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    I think it's some kind of sparrow, it's definitely brown and small. It has a different pattern than the sparrows I can see from my balcony, though.

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      Wednesday, April 29 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 7


      Baseline - Day 11: 13:30 - Level III with my mother.

      Xpress Tone - Day 19: 37:00

      Total Abs - Day 20: 13:00



      Total: 63 minutes


      Other stuff:

      1 km hiking
      2 minutes restorative yoga

      Only Homemade Food - ​​ - Total Days: 119/119
      A Salad a Day - ​​ - Total Days: 109/109
      No Video Games - ​ - Total Consecutive Days: 140
      No Seated Television - - Total Consecutive Days: 59
      GBOT (10:30) - - Total Days: 42/77 - got to bed two hours earlier than the night before though, so: progress
      GOBOT (6:30) - - Total Days: 55/77

      Comment


        April 30 Daily Dose of Nature

        Before we get into May and the official (totally not official) wood warbler season, I thought I would finish up April with one last sparrow. These LBJs are quite common across most of North America, but I think they're also pretty cool. This bird is a White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis):

        Click image for larger version  Name:	wts-ws1.png Views:	18 Size:	647.2 KB ID:	685760

        This bird is also a White-throated Sparrow:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	wts-ts1.png Views:	17 Size:	638.6 KB ID:	685761

        No biggie, right? We've seen birds of the same species that look wildly different from one another before. Some bird species are sexually dimorphic. Others have markedly different plumages during their breeding season compared to their non-breeding season. And in some birds, juveniles look quite different from the adults. So.. which is the case here?

        Well, I can tell you that I photographed the bird in the top photo on May 3, 2019 and the bird in the second photo on April 28, 2019. In my part of the world, that's spring, but too early in the year for little baby sparrows to be running around. So these are both adult birds in their breeding plumage. Furthermore, I can tell you that the bird in the top photo is highly unlikely to mate with this bird:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	wts-ws2.png Views:	17 Size:	597.5 KB ID:	685762

        but might be interested in this one:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	wts-ts2.png Views:	17 Size:	682.8 KB ID:	685763

        And similarly, the bird in the second photo might want to mate with the bird in the third photo but likely would not mate with the bird in the fourth photo.

        That clinches it. Right? White-throated Sparrows must be sexually dimorphic. We've seen that female birds of sexually dimorphic species tend to be more drab and brown, and male birds more brightly coloured. So we might even guess that the birds with the black-and-white striped crowns are the males and those with the brown-and-tan crowns the females. Mystery solved!

        We might be forgiven for thinking this since this is exactly what professional ornithologists believed until 1961. But it turns out even the professionals were mistaken in this case. The truth is, I have no idea which of the White-throated Sparrows I have photographed are male and which are female. White-throated Sparrows are not sexually dimorphic. They do, however, exhibit clear polymorphism, as evidenced by my photographs above. Furthermore, clear behavioural differences are exhibited between the two morphs. White-striped birds are more aggressive and territorial than tan-striped birds, and tan-striped birds provide more parental care to their offspring than do white-striped birds. These behavioural differences are present in both sexes. In other bird species, these behavioural characteristics typically align along the gender divide, with male birds being more aggressive and territorial and female birds providing better parental care. So white-striped White-throated Sparrows appear masculinized relative to tan-striped White-throated Sparrows, but the colour of those crown stripes doesn't actually tell us anything about a bird's sex.

        Even so, white-striped birds almost always mate with tan-striped birds. White-and-white and tan-and-tan matings are rare. This is because females of both colour morphs prefer males with tan stripes. Since white-striped females are more aggressive than their tan-striped sisters, the white-striped females tend to get what they want, leaving the tan-striped females to mate with the white-striped males. Interestingly, male birds of both colour morphs prefer white-striped females. So tan-striped males aren't all that interested in pairing with any excess tan-striped females that failed to net themselves a white-striped partner. Meanwhile, pairings of two white-striped birds don't often work out because the high level of aggression in both birds inhibits pair bonding.

        Comment


          Today's trivia about the white throated sparrow was super interesting! Thanks so much!

          I saw some small birds with really pretty markings on yesterday's morning walk, but no chance to get a photo. They looked like they were having fun balancing on some fence lining.
          Last edited by Belerith; May 1, 2020, 05:10 PM. Reason: I'm great at (bird) names!

          Comment


            Thursday, April 30 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 8


            Baseline - Day 12: 33:30 - Level III with my mother.

