Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pine Warbler Feeding at our Feeders

Its always very interesting when something different happens in Bird Alley  and something different has been happening at our feeders since April 19th.
We have had a Pine Warbler feeding at our feeders!! Why is this different you might wonder?  Basically warblers are insect eaters. But the Pine Warbler is a big seed eater as it is used to eating Pine seeds from the cones of that tree, Thus its name: Pine Warbler.  It has an affinity for Pine trees..  If I search carefully I sometimes see the intense, vivid yellow of the male Pine Warbler  in our neighbour's Pine Trees.  When we first saw this warbler in Bird Alley it was feeding at the peanut feeder. It feeds at our other feeders also.  Its favourite location seems to be in our cage feeder as it always seems to choose that feeder location first. There are two Pine warblers that visit.. Shown below the female Pine Warbler is in the cage feeder!

  Yesterday its female companion accompanied the male.  They are beautiful birds. Hopefully as spring continues to warm up and the season becomes insect intensive this warbler pair will continue to visit Bird Alley and we will get to see their offspring later in the spring.  As I stated earlier
, something interesting is always happening in Bird Alley.  And now some more pictures of the Pine Warblers. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chipping Sparrow

Newly arrived at Bird Alley, yesterday, April 22nd, a Chipping  Sparrow.  We also still have Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows and several White-throated Sparrows.

.I am hoping to soon see a Savannah Sparrow at our feeders.  I haven't seen one in years although we used to see them in Bird Alley.  Hopefully in the month of May we will see White-crowned Sparrows.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Common Mergansers Have Returned to the River

Yesterday morning I discovered that the Common Mergansers have returned to our river. The male's beautiful white bodies were very outstanding and were easily seen in the fast flowing river. Suddenly these Mergansers would  disappear under the water.  I hope I get to see these ducks again this morning.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

unknown bird at my feeders

This afternoon, April 19, 2014 I saw a different looking bird ( finch?) at my feeders.  It was feeding alongside a male Goldfinch.  At first looking at this bird at its back  view and seeing a gray back I assumed it was a female Goldfinch, but the pattern of back and white on its back tail area suggested to me it was perhaps not a female goldfinch.  When it turned around and I got a frontal view I knew I had never seen a bird with these markings before.  A side view showed a yellow stripe down its  lower side.I am hoping that someone can help me out with its identification??

This bird has been identified as an Himalayan Goldfinch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hooded Mergansers Yesterday

 Hooded Mergansers;I search for them each spring and yesterday I found a pair.  They were not in the usual location where I find them but rather in a roadside small flooded run off near a ditch.  I love the colour and intensity of the golden, yellow eyes of the male. I think these pictures are interesting but they do not reflect the beauty of the male with his beautiful white-patched hood.  The female is usually spectacular with her bad hair

day fluff, however I am sure I will find these beauties in their usual location in a day or two and I shall get more  pictures.  Until then; these photos to enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Gold in Bird Alley

All winter long the goldfinch have faithfully attended our feeders in Bird Alley.  I like these little birds and now that it is spring I enjoy watching the changes in the colours of the male of this species.  their black caps are in various stages of moult and their feathered bodies are yellowing up to a seasonal gold.  It is fascinating to see the individual changes that have taken

place as they feed on the nyger seed we provide for them.  The pictures included illustrate their spring changes in colour.  Golden sightings daily!

Have a great day everyone!  Today I am continuing my search for a handsome Hooded Merganser.  The pond where I usually find one is water covered but I think the solid ice is still below the surface water.  as the Merganser is a diving fish eating duck the ice must be gone before the duck can fish successfully in this pond.
Interesting in that I have never know the name of the pond where I ;look for these mergansers, however on the weekend I noticed a new sign at the pond, identifying this water body as Monday Brook, so why not find mergansers there today?  Its sounds so appropriate to its naming and I guess I should get a picture of its name also.  I saw a couple of ducks at this brook this morning but it was so foggy I couldn't see them clearly.  However I do not think they were Mergansers.


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Goldeneye for Saturday Critters

 This is such a wonderful time of year!  every day this week I have gone searching, hoping to find those fabulous featured creatures that have returned from migration.  It has been quite a week each day adding to my growing list of sightings!.  the world is full of Robins, they are everywhere!  I have been finding ducks; Wood ducks, Black Ducks and Mallards, Canada Geese! And also the unexpected for this time of year, a Killdeer and a Kestrel, and now the Osprey have returned to our river. I have watched the ice in the river, brooks and ponds break up this week.  and I found my special duck which fills my yearly quest to note its arrival, my favourite diving duck which has a white polka dot on its face!!  Yes, the Goldeneye are back!!!  Today I am linking with Saturday Critters hosted by eileen.  You can find Saturate Critters at   
 my email:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Duck Sightings

to me the definition of the arrival of spring has always been signified by the returning of ducks.  Yesterday morning when I left the house I told my husband that I would be back with a picture of a duck, and as the morning developed I was proved right.  I checked my favourite pond at Central Blissville and there was a large pool of water there but no ducks in it, so I continued on to the bridge at Hoyt but before arriving at my destination I spied movement in a small roadside brook.  "Yes!!  I saw a couple of ducks!!  I thought they were Mallards, but I was delighted with the surprise of seeing both; a male Mallard and a male Wood Duck as I downloaded my pictures!! Wow! the Wood Duck sighting was a treasure!

|I then drove on to the bridge at Hoyt where it crosses Back Creek. The river was wide open there but no ducks. However when leaving the bridge I saw  a considerable number of ducks on a large pool of water on the flats at that locationalong the highway, opposite the old Smith barn. The ducks at Hoyt were mainly all Black Ducks and Mallards.  We also saw a Canada Goose at Hoyt.

