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Posts tagged “birds

What Happened to Summer?

It has become chilly out, only temporary but a reminder that the hot weather won’t last forever.My thoughts are with those who are suffering from the effects of the many forest fires across our lands. It is green here in the city but many trees are chaging colour due to stress from lack of moisture. the leaves look wilted, too.

I am moving to a new neighbourhood and my computer is full to almost bursting so I will upgrade but not until the next month or month after. It makes it hard to go out and shoot away so am slowing down photo ops and replacing them with packing.Not as much fun,I tell you!

in the meantime, here are some photos from the summer months.

Belly dancers at the Heritage festival

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scenes from EdmontonFolk Music Festival

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A Visitor on My Hat

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Main stage- Edmonton Folk Music Festival

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bark abstract from a walk in the woods

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Pelican Landing

There is something that captures my attention and sense of wonder as I see an American White Pelican soar into sight, gliding with its wide wings outspread and circling the area as it gets lower and lower. Then the feet stick out and foreward before it hits the water creating a large wake behind it. This one landed at the platform where other pelicans and a couple of cormorants were lounging and in one motion heaved itself out of the water onto the raft. (I missed that shot  as well as the first one when I first caught sight of it to one side of me.) When they are gliding alone or as a group they are so graceful.This one stood out from the rest-it was huge.

A nod to the two cormorants who are holding their own.

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Gone Fishing

It is a delight to watch the white pelicans fishing, at first calm and upright, sometimes a slight lean forward, then leap forward and down into the water at what they see. My friend Diane and I had the good fortune to see not just one, but four pelicans today at a man-made lake in northeast Edmonton. Great fun!

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Birding at a Lake in the City

I like going to this lake in the city because there are Red-necked Grebes here, but today there were a few surprises. The lake has a walkway around it and houses surround this, with a lot of the people putting up birdhouses and feeders in their yards which makes this a bird-friendly zone. It was a lovely day sunny and cloudy, but quite the glare off the water.

Another photographer and birder alerted me to this fledged magpie which is the first that I have seen. I think the term begins with “L”.

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I decided to walk around this small lake and saw many sights and many feathered families.

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Saw some brief displays, with the pair calling loudly , coming together and stretching their necks up with crests raised then swimming away.

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At one curve in the lake a pelican circled and landed. No time to check my settings, i tried panning as it landed.

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it happened too quick , there was nothing I could do about the sign but keep following.

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Happy about that, a short way further along the path I saw a large bird coming into view. Not id-ing it  yet, I tried to focus on it.

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A great Blue heron! What a treat! It landed near the pelican and stayed to fish.

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The damsel flies were prolific so got my first shot of the season.

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She is a beautiful blue. Speaking of blue, there were many blue ribbons on posts  all around the lake , paying tribute to fallen officer Const Daniel Woodall. His funeral is tomorrow, so I will be present at the procession.

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Just Say Aw-w-w…

Mallard Ducklings. Aren’t they sweet?pictures 045 pictures 047 pictures 023-2 pictures 025-2 pictures 033 pictures 034


Almost a Wild Goose Chase

Went on the Snow Goose Chase yesterday. The migration was early this year and we were late, as the chase often is held in April. however we saw lots of species, 57 to be exact.

The group was enthusiastic and we were rewarded with a smaller remaining flock of snowgeese.We all roared with delight when someone yelled to the driver, “Stop! Stop! There they are!” We were treated to snacks and a warm buffet in Tofield plus there were  scopes, field guides and extra binoculars to share. A few companies sponsor this event but it is organized by the Edmonton Nature Club and we had spotters driving ahead of us and guides on the bus pointing out the various birds. it was a lot of fun. No lifers for me , but it was a thrill to see Black Backed Stilts and a Marbled Godwit through the provided scopes, unfortunately too far for my camera.

Here are some photos of some of the species-most are a distance away, to be expected on a bus tour. Kudos to the Edmonton Nature Club and its dedicated volunteers of expert birders. They will be having some walks in the upcoming season and I hope to join them.

Bonaparte’s Gulls

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Song Sparrow

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American White Pelicans

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Yellow-Headed Blackbird

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Mountain Bluebird -Male

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Mountain Bluebird – Female

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A Gaggle of Snow Geese

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Greater White- Fronted Goose

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American Avocet

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and a terrific sky that had me running back to the bus to change lens.

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Outdoors with the Birds

I went out a couple of times during the Easter weekend to shoot the birds with my Canon.Here is what I saw , including one “lifer.” Getting outdoors makes me feel complete and I am so grateful to be able to take photos, smell the fresh air and watch and listen to the birds and wildlife.

