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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Dec 31, 2012

Birding and Nature discoveries 2012-3

Fall migration in 2012 brought the usual migrants, such as the Yellow warbler, through the city and as always Woopeckers and Nuthatches became much more visible once the leaves began changing colors.  For some reason I was out and about more during fall migration this year than I had been during the spring and the result was an absolute treat.

Magnolia Warbler
The beautiful Magnolia warbler above and Ovenbird below were very welcome additions to my growing life list.

The best part, aside from the many delightful surprises this year is that I managed to meet several personal goals this fall.  One was to get a good  flight shot of the Red shafted northern flicker and a decent photo of a Yellow shafted flicker which also showed it's gorgeous yellow for the purpose of comparison.

Red Flicker
Yellow Flicker

The sighting of an American Kestrel in the city came as a complete surprise late in fall, as was the dawn arrival of an immature Black crowned Night heron.

Black crowned night heron

American Kestrel
Pied Billed Grebe

The little Pied billed Grebe above gave me a merry chase for several weeks, however to my absolute delight I finally captured him on camera late in fall.

Cape May Warbler
Cape May warbler
Canada Warbler

The Cape May warbler above, presented a challenge because I had some difficulty identifying it, in fact, I mistook it for another species until just recently.  The Canada warbler however gave me no such difficulty.  Both birds were another totally awesome addition to my birding list.

I added a few more bird species to that list when I made a six hundred mile round trip to Calgary.  Below are some of my favorite photos from that trip.

Bull Moose Crossing a farmers field

Juvenile Snowy Owl
Rough legged Hawk juv

First snowfall delivered another sighting, and much better photos, of the Brown Creeper and the tiny, adorable  Golden crowned Kinglet.

Brown Creeper
Golden Crowned Kinglet
Winter really roared in in earnest about mid November and with the snow arrived another surprise and the fulfillment of a wish I made in spring.  A closer view and photo of an Eagle.

After the storm
Immature Bald Eagle

The month of December has been very cold, too cold to take the camera out safely.  However, it seems 2012 had one more surprise in store.  Yesterday the weather was balmy in comparison to what it has been, so naturally I headed out.  I discovered that the Bohemian waxwings are back in force, the Chickadees were very cheerful and as I stood knee deep in snow and looked up, I was amazed to come face to face with a Juvenile Goshawk perched in a tree top.  A female, by the size of her. Judging by the Magpies still eagerly hanging around her, I would guess that she had just finished a meal.

Juvenile Goshawk Female
Surrounded by magpies
Goshawk preening

I can't wait to see what birds, wildlife and other things nature shows me in 2013, can you?  Happy New Year every one:)


Dec 30, 2012

Birding and Nature discoveries-2

2012 was a fantastic year for me, the major differences between other years and 2012 lay in the fact that the year started off slow in the way of new discoveries but quickly picked up pace in summer. There were birds and wildlife that I never expected to see without traveling some major distances, or during day time hours. I really should know better by now, because nature is always amazing, filled with wonder and delightful surprises. So here is more from summer in 2012.

This Alder Flycatcher was a first for me and very cooperative.  I spent many minutes photographing and observing this plain, but beautiful species.
Alder Flycatcher
Very co-operative Alder flycatcher
There were more beautiful butterflies and absolutely gorgeous flowers and wildflowers to photograph.

Tiger Swallow Tail
Tiger Lily
Tiny unidentified wildflower that fascinated me

I had a surprise visitor to my back yard, and even though this is not a new species for me, I have never gotten such a close-up and wonderful view.

Merlin lands in tree
Merlin in my yard

There were two species of normally nocturnal wildlife that I encountered.  One was a muskrat foraging in daylight.


The other was a first for me and delight to behold.  A Great Horned Owl that was being harassed by a horde of magpies.  Their commotion and the Owls frustrated cries is what allowed me to spot it.

Great Horned Owl
A closer look

In 2011 I was surprised to discover that Alberta has a resident population of White Pelicans when I spotted five of them in the sky at the very edge of my camera range.  This past summer, amazingly enough, I had a close encounter with a lone White Pelican at one of my favorite ponds on the south side of the city.

White Pelican above
White Pelican

This gorgeous Hooded Merganser caught me totally by surprise early one morning before work.  I never dreamed I would be allowed to get this close, in order to get some photos.

Hooded Merganser male

I don't know anyone that doesn't love humming birds.  My mother has many hummingbird feeders out and sees them every summer, however for me, they have been particularly illusive.  Therefore, it was a memorable and joyous encounter the day that I spotted this Black chinned humming bird in the little forest down the street at the end of the summer.

Black chinned Humming bird
Black chinned Humming bird in profile

As you can see, my summer in 2012 was absolutely amazing.  Fall however delivered much more, I will be sharing those encounters with you in the next post.


Dec 29, 2012

Birding and nature discoveries 2012-1

It is amazing how fast 2012 flew by, and even more amazing how different every year is for me in the way of new bird sightings and other discoveries in nature.   I didn't realize how many new bird species I had added to my list until I went through my files in search of photos for this post.  My goodness, there are a lot of files, and while the photos are not always the best, it was difficult deciding which were the best sightings and experiences of 2012, because no matter what, every time I visit with nature I find both peace and joy.

So let me begin with just a few birds that were new to me this year.  Spring highlights:

Black throated Green Warbler
Black throated Green warbler 2
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Headed Vireo 2

Conneticut Warbler



Rose breasted Grosbeak juv
Juv Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Summer highlights:

Summer delivered this beautiful Juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak  as well as many other delightful  and unexpected surprises, such as the two butterflies below.

White Admiral
Monarch butterfly

Mystery Beetle

I discovered this unidentified beetle at the height of summer.  It was the only one that I saw.

Cruiser at rest
Blue Cruiser

I also discovered if I moved very, very slowly I could capture some wonderful images of Dragonflies at rest.  These are just a couple of examples.  Summer delivered so many delights, there simply wasn't room in a single post, and fall was the busiest of all.  I hope you will visit to view the rest, coming up very soon.