Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Updates

I would like to wish all of my followers and readers a very Merry Christmas, and thank you all for visiting my blog , emailing and sending messages and comments.
As always , I appreciate all feedback ! :-)

I recently completed my 'mini marathon' of Christmas Bird Counts, getting 4 of them out of the way. 3 of which were back to back. Some in fair weather, and some in pretty nasty weather with winds that chilled you to the bone !
We managed to find some good stuff, with the highlight being 10 over-wintering American White Pelican's at Gardiner Dam. A new record for Canada, with only 2 ever previously counted on a Christmas count period before.

Some other highlights were a big flock of Bohemian Waxwings residing in the town of Elbow. There were nice numbers of White-winged Crossbills at Douglas Provincial Park. An American Goldfinch hanging out with some Common & Hoary Redpolls. An awesome fly-by of a Gray-morph Gyrfalcon, and 2 Short-eared Owls, hunting at dusk.

A couple of hardy Sparrows that should be south by now, are also still lingering on, with a Harris's Sparrow at a farm near Martensville, and my buddy has a White-throated Sparrow at his backyard feeder that doesn't want to leave.

A few choice mammals were also seen including Long-tailed Weasel, American Badger, Moose, Coyote , Red Fox , Jack rabbit and Eastern Cottontail.

I still have another 2,(maybe 3) Christmas Counts yet to go, but until my next update, here are a few new photos taken during over the past few days ..

White-winged Crossbill :

Bohemian Waxwing :

Sharp-tailed Grouse :

White-tailed Jack Rabbit :

Nuttal's Cottontail Rabbit :

Merlin :

American White Pelican - Here is a distant and grainy shot of the ten over-wintering Pelicans at Gardiner Dam. They looked cold, but eventually took to the water and even began fishing !

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Bird Counts & New Photos

Yep, it's that time of year again, where us ( crazy ? ) folk head out in minus weather conditions to count birds and see if we can find anything rare or unusual while we are at it.
This year I'll be doing 6 counts , the first one starting this coming Thursday.
Last year I managed to find some nice species such as Harris's Sparrow, Red Crossbill and Townsend's Solitaire.
I hope this year brings something as good as those ( or better! )

I also want to thank everybody who bought calendars from me . I sold quite a few, so thanks guys , and I hope they look good wherever they end up hanging :-)

I still have around 20 left, so its still not too late to order. After that, I won't be printing any more ( Until the 2012 one next year ! )

Here are some new photos , taken since my last update...

Bohemian Waxwing - Some years we see this species arrive in their thousands, but even when only a few scattered flocks show up around town, it is still a treat !

Varied Thrush - A mountain thrush that only appears during November and December . Only a few will arrive in town, so finding them is not always easy unless one visits a feeder.
I waited many hours in the cold to get this photo...

Red-breasted Nuthatch - A common, and daily visitor to my backyard but not always easy to get a clear shot of...

Northern Flicker - These female has been coming to our yard since early November :

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count Overall Winner & Some New Photos

I was very happy to learn that my photo of a hungry American Robin, taken in very cold weather during a cold February this year won the overall prize for the Great Backyard Bird Count Photo Competition.

The website is here -

Here also are some new photos taken since we had a big snowfall recently !

House Finch - This male was enjoying frozen fruit from a tree while the snow fell :

Rough-legged Hawk - a morning of hoar frost and a nice drive out in the country with a friend provided the setting for this shot :

Black-billed Magpie - Here, a Magpie was also resorting to a fruit diet during a particularly nasty day outside :

Friday, October 29, 2010

Golden-crowned Kinglet

I was thrilled to have another visit from a Golden-crowned Kinglet ( 2 in fact ) again last week.
Here is a female, posing on Red-osier Dogwood, with my fence as a nice backdrop. As usual click on images for full size version :

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Fall Visitors

Our new backyard is proving to be a great haven for birds. In just four weeks of living here I've made a yard-list of 27 different species that have visited so far, the most recent being a Northern Shrike that caught a House Sparrow and devoured it in the confines of our Hawthorn Tree!

Here are a couple of new photos :

Golden-crowned Kinglet - We had 2 of these speedy little guys show up recently:

Red-breasted Nuthatch - These little birds are becoming very tame now :

Purple Finch - We had a female show up, then this beautiful male the following day:

Common Yellowthroat - This handsome male showed up at our old yard right before we moved :

My 2 calendars are ready from the printers now and have turned out very nice ( if I dare to say so myself )
Anyone wanting a copy (or copies) of either, can email me for a preview of every page.

