An endangered Southern Ground Hornbill in Kruger National Park

An endangered Southern Ground Hornbill in Kruger National Park

Photo of a Southern Ground Hornbill crossing road in Kruger National Park.

Waking at Skukuza Rest Camp the first morning after our arrival, and having just coped with a bout of stomach and intestinal distress, I was in no shape for any physical activity requiring stamina.  So Bob and I set out on a self-guided safari that spanned the course of several hours.  Among the wildlife seen within Kruger National Park that day was this astounding Southern Ground Hornbill. Read more

A Northern Parula Warbler in a Backyard Oasis

A Northern Parula Warbler in a Backyard Oasis

Northern parula sitting on a tree limb in Toronto, Ontario

It was this past spring that Bob and I finally visited the Long Point area of Ontario during the peak period of songbird migration.  We had a long wish list of new birds that we would like to see, and on this list was a Northern Parula.  We failed to spot any when in that area of the province but did have one spend the afternoon in our Toronto backyard soon thereafter.  What a pleasant surprise!

Northern parula sitting on a plant leaf in Toronto, Ontario

The Northern Parula’s presence first was noticed by Bob when the warbler appeared suddenly on one of the Hosta leaves where drops of water had accumulated from the splash of the fountain.  I didn’t immediately know what species this bird was, but I recognized it as something new for our record book.

Northern parula sitting in an apple tree in Toronto, Ontario

Two shots were all that Bob had time to fire off before the Northern Parula took flight to the back of our property.  I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would stick around for awhile.  I had pruning to do on the Annabelle Hydrangea so planned to remain in the back garden, and I told Bob that I would keep the camera handy while he proceeded to cut the grass in the front yard.

Northern parula sitting among leaves in Toronto, Ontario

It is hard to get any work done in the yard during spring migration because we find our eyes always turned to the trees.  Any flicker of movement draws our attention from what we are doing.  I kept a keen eye on the furthest apple tree and was delighted to see that the Northern Parula was remaining within its branches.

Northern parula sitting on a tree branch, in Toronto, Ontario

The Northern Parula was energetically searching among the leaves for insects, so I had frequent views of its posterior, and while the warbler was so engaged, I was emboldened to try to sneak a little closer.  I’m always trying for a better vantage point and closer look.

Northern parula looks to camera in Toronto, Ontario

Knowing that the Northern Parula’s ideal breeding habitat includes coniferous forests adjacent to marshes, lakes or ponds, I knew that our glimpses of this bird would be brief before it took flight to locations further north.  I felt extremely lucky to have such clear views of this bird since often they keep to the dense foliage of the canopy when feeding.

Photo of a Northern parula in Toronto, Ontario

Northern Parulas are among the smallest of the warblers next in size only to Kinglets and Gnat-catchers.  Seen here, the brassy-green back patch is quite pronounced.  It is this trait that gave rise to the original name of the species, Blue Yellow-backed Warbler.

Photo of a Northern parula taking flight in Toronto, Ontario

Even as I crept furtively around the yard making halfhearted attempts to remain hidden, the Northern Parula went about its business.  As is the case with all warblers, its own movements were quick and erratic making for a challenge to photograph.

Photo of a Northern parula sitting on apple limb in Toronto, Ontario

After snapping a good number of photographs, I had to get back at the yard work.  The Hydrangea wasn’t going to prune itself!  The camera remained at arm’s reach because I never could tell what might show up in my garden next.  Spring was a very busy time.

