Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Birding Workshop with Couchiching Conservancy, Ontario

I signed up for an early morning birding walk put on by the Couchiching Conservancy (same organization we did our Vernal Pools workshop with) at the Copeland Forest this morning.

My Tamron 18-270mm lens for my Canon has been acting up lately and not focusing so I had to take my 28-80 mm lens so most of the pictures I took from today are pitiful but they'll have to do. There were lots of other beautiful bits and pieces to photograph today to include which are totally unrelated to birds but I can't help but stop to take pictures of the bees, butterflies and other critters and flowers I see.

I am also linking to to show you pictures of what we did see. I have no affiliation to this site and only mention them as they are a good source to identify and learn about birds in your area. is an amazing reference for not only identifying birds but it gives you lots of other educational information including bird-calls to listen to.

Our first birds we saw today were Red Winged Blackbirds. I know these birds are thought of as pests to many but I have always liked them and today for the first time I got to see what a female looks like. I have no pictures of them as they were too far off in the marsh but you can click on 'soucre' on each picture to go to each species on to learn more.

Next we saw a Song Sparrow.
Then Mr Frog hopped along our path.

We walked through a field of beautiful old apple trees with all their blooms starting to open up.

Here we saw both male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. This picture is of a male last summer in our back yard.
This is the best I could get today of the male. I couldn't get one of the female.
Here are better pictures to see the details of them.
We saw Baltimore Orioles (this picture below I took awhile ago as I could not get even remotely close enough to this guy for a picture today).

Below everyone is looking way up in those distant trees to see the Baltimore Oriole. I saw him through the binoculars but not with the camera.

We passed a small pool which looked like it may be a vernal pool but I didn't see any salamanders, only a couple frogs.

 Then we walked out to a pond.

 Here we saw a Kingfisher,
King Fisher from last year near our property
A Trumpeter Swan who was way over on the other side of the pond.
 There were many Canadian Geese with their babies including one who was still sitting on a nest.
Wild flowers always catch my attention and this little flower was the dearest little thing I have seen in awhile. I had to break out the flower books again and learnt that this one is a Fringed Polygala. Isn't it sweet; so small and delicate and very unusual looking.

Fringed Polygala
 Remnants of what look to be Robins eggs

We also saw a Chestnut-sided Warbler today. I must say he was camera shy and didn't sit still too long and he was very pretty too.

A King Bird
We also saw a pair of Goldfinch's munching on caterpillar nest high up on a tree.
And we apparently heard a Redstart and a Wood Thrush too but no one was able to actually see them.
An abandoned birds nest
It's really quite amazing how many birds you can see around when you stop to look and listen; not to mention all the other wild life like bees, butterflies and dragonflies.
A tiny little bee

A weird little idea what kind...
There were two highlights of the trip for me today. The first was the Virginia Rail which apparently is quite common just very elusive. He was fun to watch once you spotted him.

The second for me was the Indigo Bunting. It was so disappointing to not have my good lens for all these pictures but they were so beautiful to watch through the binoculars that I am happy I went.

He was such a beautiful blue. Sierra saw a small blue bird at home the other day when I was out. I assumed it was an Eastern Bluebird when she told me but perhaps it was one of these little guys? She is learning to identify birds herself too and was so happy to see a hummingbird the other morning. She didn't come on this walk though as it was a very early morning start.

A Cabbage Butterfly...I think
I think I need to start carrying the binoculars on a more regular basis to see just how many different birds we can find while out walking. It was a  wonderful walk today and I look forward to more workshops like this when they come available. Thank you Dorethea for organizing these wonderful outings!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Another Springwater Park Homeschool Play Day

This morning was our second time meeting at Springwater Provincial Park with our Un/Homeschool Club of Barrie and Surrounding Areas. We had so much fun the first trip and this get together we had more friends and more fun!

As always we end up near the water. This time we explored mainly around a small little water fall close to the main playground. When I say explore I mean...we get right in and enjoy it! Here the kids are having boat races with their shoes down the little waterfall.

There are many more flowers in bloom this time then our last visit; two weeks really does change the scenery.

Forget Me Nots

 There were lots of dandelions and some that went to seed already...perfect for blowing...

This time we stayed mainly by a tiny waterfall close to the main playground.

 The boots couldn't stay on too long...


We did play a little bit at the park today.


 Then we headed over to the other waterfall area. However today they didn't stop to play here (just as well as we saw what might be poison ivy this time) instead they headed to the playground on the other side of the pond.

Some of the kids had a great time investigating this old tree stump, while the others played on the swings.

Good luck trying to get all three of them looking forward at the same time.

Then I wandered off to take a picture of some lilacs.
Soon after I had a little tug on my shirt asking me to hold a beautiful bouquet of dandelions.
As he wanted to take his own pictures of the lilacs.

When everyone was hungry we headed back by the playground for lunch and on the way saw this hollowed out tree. I'm not sure if it was a nest of sorts or not.

 Love these pink Forget me Nots.
While eating I saw this bird up in a tree. At first I thought it was a Raven but after it flew to the ground we saw it was just a very big crow.
After lunch Aayla was straight back into the water.

 Happily dancing away in the sunshine and enjoying the little stream.
Another beautiful play date enjoyed by us all.