Thursday, 29 August 2013

Outing with Dan for Warblers (20130829)

Dan and I got our communications wired this morning while heading out to a city park. We didn't get hooked up until well after 8:30, but I got my very much needed walking in. Dan had great opportunities presented about 10 days ago at this park, apparently the warblers are starting to gsather for their southern migration.While we were seperated I grabbed this shot of a Northern Flicker.
Now that we got together we were able to ferret out this pair of young Mallards.
We made our way over to where there seemed to be some "action" and we started to find some birds. I don't know this one, but then I don't know most of them:)
If I this ID correct this is a Warblering Vireo.
While we were there I ws hoping to find a bird tht Dan had spotted earlier in the day, and sure enough a pair of Black and White Warblers, this is a new life bird for me, sorry for the poor quality shot.
Here is another bird that I don't know the identity of, there seemed to be a great little buch of birds flitting around.
We got the word about a nearby nest and were working our way over to that area we were entertained by several White throated Sparrows.
I could easily have posted 15 shots of these great little birds. Here is a shot of one singing.
We finally made our way over to the nest and I grabbed this shot of a Cooper's hawk. it is a mystery to me why she would still be sitting on a nest, her eggs should have already hatched, and the youngsters fledged.
We wrapped up our outing here, when I arrived home I had this fella sitting beside the house, so I thought I'd take a shot for the post.
I hope that everyone has a great wildlife week, I hope to get out a few times on the upcoming weekend.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Monday Moose with Jamie (20130826)

Out dark and early again this morning, heading up north to meet up with Jamie for another round of running around:) The weather was not looking good as I drove through rain several times on the way to Jamie's.   Cruising along we found two nice Whitetails.
In one of our favourite water holes we found a loon close to shore. Managed a quick take off shot.
We started the day off really well and it continued to get better. We found our first of 7 or 8 moose trying to hide behind this bush. Really? Everyone knows if these big critters want to hide they can do it like a Ninja!
Here is Cow moose three. We didn't even see here initially, but found her when we went over to get some shots of Cow two. They just seemed to be popping up everywhere, but everthing else was staying pretty well hidden.
With all the ladies out and about we were disappointed that we hadn't seen a bull for the last couple of days, then one pops out right in front of us.  It was still pretty cool, I think you can see a little of his breathe coming out his nostrils next to the gravel. He is likely either a 2 or 3 year old.
Here is another shot of him as he passed by us. There were a  couple of cars that drove up and spooked him. He trotted right on by us and into the brush.
I'll spare you more shots of cow moose, but I will throw in a shot of a young American Robin sitting in a a berry bush. The bears have lots of competion for this food source.
On the drive home we found two nice Muley bucks standing in the middle of a feed field. I won't bore you with shots of both, I think that this is the nicer looking buck.
Overall another sucessful day that saw us log some miles and hours and finding several tons of wildlife.
I hope everyone had a great Wildlife weekend.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Bucks & Chicky's (20130823) Friday morning run with Jamie

This is a great time of year to find bucks in velvet, and we are getting down to the last 30 days or so of our most accommodating raptors the Swainson Hawk. Jamie likes these shots, of the bird making all the necessary adjustments, just prior to taking flight.
Just a couple miles up the road, the kind of trophy we were looking for, this fella had two smaller (although not much) bucks and a number of Does laying down with him.
A little further in, Jamie spotted this coyote sleeping on top of a hay bale. This is only the second time I've seen a coyote do this. The last time was with Tim out at the Ranch.
We spied this little buck walking parallel to the road, we had to wait until he came to a stop where we could get a lens on him. His antlers are pretty asymeterical for some reason.
We took a little stroll and spotted quite a few LBJ's (Little Brouwn Job's) here is a Flycatcher, I don't know which one.
Here is a little mystery bird that I don't know what it is.
As we approached the road opening we heard quite a bit of chirping, and Jamie said he thought they were chickadees. I was able to call a group of 8-10 Boreal chickadees down into Camera range.
Within a couple of hundred yards I grabbed this shot of a Marsh Wren. When it comes to these little birds this year has been a bounty.
As we got to the pond we were able to shoot this Great Blue Heron.
To finsih up the day I grabbed this Redtail Hawk that hung around long enough for us to get pretty close.
A great morning of Bucks and Chickadees (we actually saw all three species on this trip; Mountain, Blackcapped, and Boreal) with some other action thrown in just to keep up hopping. Have a great wildlife weekend!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Out with Tim and daughter Fallon (20130822)

Needing to get out for more walking (I am brutally out of shape right now) Tim and Fallon take me to one of the newest Provincial parks in the area. We are a little late getting away and take a couple of minutes for a side trip to potentially find some Red Fox that have been showing themselves in a particular area. No luck with the foxes so we headed over to the Park. I Let Tim direct our travel as this is a new area for me, soon get out first bird opportunity, and it is a Vesper Sparrow, the first I have ever posted here.
There were bugs everywhere;dragonflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, even mosquitoes. Here is a shot of a particularly delicate "darning needle" .
The fields were full of sparrows, there were also raptors about: Kestrels and Swainson"s Hawks. Here is a shot of what I believe is a juvenile Vesper.
Tim spotted a coyote on the run, and in spite of being in what many people would consider "open land" it disappeared in a matter of seconds. This next shot might be my nicest moth shot over. This "Police Car" is small not as large as a 25 cent piece.
Not only was it nice to see the colours in the butterflies and bugs, but the late summer flowers look super as well. I don't know what this is called, but it looked great!
It was a fabulous sunny day for a walk and by 1:00 it was getting pretty warm (for Calgary), The heat seemed to get other things "heated up". These two grasshoppers decided to take a little enjoyment in the day as well.
That was the end of our walk, I missed the opportunity to grab a shot of a Northern Flicker, oh well, C'est la vie.  I hope everyone has a great Wildlife weekend.

