Sunday, 31 July 2016

Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black Tern, Yellowlegs (20160728) A run to New Brunswick for some shorebirds

Well it has been quite a while since a road trip was the order of the day. I have been interested in seeing the famed Semipalmated Sandpipers of the Bay of Fundy. So I loaded up the truck with some lady friends and headed over to Johnson Mills NB. Our first good sighting was this rooster Pheasant in Au Lac. When we first saw him he was on the top of a dirt mound with his breast showing off the copper colouring. By the time I got situated for a shot he had started to walked off.
Next opportunity was my first ever Indian Pipe. It is a parasitic plant that produces no chlorophyll so it does not turn green. It was pointed out to us by one of the NCC staffers at the bird Interpretaion centre.
At the shore we were greeted with the sight of a couple of hundred 'Pipers flying quite a distance down the beach. The birds seemed to be travelling east this morning, gathering for the falling tide feast to come. Here is a shot of some Semi Pipers along with three Semipalmated Plovers thrown in for good measure.
The birds were gathering at the head of the bay, so we jumped into the truck and headed over to see if we could get a look at a few more birds. It turns out we made the right decision. Here is a shot that doesn't do the mass of birds justice.
I have been told that in order to truly appreciate/represent a large flock of birds or animals it is better to switch to video. so HERE is a short 90 second video. Please turn your sound down as the wind was blowing quite hard. I estimate that there were between 20-30,000 birds in this single flock.
We headed back to Nova Scotia to see if we could spot the vagrant Ruff that had been spotted in Amherst. The sewage lagoons were full of Yellow-legs. We were also able to spot a number of Short-billed Dowitchers.
So I need to pop a couple of shots of the Lesser Yellows into the blog.
Apparently there was one Northern Shoveler in the crew and I managed to find her.
Here is another LYL. While there were quite a few around the always kept distance.
We then took a swing to another area in the hopes of finding a lifer for Angela, Sylvia, and Diane, a Black Tern. As we began our search we put up this Great Blue Heron, one of three we spotted here. This bird was waaaaay off.
Then Diane and I spotted the Terns and I guess the other girls did too as they worked their way over to where we were.
Here is another shot with the bird in a slightly different pose. I was surprised at just how grey this bird looked.
It was a super day with some super company. I am certain we will get together again sometime to search out more subjects. Take some time and put some "wild" in your life!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Pheasants, Hummer, Downys (20160720s) Yard birds over a couple of days

Well I have been staying around the house and trying to take care of my tomatos as we hare having some superb summer weather. With time to kill, so to speak, I took a little time in the blind. With better light I was happy that "she" showed up.
I also managed a little video, it can be found HERE. It has a lot better light than my previous attempt.
These next two shots are of a Yellow-shafted Flicker feather that I found in the yard. It's the first time I can ever remember finding one. First, the front.
Here is the underside of the feather, not hard to see how the name "Yellow-Shafted" came about.
Later in the day I was able to capture this young Blue Jay on the side hill. I really like the moss in this shot.
The next day I took the puppy fishing with me. I wasn't planning on staying too long as I had a gas powered motor on this day and wanted to see how she would react. We snuck up on this mother Black Duck with her brood of 6 or 7 young'uns.
It turns out that we ran into a little motor trouble just when we were going to head back to the truck. As we drifted to shore I spotted this lilac coloured plant. I initially thought the colour was the flower, but it turns out to be the leaves of the Tall Meadow Rue.
While out at Mom's on the 20th I shot this second young male Downy Woodpecker. this bird has a much different colouration in his feathers.
Here is what might be his brother. As you can see his red is much brighter.
A couple of days later Momma Pheasant put in an appearance, here she is with 5 of her chicks.
I am pretty certain that this little bird is going to grow up to look just like his daddy!
As always I am chasing a "better Blue Jay" photo. So I continue to try. How does this one rate?
I am happy to live where the opportunity to put a little "wild" in my life comes so easily!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Chipping Sparrow, Downy, Dark-eyed Junco (20160716) Mom's house has the babies.

