Scarlet Tanager at Lambton Woods: September 23, 2021

I must confess that when I saw this bird briefly at a distance, I assumed that it was a Goldfinch because there were many Goldfinches about. One glance at the photos at home though made me realize that this is a female Scarlet Tanager.

Scarlet Tanager (female)

The male is much more familiar:

Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager (male)

This is the more demure female:

Scarlet Tanager (female)
Scarlet Tanager (female)

Other birds:

Cooper’s Hawk
American Crows
Cooper’s Hawk
Double-crested Cormorants
Red-tailed Hawk
Black-capped Chickadee
Mallard (male)
Hybrid “Bib” ducks and Mallards
White-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee
Double-crested Cormorants

Bird Species list: double-crested cormorant, Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, Cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, ring-billed gull, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, blue jay, American crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, American robin, scarlet tanager, house sparrow, common grackle, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow. (23 species)

Today’s group:

Lambton views:

looked like a hawk from a distance
American Toad
Red Squirrel
Giant Puffball (larger than a soccer ball)
Brown-lipped Snails

Some botany:

Flowering Cherry
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea) also called Burning Bush
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadense)
Hackberry Leaf Galls


Early Monday morning I saw something white at the back among my perennials, and thought it might be a plastic bag that somehow blew in. It turned out to be this puffball- here is a photo taken right after I collected it. I didn’t look carefully at the garden the day before (Monday) but it was very clean, no wormholes, and white throughout, so must have been quite fresh. We fried it after dipping it in egg and breadcrumbs, and had quite a substantial dinner, using only a fraction of it (so far).
 I have had one or two large puffballs appear, over many years here- it isn’t an annual predictable event though. I’ve also often seen small white and sometimes small brown puffballs there, not this year, and  big ones like this, but not so unblemished, at Windfields park up near York Mills.

Giant Puffball


The asters twinkle in clusters bright,
While the corn grows ripe and the apples mellow.     – Celia Thaxter  (1835–94)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Scarlet Tanager at Lambton Woods: September 23, 2021

  1. Gloria James

    That certainly is a huge puffball. It’s great that it’s edible. This summer we had a lot of small mushrooms growing on our lawn. Maybe the weather has been favorable for them.
    Both the male and female tanagers have beautiful, bright feathers.

  2. Leah

    It was a scarlet tanager! That was my first guess because of it’s size and I had recently seen a photo of the a female, thanks for confirming it. Your photos turned out great, I especially loved the cooper’s hawk and cormorant shots.


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