Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birding around Beauval

I have just returned from a stay at Little Amyot Lake, not far from the town of Beauval, SK.
While there, I also found time to bird the areas of La Loche , Buffalo Narrows , Beaver River and Peter Pond Lake.
The weather for the most part was excellent, with mostly sunny days and a few scattered showers.
A recent plough wind had ripped through the Amyot sub-division and wrecked havoc, with many fallen trees blocking off the main trail around the lake, forcing me to bushwhack and find an alternate route.
Warblers were not that plentiful with only a few actually calling.
Finding a total of 80 species of birds while there, here are some highlights in
no particular order : ( * indicates new for the year )

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher* - I usually only see one of these in a year, so now
the pressure is off ! This one individual was perched on a bridge handrail at
Peter Pond Lake.
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Black & White Warbler - 3
Tennessee Warbler - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Mourning Warbler - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 10
Western Tanager* - 2
Turkey Vulture - 7
Osprey - 2
Bald Eagle - 2
Winter Wren - 2
Barred Owl - 2 , calling at 3am the first night. I located them the next
Boreal Owl - 1 calling at 5am on the first morning.
Red Crossbill* - 5 . I didn't see this species at all last year, so this was
Pine Siskin - 7
Common Redpoll - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
Northern Goshawk - 1
Merlin - 9
American Kestrel - 4
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Great Blue Heron - 5
Bonaparte's Gull - 2
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Common Goldeneye - 2
Common Loon - 3
Belted Kingfisher - 3
Spotted Sandpiper - 6
Gray Jay - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 5
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 2
Veery - 1
Hermit Thrush - 2
Pileated Woodpecker - 2

Here is the male Barred Owl ( click to enlarge )
There are more photos to come from this trip...

Here he is hooting at me. Such a wonderful thing to see up close..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Chase A Mockingbird

I still get regular emails, quite often a few times a week, from good folks who have birds showing up that they need identifying, or birds that make them go " wow ".
A particular "wow" bird that has been 'doing the rounds' of late has been the Northern Mockingbird.
Usually found in the US and pretty unusual here in Saskatchewan ( although they HAVE bred here a handful of times ), I've had two reports of a 'Mocker' in 6 days, and from two different areas.
A group of us also found last winter that I posted on the blog.
Last week my friend and I visited a wonderful farm where the kind owner showed us around her property to look for the grey bird with white wing-patches that sounded like a police siren and a phone ringing.
We spent two hours combing the property but was unable to find the bird in question.
The exciting thing was, that it had been seen gathering nesting material, so it could have raised young.
I have another 'lead' to check out later today, so hopefully we can find the other one, although it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack sometimes :-)

Here are a couple of recent photos :

Vesper Sparrow
- While searching for the Mockingbird, this sparrow hopped onto a nice perch for me :

Cape May Warbler - This female was enjoying sugar water at a friends yard last month :

Blackpoll Warbler - Here's one I got last month that I forgot to post !

Gray Catbird - This youngster was sitting on the grass at the Forestry Farm recently :

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eurasian Collared-Dove and more catching up

A pair of Eurasian Collared-Dove's have found their way into town and have taken up residence it seems in a Spruce Tree in one of the older neighbourhoods.
This species of Dove is gradually expanding its range and small populations can now be found in many towns in Saskatchewan. Pretty soon they will be as common as Mourning Doves at this rate.
Here is one of the pair on lookout duty :

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Here are some new photos from my travels ..( best viewed full size )

Red Fox Pups - This was taken as my friend and I were on our way home from completing our May bird count :

Common Nighthawk - This Nighthawk was taking a break from catching flies, about 40 feet up a dead snag, close to the Nisbet Forest last Saturday :

Dark-eyed Junco - Here's one from a recent stay at Candle Lake.

Osprey - An Osprey over Meewasin Park in May :

Swainson's Hawk - This handsome bird was also on our May bird count :

Willet - From a trip out to Goose Lake early one morning this month :

Red-eyed Vireo - And finally, here's a portrait of a Red-eyed Vireo I found at a local park in late May :

Monday, June 15, 2009

Northern Saw-whet Owlets

On Saturday I traveled with my pal Marten to the Nisbet Forest where I then had the pleasure of meeting bird bander Harold Fisher and his wonderful family.
Out of thirty-something Saw-whet Owl boxes put up in various spots throughout the woods , three were successful and had young inside that were in pretty good shape.
Afterwards, Marten and I found a Northern Hawk Owl, a couple of Common Nighthawk , a vocal American Bittern, Cliff Swallows , Turkey Vulture, Mourning Warbler, Veery, Hermit Thrush and some other more commonly seen species.
A new year bird was a lone Chestnut-sided Warbler, which was a nice bonus.
Also new for 2009 was a female Black-backed Woodpecker.

