Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chukar in Saskatoon

Yesterday , I was given the heads-up that a Chukar had been seen in downtown Saskatoon, by a local resident who had seen the bird perched atop a shed roof.
This morning my friend and I spent awhile trying to find it, then had success, locating it on the edge of a park, in the company of a Gray Partridge.
The bird did not have any leg bands, so who knows where it originated from.

Here is some information on this attractive species :( Taken from Wikipedia )

This partridge has its native range in Eurasia, from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east to southeastern Europe in the west, and is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. It has been introduced widely for game hunters, and became established in the United States Rocky Mountains, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In Great Britain, hybrids between this species and the also introduced Red-legged Partridge are common.

Chukar prefer rocky, steep, and open hillsides. In the United States, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho lead all other states in terms of feral chukar populations and harvest. However, they can be found in almost all the western states in isolated populations.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gray Jay & Sora

My friend and I found this Sora Rail at a marsh near Hudson Bay while doing our songbird survey :

Here is a Gray Jay from back when I stayed at a friends cabin in early July :

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lazuli Bunting near Saskatoon

One of the best things about living in Saskatchewan, and in particular , my home town, is that the network of birders, or the ' birding grapevine' is pretty amazing.
I had the pleasure of making a new friend this morning who's co-worker lives just on the outskirts of town.
His acreage has been playing host to a rare visitor for the past few days. A beautiful male Lazuli Bunting, a bird that is usually found further south.
A few show up not far from Regina, but the Saskatoon area only has a couple of records.

Here is a shot I managed from a fair distance away. If I'd had a longer zoom, and better light, blah blah blah... :-)
I'm just happy I got to finally add this bird to my life-list, and it becomes the 225th species I've seen this year :

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Warblers along the Red Deer River Valley

Last weekend , I participated in a songbird point count census along the Red Deer River Valley, east of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan near the Manitoba border, with a renowned local birder.

The country up there is wonderful and despite the biting insects, bushwhacking through 6ft high soaking wet ferns and climbing over slippery deadfall, I would do it all again next week ! :-)

We found quite a good number of Warblers on their breeding grounds, including a nice look at a female American Redstart on her nest.

Here are the highlights over 2 days :

Black-throated Green Warbler - lifer - This bird has eluded me for years, so this was a real treat.
Canada Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Nashville Warbler ( New for the year )
Blackburnian Warbler ( New for the year )
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Black & White Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Black-billed Cuckoo - This was a nice surprise to hear one this far north ( new for the year )
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Spruce Grouse
Pileated Woodpecker

Here are some photos :

Black-throated Green Warbler
- My first ever look at this species. I endured many mosquito bites for this picture !..

Canada Warbler - This Warbler, I'd only ever had one brief look at before, and that was here in town earlier during the spring. I saw a couple during the day of our survey and then found this co-operative male in the same forest area as the Black-throated Green, later in the afternoon :

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Photos From Beauval

I've been very busy of late, and have only just recently gotten through some of the photos I wanted to share from my recent trip up north.
I just returned from Hudson Bay where I have photos to share from that trip also.

So meanwhile , here's the rest from Beauval ( Click to see full size )

Winter Wren - This energetic little songster was serenading us close to the cabin every night :

Prickly Rose with Crab Spider - These lovely, fragrant wild roses are quite common, but not everyone might have ever seen it's guest, the waiting Crab Spider. Instead of spinning a web, this little arachnid will ambush its victims from flower heads, often preying on bees and other flying insects :

Magnolia Warbler - I didn't see or hear too many Warblers around, but on the last morning I heard and then located this beautiful male Magnolia Warbler on a White Spruce :

Wood Lily - The floral emblem of Saskatchewan often called Western Red Lily or Tiger Lily :

Sandhill Crane - This was found on the first day in a roadside field :

Woodchuck - I only saw my first of these last year in Prince Albert National Park. This little guy, a relative of Marmots and bigger than our ground squirrels, I found in a clearing in the forest :