Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Clarks Grebe and Swan (121028)

While we were reviewing the shots from the morning session (Golden Eagles and Grouse) Tim called us and let us know that a rare visitor to Calgary, a Clarks Grebe was busy posing for photog's about 15 minutes from home.  So Jamie gagged down his beer and we were off.
He was happy to pose for us, and sun cooperated for the most part. It was great to watch this bird as it made that long beak disappear as it "rested". Here is the first step, shorten up the neck.
Now tuck that Bill in a little and you wouldn't believe it was even there.
and of course there are times when it would just strike a pose!
We headed over to the back pond to see if there were any swans hanging out, and we grabbed some shots of this one before it got totally airbourne.
We also scooped this Rusty Blackbird while there.
We wrapped up this session with a Northern Flicker, we looked for the GHO's that are supposed to hang around in the area, but we could not find them.
That was Sunday, I hope everyone has a great wildlife week!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Grouse and Golden Eagles (121028)

It has been a few weeks since Jamie and I had a chance to get out for a "track", we had to keep it shorter than normal, and with the sun coming up later and later, we grabbed an extra hour of sleep.
20 minutes before the sun is up Jamie found this lady, that he says he never would have seen if not ofr the snow background (no crop).
After a couple of attempts to "capture" her I decided to give the flash a shot. I am really amazed how their feathers have the little white ends.

Aftrer quite a dry run we ran into this fellow, almost in the same tree thatTim and I found him in back on May 12th of this year. This was Jamie's first Sharpie.
Then it seemed ot be raining Sharpie's as we found 5 more on a seperate road, here are three of them.
As you can tell the morning was pretty heavily clouded, but things lightened up as the day wore on. I find Crows a facinating subject, they are sooo difficult to grab a good shot of. Here is my latest attempt.
After investigating a cougar kill site, we delivered some prints to the local guy that gives me permission to walk the land. Going up the drive way we found this cooperative Coyote.
On the road home we spotted several Golden Eagles coasting over the hillsides on their way south. This was a great opportunity, except that the birds were so far off, so in that instance you take what you can get.
Here is a shot of two of these fabulous birds together.
A couple more shots to show you the variation in their underwing patterns.

And another
It was a real treat! We wrapped the day up with another rapor, a Rough Legged Hawk. I was thinking of just posting his talons!
That wrapped up the morning. We were stoked about getting back to the house to check out the shots on the big screen. A very successful session.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Wildhorses, maybe a grouse? (121020)

With the grouse that I have been finding this year I was hoping to get another couple of birds for the oven. The best area that I have for that is wild horse country, so Zel claimed "shotgun!" and we were off well before daylight. I knew the day was going to be a little dull from a light perspective as the weather forecast was for some snow, with scattered sun light. We avoided a nice Whitetail in the dark and fog on the way out.  We found fields of deer and even a few elk, in the low light of early day.
8:30 with heavy snow falling we found this herd of 14 horses.
The Stallion was very protective of his charges.
We couldn't find any grouse at all, it was like we were driving around in a continuous snowstorm. The termperature kept swinging bwtween -1 and -7C. We weren't the only hunters out in the weather though, we spotted this Northern Shrike.
11:00 and we found spotted our second herd of horses. They were a long way off and with the heavy snow, there was no way to get a decent shot, there were 8 of them at least. The day was pretty slow, one more hunter, a Rough Legged Hawk.
With the poor conditions an no sign of let up we headed home. On the way we were able to grab a couple of shots of this little cow.
We wrapped up with a trio of muley bucks, and 10-12 muley does.  This was the best of the bucks.
It was almost dark by the time we were home, almost 12 hours in the saddle. Just goes to prove even a poor day in the Alberta outdoors is better then good days most other places.  Have a super wildlife  week.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bucks, Grouse, Coyote for Len's last run (121013)

With vacation time winding down, I asked Len "where do you want to go for your final run", his response was "the chicken road". I new exactly where he meant. On the drive out to get into "position", we spotted the Northern Lights, we stopped and watched them for 15 mintes. They were "strobing" and dancing, mostly green with a dash of red from time to time. It was a terrific display, one of the best that I have ever seen.  We found this buck, well before sun up and grabbed a quick shot. The truck lights helped out a bit.