Here are some of the young Saw-whet Owls :

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cedar Waxwing

I spent an hour or so, walking around the Forestry Farm Park before work during the week and found a few nice things.
Most of the Warblers have headed north now, but I did see a female American Redstart and the usual Yellow Warblers.
There were baby Robins and also newly fledged Catbirds just sitting on the grass.
From high in the Spruce trees, a lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglet was calling , and a Common Tern gave a few flyby's over the trout pond.

Cedar Waxwing - Here is a Cedar Waxwing enjoying a Sea Buckthorn berry from the park that morning.
( click to see full size ):

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Shorebirds n Stuff

I'm still catching up on photos taken back in May, and will add a few other pics taken when ever I can sneak out after work for a few hours in the morning.
I have so many things going on this year, but I will continue to find time for this blog as I get such great feedback via the comments and in private emails.
The good thing about blogging, is that I can work on it from home and add photos before going to sleep, as some of you know I work nights and sleep ( although overrated ) is very important!
Since asking for ' bird alerts', I've had at least 10 emails per week from people within the Province with something 'strange' at their feeder , or in their yard or something they've spotted elsewhere, so I thank you too !
Its great to identify these birds , and help out folks who have an interest in what's 'out there'.

So, here are some new photos...

Long-billed Curlew - Always a treat to see this species, as they are in a bit of a decline in Saskatchewan. This one was spotted as the sun was going down during our bird count last month :

Red-tailed Hawk - This handsome raptor was flying over a local park last month :

Yellow Warbler - This territorial male was singing at a park here in town early one morning :

Ruddy Turnstone - A shorebird I don't often see. There were two of these on our bird count last month :

White-rumped Sandpiper - Not the most common sandpipers around. It's always a pleasure to see a group of these :

Black-necked Stilt - Another nice species to find any year, we found 8 of these graceful waders last month. I went back out there last week and got this shot :

Willet - And finally, this Willet was calling from atop his sentry post. I really should consider adding sound to this blog at some point, as he was giving quite the show :

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Singers, Shorebirds and more...

I recently notched up a sort-of lifer during the week. I found a male Canada Warbler skulking on one of the lower trails of a local park. I have only ever heard one , and never actually seen one until now.
I wish I could have gotten a decent photo, but he was very deep in the brush, still.. he has the distinction of becoming my 211th bird of the year :-)

I don't want to fall too far behind on sharing new photos, so here is another set of recently found birds...

Red-eyed Vireo - This inquisitive singer was at a local park during the week :

Sanderling - This breeding plumage bird was near Clavet :

Cliff Swallow - Very fast & hard to photograph. This was taken on the May Bird Count :

American Redstart - Here's a singing male from Pike Lake :

Veery - Another songster, this Thrush was also at a local park during the week :

American Avocet - From yesterday at Goose Lake :

American Robin - From very early one morning at a local park :

Chipping Sparrow - From my recent trip to Candle Lake :

Swainson's Thrush - From around my ow neighbourhood :

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Plovers & More

I just spent an enjoyable weekend at Candle Lake where I added to my year list a Blue-headed Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo, 2 Bay-breasted Warblers and an American Redstart , putting my current tally at 210 species seen so far in 2009.
It really has been a slow spring though with only a handfull of Warbler species up north with more still to arrive.
Cape May Warbler's were quite numerous up at Candle , with Yellow-rumps, Tennessee , Redstart, Ovenbird and the Bay-breasted being the only other representatives.
I did find other nice species though such as Pileated Woodpecker, Veery & Northern Goshawk.

So, photos are building up all the time !
Here is a new variety of pics taken over the past few weeks...

Semipalmated Plover - This little plover was foraging near Goose Lake on the day of our May bird count :

Bay-breasted Warbler - From Candle Lake last weekend , not the ideal view, but this is often how I see these Warblers , high in the tree canopy :

Belted Kingfisher - Here's the Kingfisher found on our bird count :

Vesper Sparrow - This was taken near town on a quiet country road :

American Golden Plover - One of a group of these handsome birds found on our recent bird count :

Eastern Phoebe - This bird was gathering nesting material at the southern Nisbet Forest a few weeks ago :

House Finch - A breeding male from the backyard :

Northern Rough-winged Swallow - A species I haven't photographed before, I found this bird perched high along the riverbank during some strong winds last week :

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - This woodpecker was drinking sap from a tree in a local park last month. You can see the freshly made holes in the tree on the left of the photo :