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”.
I decided to walk around this small lake and saw many sights and many feathered families.
Saw some brief displays, with the pair calling loudly , coming together and stretching their necks up with crests raised then swimming away.
At one curve in the lake a pelican circled and landed. No time to check my settings, i tried panning as it landed.
it happened too quick , there was nothing I could do about the sign but keep following.
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.
A great Blue heron! What a treat! It landed near the pelican and stayed to fish.
The damsel flies were prolific so got my first shot of the season.
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.
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. Secondly, I was capturing images of geese last April with not a lot of signs of snow.I wonder if these geese over-wintered? The pastels in the skies were pretty last March. Another “painting” of a gazebo in the central area of the city. 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.A 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.
Blue Jays, Magpies and Downy Woodpeckers
Sunday 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.
No Shortage of Magpies
Here two magpies wrestling with a bone, possibly from a nearby food truck then another flies to join them until it seems that the whole family unit is there. You can see groupings like this in every city block. The tails of the young are growing in and new feathers coming in, although the process is not complete yet as they are a little “patchy-looking.”
Mating Behaviour in Magpies plus Sightings of Robins
I saw this strange behaviour between these two Magpies on the steps of a building where the female would shiver her wings and body, then the male who was sitting above her on a railing , would swoop down on her. This happened twice.The first picture shows the female shivering for the second time, vigorously flapping her wings close to her body.
The second picture shows the male swooping down to the female who is tilting her tail and hind end up in the air.
Then the pair flew to a nearby tree and both disappeared into this nest, entering from the side away from me.
At the end of the street where I live I observed one lone magpie near an obvious magpie nest.I thought maybe if I waited, it would go into the nest.
It went closer but did not attempt to enter the nest.
Instead, another one came out of it. The second one appears to be holding a stick in its mouth. The two of them flew off together.
I also saw three robins today, the first is a female in the woods.
The second was a male down the street from the woods, not necessarily the mate.
And the third was a male singing in a tree beside the magpie nest.
There is a nest in the same tree, but not a typical robin’s nest. Who knows?
There is a lot of activity in the neighbourhood,and plenty of opportunities to observe magpies, house finches, robins, crows, house sparrows, all of whom are nesting in the neighbourhood or nearby. Next month the warblers will arrive. I am looking forward to the upcoming season.
Black-Billed Magpies Making Nests
Not too far from the path that runs beside the golf course i saw a lot of activity as magpies flew back and forth. They had sticks and were going deep into the valley and coming back uphill to one tree where a large nest was in process of being made. I read in a field guide that it can take 40 days to construct a nest, that both the male and female work together and the entrance is in the side of a dome. At one point they saw me watching and they disappeared for a while. I walked away so they could continue, and they did. A day later i watched them from the top of the hill where it was a good view and far enough away that they were not disturbed.
Here is the first day looking up at the nest.
Here is the vantage point from the top of the hill. The partner is on the backside or has flown off to get more twigs and the one in the photo is going into the side entrance. The last photo shows the hole .
Shot in aperture priority with a 300 mm lens at 1/200 sec to 1/800 sec f/6.3, 400 ISO