Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bluebirds, Bucks, Redtails Out to the Ranch, no access to bears.(20130628)

With all the devastation in town and the surrounding areas, trying to find a place to get out was a challenge, I figured the Ranch should be good. We headed out pretty early and were hoping to have a great day. We was pretty quite on the drive in. I had Jamie in the back of the truck for one of our favourite roads. We spotted a young bull moose, but he wasn't hanging around for "any stinking photo opp"! On the way out I grabbed this Redtail, the light was behind him so the quality is pretty poor.
After stopping for a beverage and taking a couple of minutes to enjoy the day, we spied a few elk heading out of the high country, including a cow with her days old calf, complete with spots. While we stood around we were reminded of how much life is around us at all times, a female Goldfinch, Wilson Snipes and a pile of various sparrows, including this Savannah.
And this Clay Coloured.
We also found a family of recently fledged Mountain Bluebirds, here is one of the fledgelings.
We can see how having 5 or 6 little ones around is starting to run dad ragged!
As we were in the area we thought we would take a look at the south entrance to Highway 40, we couldn't get very far. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't anything out and about. This Muley Buck was determined to get across the highway.
We found another buck that had died, off his carcass, we put up this eagle with a crow hot in pursuit.
Being closer to the mountains there were RedTails everywhere. On the way home we found this little buck resting beside the road in the shade. 
So a slower start to the day ended up with a great overall day. Here is hoping that you too get a chance to get out and enjoy some of what Canada has to offer to us!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Veery, Redeyed Vireo, butterflies on our Last Sunday walk of the session.(20130623)

This was our final walk of the year, it seemed to be a very minimal thought to the day as Calgary has been on a significant flood alert since Thursday.100,000 people evacuated, significant damage to property, homes and businesses. The downtown Calgary core shutdown on Friday and will be shutdown until sometime mid-week.
I stopped at the wrong entry way, and still picked up a couple of shots.  I thought I would throw this one up as a comparison between a Northern Flicker and a Blackbilled Magpie.
There were a lot of Flycatchers out and about.
Now in my second year of chasing these birds around, I finally managed an acceptable image of a Veery. A bird that many people here, then think it is a Robin singing. These birds have cleaner crisper tone to their song.  I have to thank Bob for this bird!
Another little bird that was singing most the day were the House Wrens. I like that I caught this one in their environment, tough conditions.
I also managed to grab a shot of this singing Redeye Vireo. I have shot this bird before, but never posted. This is a poor shot, but I thought I would share anyway.
Other flying objects were plentiful too, like the Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly
As we neared the area were the Eastern Phoebe hangs out, I though we had found it, but alas it was yet another Least Flycatcher.  Just down the hill however the Phoebe could be heard (by everyone but me).
On the walk back to the vehicles we spied this heavily damaged little Butterfly, I once again have to thank my Hand Model--Rose for posing the featured item (she also held the Bluebird egg from a couple of posts ago.
We were chasing our second Rosebreasted Grosbeak of the day, when I found this wasp (another flyer).
That wraps up the walks for the year and this post. We did find a couple of hen ducks with their smaller broods, but left them to their business, as we should.  Another successful day for me, and the memories.
Have a great Wildlife Week!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mountain Sucker, Brown trout, Cedar waxwing, can you believe Fish, on a bird walk? (20130616)

Griffith Woods, Father's Day, a small group of us were headed into "the Woods" to see what we could find. Our two regular leaders were not available so we had another leader for the group, and I think we might have thrown him off his game:)
Whitewinged Crossbills were visible from the parking lot, then we had a long discussion about a Spotted Sandpiper that was not piping like we would expect it to. We were able to get pretty close to this Crow.
As we were quietly standing by the river this White Sucker came slowly swimming by.
Just up the river a bit we watched at this 14-16" Brown trout came swimming down through the clear water, only to swing around and position itself under some brush, to sit in ambush of dinner.
As we swung to the northwest corner of our walk we could here the Ruby Crowned Kinglet talking to us. These little fella's hang out high in the conifers, and I can never manage to get a good close shot.
As we were wrapping up our walk we met the 9:00 a.m. group. As we stood discussing the "spottings" of the morning. This Cedar Waxwing popped into a nearby trees.
I like how the wind is evidenced in the birds crest. I will state that we missed our regular leaders as their ears and knowledge of bird song would have been helpful :)  I hope everyone had a GREAT wildlife weekend!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Saturday Supplemental Bears, Bluebirds and Hummers (20130615)

