Saturday, 3 May 2014

Turkey, Whitecrowned, Orangecrowned (20140503) Gamebirds and migrants

Well "grizzly fever" had a good hold on me last night. More fresh snow and a willing partner had us out to the Ranch before first light to watch for carnivores. The heavy wet snow was relentless and we were pushing at least 5 inches of the slick packy stuff on the road in. After our "watch" time had expired, we checked in on my little drummer birds and no one was home. We then headed into Sharptail country for a peak and all was silent. While pouring a cup of tea I told Jamie-"This is the kind of day where anything can happen!" From that point on it was non-stop action. As we reached the top of the hill we spotted two Sharptails in a tree, they flushed but we then spotted a group of small birds which included Whitecreowned Sparrows, a Rubycrowned kinglet and a couple of Oregon Juncos. When we finished with those Jamie pointed skyward and said, one of the grouse has returned.
 I just love how it appears to be just haning on by its toes on the left foot:)
Next up we found a young bull moose trotting up the road. When we topped for him this little rubycrowned kinglet appeared. Jamie quickly picked up how difficult these birds are to photo:)
Our next spot was a pair of mountain bluebirds. It is impossible to ignore these birds in these conditions, the blue just seems to "brighten" the dismal day.
We headed in to see the percussion boys one more time, and this time we were not disappointed. While Action Jackson was performing, Jackson Junior put on a show for Jamie and I. This is the first time he was able to watch a performance. On our way out from that show we spotted this large bird strolling through the snow. I have been told that this is a first year male or "jake" Merriam's Turkey.
We are near the northern limit of these birds range and given the winter that we have had, I am extremely pleased to see one of these majestic birds this spring.
Our next beauty of the day was this Orangecrowned Sparrow. It was travelling with a mixture of other migrants.
It seemed to be a "royal" group and their entourage. Here is one of its travelling companions a Whitecrowned sparrow.
Within this flock was a sparrow we had been shooting others like earlier in the day. This type of image lets me confirm that this is a Lincoln's sparrow. We probably saw 8 or 10 of them throughout the day.
There Junco's everywhere we went today so I thought it only fitting that I add one to the post. Jamie just about had this one eating out of his hand:)
This female mountain bluebird just ssat there for a portrait, so how could we refuse.
We stopped by the Swan pond and spent probably more than hour shooting yellow rumped warblers. We had such great shooting that I have decided that I would do a supplemental post of just YRW shots. Also in the area were some tree sparrow that kept buzzing around. I'll end this post with a swallow shot and try and get the supplemental done before too long. I believe that this image show why these birds are so difficult to photograph, their black face hides their eyes so well.
Today was a lesson of perseverance, and we were very pleased to be up to the task! I hope that everyone was able to get out and about and enjoy some nature today!

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