Did I tell you that I booked a seat on  the “Wild Goose Chase” tour? We will be going to see the snow geese migration, possibly owls, cranes, bluebirds.. I haven’t done this in years so am looking forward to it. The trip is on May 3rd and of course I will be taking photos and posting them!

But back to the birds, etc. from this past weekend…

It is always a sign of spring to see the gulls return. Here is a resident Ring-billed gull.

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I got a kick out of the Canada Geese lined up at the open side of the pond.pictures 044-2

The House Finches are back in the neighbourhood. I like their songs, although my neighbour hates them since they nest right outside his window.pictures 002-3

Here is a shot of a Handsome  Canada Goose gander.pictures 011-2

And you know who had to make an appearance, always helping himself to the spoils at the bird feeder.pictures 221-2

I had been trying a number of self -portraits when this beauty showed up. I quickly grabbed the camera off the tripod and changed my settings from timer to bursts. pictures 127-2

Both the male and female Downy Woodpeckers showed up This is the male.

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This is the female Downy Woodpecker.pictures 009-2The Black-capped Chickadees.pictures 155-2

Red-Breasted Nuthatches.pictures 158-2

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And my “lifer” the American Tree Sparrow. Yay!

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A Ruckas in the Back Alley

It was quite noisy in the back alley this particular morning. The fighting between two couples was echoing off the buildings and was loud, attracting people’s attention from the surrounding apartments and condos.. I went out to investigate, taking my camera with me. Turns out that one couple is trying to set up house on the balcony of someone’s  apartment (the owners must be thrilled) and the other couple were loudly protesting from the parking area.below. At one point, one of the mates flew up to the balcony but bounced off the wall, not quite hitting the mark.In the last photo the couple  seem to be perplexed, maybe giving up. It has been eerily quiet since then  and I wonder whether someone took the matter into their hands in a lethal way.

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The Three Tenors

These three were very vocal in their expressions, now that they have come back to the province, always consider gulls a harbinger of spring.

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They were resplendent in their breeding plumage and their three part harmony astounding. Take a bow, gentlemen!pictures 083


They are Back!

I was out and about doing errands and took off to a nearby park since it was close to the mall where I had been shopping. Enough errands, it was a gorgeous day outside and the temperature was in the teens. My rubber boots were not in the car which prohibited me from going closer to the water.  A man with a camera passed me and asked what I ‘d seen. I replied ” just  Chickadees and Blue Jays”. He told me he’d seen about 60 Canada Geese in Hawrelak Park. Off I went.

They congregate in these large puddles where the snow has melted and there was a Pair of Mallards there which is exciting when it is the first sighting this year. I arrived in time to see a male fly in from the area of the pond which happens to be iced over, and a vicious fight ensued. When all was calm everyone went back to their eating and I sat down, watched and took photos.Now that’s a good day. I will show you what other species I saw in the next posts.

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Will you Stay or Will you Go?

I was taking photos of the Black-capped Chickadees when I heard a similar call, softer with a pretty whistling sound. The Boreal Chickadee was back and I was delighted to capture a couple of shots.They are a rarity around here so when they show up  all of us birding types get excited. It flew from low-lying shrubs into a nearby tree and was joined by another before the two of them flew away together.. Are they mates? Are they going to stay? Or will they go? Either way, I enjoyed the moment.That is what it is all about, right?

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A New Bird-Boreal Chickadee

This is the first photo that I have taken of this species, a Boreal Chickadee,  quite pleased to find it.Not the best photos but I am happy to have a record of the sighting. They are not too common here in the city.

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Getting Outdoors

When a person has been sick in bed, it is so nice to get outdoors again and take photos.Not many birds and it was cold out,minus twenty, but here are some images of the environment, the Black-capped Chickadee and a Downy Woodpecker.

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More Reviews from the Past Year

First, I chose my friend Lindsay’s orchids. She is very good at growing them and I like to capture their images.pictures 043-2 Secondly, I was capturing images of geese last April with not a lot of signs of snow.I wonder if these geese over-wintered?Hermitage Park-029-2 The pastels in the skies were pretty last March.20140312-IMG_0067-2 Another “painting” of a gazebo in the central area of the city.pictures 007-2 a close-up of a house finch that nested in the area.Liked hearing its song which was a pleasant change from the house sparrows but I know my neighbour was NOT amused by the singing just under his window every morning.Birds 009-2A magpie showing off it’s tail feathers. I wonder how the weather will be for the rest of winter, a lot has melted and the temperature is up-and-down like a yo-yo. One day at a time.Birds 070-3


Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are quite common here in Alberta as well as the Hairy Woodpecker but it is usually more likely to see the Downies.The two look very similar but there are ways to tell them apart. The Hairy is larger overall and its bill is longer. The Downy has spots on the edges of it’s tail feathers but they are not always apparent.

