Sunday, 29 July 2012

Late start to Frank Lake 120729

The alarm didn't go off as expected so there was scrambling going on today to get my bride to the airport, she is off to meet out new granddaughter. Zel and Tim were pretty good about it although I took a good hearted ribbing from time to time through the day. Inspite of the late start we wre able to grab this shot pretty early.
We turned around as we thought this guy might be a Snipe, bt it is something else, a Yellowlegs perhaps?
There were manhy birds out today, I believe this might be a Northern Harrier, but cannot confirm.
We found this fella at one of your secret spots for waterbirds.
There are young everywhere at this time of year  this young Swainson was grabbing some rays with Mom.
We finally go to the "Lake" and found one of our target birds. there were several Ibis around and with trio I picked up a bonus bird.
I love the shimmer to the males bodies. Since we thought it was worth turning around for a Snipe earlier in the day, it only seemed fair to grab a couple shots of this one.
We were able to find birds all day long and picked up this eastern Kingbird on the way home.

I home that everyone has a great Wildlife week.  Off to Nova Scotia this week then Newfoundland Next week. I am hoping to find something worth posting while I am gone.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Great Grey for Zel 120727

Friday night and Jamie(whos been injured, and new guy Zel wer chomping at the bit to get out, so we headed out for another attempt at getting Zel his first Great Grey. A quick Burger at the A&W and we were off. The birds of Prey were outr and about, a Northern Harrier was workingtowards us, then veered off. Grabbed this shot of an over head Swainson.
The Coyotes were out and about as well, we were finding them all over the place.  I expect in total we saw 6 ot 8 in the evening.  This is after what has been a dry spell for  the critters for a couple of weeks.
Jamie spied this Kestrel, the wind was up and it was tough to get any kind of sharp shot with it rocking in the wind on this wire, but it is nice to see these beautifull birds back in the territory.

After spotting a pair of  Sandhill Cranes, we managed to grab Zel his first ever great Great Grey. We spent about 5 minutes with the bird, it was perched in the middle of the field, then went to the back side. As we were watching, it flew right toward us and "pounced" int the grass. After a short wait it flew off with an unwilling travel partner.

Losing light at a rapid pace, we continued on our "track", we found 2 more young GGO's on a road where I have had zero success to-date, so a new area to pay attention in.  The deer were out all over the place, and we found this fella in the same spot we saw him with his mother last week and the week before.

What I really like about this young moose is that you can see that he is "growing out" of his fuzzy brown coat, and into his hide.  A close look aournd his eyes and on his "hump" you cna see that he definitely has his hair, on his rear flanks you can still see the fuzzy remanents of his "baby coat". This was another "first" for Zel. He was in a great mood, now he just needs to pick up a DX sensor camera so he can actually capture the shot:)

All in all a successful evening.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Can I find a Great Grey for the new guy? 120722

I didn't want to drag the "new guy" out of bed too early, so we set a time to meet: 7:30, a.m. But I was up and showered, so I phoned Zelimir, "hey be ready to be picked up at 6:50, I'm on my way!".
Swainsons, Coyotes and Bluebirds were the opening of the day, and I have already seen some of Zel's stuff, and he has a great BB shot. A first for me was this Muley fawn.
While we were stopped to fill up our tea cups, these Crossbills came in. this is the third time in a little over a week that *I have found these guys on teh road/gravel.
I know thast I have been on a bit of a Buffalo kick lately, but take a close look at this big bull. His back is level with the 42" fence posts, and he is laying down, he still has legs and feet to elevate him!
Let's bring them back to Banff!
We picked up a pair of Kingfisher's and I was certain that I spotted a Red Naped Sapsucker right there at the pond. On a piece of road that has held very little for me we spotted this hen grouse.
She had at least three "chicks" with her, I was only able to grab a shot of this one.
Here is a shot that demostrates the "break" in the dark band on the tail featheres of the female. The rooster Ruffed has the band extend all the way across his tail.
Homeward bound things were pretty quiet, grabbed this "flycatcher".
My last image of the day was this Butterfly.
Sorry Zel, I was unable to find the Great owl for you, maybe next time!
I hope everyone has a great Wildlife week.

Great Greys, or doldrums? 120721 Updated!

A little over eager this morning I picked Tim up at 4:00 a.m., we probably could have had an other hour's sleep, but then we wouldn't be "dedicated", right? Early morning Muley bucks, a Northern Harrier, a Coyote, a pair of Elk and some Swainson's and things were looking good. After a bit we managed to find a pair of Belted Kingfisher's but no images worth publishing. Early on our return home, I almost run over a bird in the middle of the road, so we got out and grabbed these captures.
This immature female Whitewinged Crossbill was very quickly joined by her brother.
I just found out that these are actually Red Crossbills, a brand new bird for me. So an unexpected great find!
But almost as quickly they were off. I associate these birds with tree tops and not so much gravel.With a desparate last ditch attempt we did manage to find a Great Grey. This was the first of two mice that we watch him cappture and eat.
We spent a total of 35 minutes with this bird. it was a terrific experience.
It is not hard to see how easily these big birds can escape our detection. They are coloured precisely for their element! We spotted a couple of other birds, most notable was a Golden Crowned Kinglet (I am having Dan confirm), with more hawks and Bluebirds. On our last road of the day I grabbed this shot of a small herd of ranch raised Buffalo.  I cannot image what the open plains were like with millions of these large animals on the move.
I am headed out with a new guy tomorrow. Here is hoping that we are able to "fill the buffer"!

