Hummingcrow & Co.

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Seán   World Migratory Bird Day Spotlight: Rocky Point Bird Observatory  Kate

World Migratory Bird Day is upon us once again, as many of our feathered friends prepare to embark on their journeys across vast, treacherous autumnal flyways, connecting communities and ecosystems around the world (while we humans continue to manage our zugunruhe). In honour of this auspicious occasion, we thought we'd take some time to spotlight our incredible local bird observatory, where we've previously had the opportunity to participate in their migration monitoring and saw-whet owl migration programs.

Swainson's Thrush A very soft and warm swainson's thrush being held gently by Kate

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Seán ☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂 Kate

oak leaf gradient

Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.

To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...

But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.

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Kate  Quinton the Quail... & Co!  Seán

One sunny afternoon in early July, we took a peek down our slope to find Quinton staring warily at us, seemingly on guard:

quinton watch

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Kate  ...Who Calls?  Seán

Last week, as we were working in the garden, we suddenly heard a loud, spooky & exasperated-sounding voice ask, “Who, who, who, WHO COOKS FOR YOOOOUUU?!”*

“We cook for each other, actually...” we replied, timidly. “Who, who, who's asking?”

The answer to this question was perched upon the branch of a nearby fir tree:

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Seán   #Meanwhile

A banana slug takes its time munching on an early morning meal: a discarded weed.

Kate Encounter with Sleepy Young Ravens  Seán

The other day, while taking a stretch break from the anti-ergonomic act of photographing tiny lichens on a rocky slope, I looked up to find I was being silently watched:

juvi raven

I could tell it was a juvenile raven because of the fleshy pink “gape flange” at the base of its beak.

juvi raven blink

I watched as it rested there: quietly preening, yawning and occasionally blinking its spooky nictitating membrane at me.

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Seán   A Sparkling Green Discovery

Cuckoo Wasp - 20.4.24

Last month while doing some planting, I happened across this incredibly vibrant, metallic green cuckoo wasp (also called an “emerald wasp” for some reason). These shiny little insects cannot sting and have earned the named “cuckoo” because they lay their eggs in other insects' nests (usually other wasps), where their larvae eat the host's larvae & food stores as they grow (sound familiar?).

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Seán  

Last month, I was delighted to come across this extremely cute and hummingbird-esque bee fly which is—we think, aptly—named Bombylius major.

Bombylius major - April 13, 02020

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