As promised in the last post here are some more shots from Saturday's outing. We loved the look that this Grizzly afforded us, he even bared his teeth for us:)
This was my 10th grizzly of the year so far, and I have yet to find on e that is tagged or collared. Here is a clear shot of this bear's neck and ears.
This bear had crossed the road and started walking parallel to the road. I thought that this was a nice natural environment shot.
Another shot with a nice environment, but he knows exactly where I am. By this time a "bear jam" was starting to form and the cars pulling up and stopping just kept this bear moving.
One more of this beautiful animal. Although the time was short it was a great close encounter with carnivore.
Another great critter, mini not mighty is the Rufous Hummingbird.
Unfortunately this feeder was in the shade so it was tough to get great light, but I'll take these every day of the week :)
Getting these little guys as they are buzzing around is really tough!
These are very beautiful birds!
And now for a little bit of a different colour, I am in love with the Mountain Bluebird.
This "pair" has provided me and my traveling partners many many opportunities this year. (No crop)
A mother's work s never done, another "up close" shot of mom delivering the goods to her little ones (no crop).
Here is dad "cleaning up after the kids". What a great guy!
Well, you are likely getting fed up with these shots, so I'll shut down this post.  I still have the Sunday morning walk to get posted here. It is not likely to make it tomorrow night as Jamie and I are headed for the mountains, hoping for a light traffic, multi-bear night-- uh rahhhh

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Bluebirds, Grizz, Moose, Old Grey South end of Highway 40 opens today, that means grizzlies. (20130615)

After being shut out for bears on Friday Jamie and I were again on the road by 4:30 a.m. expecting that with the south end of the highway opening we might get some bear action today. Kerri was heading in from the north end and we were hoping to perhaps meet on the road. With he road not opening until 8:00 we thought that we would get a little "ranch time" in then get to on the pavement. Neither grey moose could be found, but we did spot a nice bull, and a doe with her twin boys, then we headed in for some early morning bluebird shots.
Dad and mom were very busy fetching food for the fledglings. Sometimes the morning light works for me, but most the time I find it very difficult to shoot in.
We arrived at the gate at 7:50 and it was open and no one else was in sight so we were set! It turned out to be a very unproductive drive until we were almost through to the north gate. We spy a "bear car" it turns out to be Kerri with our first  and only bear of the day (happens to be my 10th of the year). 
I will post a few more shots in a supplemental post, as we actually had a busy day:) up the road we turned into Rainbow Valley and had to stop to get a shot or two.  Sometimes these landscape guys can be okay!
We found this female coyote on the "rabbit road", maybe this is why we haven't seen any rabbits lately:)
It is pretty amazing how easily they just disappear on the gravel road. On the way out Jamie spotted this cow moose having lunch. One of the challenges in grizz season is a stopped car can often mean a bear, and that can quickly create a bear jam. Although we were well off the road, there were still cars slowing down, and one of these vehicles spooked our cautious critter.
We stopped for gas and picked up a pile of shots of the resident Rufous hummingbirds that hang out there. 
These are perhaps my best hummer shots ever, it helps to have such a colourful bird to work with. I will throw a couple more of these in my supplemental post for this day.
Getting pooped out from all the action we decided to take a leisurely ride home through the ranch and maybe try out the 2.0 TC's on the Blue birds. We found this Morning Cloak and thought it deserved a shot or two.
Here are a couple more bluebird shots, first momma, perhaps my best ever, no crop.
I could easily do a supplemental on just this session. On the way out we spotted my favourite moose, along with her son.
That was the icing on a great day in the woods. I will have to put a supplemental post to add a few more shots of the bear and hummers, I think I will even add a couple ore Bluebird shots too. It'll be done in a day or two. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Moose, Whiskey Jacks, Townsend Solitaire on a Friday track for Grizz (20130614)

Well I'm living prove that "the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass everyday":). Jamie and I were doing some rental lens testing for him and decided to see if it could shoot Bears very well. Out of the house by 4:30, gas, brekkies and high hopes of spotting some bears on a morning with hopefully very little traffic. 6:15 and we had our first encounter: a cow moose, again with no calf. She was down getting her morning drink of water.
We found this fine specimen in one of our favourite areas for moose. This  is the nicest looking early looking set of antlers I have found this year, this boy is going to be huge  come fall. You can see the start he has on the front "fighting spikes" and his palms will are looking promising.
We found a pair of chipmunks at the end of one of our favourite (rabbit) road. Oddly we didn't spot a single rabbit.
I am always on the lookout for an opportunity to grab some shot so of Canada's Grey Jay. Known as "camp birds, "meat birds" and "Whiskey Jack".
It is also nice when I can find one of the Juvenile birds. I think their colour is great!
It was a typical day in the mountains: we had rain, cloud, sun, rain, sun, cloud. We saw these delicate looking flowers and thought that they deserved a little attention. None of the shots I took do them justice.
On the way home we found this Townsend Solitaire. I believe we are at the southern edge of their summer breeding zone, so I was surprized to be able to find it in such nice light. I usually find these birds in the winter on duller days.
It turned out to be an odd day. No bears, no rabbits, almost nothing at all on the "rabbit road". But we were able to find enough to keep us busy:)  I hope you ll get out on the weekend for some wildlife time.