Saturday, 31 December 2011

Laurel and Neil Moose Hunt

Well, even though I couldn't find her brother a moose, Laurel selected a Moose search has her "track" on Friday morning. We were a way from the house a little late and had other interruptions that impacted our "prime time" searching, but we ended up doing okay.  A tough order we left at 7:36 a.m., and they wanted to be downtown Calgary by 11:00. That didn't leave much time for "looking". We spotted these deer and were very pleased that they decided to perform a little fence jumping for us:

Then, right at the end of our trail I managed to spot a moose for her, so the trip was a success. We were only a mile from the main highway when I found this cow, in one of my "go to" spots!
So a good successful trip, when you throw in the Roughies, and the mature Bald Eagle we were able to scrounge up, and I dropped them of at 6th Avenue and 2nd Street SW @ 11:05!


Thursday, 29 December 2011

Moose hunt with James

James requested a Moose hunt while he was visiting, but with the windy conditions I was unable to deliver. We managed to find: 14 whitetails, a Prairie Falcon, a pair of Sharptails, and several Rough Legged. For the most part it was a bright morning, but you could not see the mountains for clouds and snow fall. Most of the Roughies we found were actually on the ground, I am assuming to avoid the wind.
This fella provided a challenge to get a shot due to his location, but I did manage an acceptable "capture".
Laurel is still in town, and is making up her mind what she would like to go after, and whether it will be a morning or evening outing.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Snowy Owls (20111226) Boxing Day

Well, on the third anniversary of receiving a DSLR, I thought that I would mark the day with a field trip (James and the girls were going shopping anyway).  It was to be a beautiful sunny day and for once the weatherman didn't lie. I took a shot on my mid-southern "track" this morning, and was disappointed that there were no GHO's out and about.  I started the day with a Rough Legged, he was perched on a line as opposed to a pole, so I thought it might be an owl in the low light.
Covering some new country, I managed to get a couple of long distance shots of my first Northern Goshawk, so the day was starting right!  A few miles down the road, I managed my first Snowy of the day, but she was very spooky.  I was quite a distance from her when she left her roost and settled into an open field. So I had the opportunity to see my first "on the ground bird". She was quite a distance away, so the photos are not really good.  About 10 minutes later, I found this sweet heart, and she was very accommodating!

Not a bad day over all. I was home by 11:00, with the truck re-fuelled and ready for next "run".
All the best over the holiday season to everyone!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mountain Sheep

Russell and I were out looking for elk yesterday to no avail.  We did manage to find some whitetails, a pair of moose, an early morning owl, and these Mountain sheep.  While we counted 29, in reviewing the photos I believe we may have missed one or two.
There were several rams that look like they will be fully mature in the next year or two.  This next shot reminds me of Kids before Christmas, checking to see if there are any presents under the tree yet!
We also managed to find several Rough Legged's and a Prairie Falcon. The Falcon was in the same spot I saw one a little over a year ago. As we were driving by the area, I said to Russell " here is where I saw a Prairie Falcon a year ago, 53 or 54 weeks ago", then, here was one hovering in the wind. Will have to watch that area at this time of year for more repeats. 
I am still struggling with my camera gear, so please remain patience regarding the quality of photos.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

ASCCA on a Sunday morning.

Mike and I hit the ASCCA at daybreak. It was snowing, wet heavy sticky snow, but not too hard. Through the first fence we found a Muley buck with a dozen doe. a little further in the lower Fescue trail we spotted a couple more Muley doe on Ranchers Ridge. Nearing the top of the climb out of the valley we ran into our first herd of cattle, they must be allowing a rancher to overwinter their herd there as this is the first time I have found cattle on the property. Climbing higher, to overlook the Pine Creek we spotted our second collection of cows. It is from this vantage point this spring that Mike and I watched a full grown cougar for 15 minutes. We travelled back along the higher Fescue trail and met up with our third grouping of cattle. A couple of ravens overhead, and not much else until this point. We swung west down onto Aspen.  There was no sign of cattle on that trail at all, but other than ravens, all we found was one small woodpecker. Back in the truck and home by 11:00.  A nice walk but too uneventful for our liking!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Prairie Falcon- House Sparrow (20111216)

Another pretty dismal day out on the Owl hunt. Zero owls today, but while I was stopped waiting for a train to pass (that can take quite a while out west here), I spied this Prairie Falcon. He was a long way off, but I think that should be happy I was able to find him at all in the sky:-)
Then I happened upon a couple hundred of these little sparrows.  Shooting through twigs and branches is always very difficult, but I think I nailed this little fellow.
No plans right now for tomorrow, but Mike and I are headed out to the ASCCA on Sunday at daybreak.