Friday, 23 August 2013

This time of year means New Steward Training. (20130821)

Tuesday I headed off to perform Stewart Shadowing duties at ASCCA. New Stewards have to have a tour with an experienced Steward so they understand their duties fully. Art was the newcomer and we met @ 8:00 for a morning stroll. We have been having bright sunny conditions for the  past week, and today was promising to be another  beauty.  Our first find was this yellow Dragonfly.
Our next opportunity was presented by this group of Cedar Waxwings.
And while we were "spotting" other birds Art found this young Sapsucker. This is a side of these birds that we don't often get to see, they are usually pressed firmly against the tree.
Here is another shot showing off what will become a beautiful crest of red feathers. This fellow was very approachable, this was a no crop shot. As usual his belly is against the tree.
While the four legged critters were staying well hidden the 6 leggers were plentiful and cooperative. Here is one of our very precious pollinators.
I can see that I am going to have learn a little more about our Alberta Insects as I don't know which grasshopper this is, it appears to be laying eggs in the gravel.
We did manage to find at least a partial herd of elk, it looked like about 15-20 cows and calves, and a single Mule Deer doe. we finished up the walk on a high point with my first ever look at a 13 lined ground squirrel on this property. I have seen many community holes but never have been able to see on of the little fellers.
The first 13 liner we found was in the field and pretty well hidden in the shadows. After we stopped in at Belvedere House, I happened to find this fella out playing in the sunny grass and clover.  Here is a fulll length shot of the little critter.
I'll wrap up this post here, expect another soon as I behind three posts as it is. I am in a situation where I am able to get out on almost everyday, to the photos start to really stack up. Have a great wildlife week!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A trip with Brent and Janine for Bears. (20130820) Will Tuesday's work for bears?

About two months ago I had a time set up with Brent and his Bride to take her out for grizzly bears. But then the floods happened here in Calgary and we didn't get out because many roads were closed and impassable.
So I finally had an opportunity to get them out for a cruise on Tuesday. While the prime target was unmistakable, the secondary target was an up close moose. We were getting close to bear country when we spot two moose on he highway. The headed off without allowing us to get close, but we swung into a nearby roadway to see if we could find them.
we spotted them, and they were very comfortable munching on some salad. As we moved slowly, she was very calm and even approached us more closely.
She had a great looking, healthy calf that will do her proud in the years to come.
The morning was pretty uneventful, we spotted 3 more moose, but having had a great encounter we did not want to press our luck with them.  On the "Rabbit" road we had a terrific opportunity with a hen Spruce Grouse.
She had at least 4 chicks with her, they were all capable of flying and were across the road. Once she had them all safely to her side of the road she"popped" up into this Spruce tree, how fitting.
While we scooted out for a washroom break we ran into a small group of Rocky Mountain Sheep, some Ewe's with Lambs.
This was a very small herd, that had the typical matriarch's. I managed to catch her in some great light.
I was unable to find us a bear, it was really quite disappointing. The wind was up and in spite of it being a Tuesday there was an inordinate amount of traffic on the road. I am hoping to get them back out after the baby is born, it will probably be in May or June of next year.
That wraps up this post, I hope you have a great wildlife week!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Grizzly shots only! (20130818) Sunday supplemental

As promised in my previous post here are some Grizzly shots from our Sunday trip.  We had spotted this bear about a half mile down the road but had to stop and take shots of a moose trotting up the ditch toward us. It didn't seem to know what it wanted to do. It walked out on the road in front of us.
Then it decided to back to the ditch to have some more berries. I like this eye of the bear in this shot.
I didn't get any shots of our second bear, it was very uncooperative and headed off into the woods without providing us any shooting opportunities. That was the action for the morning (other than the critters from the previous post). Early in the after though, we hit paydirt and were able to follow a young sow with one cub for almost 20 minutes. While the Sow slipped by us I did manage to "catch" the cub in an opening.
We were able to find the two of them together, as usually the Sow was working the treeline. It was nice to get the two of them in one spot.
This is the closest shot that the bears got to us as they traveled the treeline. This is shot @420mm and has no crop. I am expecting it was out about 35 feet.
As they worked down the treeline beside the road, we "hopscotched" ahead of them and waited for them to come to us. Our last encounter had us set up well ahead of the bears and they decided to cross the road, and they walked up the opposite ditch providing us with our best shot opportunities of the day.
I really like the colouration of this bear. She has lighter brown areas on her face that provide a distinctive marking pattern.
She probably walked 30-50 yards up the ditch, getting closer to the truck all the while, before deciding to get out of the direct sun.
Of course right behind Momma comes Junior.
We decided at this point we were not going to try and stay ahead of these fabulous "hosts". They had provided us with some exciting shooting and will provide memories for years to come. Here is the last shot I took of the youngster.
I hope you enjoy these shots, I know that Kerri and I had a great time taking them. Have a super wildlife week!