Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mountain Chickadee, Crossbills, Norther Hawk Owl, GGO make for a Great outing. (121124)

I was a little energenic on Saturday morning and cut Zel's sleep short on him. He was great about it and didn't complain too much all day. We started the morning with a GGO that we spent about an hour with. We saw it hunt successfully twice and seemed to be continuing to hunt as the sun got up.

While we were shooting this one, another owl made an appearance as did Dan and Lauren. While we were checking out the the second owl, Zel says he spotted two more owls in flight. I didn't get to see them, but it made it a great morning, and it was only 10:00 a.m. An hour later, after bumping to to Kerri and Jamie, we found one of the birds I was hoping to find in the area, some White Winged Crossbills.
In the same flock we also spotted a couple of Red Crossbills mixed in, they were all males which I appreciated as I love the reds in the winter months.
Of course there is nothing wrong with the female clouring either.
While we were waiting for these guys to come back after being spooked by a vehicle, I grabbed my first ever shot of a Mountain Chickadee, so that made the day as far as I was concerned.
Now that I have my first, I will have to work at getting some closer shots:)  We observed that the deer had been significantly absent for the day when we spied this long distance buck who had a young lady in his company. It was a great sunny day to roam about the fields with your girl.
Zel and I decided that we would grab a burger in Canmore and take a look at the Spray Lakes route on the way home. We are usually certain of finding Rocky Mountain Sheep in that area, none found this timne around, but we did spot this Northern Hawk Owl, another first for Zel.
We grabbed lunch then headed back home. There was far more snow than anywhere else we had been today, and while we found tracks-critters were hard to find. We did managfe to find this large cow moose that was in one of the parking lots licking road dust off the cars there.  It was really quite interesting, she did not seem to worry about the folks loading and unloading thier vehicles.
As we got closer to the highway, we managed to find a little more sun and this trio of Pine Grosbeaks, which added the final bit of colour to our day. 
That wrapped up a great day out in the mountains and woods of beautiful Alberta. I hope everyone has a great wildlife week.

Moose, Grey Partridge, Bucks on a Sunday morning Shorty (121118)

I took a quick (short) ride on Sunday morning as I didn't want to burn too much of the day. I left home @ 7:00 a.m. and was home by 9:00, so you know I didn't venture too far. a quick count leaves me with: 2 moose, 4 eagles, 14 Grey Partridge, 2 Whitetail bucks, two Muley bucks, one rooster pheasant, many Doe deer, and a northern Flicker. What a great part of the country we live in.
My first first nice Whitetail buck was too early in the morning to get a shot. As I eased into the "backend" of my planned track, I found a moose, a doe Muley and this little (?) covey (14) of Greys.
As I moved along I spotted an immature Bald eagle flying over head, again low light prevented a decent image from being taken. Heading back out with a little more light I was able to get this shotr of a pair of cow moose, they look like a cow and her yearling daughter.
These two ladies took to running, as you can see from here, regular height fences are little obstacle for them to navigate.
One of my many side roads produced this muley buck with several does hanging around the edge of the field. They were a long way off.
As I was headed down another of my roads I happened on three matue Bald Eagles. They were cruising over the Bow checking out the many waterfowl that were in floatilla's on the river. They kept an eye on me as I got out of the truck to shoot these images.
To finish up this post I'll include this shot of a little fork horn Muley popping over a rail fence.
I hope everyone has a great wildlife week.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Looking for Snowy's finding game birds.(121116)

Zel and I headed out on Friday morning looking for snowy owls, with no luck.while it wasn't terribly slow, we didn't see alot of deer, whick was disappointing. We flushed this covey of Sharptail grouse.
About 30 kilometers up the road we found a similar sized covey of Grey Partridge, or Hungarians. This group of 12-15 Huns flushed then landed on a snow covered hill, we had a tough time finding them, as they had tried to hide (quite successfully) how many can you find?
As the day warmed up our sightings slowed a little, but we did manage to spy this GHO enjoying the heat from this araetion rig. I wish we could have approached closer but you take what you can take.
Just a short ride up the road from here this Magpie modeled for us.
The gamebirds continued as we had a chance to "capture" this hen pheasant. She was one of two that we saw. We had seen two others earlier in the day. It is not hard to see how they just disappear when they walk into the brush.
I hope you have a great week.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Roughlegged Hawk, Bighorn Sheep on Rememberance Day (121111)