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

An Eastern Comma Butterfly at Rosetta McClain Gardens

An Eastern Comma Butterfly at Rosetta McClain Gardens

eastern comma butterfly, rosetta mcclain park, toronto, pic 12

Late this summer, Bob and I popped down to Rosetta McClain Gardens in Toronto to see if we could discover any birds of note but also to look for Monarch Butterflies given the few that we had seen in our own garden over the summer.  What we found was an Eastern Comma Butterfly on one of the Butterfly Bushes. Read more

An Osprey carries branch to its nest at Carden Alvar

An Osprey carries branch to its nest at Carden Alvar

osprey with tree branch, carden alvar, ontario, pic 2

On a mid-June visit to Carden Alvar in Ontario, Bob and I opted to tour the area in the reverse direction from our first visit when we crossed Canal Lake at dusk.  First thing in the morning provided better light for photography, and there was no lack of activity near the Osprey nests.  We were hoping that the Osprey did not drop its load as they flew over! Read more

A Green Kingfisher in the mangrove swamp at San Blas

A Green Kingfisher in the mangrove swamp at San Blas

Green Kingfisher male, mangrove swamp, san blas, nayarit, mexico, pic 2

Bob and I were so excited as we set off from the pier on our mangrove swamp tour.  With Chencho at the helm of our substantial launch, we were confident that many tropical birds would not allude detection.  One species that caught our eye on several occasions was a Green Kingfisher, seen here perching at the edge of the San Cristobal mangrove estuary. Read more

Piping Plovers Nest at Darlington Provincial Park

Piping Plovers Nest at Darlington Provincial Park

Piping Plover sitting on eggs at darlington provincial park, ontario, pic 3

When Bob and I headed out to Darlington Provincial Park to have a look at the Piping Plovers, it was because 4 recently-hatched babies could be observed on the beach there.  They were creating much excitement in the world of birding here in Ontario.  Never before had Piping Plovers nested in the Park or in Durham region. Read more

A Snowberry Clearwing Moth enjoys Fragrant Phlox

A Snowberry Clearwing Moth enjoys Fragrant Phlox

snowberry-clearwing-moth-oxtongue-lake-ontario-10

For the second visit in a row at my mom’s place, a tour of the gardens was in order, and both times found me without the camera that usually hangs around my neck.  A mad dash to the house to alert Bob and to grab my camera had me ready to photograph this stunning Snowberry Clearwing Moth as it flitted from flower to flower. Read more

Whimbrels at Toronto’s Lake Ontario Shoreline

Whimbrels at Toronto’s Lake Ontario Shoreline
whimbrels along lake ontario, scarborough, ontario 1

It was late spring when Bob and I undertook our second notable bike ride of the season, May 28, and because of the warm temperature, we opted to cycle from Scarborough to the Lake Ontario shoreline.  At the first rocky breakwater east of Highland Creek Trail, we spotted 5 Whimbrels grouped on some large flat slabs of concrete. Read more

A Brown Thrasher Hunts for Bugs at Carden Alvar, Ontario

A Brown Thrasher Hunts for Bugs at Carden Alvar, Ontario
brown thrasher holding bugs at carden alvar, cameron ranch, kawartha lakes, ontario

The day in June that Bob and I chose for our visit to the Carden Alvar was a steamy one in a string of hot days more characteristic of the tropics.  Our first stop was at Cameron Ranch where friends had photographed beautiful expanses of Indian Paintbrush wildflowers only a couple of days earlier.  The flowers were past their prime, but I came face to face with this Brown Thrasher as it waited to supply its nestlings with these freshly-caught insects. Read more

A Great Blue Heron plays to the camera at Milliken Park

A Great Blue Heron plays to the camera at Milliken Park

great blue heron, milliken park, toronto, ontario, pic 12

Patience is a virtue, and often when Bob and I are birdwatching, time is of the essence so patience goes out the window.  On one “quick” visit to Milliken Park in Toronto, to check the progress of the recently-hatched Trumpeter Swan cygnets, what actually stole my attention was this Great Blue Heron.  Bob left me to my stakeout while he enjoyed the company of the 2-week old cygnets. Read more

A Black Bear with her three young cubs at Carden Alvar

A Black Bear with her three young cubs at Carden Alvar

black bear mom standup at cameron alvar, ontario, 2

Bob and I have learned so much through different groups on Facebook, and one of the areas that was brought to our attention was the Carden Alvar here in Ontario.  Our second visit in mid-June was a bit late and too hot for much activity where migrating birds were concerned, but our list of sightings was still long and included this female Black Bear and her three cubs. Read more

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