Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Boreal Chickadee My first Sunday walk this year (20130127)

We headed out to Griffith Woods today, this week there has been quite a bit of "action" in the area. There has been an American Three Toed woodpecker male spotted on several days, and on Wednesday there was a juvenile Cougar spotted.  Today I am afraid it was a much more boring session. The one bright spot in the day were the Boreal Chickadees.
I took my first shots of these little birds last year, and have been waiting for an opportunity to improve the quality of my shots ever since. We actually ran into more Boreal's today than I have ever seen before.
Our initial sighting was early in the morning and we eventually found some pretty nice light that provided excellent opportunity.
I love these little birds, it is hard to believe that it took me fifty years of living in Canada to find them.
I hope that you too enjoy their delicate colouring.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A supplemental to my post of 20130125

I'd like to thank Zel for graciously providing me with permission to post some of the images he captured on Friday during our outing. He was using a 35mm lens and was doing more chronicling of my activities and the environments that we were enjoying than grabbing the close up portraits of our targets then I. He is a great shot of me trying to get the first owl of day. If you look down the fence line you can see the owl. Blue sky, sun, mostly great conditions, we would have liked to had the sun behind us:)
This next shot shows the "metal" male, this is the highest perch I have ever seen a Snowy on. This time the bird is on the right side of us. He was far enough that I felt very secure in bringing out the tripod to add to the stability of the shot.
Here is a shot of me getting out second last bird of the day, another beautiful near all white male. I have decided to not crop any of these photo's.
Zel also managed to grab a great shot of the "Beast" this is the best looking moose licked truck in the country.
I thought that I would throw in a photo of where we had lunch. Zel is a madman when it comes to taking photos.
If you would like to see more of Zel's great images just take a trip to his Picassa site.
Again, I'd like to thank Zel for his willingness to share these images via the blog.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Snowy Owl Prowl (20130125)

Sorry for the delay in getting an update out, but I have been under the weather the last couple of weeks and have been staying in bed. Today has been the first opportunity to get out. With some interesting "findings" last week on the morning walks. So Tim, Zel and I headed out looking for the Northern Pygmy Owl. It was a beautiful morning, but we had no luck with that target. But like all our city parks there is a regular cast of characters willing to step up and fill in.
After the entertain provided by Chickadees and Nuthatches we ran into some lady Pine Grosbeaks.
With a strike out with this target and a beautiful day filling the sky, Zel and I decided to head out looking for Snowy owls. We were able to spot one prior to lunch time.
We stopped in the "Dining Car" grabbed some burgers and beverages and headed back out on the road. Our brief interlude to have some chow paid off dividends early. We were able to capture this fine specimen, but he was on the top of a very tall set of metal poles.
Our next mature male was a little more cooperative, but every bit as impressive.
Here he is on a slightly different post. I think his eyes might be a little better revealed in this shot.
We wrapped up today's journey with this almost cooperative bird. This Snowy looked considerably smaller than the others.
We'll have to see what if anything we can do for an encore tomorrow. I've missed getting out and finding critters.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Great Horned Owls New guy out for an Owl prowl. (130106)

I have dealt with Brent for the last year or so at my local camera store, he had mentioned that he would like to grab some owl shots sometime. With my recent successes I thought that it might be a good time to get him our for a "tour". He was right on time at 7:30 a.m. While I was waiting for him I grabbed this quickie of two of the neighbourhood white-tailed jackrabbits. I think they look okay considering I only had the street light for illumination.

