Friday, 29 June 2012

Finally some Grizzly shots. A great night out.

I finally bit the bullet and picked up a new low light lens. We'll see how I am able to adjust to the required shooting style. I settled on teh 120-300mm F2.8 Sigma, and snagged a 1.4 Teleconverter at the same time. In preparation for our trip to Newfoundland in August I bought the bride a Nikon 9200 point and shoot. Well enough of that stuff, let's get to the meat!
Getting home, grabbing a quick bite and Tim showed up at 5:15 so we hit the road. We started up with some whitetail deer complete with fawns. A mountain meadow is always a gret spot to find elk. After viewing this male, Tim observed that the bull we had seen last week had much larger antlers. This will be a breeding quality male this year, last week's was a herd master to be certain.
Down the road we managed to find this little rascal, his ear tag just reminds me of a Bluetooth:)
"Can't talk now sweetie, the damn tourists are here taking photos!"

In a couple of years this is going to be a great looking "blonde" bear.
A little later in the evening and we found this specimen, no calf though.
20 minutes later there were three cow elk grazing close to the road, no calves here either. Check out how far to the side of the head that the elk's eyes are positioned.
After we turned around and started to head out, we found this Snowshoe rabbit, (varying hare actually) on the road where we had passed him earlier in the evening.
Getting out on some blacktop, I had to back up to get this shot.
We were positioning to get some better shots when a Conservation Officer showed up and told us to get back in our truck. She then proceeded to sound off the alarms and whistles to frighten off the bears. Tim was just "fit to be tied", and was anxious to have "a little chat" with her". I didn't let him out of the truck.  This nice blonde yearling bear with her will probably stay one more year with her.
Then whe we figgured we were done for the evening, less than a mile down the road we ran into these three playful units.
These two dark( one is standing on its hind legs), and one light cub are this year's litter. They were a long way off so the photo is less than than ideal. Mom wasn't too far away! You can see that these cubs are smaller than mom's head, much smaller than the earlier yearling.
Here is my best shot of Mom.
After mom moved the three little ones off we took this little side road and ended up spotting this pair just 5 minutes later.
I believe that I have a shot of this cow from last year, on another day when Jamie and I found a Sow with yearlings. I called her Cocaine nose, due to the white edging on her nose. What do you tthink?
Of course there is always time to stop and grab a shot of the moon.
We had a GREAT ride home here is a shot of just one of the eleven GHO's we spotted on the way home.
So it was a GREAT evening, a personal record for me to see 7 wild grizzlies, that represents 1% of our provinces entire total of these magnificent animals. So I was bothered this morning while listening to the radio to hear of yet another problem bear that had to be "put down". If I understand the story correctly, she had three cubs, two have been relocated. I expect that these were yearling s and not cubs at all.
Have a SUPER Canada Day weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Black Crowned Night Heron

So after a fresh tank of gas and an A&W Uncle burger, I met Kerri and we headed of to her "spot". On the road in we spied a pair of Grey Partridge, I swung the truck around and they flushed. They landed in the edge of a field and I had a pretty good bead on them, but when I put my camera up they disappeared, just like magic.  So we went down the road a bit and turned around, and I spied this fellow on the way back.
We decide to take the blind and chairs in, as Kerri had never tried taking shots out fo a blind previously. On the walk over we had Wilson Phalaropes, Black Necked Stilts, Kildeer and Whitefaced Ibis flying all around. As we approach the area we want to set up, Kerri spots this BCNH on the fence.
She flew off and eventually as we got closer so did the two youngsters.
These guys don't have the same long neck as the Great Blue, but they are quite large birds.
We set up the blind and waited. We had Pellican's flying by and a pair of Willets came in close for a while, then this pair of ducks travelled our way and were joined by a Willet.
Eventually a Willet cam e in nice and tight to give us a great shot.
I believe that Kerri was sold on the whole blind idea. We spent an hour and had a lot of activity, and it is not hard to see how productive a photographer could be in a spot with some brids to shoot.
On the drive home we passed by this Wilson's Snipe, who did not want to flush, No crop.
We also managed to find this lone feeding Whitefaced Ibis that was considerate enough to let us capture some images. I just have to find one of these sweethearts on s sunny day!
Thank you Kerri for taking me into your spot, hopefully you got something out of the trip as well!
Have a GREAT week everyone, I can hardly wait for next weekend.

Last Sunday morning walk-June 24.

This morning was our last "Spring walk", we headed to FCPP and LaFarge Meadows. We spotted Pellies, Swallows, Widgeons, and a pair of King Fisher's. This is a bird that I will add t omy "must get a better shot of" list. This guy was a long way off, but it is a shot:)
It was threatening rain(AGAIN!) but a bright spot on the walk was this Baltimore Oriole. Quite a poor shot, but I'll take any images I can get of this shy bird.
We had to be close to this King Bird's territory, there was a Magpie in the area, and this fellow was "pitching a fit". Did I say threatening rain? See the water on the leaves?
A little further down the trail we flushed a Spotted Sandpiper. We were able to find her nest with four eggs in it. Not much of a bowl, a pretty fragile structure actually. I thought the eggs were large compared to the size of the bird.
We also maged to spot this Hooded Merganser mother with her eight chicks, they don't look very old.
On the way back to the car I got pretty close to this Ruddy Duck. He was hilarious as he bobbed his head and vibrated his chest to produce a little cloud of foam bubbles in front of him.
That pretty wound up the walk. Kerri offered to take me to her secret hiding spot for Black Crowned Night Herons after the walk. She said we would have to hurry as she had to be back in town by 5:00
Stay tuned!


