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 :