Monday, 25 November 2013

Hairy, Dove, Chickadees (20131123) Birds from Mom's feeder

Well I have been up here at Mom's place for more than a week and Am very disappointed. There just isn't the birds around that we have seen over the past several years. So this is a compilation of what have presented over the week, a pretty sad lot in comparison to any other time that I have visited.
Here is a shot of four American Goldfinches at her feeder taken from inside the house. Our record for the week is 5 so this was pretty good. (20131118)
Tuesday was a little better as we had a couple of additional specie, here is one of Mom's favourites a White Breasted Nuthatch.
His red-breasted cousin came in for a short while as well.
And a small band of Black Caps had to join in on the fun as well. Taken from the Blind these are a little closer.
These are pretty quick little birds that don't hang around long on the feeder, they get a seed and they are GONE!
Wednesday was a totally dry day with no shooting opportunities presented and Thursday was not much better. I did get a couple of shots, one of Mom's local Crows.
A newcomer of late has been a couple of Mourning Doves. She used to have these birds by the tens, but this week one would come early in the morning, then today there were four. These shots were taken from within the house again. It was interesting to watch them in the windy weather. The blowing leaves didn't bothere them at all, and this bird let a leaf blow right up against it without any osrt of reaction. Strange how they "know" what they should pay attention to and what they can totally ignore.
Friday brought another new bird for the week and that was this male Hairy Woodpecker. His red spots on the back of his head seemed to be symetrically placed in the white areas.
Here you can see his "second" red spot on the other side of his head.
That was about the extent of what has been happening outside the house, on the inside Mom's Holiday Cactus is coming into bloom and it looks beautiful.
Looks like Brother Len will be down for the weekend so we should be bale to get out and do a little exploring.  Anxious to get back to Calgary's wildlife abundance :)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Northern Shrike, Chickadee, Hooded Merganser (20131116) Outing at Jarvis'

Len, Dave and I took a trip over to Jarvis' in memory of my father, with whom we had hunted on this porperty for about 10 years. We took over a bottle of Rum to toast Dad with before we headed out for our walk. We had spoken briefly with Jarvis and he mentioned that over the past couple of years (I haven't been there for the last 5) he had done quite a lot of logging and we may not recognize the place. On the lower road there have been a family of beavers at work and we couldn't get across the damn. Off to the upper road, and it is very quiet. We stroll into one of the new choppin's and grabbed this Northern Shrike.
As it flew off we recognized that it was a mouse it was carrying, a pretty big meal for a bird of this size.
That is my first Nova Scotia Shrike and a first for Dave, a terrific start to the day.  Here is David taking a shot where he saw his first Whitetail in the wild when all alone. The hunter orange is a legislated requirement in Nova Scotia during Hunting season. You must wear a hunter orange hat and vest.
The rest of the visit to Jarvis' was uneventful but not unsuccessful. We covered a lot of ground and made it through a number of new and old cut areas with nothing ill affected!  We grabbed another beverage and some lunch as provided by Dave before we headed out for a bit of a drive.  As we swung into a loading area on the way to Oak lake we flushed nine (9) Snow Buntings, they are pretty skittish this time of year. Here is a shot of 5 of them.
We stopped and I grabbed this image of a Chickadee in profile. As you can tell the skies were pretty grey and light was at a premium. I reall like how you can see "through" his wings and see the branch behind.
At the lake, when we arrived, we found a very flat surface. It provided a great opportunity to "shoot" my bother.
I took a stroll up the lake as Dave and Len were chatting about "things" and I was able to find a pair of Hooded Merganser's. They were a long way off but this is a decent "evidence" shot.
We had a couple of other "encounter's but I didn't get any shots. David grabbed his first ever Mink shots and I missed out on a Showshoe Rabbit and maybe an owl.  But the boys agree it was agreat day!

Pheasants, Bluejay, Dove, Kinglet (20131114) Part two of Out at Leekie's

It was such a great morning in the blind I decided to spend a little more time in there the rest of the day. I was not disappointed as the birds kept coming all day long. I love the female pheasants and their ability to blend in with their surroundings. This might be my nicest shot of the day.
A little later in the morning upon their return this Hen walked into the dead standing stalks, and stood "stalk still"  :)
It is great when you can grab the BlueJays in a more natural environment showing off their colours!
The Mourning Doves have their own schedule and today was no exception, they appeared right on time.
This might be my favourite shot of one of the Roosters, the fact that it is a mature bird really helps.
Another shot here of one of the dozen BlueJays that Len has in his yard emptying his feeders.
A couple of other sightings in the yard today were Dark eyed Junco's there were about 6 of these ground birds running around scratching up chow. There was also a lone Song Sparrow. Here is a shot of the Junco.
I'll finish this post up with a poor shot of a bird that Len hasn't noticed before, these tiny birds are tough to get as good shot of this time of year. Here is a Golden Crowned Kinglet.
It was just a great day with 1400 shots taken and I have pared it down to just 400 "keepers"!  Thanks to Len and Terr for letting me pass the time in the "fort"! Canada is a great place with Photo Opportunities all over the big broad nation. Drop by and see me in Calgary and I can show you some of the treasures that are held there.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Pheasants, Blue Jays (20131114) Hiding out at Leekie's place?

