Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Fall Birds and a Coyote

Well, if our current weather is anything to go by, I'd say that Autumn is in full swing.
As I'm typing this, the wind us gusting with speeds up to 40mph and our backyard has become a shelter for White-crowned Sparrows, a lone Song Sparrow , Dark-eyed Junco's , Magpies and of course many House Sparrows.
Yesterday we had visits from a Spotted Towhee and 2 Orange-crowned Warblers.

Here are some new photos :

Palm Warbler

American Pipit

Black-crowned Night Heron

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Coyote - Here's a healthy-looking Coyote from last month

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Birds Around Town

The Fall Bird Count I took part in last Saturday, wasn't as productive as last years count, with 55 species tallied compared to the year before ( 69 ).
This could be because of the late spring we had and cool weather during the breeding season that kept many species away ?
I'm thinking many migrants overflew us days before and headed straight south.
We have had many clear calm nights, over the past few weeks, so it wouldn't be too much of a surprise.
Highlights of this years count included a Broad-winged Hawk and a Black-crowned Night Heron.
It was still a great day though with fabulous hot weather and myself and my partner were on our feet for almost 11 hours!

Here are some photos taken this Fall of a few Warblers and other passerine's I've found on my travels around the city...

( Left click on photos for bigger view )

Palm Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Wilson's Warbler - female

Here's a young Least Flycatcher from a local park 2 weeks ago :

The young Cedar Waxwings seem to be quite numerous and are gorging themselves on the ripened fruit now readily available on many of the shrubs and trees around town :

Friday, September 11, 2009

More From Cypress Hills

Here is another bunch of photos from my recent trip to the Cypress Hills ( as usual click to see bigger versions ):

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - I found this youngster on the 'Highland trail' portion of the park :

Turkey Vulture - My wife and I found a few of these perched at Eastend, a nice drive not too far from Cypress Hills :

Swainson's Hawk - I caught this hawk as he was about to lift off . The background here is a lush green field that was beautifully out of focus behind him :

Loggerhead Shrike - One of two individuals we saw on the journey home :

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- This juvenile was also on the Highland Trail and as much as I wanted to, I couldn't turn him into a Red-naped Sapsucker. Next year !

Song Sparrow - Another young bird. This was taken by the Cypress Lake and posed nicely by a berry bush :

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk - This light phase Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk was a nice surprise to see on the way home. The background here is a canola field. The light was fading so I had to boost the ISO to 800 on this one just to keep it in focus :

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Birding Cypress Hills Part One

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, is somewhere I've always wanted to visit, and at the end of last month, my wife and I spent an enjoyable 4 nights there.
The park sits on a rise about 600 meters above the vast Great Plains between Saskatchewan and Alberta and is the only place in Saskatchewan where you can see Lodge pole Pines growing.
The scenery really is something to behold, and even if you aren't a nature lover, you'd be in awe.
I, of course, had some birds to find, seeing as this area ( the south west ) has a few species that only occur down there,and nowhere else in the Province.
One bird I needed for my life-list, but missed, was Dusky Flycatcher.
That will now have to come next year when we get there a little earlier in the season.

I did still get three lifers on the trip, which more than made up for any misses:

Red-naped Sapsucker ( No decent photo-op unfortunately )
Wild Turkey
MacGillivray's Warbler

One of these days, I'll get around to buying a nice landscape lens, so I could have taken some half-decent scenic photos, but for now I will have to share the many feathered friends I found on my hikes...

Click for bigger versions :

Northern Goshawk - This handsome Accipiter has long eluded my lens, and 'mocked' me from afar, as they are usually seen in the blink of an eye as they streak across the road ( often in the winter time )
I spotted this adult bird sunning itself early one morning from a good distance away, its silvery feathers glowing in the morning light. After what felt like an age, I eventually got as close enough, creeping up slowly like a hunter, finally getting my prize :

Pink-sided Junco - Here is an example of a bird you can only find at the Cypress Hills, unless you want to travel down to the US.
This sub-species of Junco were quite numerous around the park :

MacGillivray's Warbler - Another species high on my want list. I found this male on our last day, literally an hour before we were due to leave :

Veery - These can be found fairly locally, but this one flew down to a nearby perch after I imitated its " veer" call :

Wild Turkey - I didn't think I'd get to see these, but again, luck was on our side and I photographed these two along a roadside about 8pm :