Thursday is Bear Night5 120719

Tim and I thought we would try tackling the Grizzlies one more time this week, but is was a slow evening. The bears were no where to be found, and there was not much of anything else out and about. We found these two moose. the young bull just laid in the ditch eating.  I took some video but her is a shot @180mm with no crop.

The Cow came over to say "hello" this is no crop at 120mm. This was at almost 8:30 p.m.
Apparently Tim was beating a hasty retreat trying ot get a shot of the two of us (cow and I) together.
It was a very quiet night with a coupleo fdeer and some hawks, but it would appear that the "dog days" of photography summer are here. I have been noticing a decided decline in critter availability over the past week or so!
I thought I would alos throught his Dragonfly shot in that I took while waiting for the Diagnostic Imaging place to open on Friday morning.
I guess that over the next week or two we will see what we cna find.

The valley drive home. 120716

Raymond and I were headed down to the Elk Valley to take Courageous Safety Leadership, and decided to take the slow road home. We foudn this Ruffed Grouse female at 5:15. We had the opportunity to see one of her chicks, but who knows how many were there.
There wer a fari number of Campers and trailers on the road, there always seemed to be someone around.  we grabbed this shot of a Columbian Ground Squirrel at 6:30.
At the major T-intersection of the road, we decided we better take the faster way home so the SPOT device wouldn't alert our late arrival. So we opted for a chance at a moose versus Grizzlies, bummer to have to make a choice, but we made the safe and right choice. We found cooperative Swainsons and this Cow and Calf moose (the animal we really started out to find close to home.
and now the little one.
I am expecting tht I will get my fill of Moose on the upcoming Newfoundland trip.
Have a GREAT week everyone!


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Least Weasels 120715

Up early waiting for Tim, 5:00 a.m. pick up, a very promising morning as the heat has just broken and there should be a little activity around.  Things wre brutally slow, a deer here a hawk there and all the hot spots were ice cold.  I mentioned to Tim that there was giong to be an "event" sometime this morning as I have never been this "dry" for years.  Then at 7:50, we spotted this movement in the middle of the road:
Once I got out of the truck I knew exactly what they were, even though I had neve seen them before. It was mom and 5 Least Weasel kittens. They are quite the carnivore, the smallest in North America.
Mom is the lighter brown one, and is probably 7.5 inches long, the kittens are almost the same length. The "doggie pile" wah hilarious to see! She tried to guide them off the road and they hung as tight to her as any youngseter I have ever seen in the wild.
Everything happened so fast that I had no time to even think about adjsting settings. A real treat for us.  Once they got to the grass wewent over to see where they went and they basically disappeared.
One climbed over Tim's boot. Here is a out of focus shot of them reaching hte grass edge.
It was just a terrific experience for the pair of us! the enounter made thw whole day worthwhile!
After that little escapade we managed to find a few more subjects thate were willing to pose for us.
Gotta love the colours!
The whole spectrum!
Well that wrapped up our Sunday morning drive.  I hope everyone has a GREAT wildlife week!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Great Grey's and Great Bucks 120714

Jamie and I headed out into his "zone" this morning. WE had a very slow start to the day witho none of "regular" haunts paying any dividens. But the Bucks seemed to be out in force. this was a nice pair of Muley's @ 6:30.
We then found our first Grey Grey of the day, just 15 minutes later. We found this guy in a new spot for us, but on our usual "track". After five minutes of taking photo's we were off.
45 Minutes later, we ran into a bird of note, a male WhiteWinged Crossbill, down in the ditch, not of our images came out, so they are not worth posting (and you have already seen me post some pretty bad images. A pretty red bird thought with the white wing bars. At 7:50 we found three deer, this little spike buck was comfortable enough to lay down for us.
A half hour later we found this Cow, she had been temporarily separated from her calf, and wanted to get across the road. We didn't see the calf (our attention was focussed on mom) until she made the edge of woods.
Our next encounter was with GGO number 2, a terrific situation where we spent almost 25 minutes with this owl.  I was able to creep to withn 30 feet of it.  Best owl experience to-date (I think). Here he gives me the "eveil" eye. ( no crop here).
Less than 10 minutes down the road we found two juvenile GGO's, they had flown into the trees and were calling to one another as we snapped a few shots.
At 9:10 we found this nice Whitetial buck with his not quite as large sidekick.
All the Whitetails were out today. This is the best ever view I have had a a WT fawn. Not hard to see how it could disappear on the forest floor amonst the clover and dandelion fluff balls.
Right at 9:35 we found this bachelor herd of Whitetails. four pretty nice bucks, with one we couldn't squeeze into the photo.
That was pretty much the morning, things definitely slowed down after 10:00 a.m. I will leave you with another shot of our Second GGO of today.
Have a GREAT wildlife day!