While I am not working, my wife suggested that I come down to Nova Scotia and spend some time with my mother.. So I stopped by Brother  Len's place on the way "down the valley". While the days have been shorter and definitely overcast, I managed to find a couple of "targets"!
That was my second rooster of the morning. But I was  very happy with the shot. As the last time I was here, Len has kept his Blue Jays around the feeder, and it was great to get some Blue Jays shots.
I love the colour on the wings of and tails of these fabulous birds
It was terrific t onot only see the rooster's, but to also get a look or two of the Hen's!
It was a complete joy watching as these large game birds were able to drift into and out of sight with their colouration and Camoflage.
It is always great to see the Rooster and Hen together to show off the difference in their plumage.
I'll wrap up my post here with another terrific Rooster shot. I took 660 images within two hours, which tells you that I had a great set of opportunities with both the Blue Jays and the Pheasants. I cannot wait until the afternoon session!
Have a great Wildlife weekend!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bull Moose, Coyote (20131112) Back in the woods with Kerri (who has eyes as good as anyone!)

Kerri mentioned when we were last out that she had today off and was headed out with her new gear. So I asked if we could travel together. So we were out well beforeday break, and well ahead of the traffic. It was a very quiet morning, with a set of 4 Mule Deer Does on the highway and not much else. we made a one way sweep past one of our favourite spots with not luck, but on our return trip we found this nice fella out for a walk.
He walked across the road and started to lick at something in the ditch.
He was quite comfortable and even got down on his front knees to continue. This is the largest bull that I have been able to find so far this year, and based upon the "bell", a moose that I have never got photos of before.
After a bit, he walk on up the side of the hill and started to browse in a heavily treed draw. As we continued on the sun stayed hidden and the wind started to roar, and the critters continued to hide. In a super twist to the day, Kerri's keen eyes spotted the first ever Northern Pygmy Owl that either of us have ever had the pleasure to see. So that make it a great day! We did find this beautiful young Coyote on the highway, and after a bit of a "jog" it stopped on the side of the road.
Some times we hope that the wildlife would actually sit like a portrait subject, and without even being told, this subject did all on its own.
And one more shot as it exited stage left. This may be my best set of Coyote shots do date.
We made a run to try and find some of Kerri's spots from earlier in the year but to no avail. The wind got pretty strong so we decided to head home. Even on thin day's like this we have a great time.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Grey Jays, Whitetail Bucks, and a Ram (20131111) Out to the Ranch

Rememberance Day is always special to me particularly because I am so grateful for this fabulous free country that we live in. I have always historically been in the bush on this day and today was no exception. Jamie was my travel partner today, and I believes he feels the same way I do about the day, so we were set for an appreciative time. The sunrise was promising and we found this first Buck of the day.
We were struggling to find a lot of targets for our cameas but Jamie spotted this very young Buck wandering around wondering what to do with his hormones.
With the fresh snow yesterday, cold night last night and now some sun the trees looked fabulous! We were hunting for some small birds to get shots of in this environment, and it was tough. We managed to find a small band of Chickadees when we stopped to take a look at a long distance cow moose. I would have liked to been able to get a little closer, but this will have to do.
We started to find a few Rough Legged hawks, but the light never seemed to be right for good shots, but they were out there! We flipped over to a close by area and things picked up right away, with Woodpeckers, more RLH's and even some nice Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.  This is the nicest ram we found.
We found 3 or 4 more Whitetail bucks, none with significant headgear but this little 6-point provided the best view and stayed around long enough for a few shots.
So it was shaping into a fabulous day. Yesterday when out with Kerri I had a couple of near accepable shots of a Grey Jay, so today when the opportunity presented itself I spent a little more time to see if I could capture a decent flight shot.
Here is a second, I am pretty happy with these.
And a third of a near landing.
This was a terrific end to a memorable day.  Next time you are in Calgary, drop by and we can create our own memorable day!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Mule deer Bucks, Landscapes (20131110) Outing with Kerri

Kerri has been having an outstanding year with terrific findins like some nice Grizzlies, a big mature Bull Moose, and a lifetime Lynx! I was hoping that we could match the luck of one of our earlier tracks this year, and get into some major situations today. We hit our "track" well before daylight on an a snowy, heavy overcast morning. This Muley buck was in the company of younger Doe, no telling what they were up to.
Just 20 minutes later we found this Whitetail  Doe covered in snow, it looks like they just got up.
The fawn looked every bit as uncmfortable in the morning frost and cold, but she was focussed on following mom through the day.
We couldn't find a Grouse or an Owl at all today. We were kind of surprized to find this nice, healthy 4x4 buck in an area packed full of hunters, I guess sometimes it is best to hide out in the open.
We suffered a little excitement when we found this lump at the top of a Spruce tree, thinking we had at last found the elusive Northern Pygmy Owl, but it turned out to be a Grey Jay, all fluffed up in the cold. 
Later in the morning we were greeted with a little sun, but the only things available to shoot weren't moving.
We went looking for an American Dipper, a bird I didn't get last year on the blog, and suffered defeat on that target as well.  We did find another moving subject though, water!