Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Timberdoodle, Bogsucker, Night Partridge

One personal sign of spring's arrival that I enjoy is the spectacular display of the American Woodcock coming from the prairie meadow behind my home.  This year was a bit later than normal, more an indication of my indoor habits of late as opposed to the weather. Although we have had some mild weather in mid March it was just last night at dusk that I heard the familiar call.

  March 23, 2007

A couple of year's ago I took my camera out and managed to get a few images of the woodcock as he performed in the meadow. The technique I used to get close was fairly simple. First, I'd do my best to figure out where the calls originated. When the bird flew up to do his aerial song, I would rush over to be near that spot, crouch, and wait for him to return.  I found that woodcocks usually have a favourite spot on the ground that is fairly open and will return to that spot when they finish their flight display.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Owl Box (continued)

As posted back in January I have been waiting for a day when the screech-owl is away from the nest box so I can replace the old structure with the nice new box.  Last week I noticed that the owl wasn't looking out the box at dusk so I planned to check the box on the weekend and hopefully install the new box. Sunday I climbed the ladder and took a quick photo to see if the owl was present.

At first I thought that the presence of an Eastern Gray Squirrel in the box was excellent news as I now I could take the box down, trim back some surrounding branches,  install the new box, and wait for the owl to move back in to a fresh box. The squirrel could have only been present for a few days at most so I hoped the owl would move back in quickly.  
However, much to my dismay, I heard the distinctive sound of a baby squirrel coming from inside the box. A quick peek in the box showed something tiny and hairless so the young are just a few days old at most. It will be about two months before the young are weaned and ready to leave the nest. Hopefully I'll get the new box up before next winter.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wild Sumaco, Ecuador

Many-spotted Hummingbird

Napo Sabrewing
Wild Sumaco Lodge is in the foothills, at about 1400 ft in elevation. The most memorable bird seen here was a small understory species that represented a new family for me, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. Wild Sumaco also had great hummingbird feeders. In addition to the two species pictured above we also had great looks at Gray-chinned Hermit, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire (very common), Ecuadorian Piedtail, Black-throated Brilliant, Gould's Jewelfront and five other species!

This small Ornate Snail-eating Snake was found high in a tall shrub one night.

We almost caught a caecillian along one of the forest trails but it was so slippery that I couldn't hold on to it as it burrowed into the leaf litter. The +30 inch long individual pictured above had been hit by a vehicle. Legless and almost blind these weird amphibians spend most of their time underground.

This small snake was caught along the Piha Trail but I have not been able to identify it.