Friday, October 15, 2010

2011 Calendars Available Now

My 2011 Saskatchewan Birds Calendar is now at the printers, so I will be taking orders as of now, for those who'd like them. Once again, they are $20.00 each.

I am also releasing a second calendar called 'Saskatchewan Wildlife' which features only mammals. This is a 'limited edition' and unless demand is high, I have only ordered 30 of these from the printer, so if you want one, you will have to let me know a.s.a.p . Of course if they prove popular, I will order more.

This year I have decided to go with 1 large photo per page, rather than 3 small one's. So in otherwords, you'll be getting 12 full colour large prints, plus the cover.

For anyone who wants calendars mailed, I would ask that you let me know before the end of November at the latest, to ensure a Christmas delivery. Costs of shipping of course depends on how many calendars are ordered.
As usual, I am happy to keep calendars here to be collected in person by anyone who doesn't want them mailed.

Please email me at for orders and I will get back to you the same day.

Here are some preview pages :

Monday, October 4, 2010

October Already !

Well, once again, I'm late updating, but I have valid reasons. Not only have my wife and I finally moved into a beautiful new home , complete with a lovely big yard, I also managed to jinx myself by boasting that I'd not had a bad cold since moving to Canada way back in 2002. Well of course, I ended up with the flu , which stuck around for nearly 10 days ! As it turns out , almost everyone I have spoken to, knows someone who has had this particular nasty bug during September, or they had it themselves.

Anyway... The birds and animals are still out there doing their stuff. Whooping Crane's have just recently been spotted at Muskiki Lake. A buddy of mine just spotted a rare Parasitic Jaeger at Redberry Lake, while another friend in town had a beautiful Yellow-billed Cuckoo show up in his back garden, and we still have a few migrants trickling through our yard.
The leaves are all in gorgeous Fall colours, the winds have gotten crispier and cooler and the mornings are now chilly but there is still a lot to see and enjoy out there.

Here are some new photos...

Red Squirrel - This cute little fella was enjoying sunflower seeds I was feeding him, at Pike Lake Provincial Park recently:

Gray-cheeked Thrush
- Not as common as Swainson's or Hermit Thrush, these are a real treat when they show up in your backyard :

Tennessee Warbler - Here's a fall-plumage bird from the backyard :

Cooper's Hawk - I recently found a number of juvenile birds near Cosmopolitan Park here in town :

Red-breasted Nuthatch - this inquisitive little bird was foraging on the ground and not upside-down on a tree trunk for a change :

Orange-crowned Warbler - Another from the old backyard :

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Birding and catch up time !

Its been a rainy few weeks since my last update, but migration is in full swing.
I've found many nice species and have trawled parks and scanned alley ways and backyards looking for a glimpse of a colorful warbler , or something else passing through on its way south.

Here are some of the highlights seen recently :

Swainson's Thrush - They love the Elderberry and Red Osier Berries we have in our yard. There must have been 10 at our place over a 2 day period :

Blue-headed Vireo - One of my favourite species, I found him at a local park :

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Many of these were at local parks :

Swainson's Hawk - This dark-phased bird was near Blackstrap Lake recently :

Eastern Phoebe - I found this inquisitive flycatcher by the river on a low trail:

Great Blue Heron - This young Heron was at the Forestry Farm Park recently :

Canada Warbler - I found this at Cosmopolitan Park on a recent walk :

Clay-colored Sparrow - A few of these are still around in the open fields :

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ruffed Grouse and some recent Acomplishments

Another late update here, but this one is just to tide things over until I move house, which will be next month.
We have a beautiful new house and a big yard that I can turn into a bird paradise!

This male Ruffed Grouse was at a park about 30 minutes from town, sitting on its favorite log and attracting a mate by 'drumming' its wings which creates a loud thumping sound.
Many people have heard this sound from the woods, but not everyone has actually seen it. Very cool !

I thought I'd let some of my Blogger friends know that I've had a few things published this Summer ...

Birdwatch Canada magazine used several of my photos including the cover shot of a Western Meadowlark :

Prairies North Magazine - did a feature of the Red Deer River Valley and used a few of my photos in their Spring Issue. They will also be using one of my photos in their 2011 Calendar :

A 432 page field guide called 'The Birds of Quebec' by Jean Paquin, also used a number of my photographs. This can be bought on :

Also, anyone that lives locally can see my photos regularly in Nature Saskatchewan's Blue Jay Magazine and in the Sun newspaper in the 'Nature Notes " column.