The annual trip to Salamander Ridge Farm

For the past few years, we have made our annual trip to a little piece of heaven known as Salamander Ridge Farm.  The farm is situated on 90 acres of St. Joseph Island which is located east of Sault Ste. Marie, ON.  Salamander Ridge is operated as a organic farm with a variety of vegetables and has recently expanded into world of free-range eggs.  The farm also just happens to be the home of my brother and his family.  You can find out more information about Salamander Ridge at their website –

As a side bonus to quality family time, I get to go birding with my brother and family.  The property traditionally has a large variety of bird life and the island itself is home to large populations of White-tailed Deer and Sandhill Cranes.  If you have one of my calendars from the last 3 years, you will have seen some of my success in photographing birds on St. Joes.

Somewhat similar to our other birding trips earlier this spring, it seems as there are less birds on the traditional breeding areas.  Weather-wise, the spring of 2013 has been different, colder and wetter and in northern Ontario,  there was still snow on the ground well into May.  We missed a number of regulars this year, Bald Eagle, Scarlett Tanager, Mourning Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, American Tree Swallow, Bobolink and the Meadowlark to name a few.  This is a bit troubling, did the spring migrants give up and decide not to come north in 2013 and nest somewhere else?  Are there less birds and this is the new normal, I sincerely hope not.

However, I still got a number of images to share in this post which I hope that you will enjoy.  The images are in slideshow format so you have the option of watching it play automatically or click the arrows on the left or right side of each image.

Around the house, we enjoy the songs of the American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler and the beautiful Eastern Bluebird.

American RedstartAmerican RedstartChestnut-sided WarblerYellow WarblerEastern BluebirdEastern Bluebird

Just a few minutes walk away we encounter birds of the forest edge such as the Northern Flicker, American Goldfinch, Veery, Blackburnian Warbler and Nashville Warbler.

Northern FlickerAmerican GoldfinchVeeryBlackburnian WarblerBlackburnian WarblerNashville Warbler

The sparrows are often heard and not seen.  Here is the Clay-colored Sparrow and the White-throated Sparrow with its familiar song, Oh-sweet-canada-canadaThe White-throated Sparrow image is a strong candidate for the 2014 calendar.

Clay-colored SparrowWhite-throated Sparrow

As we drove around the island, we had two separate encounters with the Sandhill Cranes.  As we were stopped to watch Sandhill Cranes feeding in a field, we saw that a white-tailed deer was approaching them from the left.  We were surprised to see the deer walk amongst the cranes and they didn’t appear to mind either!  On another part of the island, we were able to see Sandhill Cranes and their colts, (apparently that’s what baby Sandhill Crane babies are called).

Deer amongst Sandhill CranesDeer amongst Sandhill CranesDeer amongst Sandhill CranesDeer amongst Sandhill CranesSandhill Crane adultSandhill Crane adult and coltsSandhill Crane adult and colts

Lastly, I was able to add some images to my flora collection, Indian Paintbrush, Fringed Polygala or Gay Wings, Starflower and Yellow Lady’s Slipper

Indian PaintbrushFringed PolygalaStarflowerYellow Lady's SlipperYellow Lady's Slipper

The next post will be all about moose and my photo tour in Algonquin Park.  Thanks for dropping by.


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  1. Scott Martin July 11, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Another excellent post Arni. You’ve been blessed with an abundance of Warblers this year and also been able to follow them around all parts of the country, which has no doubt provided a lot of fun for you & Dianne.

    • Arni July 11, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Thanks again Scott. Yes this has been a great year for warblers for sure and it has been equally fun for Dianne and I to pursue them.

  2. JoAnne Horton Stinni August 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I so much enjoy your blog and photo’s always looking forward to seeing more.

    • Arni August 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Hi JoAnne, thanks for commenting and I am glad you are enjoying my blog. It is a labour of love and a good place to tell the odd story or two.