Then just up the road, we found this early morning bird.
Still before sun up we found this very cooperative 8 point Whitetail buck.
We spotted a long distance bull moose, but had no way to get closer. We made a third pass by Old Grey's territory and finally spotted a cow and calf deep in the aspens. Here is a shot of brother Len being vigilant of watching for an opportunity to grab a shot of them, should they present.

Heading out toward the "chicken road" we found these three youngsters waiting to cross the road.

Couldn't resist posting this little girl as she strutted across the road.
We grabbed some shots of  a Northern Shrike, so they are starting to migrate through the area. Continuing our track we found this coyote that for once, didn't just turn tail in run.
For the Landscape guys out there, I thought I would throw in a little colour.

Our next opportunity was this not too shy coyote.
We finished up our day with some Redtails, and Mountain Sheep. overall another great outing for Len.  I think he has a new healthy respect for the beauty available in Alberta. I hope that everyone has a great wildlife week!


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Bucks, Goshawk, Meadow lark Local Run (121012)

Len still did not get his Muley Bucks, the only missing item on his request list. I having been filling the others as they came up. So I thought I would take him on one of my "close to the house" runs, in order to get some deer. It was a very beautiful sunrise, but a slow start to the day for some reason, but things eventually picked up. We started with some far off Whitetails, then a couple of small Muley bucks, One of my "honey holes" came up dry and the pressure was on, but my second spot came through.
Then we found this fella.

Then we grabbed this pair.
A total surprise was this fella fe managed a shot of a juvenile Northern Goshawk.
We also found this Western Meadow Lark, just after having its bath.
We also found a few BOP's soaring down the river. This Juvenile Bald Eagle was one of them.
As we wrapped up our tour, we headed over to look for a couple of GHO's that we had directions to. We were unable to find them, but we found a couple other subjects worth capturing.
The chickadees mobbed me when I gave a couple of whistles, and we managed to spot four whitetails as we walked around.
That was it for our day, I hope you too had as great a day as we did.

Bull elk, Brook Trout Day 2 Lake Louise (121010) Mom's Birthday

After a great meal and a late night, Len and I were out early to see if anything was moving. We were quite disappointed at the overall lack of activity within the Park. We did manage to spot this nice mature Bull elk
He looked like he had been forced out the herd, his back end, looks like it was combed by a much larger bull(s). He was pretty intent to just eat, and gave us a wide berth.
We left him on his feeding stroll, hoping to see him again next year!
When we arrived back to the Chateau, we spotted these Eastern Brook Trout in the creek.
We packed up and headed home, there was a heavy day in store for us, we started with rain, and ended up with wet snow. We spotted some Mountain sheep on the journey home, but didn't stop for photo's. We were pretty well tuckered out, and looked forward to a good sleep.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Porcupine, Nutcracker, Grey Jay Part 2 Lake Louise trip (121009)

We (Len and I ) are headed to Lake Louise to meet up with the Ladies, and celebrate Mom's birthday. The morning was full of outstanding Bull moose encounters. Heading further north we found this friendly Magpie.
It was great to find an early returning Rough Legged Hawk, on our way. I look forward to getting shots of these birds all winter long.
Next up, a typical Canadian Grey Jay or Whiskey Jack. We found a little family of these birds foraging along the highway.  While they tend to be approachable, they never seem to stop moving.
As soon as we arrived at Lake Louise we were greeted by one of the local favourites; a Clark's Nutcracker. It is actually photo'd here on top of my passenger door:)  there is just something about my truck today.
Here is an inflight shot from later in the afternoon.
We were visited a little while later by "Harry the Porcupine".
To finish out the day we managed a couple of very quick shots of this Stellar's Jay, it would seem that the first 9 months of the year I couldn't find any, then in the last couple of weeks I can find them anywhere, go figure.
That pretty well wrapped up a GREAT day:)  I hope that you too had a great day.