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Another dreary day.

Tim and I, on the hunt for some grizzlies headed out at 4:00 a.m. today, with rainy conditions.  the heavy overcast sky had the light showing us itmes far later in the day than last week. One good thing today we had no wind.We were almost into Kananaskis when we could see, and most of that was low cloud. We caught a glimpse of a bull moose, who had no interest in hanging around to have his picture taken, quite a ways in we saw an enormous bull elk.  Probably the largest I have ever seen outside of Banff, his antlers looked to be 42" across, and it is only June. He will be a tropy come fall.
Then we found this large whitetail laying down.
He stood up for us, he still has the majority of his winter coat, so he looks a little unkept. You can start to see his reddish summer coat underneath.
We managed to find a pair of moose one button bull and the other, I believe is a cow although it looks like it could have antler pads.
Now for the young bull.

Things were pretty slow until after we turned around to head home (Tim had to be back by 12:30), until we found this chocolate coloured black bear.
We caught sight of another black bear, but it too was too shy to let us cpature an image.
We "ran into" some sort of race that was being held in the front part of the park, so all chances of seeing any futher critters was nil.  We did stop and try and grab a couple of Bluebird shots as they are feeding the young now. Here is the work horse.
And Dad jsut seems to fly around and look good. Although it does look like his charm is fading.
I t5hought that I would just through a shot of a doe in here to show you how "reddish" or orange the Whitetails look when they molt thier winter fur, she has a little left on her rear flank.
As you can tell from the shots the land is lush right now. We have had a pile of rain, and we are waiting for some heat to really get things moving into high gear (especially my tomoto's). Tomorrow is our last Sunday morning bird walk with FFCPP, here's hoping the rain stays away and we are able to capture some new birds.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Father's Day afternoon. Where did this weather come from?

So Jamie met me at my place and we looked at my morning shots while I scarfed down a beer and a couple of pieces of left over pizza from Friday night. Then we headed off for the "blind experiment".
Jamie had never shot from a blind and didn't know what it would be like, so I thought we would head out south of town to where I thought wemight find a water bird or two.
We are cruising out to where I wanted to head, and we get to the spot, we creeped through the area noting all the birds that flew off, including a GHO that was right under our noses! We swung over to where the owl went but couldn't find him. There were some Earred Grebes in the area and Jamie wanted to grab some shots, so we set up the blind.
These can be very difficult birds to shoot due to their bright orange/red eye.
The Wilson's Phalarope are great birds to get a chance to shoot.
The first of two storms blew through and we had to ahang onto the blind for dear life. But it was great and proved it's worth as the rain pelted down and we stayed nice and dry inside. We had been waiting for the Black Neck Stilt to drop by closer, but he didn't really get into range.
There were several Black turns hovering over the pond, but the cameras seemed to have a very hard time autofocusing on them, I don't know why. This is a very poor shot, but I had to post something.
We managed to grab a few shots of this Muskrat that was swimming nearby, he has some nice looking salad in tow.
On the way home we just missed getting this Swainson's Hawk with is wings spread out drying.
After I got home I nailed this American goldfinch in the neighbours yard.
Along with him there were some house Finches, like this youngster, just begging to be fed.
And, here is Dad, looking pretty ragged. I guess birds don't observe Father's Day:)
I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I look forward to the next "session"!


Fathers Day Grosbeaks

Up bright an early after a long day yesterday, my darling wife baked me Blueberry muffins for Fathers day, they were yummy. Off to find an odd bird today, it is a hybrid between a Blackheaded Grosbeak and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak, it had been spotted on ost of the walks this week, so confidence was high.  We found the singing rascal pretty much where he had been spotted most of the week. Here is his with not only a mouthful, but a bulging crop.
Here he is from the underside. They get the orange from the Blackheaded side of the family.
And this is what a typical Rose Breasted Grosbeak looks like. The chest patch is very "Rosie"!

As we continued on passed the "best part of the day" we ran into a lot of other great birds.  Here is my first shot of a Warbling Vireo.
We managed to catch a look at this Phoebe.
I thought I'd try and grab a shot of this butterfly.
We headed over to a large seting area where many species of bird are found. we didn't get to see a Baltimore Oriole, but we did glimpse a humminbird. But this male Nuthatch made several trips into the feeder.
First one, then two, then three least Chipmunks dropped by for a visit.
There were several Cowbirds flying in and out.
I just missed getting this guy in full sun, you can see a little on his back.
I'm not a big fan of squirrels, but I have to throw a shot or two in every now and then.
And what would Father's day be without a few flowers?
I hope everyone had a GREAT Father's Day. I know that I did. After the walk Jamie wanted to head out and see if we could put the blind to use and get a water bird or two. We'll have to see what we can dig up for the boy:)