Inspite of being pretty sick, it is my annual commitment to spend at least part of Rememberance Day in the woods. In honour of the men and women that have served our country, and continue to serve, I choose to spend my time relishing this fabulous FREE country that we have to explore and adore!
Zel and I got a late start due to my feeling so poorly. 
After passing some ravens on fence posts, we breezed by another only to discover that the next wa a large bird of prey. I expect it was a Gyrafalcon, but have not yet had that confirmed.  The only image I have is a very long distance away, so I will not post it. I am certain you are starting to get tired of the Rough Legged Hawk shots, but when they cooperate like this I gotta post something, right?
It popped up on this post, and I think my winter camo allowed me to get close enough for this shot.
I was surprised by the lack of tracks and evidence of animals all around based upon the fresh snow.
We swung over to another area and pick up some Holy Sheep shot.
The landscapes didn't work out as we lost our sun, a real risk here in the great white north.

On the way home we found a grouping of birds on a carcass. We spotted two bald eagles, and the carcass appears to be the little 8 point buck that I took images of last week. It was in the middle of the field with antlers and ribs intact, so it died from something other than a hunter.
I am hoping that I feel better next weekend, it is getting to be Snowy Owl time:)

Coyote, Great Grey Owl on a Slow Saturday (121110)

After a miserable Friday and saturday morning, the Sund seduced me out for an afternoon trip looking for the Great Greys.  We had been getting snow since Thursday, and I thought the snow would make a great backdrop for a Great Grey. We left the house about 2:15, and found this coyote, 45 minutes out.
Things were pretty slow. We found a Golden Eagle soaring well out of range, and after pretty much giving up on seeing one of the GGO's we found a couple taking photo's. Sure enough we found an Owl, but it was really quite skittish and didn't allow up to get close at all.
There were a lot of whitetail does out and about but the bucks have been mysteriously absence from scene as they should be chasing the females all around. A couple more coyotes and we were finished.
But wait, we also found a Short Earred Owl, just before by dark, so no images.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rough Legged Hawk, Northern Shrike Sunday morning first anniversary (121104)

Well this signifies my first year of blogging. I have to say it has been a pleasure, and a lot more work than I thought it ever would take. I am astounded at how many different adventures I have been on. While things have slowed down a little lately, to think that this is my 166th post I am extremely pleased the end result.  I don't get many comments  or feedback here, but my buddies and family seem to enjoy the updates so I think I will likely continue.
This past Sunday morning Tim and I went looking for bucks. It wa a beautiful start to the day, bright and sunny, and warming up, but no critters. We found a few deer but they were all does. When you get a landscape guy in the vehicle, they always want to stop and shoot photos of things that don't move:)
We were finding Rough Legged Hawks everywhere. Here is a fine example.
More on these guys shortly. Tim had seen his first Northern Shrike last week, but didn't get any images. I was glad when we spied this fella, and were able to get a couple of quick snaps.
We wrapped up the morning with a couple more deer.
After gassing up the truck and dropping Tim off at his car, I went to wash the truck.  Just out behind the car wash was this Rough Legged Hawk, it was very intent on working over the field and paid little attention to me.  It wouldn't let me get close, but as long as I hung close to the edge of the building it would cruise over the grassland. I hope you enjoy this group of shots.
Here is a dive:
the dance:
A close up, with no crop:
It was a joy as I fired off over 200 shots, with a surprising number of accetable shots.
A swoop down to look at something in the grass.
It was a great 20 minutes.
I also managed a shot of this young Magpie.
I hope that you too have received some pleasure from the shots from my first year.  Have a great Wildlife week!

Saturday morning Bucks. (121103)

A heavy foggy overcast morning, so I thought that I would sneak over to the west for a peak. Once I go our of the fog, there was some great views.
I spied two bucks traveling along a fence line, when I pulled the truck up to a stop here were 5 does out in the field. I squeezed off a couple of quick images then headed over to the fence line.  I then figured out that they were headed over to the does, so I tried to get into position for a shot or two.
This 8-pointer had already joined the females by the time I got back. A 10-pointer joined them along with a little 6 for additional entertainment.  I like this image here:
Here is a shot of the 10'er on his own.
I finished the morning up with some sheep.
I also spotted a pair of snow Buntings. Zel and I saw a couple yesterday on the wild horse hunt.