young which all fledged from the box, and I was home to see it! Blog of that is here. Not tooting my own horn but it's one of my better story telling blogs on here with lots of photos. Friends still talk about this one. Check it out. Now! What are ya waiting for? This blog is done.