My surprises weren't all over yet as I drove around the area looking for more birds and I saw one beside another flooding area.  Standing on a mound of earth beside a small stream of water was a Killdeer!!
I was having a wonderful morning!!!!

So, I then returned home with my photographic finds!
We had planned to drive to the Maguerville, Sheffield area for the

afternoon and just as we were leaving the village we saw a magnificent Eagle in flight, but I didn't get its picture!
At Maugerville we found the Saint John River still frozen solid!However we did see a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds along the roadside and a beautiful flock of Canada Geese flying overhead. Later in the afternoon  after  we were back home again, my husband was sure he saw an Osprey flying over the river.  Luckily for the Osprey, our river, the Oromocto, is now open in our area and there is a strong possibility that the Osprey have already returned.  That shall be my focus of today, checking out the Osprey nests here to see if there are any Ospreys on the old nests.
I also am searching for Goldeneye Ducks and Hooded Mergansers.  Isn't spring wonderful?!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Great Blue Herons

Yesterday day morning we started out for the day with the objective of taking our tax information to our accountant at Keswick Valley.  My hope was to perhaps find something interesting to take pictures of.  While driving along highway 101 nearing New Maryland, suddenly I saw a deer standing on the shoulder of the highway, so surprising and startling was the deer that I gasped loudly as my husband braked as quickly as he could and the deer sped into action,  And to my dismay, no picture  was taken... but, thankfully, no accident either as that had been avoided. After arriving at Keswick Valley we decided to drive to Mactaquac and when passing the Keswick Flats , my husband shouted, "Look at all the geese!!  I thought he was joking as the flats there were very snow covered.  I asked, "where?" and he answered, " behind us", I turned and saw a huge flock of geese flying away, high in the sky!  Another good picture missed!!!! I was starting to wonder if that was going to be the theme of my day, missing the potential of good photo opportunities?  But my luck was due to change.  As we were driving along Keswick Ridge, after returning from Mataquac, we saw two beautiful Great Blue Herons flying slowly across the highway in front of us. They looked as if they were gently floating, with their long legs dangling and their claws open as if wanting to grasp something or to find a safe perch.  We watched as we saw them land in a dead tree and I was ready with my 400mm lens on my camera, and following are some of the pictures I was able to get. The heron to the lower right was displaying  its beautiful breeding plumage!  What a wonderful photo opportunity this turned  out to be!!

     Heron above displaying breeding plumage

Sunday, April 06, 2014

First sighting of the day

Sitting right under our outdoor thermometer and right beside an empty bird feeder this ring-tailed masked bandit was the first thing I saw in Bird Alley this morning when I looked out to check the early morning temperature around 6 a.m.  I thought it looked rather sweet with an appealing look in its eyes.  but its sweetness won't last long!.  Tomorrow we will be making our annual pilgrimage to Keswick Valley to take out tax data to our accountant.  Somehow I don't expect to see any Canada Geese there, which is my yearly anticipation! 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fox Sparrow for Saturday Critters

Bird Alley has been hopping for the past couple of days!  I have never seen so many Juncos here before !  Also we have lots of Song Sparrows visiting as well as our winter long sparrow residents, Tree Sparrows!  Chickadees and Goldfinch add to the numbers of our feathered visitors! Bluejays drop by but not in great numbers and the same comment would go for the Mourning Doves@  Yesterday's big pleasurable surprise was a visit from  a beautiful Fox Sparrow.  The first  visit from this sparrow species that I have recorded since 2007, which was seven years ago. I have been hoping to see it return today but I have not seen it as of yet.  Its interesting name is derived from its colour, being somewhat similar to that of a Red Fox.  Its colouring can be seen in the  photos below.  Isn't its colouring gorgeous?!

I am linking today to Eileen's meme, Satuday's critters.  If you wish to contribute to this theme for today or to view the contributions opf others, please go to .

Have a wonderful day everyone, I will be found viewing out my window observing all of the marvellous happenings taking place in Bird Alley.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Some Marvellous Spring Sightings Today

This morning I decided to go for a walk and as usual I took my camera with me.  I had gone less than a block from my home when I saw a few birds fly across the street in front of me. I saw one of the birds perched on a snowbank in a driveway near me and to my delight I realized it was a Robin!  What a beautiful bird it was with its lush red breast! I walked on up the driveway as I saw that several other birds had perched high up in the branches
 of nearby trees, however they flew off so I abandoned my quest and I returned to the sidewalk.

I heard loud honking and looking skyward  Isaw two small groups of birds flying overhead.  By their sound and appearance I thought they were Canada Geese. Turning my camera skyward I captured a picture of a small group of geese and 
 YES,they indeed were Canada Geese! This small group of three separated from the other fliers and they flew upward over the river. Raising my camera skyward I focused on five other large bids flying overhead, and due to the loud honking which I continued to hear I assumed they also were Canada Geese. However after returning home and downloading my pictures I found a great surprise!! The group of five birds were not Canada.
Geese but rather, they were Great Blue Herons!  What a surprise photo capture this was!!! The birds were so distant that this picture does not show their identity.
clearly however I cropped one of the herons from the picture to show it more closer and clearer! I think the long beak and the long legs outstretched behind the bird will identify the bird as a Great blue Heron for you.
And I forgot to mention the day began with a big bang of a sighting as I saw a Raccoon
crossing my backyard.  by the time I had gotten my camera it was at my backdoor climbing up the doorsteps.  Wow!  What a day!  The grip winter had on spring has definitely loosened and now to wait patiently for the snow top melt and go away.  Welcome Spring!!!
And also this morning in Bird Alley at our feeders, a Junco!