Monday, April 21, 2008

Concerto of Colour

In Ginger's comment yesterday she said, "Looks like there are a lot of browns in nature at this time of year." I agree that the last post reflected a brown state of affairs, but after two days of well above normal temperatures, colour is showing up everywhere.

Yesterday my husband took me to the Guelph Lake Conservation Area. The site doesn't open until next weekend for campers but it was easy to enter for a walk on the trails. The Speed River was dammed in this spot after the big flood of 1974 which I wrote about here. Guelph Lake is a reservoir for the Grand River watershed and along with a few other reservoirs has prevented bad flooding from occurring again. I remember when it was built and watched a large tract of farms and roadways become submerged under the water. For a while it was an eyesore as telephone and hydro poles stuck out of the water. But the area is naturalized now and is wonderful nature centre.

There are hundreds of nesting boxes up and Tree Swallows swooped and perched on the bare trees along the walkways. Blue was a predominant colour as these were the most common birds to be seen.

And talking about blue...I saw my first Eastern Bluebird ever!!! The picture is distant but we watched this lovely, colourful bird through binoculars for several minutes. It obviously had not been raised with help from Jayne or Mary as it was very shy.

This Savannah Sparrow buzzed from a low shrub. While it is predominantly brown it has a distinctive yellow eyebrow that stood out clearly.

The leaves on the trees and shrubs could be observed opening by the hour and this willow-like bush had purple blooms emerging as well. I don't know what is is, but will endeavour to find out.

This lake has no cottages and motorized watercraft are not allowed. I hope the opening of the park does not scare away the many birds. We watched a pair of nesting Osprey, listened and watched an Eastern Meadowlark sing, saw Phoebes, Blue Jays, Finches and Robins. In one low tree there were four perched birds...a Robin, Goldfinch, Bluebird and Tree Swallow.

And that was a beautiful blend of colour.


  1. Hello Ruth,

    I've never seen a Eastern Bluebird, but I've seen a Western Bluebird in Sedona, Arizona, USA.


  2. I have only seen that bird once, several nears ago at the cottage near Bancroft.

  3. Oh, that last picture of the purple bud is stunning with the backlighting!

  4. Ruth,

    That's a great photo of a tree swallow! I see them overhead but I've never been close enough to photograph one. Nice!

    And, congratulations on your first Eastern Bluebird! When you see one, there's no doubt about it. I hope you continue to see them.

    Lovely post. Sometimes people forget that brown is a color and there are many shades.


  5. That willow pic is beautiful.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful way to Spend the Day! Lovely! It's neat that you were able to see an Eastern Blubird. They are one of my FAVORITE birds! Great shot of the Tree Swallow....they are so fast....I find it hard to get a shot off!

  7. Beautiful color indeed Ruth! LOL... so happy you saw your first bluebird!

  8. I love that title. The photos certainly are just that. It looks like spring has finally arived.

  9. Hi Ruth - I guess the warmer weather enticed that bluebird to check out your corner of the world. Hopefully it will find itself a mate, and then you can see more bluebirds! Great shot of the tree swallow, too. I'm not sure I have ever seen a tree swallow. But I saw a bunch of cliff swallows last Saturday flying around catching bugs on the wing. Swallows, in general, are so "flighty." Are tree swallows the same way?

  10. Ruth,

    Eastern bluebirds are lovely and my neighbor has one that visits her yard - a male. I haven't seen a female visiting there, but she probably does. My neighbor has several feeders, a source of water, a bird bath and all the great things that lure bird species to our yards. I really want to make my yard more bird friendly.

    Thanks for the tour. I always enjoy going along with you. One of these days I must visit the Guelph Conservation area.


  11. What a glorious time of year. And how exciting to see an Eastern Bluebird. I saw one 2 summers ago in my backyard, and so put up a bluebird nesting box, in hopes of attracting bluebirds to nest. Didn't work,yet, but I'm not giving up hope.
    Your pics are awesome. It is so nice to watch spring arrive.

    Thanks for the comments on my blog, re aqua fit classes. I really enjoy the water fitness!

  12. Birdman- This Bluebird was not far from Breslau. I hope to see more.

    AC- They have become rare as House Sparrow have taken many of their nesting sites. But they are making a comeback of sorts.

    Ginger- Thanks. I saw more of them today and will have to figure out what they are.

    Mary- The Tree Swallows do perch frequently for short periods of time. They can be gone before you focus the camera though. Their colour is beautiful and iridescent.

    Kerri- Thanks for commenting. Your photos are spectacular! I can see why Bluebirds are a fav of yours.

    Jayne- Thanks. I really don't think your Bluebirds would fly further north than your yard.

    SG- Yes, colour is bursting out all over. But I think we missed spring and have summer.

    Mary C- Our Cliff Swallows had not returned as of last week. I will have to check under the bridge tomorrow. Another birder got a beautiful picture of a male and female Bluebird at this same place and they were setting up house.

    Mary- It would be wonderful to have a Bluebird in the neighbourhood! I have everything out that your neighbour does, but I don't think they are seed eaters.

    Wendy- I plan to look for a Bluebird box...just in case. my husband bought me a wooden birdhouse a few years ago but the squirrels destroyed it.

  13. Congrats on seeing the bluebird! What an interesting bud at the bottom! I hope you find out what it is.


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