Northern Flicker Blackbilled Magpie (20111216) New Country for Snowy's

On Wednesday I headed out to a new spot that is supposed to be great for Snowy action. It was a bust, 4 hours later, one of my slowest days on record; one Muley buck, one Coyote, two birds of prey that I assume were Sharp Shinned hawks. Then yesterday, I walked over to get a Christmas turkey at the local Co-op and on the way home found two flickers a couple of Magpies.  So I grabbed my camera, headed out to the back lane to see if I could find them:-)
Thanks for taking the time to look.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sharp Tailed Grouse

It is my wife's, Uncle's birthday today, got that?
He and I have frequented the woods on many occasions. It had been years since he had seen a Mountain Bluebird, or so he told me a couple of summers back, so I took him out to Bluebird country and reminded him what he had been missing for 15 years.  Today it was another 15 (or so) year drought addressed as we managed to find 8 Sharp Tailed Grouse. These added to our 1 GHO, 7 moose, 1 Coyote, a multitude of deer and many Rough Legged hawks of the morning.
Here is a shot of a Sharp Tail, although I am totally happy with the photo:

He and I will be taking a tour out for Snowy's one day this week!
Happy Birthday Middy!


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Snowy Owl (20111210) Full moon eclipse.

Here is a shot of this morning's eclipse. I don't have the right equipment for these types of shots, but I thought I would share this with you.  Last night was a full moon and this morning, an eclipse.  This is taken just as the eclipse is about to be full, I didn't have enough light for any "total Eclipse" shots.
The morning drive today netted me 2 Great Horns, one new and the second was a repeat bird. Before the end of the morning I managed to spot this lady here"

Hope you like the shots!


Whitetail Deer Coyote (20111210) Returned Camera and Lens.

Getting my camera back this week has been terrific, it was in the Shop and Nikon replaced my 70-300 telephoto with a new unit. So I have been anxious to get out.  Friday morning was pretty dry however; no Great Horns and one flying Snowy. Pretty disappointing! I did manage to find this Coyote and deer pair that seemed to be quite close, and they stopped long enough for me to get a shot. It seemed like an odd pairing and neither was too concerned with the other.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Whitetail deer (20111128) Grey Cup Sunday

After seeing my results of the morning run, Jamie was keen to head out looking for Snowy's in the afternoon. We had discussed getting out a lot further from home, but with the wind and time of day we decided to try and find the same birds I had seen in the morning. 60 kph winds with gusts to 100 had downtown Calgary shut down, but we managed to find a couple of items to photograph.
At dark we managed to find this doe, thought the city backlights made for an interesting shot.  Of course at this time of the year Bambi's daddy is never far from the ladies.  This fellow looks like he is on the downward side of maturity, but still a healthy specimen.  It was dark when we found him so the photo is a little blurry.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Snowy Owls Back to back Posts

Having found a couple of GHO's last Sunday night I wanted to try this Sigma Lens out in in the morning low light conditions.  Things got a little hairy when I couldn't locate my area with the two GHO's, but perseverance paid off and I was rewarded with two nice Snowy Owls this morning.  This is the closest to home I have been able to find them.  The wind was howling (60 kph with gusts to 100), and they had a tough time staying on their perches.  The first one I spotted was pretty spooky, while the second one was a lot more cooperative.


Northern Shrike as a target

After a tough week of downs with no ups, my wife sent me to the camera store to rent a camera for the weekend (mine is back at Nikon getting checked out for focus issues).  I picked up a trusty D90 and was able to secure the lens that is on my wish list right now, a 120-300mm Sigma 2.8 with 1.4 teleconverter.
Jamie got trapped into a the search for the elusive Northern Shrike.  We were unable to come up with that particular bird but we did manage to find many Rough Legged Hawks enjoying the blustery day. I have shot above with three hawks all together, I have never seen them travel like that before, I am expecting that they are a family unit.

We also managed to find two GHO's late in the evening, Jamie did a great job of spotting one on a hay bale in the field about 80 yards off the road.  I was surprised how well the 2.8 lens performed.  I have also included a shot of one of two Muley bucks we managed to spy on the afternoon.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Dark Morph Rough Legged Hawk (20111120) A Quick Sunday evening drive

Another chilly day, so I stayed pretty close to the tube today, -21 with a -29C wind chill. At 3:30 p.m. I decided to do a quick explore east of the house to see if I could locate an owl or two. I had found one juvenile earlier this year so I knew that there had to be others around. Home by 5:30, caught a nice sunset and a dark morph Rough Legged.