            Total Abs - Day 21: 33:50 - Level III


            Total: 67 minutes


            Other stuff:

            1 km hiking

            Only Homemade Food - ​​ - Total Days: 120/120
            A Salad a Day - ​​ - Total Days: 110/110
            No Video Games - ​ - Total Consecutive Days: 141
            No Seated Television - - Total Consecutive Days: 60
            GBOT (10:30) - - Total Days: 42/78 - no better than Wednesday night, but no worse either
            GOBOT (6:30) - - Total Days: 55/78

            Comment


              That about the white throated sparrows is SO fkn cool.

              Comment


                May 1 Daily Dose of Nature

                I almost got skunked on my hunt for warblers today. I found none in my yard or the woodlot behind this morning and nothing there in the afternoon either. I decided to head out to a bit larger woodlot behind one of the local public schools just before dinner, hoping for better luck there. I almost came up empty there too, until I had just about given up. I was on my way out of the woodlot to head back home when I finally spotted not one, but two different species of warblers, including this guy who conveniently found himself a nice, juicy grub and then perched on a nearby branch to eat it.

                Click image for larger version

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                This little masked crusader is a Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). More specifically, this is an adult male Common Yellowthroat in breeding plumage (but this species looks very similar year-round).

                Here is a female bird I photographed in Rondeau last August:

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                Click image for larger version

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                I think she's mid-molt, which is why her head feathers look a little funky.

                This is a first-year male bird, also photographed last August:

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                Click image for larger version

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                First year males look similar to female birds, but the beginnings of the adult male's black mask are often visible, as in this bird.

                Many of our warbler species flit around high up in the forest canopy. (There is a term among birders called "warbler neck" which means the stiff and sore neck one gets after a day spent with one's head tilted back, looking up through a pair of binoculars at the tree tops, hoping for a glimpse of a warbler.) But Common Yellowthroats are one of the few warbler species that prefer to skulk around in dense vegetation low to the ground. They generally prefer wet areas, and I find them often in Rondeau in the marsh, or flitting around over an ephemeral pond in the forest, but Common Yellowthroats will use dry thickets as well, such as the location where I spotted today's find.

                Comment


                  Friday, May 1 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 9


                  Baseline - Day 13: 17:30 - Level III with my mother.

                  Total Abs - Days 22 + 23: 7:00 - Level III

                  Xpress Tone - Day 20: 9:00

                  yoga flow
                  : 27:00 - crow push-ups (and other fun stuff) with Carling. managed top half push-ups this day.


                  Total: 60 minutes


                  Other stuff:

                  10 km hiking
                  9 minutes restorative yoga
                  7 minutes meditation

                  Only Homemade Food - ​​ - Total Days: 121/121
                  A Salad a Day - ​​ - Total Days: 111/111
                  No Video Games - ​ - Total Consecutive Days: 142
                  No Seated Television - - Total Consecutive Days: 61
                  GBOT (10:30) - - Total Days: 42/79 - I need to start prioritizing this!
                  GOBOT (6:30) - - Total Days: 56/79

                  Comment


                    I'm totally impressed by your "no video games" and "no seated television"-challenges! People waste their time with getting entertained instand of living a fascinating life. "Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus... "



                    Comment


                      Thank you Joe76 .

                      Everyone needs downtime. If the bulk of my necessary activities involved hard physical labour (and did not involve staring at screens) then watching television and playing video games might be suitable choices for leisure activities for me. Since my necessary activities involve sitting or standing around and only doing a small amount of light physical labour, and often do involve staring at screens, I choose to spend my leisure time giving my eyes a break from screens and my body a break from being sedentary.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Rainbow Dragon View Post
                        Everyone needs downtime. If the bulk of my necessary activities involved hard physical labour (and did not involve staring at screens) then watching television and playing video games might be suitable choices for leisure activities for me. Since my necessary activities involve sitting or standing around and only doing a small amount of light physical labour, and often do involve staring at screens, I choose to spend my leisure time giving my eyes a break from screens and my body a break from being sedentary.
                        Very well said! I stopped playing a mobile game I was addicted to right before Christmas and it is amazing how great it feels to take a break from screens. It's weird to say this, but I feel like I got my life back now, haha! My screen time used to be 5-10 hrs per day and now I rarely go over 2 hours a day.

                        I love your thread too! Great stuff!

