Today’s Birds: April 11, 2017

Frank’s Flats 10:00 am

No fewer than thirty male Goldeneyes today and not a single good photograph! Regardless, it was a wonderful experience watching them dance around the few females (not an accurate count because there were also a large number of Common Mergansers in the mix).

There were more male Lesser Scaups today, but I could only identify two females.  Also, more Redheads.  It was a great morning at Frank’s Flats, with the water looking mercurial due to the atmosphere of soft cloud over sun.  For some reason the mud was stirred up along the water’s edge, sort of a strange phenomena.  Geese followed me for the entire circumference of the pond, like a flotilla of approval.  “Just thought we’d keep our eye on you.”

First siting of a Coot for the season and an enjoyable time watching trees full of Common Starlings.

IMG_4247

Max and I begin every morning, stopping to watch the nesting Merlins.  Today, this guy was enjoying watching me.

IMG_4249

The courting action for the Red Winged Blackbirds is in full swing!

IMG_4251

This was a beauty.

IMG_4340

Stick?  Max’s ACL has healed adequately enough, I let him go for a bit of a run on the flats and leash him up once we are edging the pond so as not to disturb the nesting birds.

IMG_4278

Starlings wrapped around tree branches, everywhere.  Once and awhile they would lift off…amazing stuff, this nature-thing!

IMG_4279

Wanted to pick up on some markings.  This wasn’t a bad zoom.

IMG_4293

Not perfectly focused, but the camouflaging on the Northern Flicker is so amazing…had to post.

IMG_4286

IMG_4301

There’s a single Wigeon in this picture.  Can you spot it?  I’m so sad that I didn’t get some comical shots of the Goldeneyes today.

IMG_4315

Still trying for a clear photo of the Scaups.

IMG_4316

Two gents with their lady-friend….three more males were just out of this frame.

IMG_4328

I think it snowed a bit last night…would that have caused this weird phenomena?

IMG_4335

Redheads romancing.  Lovely birds and a little less wary of me.

Observations At the Pond

Most days I record archives at the pond related to my ‘Changing the Landscape’ project and stewardship of Frank’s Flats.  For three years I’ve tried to keep the plastics out of this amazing ecosystem.  Along the way, I’ve learned much about pond life.  It’s become one of my favourite places to be.

This morning I really enjoyed the Cormorant couple and their obvious interactions with Max.  I had Max on umbilical leash, but that didn’t stop the male from creating a distraction from the female that was actively circling her nesting area.

I noticed that the CPR has cut down all of the brush on either side of the tracks and there were countless red winged blackbirds perching on the fence, instead of in their usual safe haven.  I’ve no idea how this dramatic change might have impacted their nesting behaviour recently.  In fact, the City of Calgary roads did something similar in the autumn at the end of my circle.  They trimmed down the honey suckle bushes down to nothing.  They are only beginning to come back.  These bushes provided protection for American goldfinches that I routinely spotted amongst the yellow blooms.  Look what we’ve done, in the name of aesthetics, with the Milkweed Plants and how it has impacted the Monarch Butterfly population.  We make irresponsible decisions sometimes.

A few observations today…

 

 

P1170238 P1170237

In the cattails.

In the cattails.

Several duck eggs found along the walking path like this...predators or people?

Several duck eggs found along the walking path like this…predators or people?

All shrubs and wild growth cleared away completely along the railway tracks.

All shrubs and wild growth cleared away completely along the railway tracks.