Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wintertime Wonders

Well, we are right in the middle of winter here in Saskatchewan, with temperatures sometimes dropping as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius! Of course, those are not the times to be out birding or nature watching, but the weather can change so dramatically here, that it isn't too long before you can go outside again and enjoy the wildlife.
In November, my wife and I were lucky enough to spend a few days in Banff, Alberta, where I took advantage of the gorgeous scenery, and spent 3 days hiking through the mountains and forests looking for wildlife, with some exciting results! I managed to find and photograph my first ever Pine Marten, an animal I have wanted to see for years.
The winter season really started in December, with the Christmas Bird Counts.
I took part in 6 counts last month, and one more at the beginning of January. My friends and I saw many birds and mammals, including a rare winter visit by an Eastern Towhee that came to a feeder at an acreage near the town of Clavet. An American White Pelican was at Gardiner Dam ( for the 3rd year in a row ) and a lone American Robin lingered at Danielson Provincial Park.
A few owls have been seen this winter too. My friend had a Northern Saw-whet Owl visit his front yard feeder in downtown Saskatoon, while another friend in the country, had a Boreal Owl in their backyard, preying on mice that would pick up dropped birdfood. A Northern Hawk Owl was spotted by the river here in town, then continued to show up on many streets.
My own backyard has been pretty busy too, with visits from Brown Creeper, Northern Shrike, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Raven and many winter finch species, including Red and White-winged Crossbills, Common and Hoary Redpoll, House Finch and Pine Grosbeak. Bohemian Waxwings are now showing up, which are always a treat. As usual, the Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees continue to be daily visitors.
You might also have noticed, I have 'revamped' this blog slightly. I have also done the same for my main website that holds all my nature photos - 

 Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the new photos!

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Bald Eagle

Bohemian Waxwing

Blue Jay

Brown Creeper

Common Raven

Bohemian Waxwing flock

Eastern Towhee


Northern Shrike

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Snow Bunting

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-tailed Grouse

American Robin

American Three-toed Woodpecker

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Common Redpoll male

White-winged Crossbill male

White-winged Crossbill female

Pine Grosbeak male

Pine Grosbeak male   

The following photos were taken in Banff, Alberta in November 2012 ....

Pine Marten
Pine Marten
Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee

Bighorn Sheep
American Dipper
Bighorn Sheep


Wilson's Snipe


grammie g said...

Hi Nick ..Wow that is great list of birds and animals some very familiar, and some I would love to see!! Like the Towhee, Crossbills,Snow Buntings
and any kind of Owl : )all not impossible for me to see here, just need the right place and right time!!
It looks and sounds like your winter is going well except for the cold Brrrr...You talking about bird counts reminds me that Backyard Bird count is coming up soon!!
I do eBird as much as it!!
Your photos are wonderful thanks for sharing your "Wintertime Wonders"!!

JRandSue said...

Superb collection of wonderful Birds,magic.

Chris said...

Piouf, my eyes are still wide opened.. This is a gorgeous update and I will dream of all these nice shots for a long time mate. So many nice capture from the owl to the hawk, and crossbill! SIMPLY MARVELOUS.

custom paper writers said...

Your story motivated me but im told pine martens can get quite aggresive when provoked i must say you got lucky an interesting read too