Friday, 31 August 2012

Moose, Merlins, GGO South West Great Grey finally 120830

On one last ditch attemtp to find the camera friendly GGO's of the South West, we finally succeeded. Tim and I grabbed a Mr. Sub for dinner, and were on the road.  Tim spied this Bald Eagle just out of town.

Then just down the road a bit he spotted this cow moose. I had to stop her from running in order to grab a couple of shots. I was surprised we found her that early in the evening.
As has been the case every trip out we were able to spot a multitude od American Kestrels. There were 4 in a single dead tree, just before I managed to grab these two together.
Fianally just before last light we found this GGO but it was very uncooperative and we were not able to get any closer than about 30-40 yards.
Here is another shot of it. quite a distance away.
With tomorrow night bing the "blue moon" and not having one for almost another 3 years we grabbed some clear night sky for a shot or two.
With my little girl coming to town tomorrow I am hoping for one or two sucessful outings over the weekend with her.  Have a super evening everyone.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Wild Turkey's Harriers, Kestrels 120828

Out on the GGO trail again trying to locate these 7 mystery birds that are supposed to be human tolerant. No luck yet, but we did spend a fair amount of time with some Northern Harriers, and Jamie spotted this small brood of Wild Turkeys.
They were quite a way off, and mom wasted no time in getting the young ones out of sight. Although you can only see three in this shot there was a fourth chick lagging behind Mom.
Apretty poor shot here due to the wind, but I thought that it showed off the colours of these beautiful falcons.  The shite tail band at the end of the black with the rusty balance and through to the yellow around the eye. We found a single field with 5 of these gorgeous birds flying around at once.
We found a pair of Nothern Harrier's and watched them for about 20 minutes as they worked over a hillside, gliding effortlessly just a few feet above the ground searching for their next meal.
We had this gal on a fence post but the mottle feathers and windy conditions didn't allow for a sharp shot.
We managed to find a far off black bear and just as we were losing light we cruised a side road and found this little buck.
It was a great productive evening inspite of the windy conditions. Maybe we will find the owls next time.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Lost road, found elk 120825

Tim, Zel, and I headed out to the ranch in search of the GGO's, with three of us, and having left early we messed around with a pile of Swainson's hawks to kill some time.
We found this Ruffed Grouse in a heavy spruce area, a difficult situation for light.
With all the birds trying to get ready for the flight south, it is nice to see all the grasshopers getting bigger so the birds have something to feed on.
Also caught this golden shaded dragonfly.
On a second pass through the area a Luecistic Magpie made an appearance.
Here is the light bird, with two regular coloured Magpies to show how light this individual is!
Here is a shot of the bird standing still.
A pretty uncommon occurance, so a great opportunity. 
After some serious questioning of where the owls were, we decided to give another area a shot.  We spoke with a couple of locals and found the right area.  While we were out there, it was nearly dark, we found three separate herds of elk. This thin antlered 6x6 was high on the hill with his herem.
Then we found this monster bull on the flats. One of the largest bulls I have seen yet.
So although we did not get what we set out for, we had a great outing with some great sightings!
Have a great Wildlife week.


Update on 120824 A new bird the Say's Phoebe

As an update to Friday's trip with Russell, I thought that I would throw up a couple of other shots after I received confirmation. Here is a immature Townsend's Solitaire, it will brown up over the winter.
Along with this juvenile we managed to grab a couple of blurry shots of a pair of Say's Phoebe's.  A first for me in the bird world.
Here is another poor shot, but evidence enough to identify:)
It is always nice to pick up another new bird.

Friday, 24 August 2012

A Great Grey for Russel 120824

Raining cats and dogs here this morning so plans were on hold this morning until we heard the weather report: "clearing by noon". So I arranged to pick Russell up at 11:30, as he wanted to be back in town by 5:00. With the owls being day feeders, I thought we might stand a chance, although recent outings have been less successful than I have liked. We starte with normal cast of usual Hawk suspects and then found 4 coyotes.
Down the road a little and we found these Whitetail twins.
I blew an opportunity to get a great American Kestrel shot due to excessive traffic on the only time the entire day the road was busy:( 
We managed to find a pair of young GGO's, and in the interim this Pileated flew in.
Now for the little guys.
He was the most mature of the two. This is the younger one. He was very vocal.
After they vacated the area, and before we got back in the truck we spied these two Downey Woodpeckers having a bit of a disagreement about territory.
We were able to get pretty close, but the clouds opened back up and we headed for cover.
A few more hawks and we picked up this Bambi on the way home.
Not a super day, but not bad for the middle of the day, and the rainy conditions.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Another dry night. 120819