As we were buzzing out to "the zone" we spied an early morning GHO on a telephone line. Our regular 8:30 Snowy was in place and as skittish as ever. About a mile up the road we got an indication of what the day was going to be like. Our second Snowy was just as skittish as the first, but I think it "held" for Brent to get a decent shot. It was not even 8:30 in the morning and Brent considered it a successful day.
While the day looked promising from a sun perspective, but the wind was up and was supposed to be gusty all day, that is never a good thing. We continued on successfully finding owls in all of our hot spots. This is one of the GHO's that Tim and I located several weeks ago he was almost in exactly the same spot.
Our third GHO was in the vicinity that Tim's sharp eyes picked another out on the same trip. Brent was having a really good time. Then within about 10 minutes we found this nice buck in one of my favourite little spots.
We took our shots from inside the truck and moved along about 25 yards when I spotted our 4th GHO of the morning. We were kind of stuck. If we got out of the truck we were going to spook the buck, but he didn't want to stick around as he was uncomfortable with our extended presence. So he left and we were able to get into better position to grab some images.
Brent managed to spot a snowy in an open field on his own and was gaining confidence, it was great to see! We found one more snowy before we headed back to town. Just to put the icing on the cake I decided to take Brent over to FCPP and get him a couple of "citizen owls". Here is a shot of GHO5, no crop.
While we were taking these shots I pulled some sunflower seeds out and had Chickadees and Nuthatches eating out of our hands, this was pretty impressive for Brent. We finished up with the other readily accessible pair, they were together, but you couldn't see her face at all, so I'm posting this shot of him, again no crop.
So over all a great day, a dozen owls in all, 5 Snowy's and 7 GHO's. Brent says he really enjoyed himself, and is willing to "get out again" sometime. I hope everyone has a super Wildlife week!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Big Buck II Doesn't a great buck deserve a sequel? (130105)

I had some work done to my Carrying strap today, and I picked up a new ballhead for my tripod, so I wanted to "field test" the new contraptions. In order to test drive these items I headed down to FCPP, in search of the large Buck I found last weekend. First stop was a peek for a GHO or two, and found this pair.
While looking for the guy with the big head, I found a couple of our favourite little buddies.
The Chickadee and a Whitebreasted Nuthatch. they are all over this country. They offer their own challenges to get good shots, their flighty movements and small size.
Then after a about a half hour of prowling around, I found a little deer laying down and with a little scrutiny I found "big head". He too was laying down, and I tried to get closer, I spent about 30 minutes with him and the little buddy that he picked up last week.
Here is another shot of himas he walked amongst the Cottonwoods.
This front on shot of him feeding gives you a pretty good view of his little nubs at the base of his head dress.

His little buddy was a little more alert than this guy, and he always managed to stay between the of us. I stayed with them long enough for them to get comfortable again, they laid back down and and started chewing their cud.

So I backed out and left them be. On the way back home I made one last stop to see if I could find another GHO pair. I could only spot this unit.

While looking for the owls, I found this Hairy Woodpecker male.
That wrapped up today's tour. I am headed out with a new fellow, on the hunt for Snowy Owls and other birds and critters. Have a super day.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Shortearred Owl, Snowy Owls, GHO's, Redpolls, New Year's Day, could this become a tradition? 130101

For our second New Year's Day in a row Jamie and I headed out looking for critters, I guess really we were primarily looking for wings. The Short Earred Owl was our target today. We had some early luck with our 8:30 a.m. Snowy Owl in its place so hopes were high. We grabbed a second Snowy  within an hour, but no photo ops presented. We chased some larks buntings and Redpoll's around for a little bit, with no luck, then we found a cooperative pair of Larks and they presented for us.
We next found our first good looking male snowy of the year :)
He is his getting ready to fly  here, a nice looking bird probably 2 or three years away from being all white.
We found a flock of about 4-500 Redpoll's hanging around an old wooden grainery and three big metal newer graineries. We got ourselves into position and just waited for them to land on the wooden building roof.  We had great conditions so I am very pleased with these shots.
We were off on the hunt again and found this fellow on the ground, he flew and this is a shot of him settling down after that short hop.
We were able to find this GHO taking in the sun on this glorious day, I am certain we have seen this owl before.

We also found this fellow not too far away, I expect this is a Male and the previous was a larger female, and I am expecting them to "hook up" and produce some babies. I will be keeping an eye on these two (if I am able).
On our second pass through SEO country we were able to spot first one, then a second SEO here is probably my best shot of one of these beauties. We got to observe these two for about an hour and believe we have learned some of their behaviour.
Here is a little better "wing" shot than the one I posted a short while ago.

And I couldn't finish the post without another Redpoll shots, the conditions were great!
Well that was what we deemed to be another successful New Year's Day outing. Certainly no big critters but 10 different owls, of three different varieties, and a couple of smaller beauties thrown in for good measure.  Have a Great wildlife weekend.