Discover Southern Ontario Blog

Welcome to the updates on the goings-on in Southern Ontario

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We are currently receiving many submissions to our website and have quite a backlog. I have just undergone open heart surgery and it will take some time for me to work my way through all our new 700+ submissions.

Small Grey Owl at Birdbath

One of our readers wrote ... My wife spotted this little grey coloured Owl sitting in the grass just off our deck stairs into the back yard where there are lots of trees, gardens and cover.

Small grey Owl at the bird bath in Ontario

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Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Thank you Marinus for sending more pictures of your favourite birds!

The Rose Breasted Grosbeak in Ontario

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Could this be a Barred Owl?

Terry Nieuwstraten from Whitby, Ontario, sent us this great picture of an owl ...

Mystery owl in Ontario perhaps a Barred Owl

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Wolves in eastern Ontario

One of our readers from Eastern Ontario, sends us this report - Once while driving on Hwy 17 between Hawkesbury and the 417, I saw a Wolf waiting to cross the highway, it was standing beside the road shortly after dusk ...

The Wolf in Eastern Ontario

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Is this a fluffy Oriole?

What do you think? Is this a fluffy Oriole?

Oriole eating an orange

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Fireflies

Where we live, if we sit quietly outside, and watch carefully, the evening show starts with just one or two flashes in the trees and long grass, as darkness spreads over the garden and then, slowly, more and more, and soon there are tens of thousands of green flashes of light, each one only lasting for a moment, until the air is full of these amazing creatures.

The Firefly on a blade of grass

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The Groundhog

The rodent known as the Groundhog is known in other parts of North America as the Woodchuck, and is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, and belongs to the group of ground dwelling Squirrels known as Marmots.

The Groundhog in Ontario

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The Garter Snake

These reptiles range across North America and are successful because they eat almost any food which is available, and are able to adapt to various climactic areas and many habitats, from grasslands to marshes, in dry or wet regions.

The Garter Snake in Ontario

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The Canadian Beaver - Happy Canada Day!

One of the reasons that North America was first colonized by Europeans was the abundance of natural resources, such as whales and fish off the Atlantic coast, huge pine trees for use as the masts of ships and rich, warm furs.

The Beaver in Ontario

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Ontario Strawberries

Each June in Southern Ontario, we are blessed with an abundance of fresh strawberries, you can buy them at the grocery store, at the road-side Farmer's fruit stands or you can pick them yourself.

Strawberries, a treat grown in Ontario

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Baby Robins

One of our readers wrote ... One day I heard the parent singing/chirping very loudly and when I went to look, the bird was out of the nest and sitting on a wire attached to the house just chirping away ...

robin on nest in Ontario

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The beautiful Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings, and their close relative, the Bohemian Waxwing, are members of the Bobycillidea family of birds and are medium sized birds which are mostly brown and are named for the wax-like wing tips.

The Cedar Waxwing in Ontario

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The Grey Catbird

The Catbird is a medium-sized Northern American perching bird and is named for its cat-like call. Catbirds give the impression of being entirely slate gray, but on closer observation you will see see that these birds have a small black cap, blackish tail, and a brown patch under the tail.

The Catbird in Ontario

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Big Cat sighted in Fonthill

Today at 7 am in Fonthill crossing highway 20 just before the 406, a large tan coloured cat ran across the road and headed into the bush. At first I thought I was seeing things but there was no mistaking it, this was a Cougar.

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Hawk stealing other bird's nest

One of our readers reported seeing a hawk steal another bird's nest ...

Hawk stealing another bird's nest in Ontario

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Baltimore Orioles and friends

What a colour show, along with the usual assortment of brightly coloured finches. It was a delight each day to see these visitors that we hoped would stay. We had to prepare our patio door to prevent the beauties from hitting.

The Oriole in Ontario

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The cute and adorable Chipmunk

These are great animals to watch - they are so charming that many campers and hikers see them in the woods and are enchanted by their small size, their boldness and their apparent busyness.

The Chipmunk in Ontario

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Kingsville, Ontario

The pretty town of Kingsville is located right on the north shore of Lake Erie and is well known for its mild weather, world-famous Jack Miner's Bird Sanctuary , and for Colasanti's Tropical Gardens. To other people, this small town is known as the most southerly town in mainland Canada.

The town of Kingsville Ontario

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The Badger

Today, these animals are so rare in Ontario, that experts think there may only be 200 of them remaining in the wild, and therefore they need our protection. It isn't easy to mistake these animals for anything else - they are a little larger than a Raccoon with a black & white facial pattern, they are short in stature and have coarse grey fur.

Badger in Ontario

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The Osprey

Sometimes known as the Fish Hawk, fish make up 99% of their diet and it is unique among raptors as it is the only North American bird whose diet is exclusively fish and its ability to dive into water to catch them.

Osprey in Ontario

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Little Brown Bats

I'm not sure why, but many people are afraid of bats, including the Little Brown Bat, but I have always had an affection for them. All bats are mammals and are therefore are warm-blooded and give birth to live young which they suckle. They are the only mammals which have the ability to fly, which they do using the flaps of skin which are between their "fingers".

Little Brown Bats in Ontario

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The Monarch Butterfly

When I first came to live in Canada, I remember seeing huge clouds of flying Monarchs, as they gathered together for their fall migration south - it was a breathtaking sight indeed!

Monarch butterfly in Ontario

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Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a perennial plant which means that once you have planted it, it will survive the winter, and come up and produce every year. Each Spring the plant buds from rhizomes underground, and produces stalks bearing large leaves.

