Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip Report - Hecla

This is coming late, another post I wanted to get to, but the old computer couldn't even handle looking through pictures. 

Our Hecla trip was April 4, and we didn't get away until late in the day.  Hecla is always a great trip though!

Here are a few highlights.

Thought this guy was an American Kestrel at first (we see them more often on the wires), but this one's a Merlin!

Pretty bad photo of a Common Raven.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse, sitting in a tree...

Very, very bad photo of a Bald Eagle (Ed swore he could see the white head and tail in the binoculars) possibly at its nest.

And another bad photo of displaying Common Goldeneyes - there were lots of 'em!

Other birds seen but not photographed: 

More Fox Sparrows

Just getting to these!  Having a computer that runs at a proper speed is taking some getting used to!

Just a couple more pics of the Fox Sparrows that have now departed for spots further up north!

This bird was photographed April 9.

And this picture was taken April 16.


Trip Report - Southwest


Back to normal?  Maybe!  My scanning project was waylaid by a s-l-o-o-o-o-w computer, that problem is fixed, but now I've got new ones!  Can't use my faithful "Riptide" image program, so the pics in this post are uncropped and not resized. 

But we finally got to take a trip!  Had to pack all of our birding into one day, but we managed!  Our first tour was through the Alexander-Griswold marsh, where we picked up all of the expected ducks but two (dipped on Green-Winged Teal and American Wigeon). 

One of the first birds we spotted was a far off Swainson's Hawk! 

Western Meadowlarks are most conspicuous this time of year, singing for territoriy is serious business!  This fellow looks like he's crossing his legs.

A bit more classic pose.

Lots of ducks to be found, but not many good photos to be had!  Here are a few, starting with a Canvasback

A Northern Pintail

Northern Shoveler male (left) with Lesser Scaup Male (center) and female (right). 

Sorry this is a bad picture, but it includes a Ring-Necked Duck (second from right), another Canvasback, and a pair of Redheads.  We saw lots of Redheads and quite a few Gadwalls, but most were too far away for pictures. 

We also saw quite a few Blue-Winged Teals, but they were likewise skittish. 

Lots of American Coots around, these three are displaying. 

Tons of Red-Winged Blackbirds,

and Song Sparrows too!

We also saw a Wilson's Snipe, and quite a few Yellow-Headed Blackbirds.  Mammals were a little sparse, but we did spy a muskrat, a Richardson's Ground Squirrel, and this cutie (a Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel).

Our second destination was Whitewater Lake.  The wind had picked up by now, and the clouds were starting to roll in.  A big flock of Snow Geese was spied along the roadside.

Another Western Meadowlark. 

Flushed a pair of Gray Partridge from the roadside, here is a picture of one of them!

We also saw a few American Kestrels during the day.

And a single Horned Lark.

It started to rain soon after we got to Whitewater, and there wasn't too much to see. 

We thought about turning around, but decided to stick it out, and had lunch in the car. 

This trio of Common Grackles kept a close eye on things. 

Good thing we stayed!  In short order, there were ducks (Redheads and Scaup), gulls (Franklins or Bonapartes, couldn't see well enough to determine which), and a Double-Crested Cormorant, struggling to fly against the wind.  Then a pair of American Avocets out in the water.  Next to show up was a flock of American White Pelicans, then a flock of Tundra Swans!  Only bad pics, of course! 

Leaving Deloraine, we spotted a Eurasian Collared Dove.  These guys are new to the province, and it was a life bird for both of us. 

More Snow Geese and Tundra Swans seen along the highway.

Then a family group of Sandhill Cranes flushed across the road, and stuck around long enough for pictures. 

Our next sighting was another Swainsons Hawk,

And our last bird of the day was another Robin.

Other birds seen but not pictured:  Mallard, Canada Goose, Red-Tailed Hawk, American Crow, House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, Killdeer, Ruddy Duck, Pied-Billed Grebe, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Ring-Billed Gull, Brewer's Blackbird.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

If you haven't already, please check out the gorgeous images collected on The Conversation Report's blog in honor of earth day.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mr. Pink, our Purple Finch

Some more not-so-great pictures of this kinda cool bird. 





Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How now, brown Junco?

The sheer amount of browness in my Junco flock is causing me much confusion! 



Yard birds!

Yay for spring!  Not that I don't appreciate our year-round birds, but it's great to have new faces!

We usually get quite a few Dark Eyed Juncos, this year they look a little odd to me.  We get lots of the grey and browns (females and juveniles) in the fall, but usually, in the spring, most of the Juncos in the yard are the darker ones.  The regular Junco for the area is the Slate-Colored, but I'm wondering if we've got a different one or two, but have no experience to say!

American Tree Sparrows arrive early, and don't usually stay very long!  Most of my pictures of these sparrows are of the lame, head-down-eating-from-the-feeder variety.  So it was a nice treat to have this one individual that checked out our whole yard, posing quite nicely for me, for the better part of the day!

Here's another new one for me, I knew this was a Purple Finch, but I'd never seen one this color before.  I've been told by the folks at birdforum that this is probably a year-old male. 

It's also tough to get good photos of Fox Sparrows!  They forage almost exclusively on the ground, usually under cover, and move very fast!  This cute guy paused in his scratching long enough for a photo, and was even nice enough to lift his head up! 

For comparison's sake, this is the most common type of Junco we get here. 

Here's the adult mare Purple Finch, what great color they have!  Purple Finches have it in for me, you know...  Nearly all of my photos of the males are blurry.  I have no idea why!  Not terribly blurry, but just enough...  Tricky little buggers!