By the time I found the Owls (two separate GHO's) it was too dark to get any photos, but I know where they live and will be back with more light sometime to get a couple photo's. I saw a lot of whitetail deer (probably 40-50 head count).

Red Fox (20111120) Wild Horse Country

With the mercury firmly destined to stay below the -15C mark and a morning temperature of -20, Russell and I headed out wild horse country. It's a long drive, and hauling butt out of bed @ 4:30 to meet up at 5:45 is tough on a Saturday morning.   There has been a lot of logging in the area and this was my first trip up there in over a year. Things were pretty slow at first; a deer or two, here or there but really nothing special.  Slowly the numbers started to pile up, three horses, then within the hour another 14. While investigating a hillside Muley doe, we ran into a fox(35 yards).  My first for quite a while. While it was "aware of our presence" it was busy hunting. We watched, and sure enough there was the telltale signal that it was about to pounce.  I tried to capture that with the camera, but we were in heavy shade (the kind that you only experience in the mountains), so the photo's are blurry.

Overall a very successful day we managed; 20(+-) deer, 19 wild horses, a fox,  a Ruffed Grouse, quite a few Rough Legged Hawks(6-10), 3 or 4 coyotes, and wrapped the drive up with a herd of 30+ elk within 10 miles of the city limits. I am very unhappy with the shots that I took today, but I thought that I would share a couple of Fox photos with you. It looks like the camera is headed back to the shop to find out what is wrong.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Muley Buck Great Horned Owl (20111112) Lone evening drive

The weather today was supposed to be brutal so I wasn't anticipating getting out at all, but I finally pulled the plug and jumped into the truck for an evening spin. I managed to find this fine fella courting a lady:
A little later, on the drive home, I found the GHO that Jamie and I had uncovered last week. He was out on the prowl for dinner, I am certain.
With it being quite windy you can see his ear tufts being blown sideways.  One other GHO on the trip home, but it was too dark to get a shot.  I believe that this is the second time that I have seen that particular owl as well, so now I have a couple that I can find in the evening or morning light.

I have also updated the Blog page with a link to my website, drop by and take a peek!
Have a great evening!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Ruffed Grouse-Rememberance Day (20111111)

As a tribute to the men and women who have served our country in all capacities, on Remembrance Day each year I go out do something that in a lot of places only "free" men get to do, I go hunting. Rarely for the kill, mostly for the comradeship and spending time with nature in the GREATEST country in the world!
This morning was no different. Sheldon picked me up pretty much on time, an hour earlier than the past couple of weeks due to the time change, and that was tough!  I found this fella on the walk into the Perch, my best Ruffed Grouse shot in some time, so I hope you enjoy.
Limited animal movement this morning and nothing of significance to report.
The wandering drive home revealed surprisingly few Rough Legged Hawks, maybe 7, compared to the 50+ in the same area as last week with Jamie. The bulk of the migration must be complete through this area.  Have a GREAT day!


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Initial Post Great Horned Owl (20111106)

Welcome to Turbo's Track and Tour initial blog post. I have been thinking of this for a while now and thought; "there's no time like right now to get started".
As I am about to initiate my Photo guide and tour pass time, I thought I should have a little history for people that may want to know a little more about the types of excursions you might be able to enjoy.
   This morning November 6th, 2011 Jamie and I had two targeted species, we were after: owls (primarily Great Horned) and Rough Legged Hawks. We got started about 30 minutes later than I would of liked to, and that was my fault due to the time change last night, but all was not lost. Thanks to Jamie's keen eye, we managed to spot one GHO in the morning 8:40 a.m.. A first for me, actually as it was in an old grainery on the edge of a farm property. So we now know where this fella roosts and will be anxious for the opportunity to return and see if we can get some better photo's.
The balance of the morning was spent hunting down Roughies, it was pretty dry except for the many Muley and Whitetail sightings ( probably 15-20 critters) and about 8-10 coyotes. Once we swung west of of the Okotoks line it was like there was a switch turned on and the Roughies were everywhere. It was a great morning for Jamie, who got to see about 50 of these large birds of prey in about 2.5 hours, with many shooting opps.  As an added bonus were are positive we finished the day off with a Northern Shrike, only my second sighting ever. So all in all a Great day. Home by 1:00 p.m.
Thanks for taking the time to read, as I am off to work on the "Turbo's Track and Tour" website.

Paul T