Well It is a Saturday and we are headed over to Mom's to watch the Jays beat the Oakland Athetics, but that wasn't the outcome of the game. While we were there I was able to grab a couple of images. Mom has been entertaining some Downy Woodpeckers juveniles and they were quite approachable. Here is one of the three girls.
Another set of youngsteres that she has are Dark-eyed Juncos. I have had a family around the house but haven't been treated to posing birds yet.
I am also jealous of her little Chipping Sparrow that she has tied up.
The other thing that Mom has that is great in the yard are some very lark Oak trees. In the front yard the oak has beautiful two foot long stub of a branch, the birds all like to stop in there. Here is a Dark-eyed Junco.
A beautiful female Goldfinch popped up and onto the branch.
Here is a deadly Downy male juvenile that has been the star of the show.
 Mrs Goldfinch wasn't alone, here were at least 4 or 5 males taking advantage of the food that she puts out.
And of chourse the Chickies were present.
I am always pleased to to be able to capture a good example of the "dark eye" of the Junco.
I thought I would toss in a second shot of the Chipping Sparrow. I am pleased with the results I was able to get.
I'll finish up this post with another shot of the Male Downy juvvie. My buddy Jamie thinks it worth hanging on the wall.
Take some time to put a little "Wild" in your life!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Skunk, Waxwing, Harriers (20160714) A trip to Bellisle Marsh with Angela G and Macy

Angela assured me that we would be heading into a "birdy" spot if we headed out to the Marsh, so I said " let's go!" I told her that I would like to get out of town early so she agreed to picked me up @ 5:00 a.m. So the morning came along a couple of hours later and we were on the road. Once we turned off the highway, and headed into the Marsh we could hear and see birds flitting about. We stopped the car and left the puppies inside. This Yellow Warbler was very cooperative.
There were also a number of juveniles in the area. I am not certain which warbler this one is.
I was surprised to find these three Northern Harriers. Looks like mom and two youngsters.
While not uncommon here, I have not seen any where as many savanah Sparrows that I would in the west.
Wewere not finding tons of material in bird world, so I grab what ever is available so this nice yellow dragonfly makes the grade.
When we hit the Marsh area itself I spot some Touch-me-nots a little wild flower that I remember fondly from my childhood.
It was also great to find this strange looking lily pad in field of leaves.
Next up was one of Angela's target species of the day, a nice Sora feeding on a high spot out in the Marsh. I got some long distance shots but nothing worth posting here. Along the back end of the Marsh we were treated to this nice GBH in a field of Lilies in bloom.
 Next up was this mysterious Green-eyed Flutterbye. No offical name as yet. (Update: This is a Clouded Sulphur)
I was really surprised to see how much further along the Pincherries are at Marsh. The trees in my yard are a couple of weeks away from having red berries and they were in almost every tree here. Along with the berries were the "Berry Robbers" Cedar Waxwings.
Next up is the Virginia Ctenucha a blue oth with an orange head. It was a first ever sighting for me.
As primarily a mammal guy the highlight of the morning came when we were once again in the car and found this nice little "kitty".
If you get the chance to spend a little time in the woods with a buddy or two, take it. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Crow, Pheasants, Flicker (20160709-15) Its nice to see the chicks around the house!

Well I gotta tell you with all of the young birds that I have been seeing, I have been wondering if we were going to get a yard family of pheasants this year. Last year it was well into august before we started seeing a family unit around the yard regularly. Well this year it would appear the we will have the pleasure of entertaining a family again this year. But first a shot of a crow that I have been wanting to get an image of for a while now. This sweetheart has one white tail feather and with the its roots showing on the wings as it is going through a moult.
Later in the day I spotted Mom and her little ones in the back yard. Here is one of the more adventuresome chicks.
Here are three that snuck out onto the grass before mom scolded them back to her safety.
And of course Mom with 5 of her seven that showed up on this first day, that we have seen them this year.
The next day of course the yard was watched pretty steadily, no pheasants spotted but this Mourning dove demanded some attention.
Then this lovely Northern Flicker sat in some beautiful light and I had to shoot it.
Then within another couple of days Dad showed up with Mom and six lovely chicks. Here he is with 5 of his charges, I was surprised to find him with no tail feathers remaining.
This is what you look like when you have a pile of kids to try and raise safely in a world today. Dad is a little disheveled.
I would have liked for them to show up when they were even smaller, but I will take them at this size, gratefully!
Of course Dad isn't doing this all on his own, so here is Mom.
So over the next few months you should be able to follow these "new" birds through their journey to adulthood. I am hoping that there will be a lot of photo opportunities!