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If you look at the  white tail feathers in the second photo of the Hairy Woodpecker, there is just white, no black dots. These are both male birds because of the red at the back of the head.Sorry for the poor quality, there were so many branches.Hopefully you can see the difference in size using the feeder as a comparison.Happy birding!


Bohemian Waxwings

I was listening for the Pine Grosbeaks but haven’t seen them since the last cold spell. Instead I heard the unmistakable high-pitched trill of the Bohemian Waxwings then noticed there were a couple of trees full of them. They were feeding in the berry trees, I think Mountain Ash and just roosting in a larger one. I found it interesting to watch one pair display apparent courting behaviour snuggling close and one fed the other.There was some closeness, then one flew off. Something distracted the group, either me or a magpie or maybe neither, and they all flew away. I wonder if there will be regular sightings of them. this winter. They were fun to watch , their gestures of the head and body sometimes comical. It was a treat to be able to watch them.

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Blue Jays, Magpies and Downy Woodpeckers

pictures 039-2Sunday was bright and sunny and  had warmed up to  minus twenty something with a light breeze. I spent less time swearing and put my energy into shovelling the wind drifts from behind my car and went to the park. No sign of the grosbeaks but was seeing blue Jays, Magpies, Crows and Downy Woodpeckers.

I find the blue Jays a little more evasive, coming from a distance staying in the trees in the safety of the branches and taking a quick dip to the food and retreating.The magpies are similar but a bit bolder until you get just about focused , then they take off. On this day they were used to the person feeding them and showing themselves more. I really noticed the change of behaviour in these birds while someone was feeding them. They start to compete and fight over the food which was some sort of bird feed that they obviously liked. There were about six Magpies, one Blue Jay and a pair of Woodpeckers. The chickadees were staying a safe distance away. I would have stayed longer but was losing light as well as the feeling in my hands and toes.It was good to get out again.

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Curiousity

The chickadees are more approachable as are the squirrels and gulls as they gather food  and seek handouts. These are favourites of a young Ring-billed Gull, a  Black-capped Chickadee and a Red Squirrel seen in the parks in the city. I did not feed them, they just came to check me out and let me take their photo..

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Morning Walk with the Dogs-Blue Jays

I started work later on Saturday which enabled a long leisurely morning walk with the dogs. I was so impressed with their manners because when I saw some blue jays, I calmly said stay, then sit, and they did. The light was poor and I threw away a few shots but was pleased with these ones.Good dogs! Nice Blue Jays!

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Last Days of Summer

After the cold and snow flurries last week and the inevitable whining, I felt so relaxed and grateful today as I walked along natural paths, observed  the changes in the trees and bushes. and watched the  squirrels as they hurried back and forth,  with mouths full of food , preparing for the inevitable cold days ahead.It was a good day to be out doors with temperatures back in the normal zone.

Except for a few territorial squabbles, and the odd chase by children, the geese mostly ate grass and relaxed. I took photos of the things that caught my eye. hope you enjoy my look at the world.

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So What is the Park Like Now?

Two weeks ago Hawrelak Park was full of people attending the World Triathlon finals. The pond, or lake, as the media called it, was treated with chlorine and some ducks and a few die hard geese stayed at the opposite end from where the activities took place, their feathers looking a little worse for the wear.I wondered if the rest of the ducks and geese had left permanently. The people who were responsible for  organizing, setting up and striking down all the equipment for the World Triathlon Finals did a phenomenal job and the grounds look good , the pond, er lake is full.

I returned today as it was my day off and it was  sunny and warm, a perfect day for the last bit of summer. The park was a good place to go to walk and take photos. No special events here today but people and water fowl were out in numbers, mostly  relaxing.

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Scenes from Summer

From a walk in nature the other day:

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Some More Cuteness

It is a pleasure to go to this city pond, one of many, and see the young ducklings.Some are Lesser Scaups, some American Widgeons, and the  Mallards.

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Mother Scaup with her two balls of fluff.


Crow Talk

This crow was by itself in the lower branches of the tree, observing the ducks, geese and myself. It was  muttering under its breath, making all sorts of vocalizations as if talking to itself. Once in a while it cawed back and forth with its clan in nearby trees, even matching the number of caws, then there would be a lot of noise as they all excitedly called back and forth to each other.

I tried to capture this in these photos as I snapped happily away and it seemed quite obliging in the process.At one point when it was talking to itself, there was a scolding squirrel above it and the crow took this in stride but did did keep a series of mutterings going on with its head down and the eyelid semi-closed, perhaps protection from the debris that was coming from the squirrel.

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