White-winged Crossbills at Ashbridges Bay: November 18, 2020

The White-winged Crossbill is a very erratic winter invader into southern Ontario.

White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbill (male)

With their specially adapted “cross bills”, these birds feed on conifer cone seeds from hemlocks and spruces. They will feed on the tougher pine cone seeds if necessary.

photo: coniferousforests.com

Crossbills are almost never seen away from coniferous trees.

White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbills (male)
White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbill (male)
White-winged Crossbills (male)

Other birds:

Long-tailed Duck (female)
Mallard (male)
Mallards (male)
Common Mergansers (female)
Common Merganser (female)
American Robin
Belted Kingfisher
Bufflehead (male)
Gadwall (male)
Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Species list: mute swan, Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, gadwall, long-tailed duck, common merganser, bufflehead, ring-billed gull, belted kingfisher, black-capped chickadee, American robin, common redpoll, white-winged crossbill. (14 species)

As usual at Ashbridges Bay, the Chickadees were anxious to take seeds from our hands:

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

Other sights:

Snow pellets on Cottonwood leaf
Tamarack (Larix laricina)
Tamarack (Larix laricina)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea)
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Coyote
Coyote
Coyote

Today’s group:

I received these photos of a Northern saw-whet Owl taken recently at Col. Sam Smith Park. I am not sure who the photographer was.

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whets are about 8 inches in height.

NATURE POETRY

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last,
To seem like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.                                   – Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

Miles Hearn

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