                        Comment


                          May 2 Daily Dose of Nature

                          This little guy (or gal) was my first warbler of May this year:

                          Click image for larger version

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                          This is a Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla). Nashville Warblers do not breed in Nashville. (Most of them breed in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the maritime provinces, and the northeastern US. There is also a population that breeds in an isolated mountainous region of the Pacific Northwest.) Nashville Warblers do not winter in Nashville. (They winter in Mexico and Guatemala.) Nashville Warblers do migrate through Tennessee--but they visit most of the continental US on migration, and their numbers in Tennessee are not especially high. (Nashville Warblers are fairly common, as North American wood warblers go. But eBird data on Nashville sightings suggests that the densest concentration of migrating Nashvilles passes Nashville by, preferring to travel west of the state on their journey between Mexico and Canada.) Nashville Warblers do not (as far as I know) possess a special affinity for country music. Why then, is this little yellow, olive, and grey bird called a Nashville Warbler? The ornithologist who first documented this bird named it after the location where he first observed it. (This naming convention is not uncommon amongst North American wood warblers.)

                          Nashville Warblers are slightly sexually dimorphic, with the males being more brightly coloured than the females. Spring birds are also slightly brighter than fall birds. But these differences are not great enough, most of the time, to enable accurate sexing of birds in the field on visual appearance alone.

                          I can tell you that this guy:

                          Click image for larger version

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                          is likely a male. Both male and female Nashville's have a reddish cap, but the female's cap is less extensive than the male's. With this much red showing, a very bright yellow throat, and a very bold white eyering, I suspect this is a male bird. But less--or even no--red on the cap is not diagnostic of either sex. Sometimes the red cap is hidden and even a male bird will show no red at all.

                          This next photograph is not much help in determining the sex of the bird, but it is diagnostic for a Nashville Warbler:

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Because warblers spend so much time up in the forest canopy, successfully IDing these active little birds often depends on one's ability to recognize a bird from its underside alone. A warbler-sized bird with a dark tail and otherwise all yellow underside save for a white patch between the legs has got to be a Nashville.

                          These next two photographs are of the same bird:

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                          Click image for larger version

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                          but the colours in the first photograph appear bolder, just because of the lighting conditions. It this bird was singing, I'd know it was a male. If it was building a nest or incubating eggs (first, I'd be really excited, because I observed this bird in my backyard, which is generally thought to be too far south for a Nashville to nest, but then) I'd know it was a female. Since all it's doing, however, is gleaning the leaves of my apple tree for insects, I'm not going to attempt to guess this bird's sex. I'll just have to be content with knowing it for a Nashville Warbler and being happy for its visit to my yard.

                          Comment


                            Today I hiked a waterfront trail that was a great place to see warblers last May. I arrived there today to discover that the Municipality has bulldozed almost all of the trees that used to line this trail. So it's not such a great habitat for wood warblers anymore. Consequently, I only found one warbler today--a Black-and-white, which I already wrote about earlier this week. I did, however, see plenty of other nice birds on my hike, including:

                            Canada Geese
                            Mute Swans
                            Blue-winged Teal
                            Gadwalls
                            an American Black Duck
                            Redheads
                            Lesser Scaup
                            Buffleheads
                            Red-breasted Mergansers
                            a Ruddy Duck
                            Mourning Doves
                            American Coots
                            Killdeer
                            a Bonaparte's Gull
                            Ring-billed Gulls
                            Herring Gulls
                            a Caspian Tern
                            Double-crested Cormorants
                            a Belted Kingfisher
                            Downy Woodpeckers
                            Tree Swallows
                            Barn Swallows
                            Ruby-crowned Kinglets
                            a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
                            House Wrens
                            European Starlings
                            a Grey Catbird
                            a Brown Thrasher
                            American Robins
                            White-throated Sparrows
                            Song Sparrows
                            Red-winged Blackbirds
                            Common Grackles
                            and the Black-and-white Warbler

                            Which bird would you like to read about next?
                            (I've put the birds I've already written about in red text.)

                            I have lots of photos of warblers from last year. So I can keep posting about warblers for a while too, even if I don't see any more right away.

                            Comment


                              Sorry to hear about the loss of habitat Rainbow Dragon

                              Comment


                                Most of the tree loss was likely necessary to save the trail, Io6 . This trail runs along Rondeau Bay--just the other side of the bay from Rondeau Park's Marsh Trail, which flooded so badly last spring that a significant section of the trail washed away. The land this trail is on is in danger of flooding too. It's just a gravel trail between the bay and some farmland. But other land in the area--including some with people's permanent houses on it--is also at risk of imminent flooding. On the lake side of Erieau there is already significant and regular flooding. People were evacuated from their homes earlier this year so the Municipality could do some emergency repairs/rebuilding of a dike that was expected to fail any day now. From the looks of things today, I think flood mitigation efforts are being applied to this trail too. It's sad to lose the trees. But at least the trail itself is still there and was open today. The removal of the trees on the bay side of the trail did make it more easy to see waterfowl on the bay, so there's that at least. I only hope the flood mitigation efforts won't necessitate the destruction of any more habitat. (There's a conservation area right beside the most badly affected road.)

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