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Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Spring Song

A female Northern Flicker

With the wind ruffling her feathers
she calls and calls and calls, then from
somewhere behind me comes the reply.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Chance Encounter With An Immature Trumpeter Swan

I had been down at the lake one day taking photos of the swans and geese. Most of the time, they keep well away from the bridge and are instantly alert to any human activity. To get as near as I can, I usually have to resort to using the zoom feature on my camera to the max. Well, on this day, after photographing the birds in the water and on the ice, I turned my attention to the other side of the bridge, hoping for a rare glimpse of an otter or beaver. I looked directly down and was quite startled to see an immature Trumpeter Swan feeding in the shallows below.

As the swan raised her (?) head out of the water, I stood back a bit not wanting to frighten the poor bird half to death.

The swan quickly realized the potential danger she was in and began paddling away.
Paddle, paddle, paddle.

She gave a couple of quiet honks and continued down the river channel.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unusual Sightings

On our drive today we saw hawks skimming the fields. I am not sure what kind of hawk this is. Could it be a Rough-legged Hawk?
It was amazing to watch these hawks hovering.

Trumpeter Swans and ducks in a saturated field at a highway intersection.
Mallards on heaps in another field. There was a watery area below.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Usually the only species of deer I see are Mule Deer, so this was a complete surprise.

Friday, April 17, 2009

On This Peaceful Morning

I sat for a while
on the front steps
with my dog &
a steaming mug of tea

That's when I saw my first butterfly of the season
fluttering in the air, then landing on a piece of
firewood in the open woodshed, finding the sun.

By the time I got my camera, the butterfly
was no longer there.

I looked around for several minutes
spotted those rust-coloured wings again,
watched as the butterfly came to rest
in this spruce tree.

The next place I found the butterfly
was on these sun-warmed stones
near the driveway.

This is the Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum).

Note: The Compton Tortoiseshell hibernates as an adult and can survive until the following June. source: Butterflies of Canada

What is most remarkable about this particular sighting is that the Compton Tortoiseshell was the last butterfly species I saw before the cold weather set in last year. At that time (October), one of these amazing butterflies was looking for a place to hibernate. Most likely this is not the same one I saw in the autumn, but I think it is fitting that the Compton Tortoiseshell is the first butterfly of the year to appear in my yard.

Temperature: 7C (44.6F)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunshine and Blue Sky

Yesterday, while we were in town, we visited the park by the river (Nechako River) to check if there was any open water yet. The spring thaw is well under way.

A small pond has formed on the other side of the river, bordered by the ice and the opposite shore.

Another zoomed in photo of the same pond, swans feeding, geese resting.

I almost missed these two trumpeter swans.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dark-eyed Junco and Canada Geese

The first thing that greeted me this morning when I opened the door was bird song. A Dark-eyed Junco was sitting facing the sun and singing for all he was worth. Sing on little junco, sing on!

I had gone out with the intention of taking pictures of the Canada Geese feeding in the adjacent field. These wild geese are very wary birds so I could not get too close without disturbing them. I crept along the road stopping briefly every few minutes, but I know they saw me. Not wanting to make them fly up, I soon left.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Canada Geese

While out walking this week we saw flocks of geese flying over.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sky Watch - Clouds

"Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows
flaunt forth, then chevy on an air
~ Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
English poet

Monday, April 6, 2009

Varied Thrush

This week I am featuring the Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius. Being relatively new to bird watching (a year and a half), I am thrilled to be able to add the Varied Thrush to my small, but growing list of bird sightings. This one, I believe, is the male.
  • grayish-blue nape and back
  • beautiful orange eyebrow and wing bars
  • underparts orange with black breast band
The single Thrush turned up on my doorstep - actually close to it - last Wednesday. I saw him with some of the redpolls pecking in the gravel on the driveway. Then on Thursday I noticed him near the bird feeders. He was very shy, and I barely had time to take a picture before he flew away.

On Friday, he was again by the bird feeders and moving in and out of the trees. Perhaps I will be able to get some better photos in the next few days. I have not seen a female or any other males.

Bird Photography Weekly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sky Watch - Heralding Spring

I took this series of photos just north of town where farms and fields stretch in all directions. High above me were the Trumpeter Swans. This is the annual spring migration, and these amazing birds have already travelled far, en route to Alaska and their summer nesting areas. They will grace our skies for a mere few weeks before instinct tells them that it is time to leave.