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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jun 23, 2010

Blue winged Teal

Blue Winged Teal Pair
What I really wasn't prepared for when I was searching the internet for information on this particular bird, is the fact that ducks are not always called ducks by name.  So it took me a while longer than usual to identify him, which meant several different searches and a lot of learning on my part, which is always a good thing.  Despite it's name, however, this Blue-Winged Teal is still a duck.

Jun 20, 2010

Red Tailed Hawk : New Pictures

I went back to the Red Tail Hawk's nesting sites in hopes of getting pictures of their nestlings. Unfortunately I didn't even get to see them, never mind get some photos of them, but I did get these pictures of the adults.  They were not too happy with me, or a Swainson's Hawk that circled too close to the nest site.

Red Tailed Hawk perched
Red Tailed Hawk stooping to attack
Red Tailed Hawk screaming
Red Tailed Hawk in flight
Close above me
Red Tailed Hawk turning
Red Tailed Hawk in silhouette
Soaring above the trees

Most of the time it was the male Red Tail that circled around me trying to get me to leave the area, but once it was the female to the left, who is much larger.

If you double click on the pictures to enlarge them you will have a closer view of these  beautiful birds.



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Jun 19, 2010

Northern Shoveler

Of all the birds I expected to see in this city, the Northern Shoveler was not one of them, even though they are apparently quite common throughout western Canada.  When I first saw this bird I recognized that something was different, but I made the assumption that he was just a larger Mallard Duck.   However, having learned to heed the sense that something is different about a bird, and in this way make the most of a possibility, I took the first picture anyway and was nicely rewarded as you will see.

Northern Shoveler male

This bird is a handsome fellow despite his large bill.  When I first spotted him he was coming towards me across  the pond, facing me head on, so it wasn't difficult to mistake him for a Mallard, especially since I was only half paying attention.  It wasn't until he turned sideways and was closer to me that I realized I really did have a different species of duck in sight, one I had never encountered before.  Naturally I got excited and took lots of pictures, which I couldn't wait to view on my computer in order to identify this bird.

Jun 8, 2010

Swainson's Hawk

I know that I have mentioned on several occasions that Hawks in particular are a favorite bird of mine, so I will, and do, take any opportunity to observe these birds in the wild and take their pictures.  This weekend was one of those incredible times when I had the opportunity to do so.  The Swainson's Hawk featured here, is one who managed to surprised me by literally appearing out of nowhere not once, but twice.

The first time he was coming at me  from across a farmer's field behind a stand of trees on the other side of the pond I was visiting.  It looked like he had just taken off from the ground and he was flying incredibly fast.  I barely had a minute to raise my camera and take a few pictures before he rode the air up above the trees and disappeared.  The second time he simply appeared above the trees in front of me.  Fortunately, this time my reflexes sort of took over, which resulted in some incredibly good and close up photos.

Swainson's Hawk wings down

Jun 7, 2010

Cedar Waxwing

This weekend was extremely satisfying as far as birdwatching was concerned. On Saturday I went to visit a couple of man made ponds  in the south of the city, where I had some tremendous luck taking pictures once before.  The weather was gorgeous to say the least and I had the delightful experience of having several feathered subjects to photograph.  Of all of these subjects, the Cedar Waxwing was the most illusive.  It is very good at hiding and if it cannot hide, or is startled all of them fly off all at once.  Which is why, before I finally managed to photograph these birds, the whole flock flew off on me twice.

Cedar Waxwing almost hidden
You know that the Cedar Waxwing is in the vicinity by the sound of their high pitched but very quiet whistle.   It is so quiet in fact, that it takes a moment for the sound to register in your conscious mind.   When it finally does register, finding the bird is no easy task, unless the flock happens to be sitting in a highly visible tree top that is relatively bare of leaves, which I have witnessed on one occasion.  If you are really lucky you will witness a flock of Cedar Waxwing descent on a Mountain Ash, or any other fruit bearing tree, or bush, to strip it off it's berries in mere minutes.  It's quite a sight.