No Two are Alike and a Mystery Solved: November 17, 2021

To a Long-tailed Duck, the Toronto region is like Miami Beach. They have spent the breeding season in tundra ponds in the very far north. By the middle of November, thousands have arrived here and we will see (and hear) them until April. The males are easily identified with their graceful long tails:

Long-tailed Duck (male)

The females are highly variable though usually showing a white face with a dark cheek spot.

Long-tailed Duck (female)
Long-tailed Duck (female)
Long-tailed Ducks (female)
Long-tailed Ducks (female) with a female Bufflehead
Long-tailed Ducks
Long-tailed Ducks (female)
Long-tailed Duck (female)
Long-tailed Ducks (female)
Long-tailed Duck (female)

This morning’s walk at Ashbridge’s Bay was done in very dim light with occasional rain which lends a pastel colouration to many of the photos.

Other birds:

Canada Geese
Mallards
Brown Creeper
Buffleheads with a female Long-tailed Duck

As often happens at Ashbridge’s we were approached by some hungry chickadees and a red-breasted nuthatch.

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Today’s group:

Park scenes:

Some botany:

Tamarack (Larix laricina)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea) also called Burning Bush
Norway Maple leaf with tar spots
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
Tamarack (Larix laricina)
Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
Sweetbrier (Rosa rubiginosa)
Butter-and-Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

From my backyard:

Anyone with an active birdfeeder can expect regular visits from a Cooper’s Hawk. Much of the diet of these birds is other birds. These photos were taken this morning:

Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)

I have been wondering what has been causing white paint-like staining on my deck.

Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)

Question answered.

NATURE POETRY

Let’s go our old way
by the stream, and kick the leaves
as we always did, to make
the rhythm of breaking waves.
This day draws no breath –
shows no colour anywhere
except for the leaves –in their death
brilliant as never before.                               – Frances Bellerby (1899–1975)

Miles Hearn

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