Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pileated Woodpecker at Holiday Park

I thought I'd post two previously unpublished photos of the male Pileated Woodpecker at Holiday Park earlier this month, before February hits us hard with a new dose of cold weather :

Monday, January 28, 2008

Waxwings, Owls & Robins at Aberdeen

As some of you may know, since mid December, a Northern Hawk Owl, out of its usual winter range , has been residing in the small town of Aberdeen Saskatchewan.
I have been back there two more times since my last update and was pleased to find , that there was not just the Hawk Owl, but also Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings in quite impressive numbers, two overwintering American Robins and more recently, 2 Snowy Owls not too far from the town site as an added bonus.

Here are some photos - click for full size , or you can just view them as they are if you are on dial up or a slow connection .

Cedar Waxwings

Bohemian Waxwings

Northern Hawk Owl

On Friday the Owl was still there , and I got this shot of her in action (thanks to Brent T )

American Robin

Snowy Owls

Friday, January 18, 2008

Northern Cardinal

Well, after seven attempts to get a look at this beautiful wayward bird ( 2 out of 7 attempts have been a success ), my friend Ron and I were rewarded with a pretty decent look at her yesterday at the property in downtown Saskatoon .

The weather was so bitterly cold outside that we opted to stay in the vehicle . Eventually our patience paid off with the Cardinal showing up after about 30 minutes. She is a very skittish bird and went straight into the feeder and proceeded to eat Sunflower seeds , then flew out and perched just long enough for me to get a couple of photos through the window.

It's no wonder she is jumpy, because not long after she departed, a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk landed right near the feeder and looked around for something to take for supper.

Here are a few photos :

Northern Cardinal

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Red Squirrel

While at the park the other day with two friends , it was a nice surprise to see this Red Squirrel happily minding its own buisness, munching on a pine cone.
This is only the 3rd time I've seen one in the city.

Red Squirrel

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sanatorium Site ( again )

Well, they say 3rd time is the charm. In my case it ended up being the 4th visit to the Cardinal location, that the bird actually decided to make a brief but thrilling appearance.

So, it turns out 'it' was a she after-all ! Now all we have to do is pray that a bright red male shows up in spring to serenade her .

I still intend on trying for a photo , although she tends to like staying on the ground hidden behind a bench, so we'll have to see if the birding Gods reward me.

These past few days 'staking out' this particular birders oasis have bought some real nice surprises and the owners of the 'Cardinal house' couldn't be nicer people .

So, last Saturday (the 12th), myself and my friends Ryan and Angela spent a good few hours at the site and ended up finding a real bounty of species . I opted to stay behind for a couple more hours and ended up with a couple more to add.

Here are the highlights :

Pileated Woodpecker - right off the bat - a healthy-looking Male flew in to the edge of the yard , hammering at the trees and vocalising loudly, as it flew off deep into the park . This is the first time I've ever seen a Pileated in Saskatoon.

Northern Cardinal - a fleeting glimpse through the car window , then she was gone . Still, a new one for the life-list !

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 young bird flew into the yard and perched in a tree sending everything else scattering.

Townsend's Solitaire - 1 - Of course, now I've seen one of these birds they show up everywhere. Although, it does seem to be a very good year for them .

Red-shafted Northern Flicker - 1 - The Handsome male showed up again .

Dark-eyed Junco - 2 - Nice to see these stragglers hanging on where the food is.

Brown Creeper - 2 in the park

White-breasted Nuthatch - 4 in the park

White-winged Crossbills - 14 at the tops of the Spruce trees in the park.

Here are some photos ( all of which are clickable , as usual )

Pileated Woodpecker

Brown Creeper

Downy Woodpecker

Red-breasted Nuthatch

These last 2 photos were taken from quite a distance and in pretty poor light :

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-shafted Northern Flicker

Friday, January 11, 2008

Winter wonders..

Yesterday while out looking for the elusive Northern Cardinal ( that we missed by a mere 10 minutes ! ) I photographed a few of the regulars around the park as compensation .
Actually , I did get one bonus bird : A Male Red-shafted Northern Flicker . The first Male I've ever seen , only having seen a Female in our backyard 2 years ago.
He was a gorgeous bird, but unfortunately did not co-operate for a photo-op . Maybe I'll get a double-whammy and find both Red birds today !

Here are the birds seen at the feeder and around the park :

White-breasted Nuthatch - 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 5
Black-capped Chickadee - 7
Dark-eyed Junco - 1 ( bird number 57 for my winter list )
House Finch - 19
House Sparrow - 11
Hairy Woodpecker - 2
Downy Woodpecker - 2
White-winged Crossbill - 2
Red-shafted Flicker - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1

2 of the locals :

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pike Lake Bird Count & Sanitorium Site

On Saturday the Saskatoon Nature Society held its annual Christmas Bird Count at Pike Lake .
Our team was assigned to a Northern sector, with access to a few properties with feeders , and some of the surrounding countryside.
We ended up having a great day finding 19 species, and may have gotten more if the wind had been abit calmer.

Here's a list of the birds seen :

Common Redpoll - 195
Hoary Redpoll - 2
Bohemian Waxwings - only 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 38
Hairy Woodpecker - 5
Downy Woodpecker - 6
Pileated Woodpecker - 2
Black-billed Magpie - 7
Pine Grosbeak - 19
White-breasted Nuthatch - 7
Sharp-tailed Grouse - 15
Northern Shrike - 1 (plus 1 outside of our count area)
Great Horned Owl - 1
Blue Jay - 2
Common Raven - 7
Northern Goshawk - 1
Snow Bunting - 24
House Sparrow - 75
Northern Flicker - 1

Afterwards , we thought we'd look for a possible Northern Cardinal that has been visiting a feeder near the old sanitorium site on the west side of the river . (we only got this information the day before )
An hour went by, and although we didn't see the Cardinal ,we were surprised to find no less than 6 American Robins that obviously didn't want to fly south . They were happily plucking berries from a tree behind the house .
Other birds at the feeder included 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadees, several House Finch and 3 Downy Woodpeckers.
Just when we were about to call it a day , A Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk appeared from behind the trees of the nearby park !
Red-tailed Hawks have been seen in the Winter a couple of times around the city and on a few counts, but its not that common an occurance, so that was a nice end to a productive day .

Here are some photos :

Sharp-tailed Grouse - This was one in a small group that didn't want to move from the road

Hoary Redpoll - one of two seen on the count

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk - I got these shots as it flew over the park towards the river

Friday, January 4, 2008

A New Year, A New Blog

I have been meaning to upgrade my Blog site for some time now , but because of the way I previously displayed my photos, I was unnable to convert the old, to this new format which will be neater, easier to navigate, and be more user friendly for folks that have different monitor displays on their screens, or other web browsers. This way, everyone sees the same thing.
From now on, all photos on this new blog will be 'clickable' . In other words, to see the full size photo, you must click on it, and it will open in a new window.
The old blog was starting to look untidy because of me constantly trying to squash some of the larger photos onto the screen.
So, the new address for the blog is :
The old blog : will still be there for everyone to look back on.
I must move with the times, and I hope this does not deter you from enjoying the photos.

So, here is the first new photo, from a visit to the Lakeshore Garden Nursery site today ( I had to get permission to look around) It didn't take too long before I was rewarded with yet another Townsend's Solitaire ( probably one of the three I counted on Boxing Day). The other two were singing their House Finch-like song while this one stuck around to eat berries .
Other birds seen today were a group of 6 White-winged Crossbills and 4 Golden-crowned Kinglets at President Murray Park.

Townsend's Solitaire