We dropped by my "tomato keeper" today and brought him a jar partridge berry jam for his efforts. He told me of a hawk nest in town the night he took me to hte airport, so we took a little ride over to see if any of the chicks were still in the nest. Here is a shot of mom and little one.
A great chance to get shots of these great birds.
Zel \and I headed out to the "ranch" to see if we could find the GGO's that have been reported with little luck. It was another very hot day, and after a little sprinkle of rain it cooled a bit, we caught this little buck out with a lady friend. I don't know if I've evr got a drop tine shot on a Muley before.
Zel is more of a landscape guy than me, but this shot was worth stopping for.
On our second pass through what is supposed to be the "owl zone" we found this family of Kestrels.
As light was fading I was able to spot this cow, a grand "second prize" for Zel.
Then just a mile up the road we found this herd of 40-60 head of Elk, there is a mix of antlers that stillhave their velvet and others look to already be polished.
Then another two miles up the road here was what should be a pretty nice Whitetail buck.
And to wrap up the post I thought I'd throw in another shot of the Swainson's chick.
Have a Great wildlife week. Looking forward to a Thursday night Bear run this week.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Best Northern Harrier yet 120818

Zel and I headed out looking for Great Grey's, it was hot most the week and dry. The roads were dusty and busy, we spent half the time rolling the windows up and down getting away from the dust.
The heat has kept most critters in the shade and away from prying eyes. Zel spotted this young Northern Harrier (no crop).

Take off.
As for the rest of the evening, we found some deer and probably 5 or 6 American Kestrels, but no sign of the owls, I expect that the heat and the traffic (and dust provided) kept them deeper in the woods.
We are going to try the "ranch" tomorrow evening.  Hopefully we can find the owls out that way.
Have a GREAT wildlife day.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Steward Shadowing 120817

A young lady requested a "shadowing" session forFriday Night, out at ASCCA. New trail stewards need to go through oreintation and then a shadowing session or two before they can schedule their own patrols.  It was a hot night about 26-28C which is not condusive to seeing any wildlife at all. We spotted a Northern Harrier from the parking lot, but didn't get a shot worth posting. A little later on the walk I did manage to grab a quick shot of our second NH.
As expected the wildlife was thin, we saw one mule deer doe, and at 7:45 p.m. we spotted a herd of elk entering the adjacent field, about a mile away.
It wasn't until just now that I noticed the large bull just right of center in the shot.
When there are no critters there are aways floweres and such.
We did manage to catch a rather nice sunset just before finising up.
It was a great first outing for the young lady:) 
Hoping to get out tomorrow for an owl prowl:)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Newf Moose 120811

Well you have to love the locals when after almost a week in Newfoundland and all you have seen are the painted versions of the populous mighty ungulate, the Moose.  We were out of the van looking at a potential sighting when "buddy" drops by and asks " are you looking for a moose?".
He took us down the road to where these three bulls were hanging out.  I expect they were about a mile away, it was late (almost 9:00 p.m.) so I had to boost my ISO up to 6400.
So the next morning was looking pretty positive. I headed out at 6:00 a.m. and went to the same area and managed to find these three boys a little closer to the road.  I parked the van and headed out after them. I got my first shot at about 6:30 a.m.
These three mature bulls are starting to have the "velvet" on their antlers rot. You might see some white markings on their antlers, that means the blood has stopped flowing and the growth has ended.
This is a good shot of the middle guy. His antlers get out a little past his ears and I think he has the nicest of the "bells" of the group. 
Now this is the smallest of the trio. you can see how his antlers basically just clear his ears before they head up and form those great palms. Even though he has the smallest antlers, he is still a VERY healthy, good sized bull!
Here is the Monarch of the group. a very large moose. The breadth of his chest is tremendous. A beautiful example of a quality bull moose. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with these fine fellas! 
I thought I'd throw a couple more shots in:)

Have a Great wildlife week.