Monday, February 23, 2009

Eastern Towhee and more at Candle Lake

On Saturday, two friends and myself traveled north to Candle Lake, in the hopes of finding some more Owls.
Unfortunately, this time, we were out of luck. I think we were very fortunate back in December when they were more numerous.
Of course, we still had a fantastic day of birding and notched up 19 species when we were all done.
The highlights were many, but most notable was an Eastern Towhee that we had heard all about over the Christmas period, but did not get to see while we were there at that time.
This bird is another fine example of migration gone slightly awry as it should not be in Saskatchewan at all right now !
Of course, we are so used to seeing the Spotted Towhee in our part of the Province, so this is a nice surprise.
For a couple of months, it has been visiting a front yard feeder and will often fly in to feed on sunflower seeds when the other birds give it some room.
The other big bird of the day, was a male Varied Thrush that flew like a missile past the window of our vehicle which we then relocated perched high in the dark boughs of a spruce tree. While not completely unusual, this is not something you see every year this far north and was another welcome addition to our winter/year lists.
Again, we have to thank the fine hospitality of the property owners who allowed us into their homes and yards in order to see these excellent birds.

Here is the list of species we found :

Northern Goshawk - one perched adult bird ( new for the year )
Downy Woodpecker - 2 or 3
Hairy Woodpecker - 8
American Three-toed Woodpecker - 2 males ( new for the year )
Blue Jay - 13
Gray Jay - 6 ( new for the year )
Black-billed Magpie - 4
Common Raven - 28
Black-capped Chickadee - 44
Boreal Chickadee - 26 ( new for the year )
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 4
White-breasted Nuthatch - heard one
American Robin - 2
Varied Thrush - 1 male
Eastern Towhee - 1 ( lifer )
Pine Grosbeak - 85+
Common Redpoll - 80+
Hoary Redpoll - 1
Evening Grosbeak - 30

Mammals were:

White-tailed Deer - approx. 23
Red Squirrel - 9
Snowshoe Hare tracks - 1 set

Here are a few photos :

Eastern Towhee - I only had a couple of seconds to fire of 6 shots of this bird before as it landed in some shrubs close to the feeder, then flew off over the house. I'm extremely happy I was able to document this rarity :

Boreal Chickadee - I had hoped to get some shots of this active little species, as they are not always obliging. Luckily, they were quite abundant on Saturday. :

Being the perfectionist that I am , I am never completely happy with photos taken through a pane of glass, as the quality tends to suffer and detail is often lost. That being said , the colours of the following two male Grosbeaks seemed to glow so brightly in the overcast light that I thought I'd still share them anyway...

Pine Grosbeak :

Evening Grosbeak :

White-tailed Deer :


Kelly said...

I've never seen a Boreal Chickadee. He is exceptionally cute with that soft-brown cap. You're so lucky to have the grosbeaks and the towhee waiting for you right outside your window. Love the color! (and the deer too!)

Nick S said...

Thanks Kelly. I wish it was my window. This was in Candle Lake :-)

Rocky M said...

Great series of photos Nick! I didn't know you had any new link.Sounds like you had a nice trip.:)

Shelley said...

Every time I see your photos - I think I need a bigger lens! Or lessons! LOL! The grosbeaks were amazing!

Nick S said...

Thanks Rocky. I don't always advertise my stuff on Saskbirds. People seem to know where my site is, and can decide if they want to visit or not :-)
Shelly, you are very kind.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

That's a collection of beautiful birds.

Jayne said...

How wonderful Nick! Great, great shots of them all!

Philip said...

Nick all these pictures are great I dont have a favorite I like all of them great work !

Kim said...

The Boreal Chickadee is so cute!! I love the your photos. You get some wonderful birds with such color.

Nick S said...

Thanks guys :-)

The Birdlady said...

Nick, these are, of course, all very wonderful - I particularly love the little boreal chickadee, as I've never seen one.

Courtney K. said...

Blundered onto your blog via Google image search for common redpolls. Your pics are fantastic! They really show the beauty of even the more common species- which of course are no less beautiful because they're common, we just sometimes need reminded! Keep up the great work.

Unknown said...

WOW...what variety !!! Beautiful series Nick. And that Boreal Chickadee is my favorite.