I was down in southern Alberta for the long weekend and basically just sighted a lot of Mourning Doves and heard a lot of Mourning Doves. For a good part of the weekend, it rained. It was cozy inside with my auntie. Walking the dog…early morning and in the quiet of evening, I loved the light and quiet of small town Magrath.
Back here at home, I’ve made visits to Frank’s Flats (the pond) and to the Bow River every day. I guess I’ve got some questions about some of the birds I’ve spotted.
High School biology students have been down at the edge of the pond, collecting leeches again. I’ve spoken to one of the Biology teachers…again mentioning that it isn’t the greatest of times for such activities, given that we have four Red Necked Grebe nests and a Black Crowned Heron nest, as well as countless other nests that are active. She told me that this year they made certain that they told the kids to protect and watch for bird nests. However, the way in which they were gallumphing about, the Red Winged Black birds were truly freaking. Damage done.
I’ll post some of my photos…some not very focused, but, keep in mind that I am a bird enthusiast…not so much a photographer.
May 23rd Uploads
Male and Female Mallard…loved the colours here.
Watched this chump cool off in shallow water. Robin
May 25th Uploads
Female Red Winged Blackbird
Male Red Winged Blackbird
May 26th Uploads
Yellow Warbler Bow River’s Edge
Bow River Rising…Many upset Canada Goose couples
Is this a female Brown-headed Cowbird?
May 27th Downloads
Mr. and Mrs. enjoying a Sunday morning over the river.
As I scroll ,daily, through the profoundly detailed images and exquisite moments photographed by my friends in Alberta Birds, I feel modesty take hold while I peruse my own captures of the week. However, for my own enjoyment, I’m going to contain some of my own favourite bird memories in this single post, so that I don’t lose sight of the wonderful visual memories of this past week. Since Venting! Again! neither sparrows nor flickers have settled in. Honestly, I have not seen a single appearance of either. What??
So…I’ve focused my attentions to my little place at the Bow River and also, a stop at the Frank’s Flats to see who has come to town after a horrendous amount of development along the Southwest Ring Road/Stoney Trail.
Monday April 30, 2018
The spectacular thing about Monday was watching the mating rituals of two lovely geese in a quiet wetlands spot down near the river. Dipping their heads and long necks into the water over and over again, the movements looked like a ballet, when finally Mr. mounted Mrs., her head fully submerging into the water and bearing his full weight on her back. Once finished, only moments later, they continued in a choreographed ritual of arching and extending necks, until finally they swam to the shore where they continued preening like a couple of lovesick mates.
Tuesday May 1, 2018
A year of watching Bald Eagles and their behaviours from a distance…learning all of the time.
Wednesday May 2, 2018
Song Sparrow doing the splits and filling the world with a lovely song.
Northern Flicker at Bow River’s edge.
Thursday May 3, 2018
I saw my grandson and my daughter. I am so blessed by them. Three nesting couples of Red Necked Grebes are back.
The Red Winged Blackbird males are very visible at both the river and the pond…it’s good to hear their songs again.
This year I’ve especially enjoyed the Song Sparrow’s melodic string of notes…overpowers everything for me.
Female Mallard in a Magpie nest…
Tree Swallows have been very entertaining. Love watching their antics as they weave in and out of the tall trees.
Heavenly observations at many different spots along the river.
Friday May 4, 2018
A late evening walk at the river after a day of exploring space with Grade six students. I live a beautiful life. Sometimes I forget that and think that it is an ordinary life. When I see the archive set down, I feel differently.
Saturday May 5, 2018
A bush that I photographed every day for almost a year…just checking in.
Savannah Sparrow…a different song…just so lovely!
Always looking at these guys…waiting for the females to return. They typically arrive two weeks after the males. This year is so much later than last, as I look at 2017 archives.
Not certain what these are…a type of Merganser yet to be identified.
And the Red Necked Grebes were out on a bit of a flotilla on yesterday! It’s been an awesome week with the birds!
Post Script: No sooner had I finished this post…closed it down…put the memory card back in the camera…got up to start tidying for the day and Max went crazy over the voice of the Northern Flicker! Sure enough, when I stepped up to the kitchen window…there he was! He’s been rat a tat tatting inside the vent ever since.
I should be out gardening. I am typically well ahead of the neighbours, but with owwies in the elbow this year, I’m lagging. That doesn’t stop me from feeling fired up, however, as I listen to the sound of the neighbouring trimmers, lawnmowers and the stchhhh stchhhh of their sprinklers.
It’s pretty nice getting outside for long hikes, without the lawn work, I’ve got to say.
Here are today’s birds…all at Frank’s Flats. I continue to hope that the pond on the other side of the chain link fence isn’t drained until the fledge happens. We’ve a lot of nesting water birds at the moment. We have one widowed Goose (female, I think), as well as a widowed Mallard (male). They were hanging out together for quite a bit today. However, as I snapped a photograph, the Mallard flew out of frame.
No smiling at the pond these days! If I smiled, I would eat my weight in bugs. Must be the reason for the excitement on the water. The gulls, laughing in a wild frenzy, are annoying the other birds. The Yellow-headed Blackbirds seem to be pecking away in the huge batch of blooming dandelions.
Giving me the Stare Down!
Black Headed Gull
More than a few…and Noisy!
One of the Male Grebes Having a Float
Overseeing his possibilities.
Female Blackbirds checking out the Men. So many visible, while for weeks, the men were out there doing the soft shoe on the cat tails on their own.
Widowed Two Weeks Ago
This must be my O’ Canada Photograph
Chain Link Fence and Wigeon
Gadwells and Gull
Male Red-Winged Blackbird Giving a Shout
One Photograph was edited today. Guess which one? (Not this one)
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.
Max and I begin every morning, stopping to watch the nesting Merlins. Today, this guy was enjoying watching me.
The courting action for the Red Winged Blackbirds is in full swing!
This was a beauty.
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.
Starlings wrapped around tree branches, everywhere. Once and awhile they would lift off…amazing stuff, this nature-thing!
Wanted to pick up on some markings. This wasn’t a bad zoom.
Not perfectly focused, but the camouflaging on the Northern Flicker is so amazing…had to post.
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.
Still trying for a clear photo of the Scaups.
Two gents with their lady-friend….three more males were just out of this frame.
I think it snowed a bit last night…would that have caused this weird phenomena?
Redheads romancing. Lovely birds and a little less wary of me.
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…
In the cattails.
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.