Rhubarb recipes Ontario

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Backyard Birds of Ontario

Attracting wild birds to your garden or back yard bird feeder can also be interesting when you choose which plants and shrubs attract various birds.

Backyard birds of Ontario

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What is it?

A female and offspring have appeared in my yard, they are the size of doves, grey brown in colour, with long bill. They have a red patch on the back of the head, and a black patch on the breast, with a white patch near the tail. What are they?

Northern Flicker in Ontario

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Wolf or Coywolf sightings

Readers from Guelph, Barrie, Mt Albert, The Kawarthas, Pickering and Winona have written to tell us about their sightings ...

Wolves or Coywolves across Ontario

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Opossum in Lakefield, Ontario

Lori from Lakefield, Ontario sent us this picture of a Possum ...

Possum, Albino Rat in Lakefield, Ontario

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Ontario Wolf sightings

Wolf sightings across Ontario, submitted by our readers ...

Wolves across Ontario

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The Village of Sparta

Sparta Ontario - this pretty, historic village was founded by a group of Pennsylvania Quakers who settled here in 1822, led by Josiah Doan. The descendants of those early settlers still live in the area today. My hubby and I first discovered the village of Sparta Ontario one afternoon in the 1980's, when we were out for a ride on our motor-cycle - we were young and reckless!

Sparta Ontario

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An Unusual Visitor

This little water feeder has also frequented our duck pond in Ottawa, and we have no idea what it is.

Small Green heron or Bittern in Ontario

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The Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is a medium sized member of the Thrush family which can be found in the woods, orchards and farm lands of Southern Ontario. Their numbers have increased in the past few decades, after this pretty bird was in serious decline in the mid 20th century.

Eastern Bluebird of Ontario

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Indigo Buntings

If you observe this vibrant blue bird, then you are seeing a male, because the females are a much drabber brown, as are the males when it is not the breeding season - his distinctive blue plumage is to attract a mate.

Indigo Bunting in Ontario

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Baltimore Orioles

The beautiful Baltimore Orioles are back in southern Ontario ...

Baltimore Oriole in Ontario

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Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye is a medium sized diving duck - the male has a black and white head with the noticeable yellow eye and circular white patch, and the female has a brown head.

Common Goldeneye

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Is this a Red Tailed Hawk?

Terry from Brampton sent us these pictures and his report of his Hawk sighting ...

Ontario Red Tailed Hawk

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The Hummingbirds are back

the males return to the north before the females do, and they immediately establish foraging territories. Their food is nectar from flowers and flowering trees, but their diet can occasionally include small insects and tree sap taken from woodpecker drilling. Hummingbirds show a preference for red, tubular flowers as a nectar source from which they feed using a long extendable tongue.

Ruby throated humming bird at the feeder for nectar

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Collingwood, Ontario - great in summer or winter

In 1858 the town was incorporated as a town and was named after Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, who was second in command under Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Today, Collingwood is known as a resort town for all seasons, with great skiing, snowmobiling and for its close proximity to Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay.

blue Mountain resort Collingwood

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Great Grey Owl

Dave wrote ... yesterday while walking around my property in Pine Orchard, Whitchurch - Stouffville Ontario, I observed an owl which I believe is a Great Grey Owl.

new-found owl friend, great grey owl

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Lake Erie Sailing!

Gerry from St Thomas wrote to us about the great sailing on Lake Erie ...

Lake Erie sailing is fun in Ontario

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Ontario Wild Birds

Birdwatching has been a long-time hobby of mine, and this area of Ontario is rich with bird life - from the fleeting glimpses of Hummingbirds in the Summer, to the arrival of the graceful Tundra Swans each Spring, the birds of this area are well worth watching.

Ontario wild birds in Canada

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Prey bird having lunch

Saw this bird on our back fence in Oakville, Ontario on April 21, 2020. Not sure what it is but it’s eating a Blue Jay.

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Peacock in Fisherville Ontario

We were out for a drive and found this beautiful peacock in Fisherville, Ontario near lake Erie. It was just strolling around and even approached our

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A Lone Coyote

R. Penrose recently wrote to us to tell us about their recent Coyote sighting ... We live on a country road 20 minutes northwest of Kingston, in Stone Mills Township, on 4 acres of land with neighbouring homes about 70 metres away on either side of us. About 8:30 am on Feb. 2nd, 2020 in full daylight, a coyote strolled between our home and the neighbours heading from the brush at the back of the property to the road out front, stopping now and then to listen.

Lone Coyote  Stone Mills Township, Ontario

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The White Squirrel of Thornbury

This little squirrel travelled over 200 meters to get to the seeds I dropped by accident when filling up our bird feeder.

White albino squirrel in Thornbury Ontario

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What is this in the mulberry bush

This bird has grey feathers with a black cap, we have a pair of them. They are about the size of a small Robin. I have not seen them before.

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Large for a bird ...

I spotted this in my back yard in Cambridge/North Dumfries border.

The back is dark slate colour and the breast, neck and head is a very light grey or white with small spots.

mystery bird

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Great Horned Owl Encounters

Three of our readers wrote to report their Great Horned Owl sightings ...

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Hawk in Oakville

I was sitting in my house I glanced out of the front window and saw people staring into my driveway. When I went to investigate I saw a Coopers Hawk sitting on top of my van.

Hawk in Oakville Ontario

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Cooper's Hawk sighting

Mark Williams took this photo of a Cooper's Hawk on November 14th, 2019 at La Salle Park in Burlington, Ontario.

Cooper's Hawk in Burlington Ontario

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The beautiful Blue Jay

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Red Tailed Hawk