Birds

In flight

This great gray owl was hunting in a field near Grand Valley Road a couple of weeks ago. On one of the glides between perches above the grass, she flew towards me and landed on a ranch gate behind me.


Common loon cleaning

This loon had a small lake to himself a week ago. After swimming around a small island once, he decided to preen. I am used to this being a relatively short session that ends with the stretch out of the water as in the image above. This time was very different and saw the bird splash, skim, dunk and flap for 15 minutes. I’m guilty of thinking that he was having great fun during his bath time. While this is not unusual behavior for loons, it was new to me for the amount of time and the exuberance displayed.

I had a great time was watching and enjoyed looking for dynamic images that I have never had the opportunity to photograph before. The head emerging from the water, wings outstretched perpendicular to the water, surface skimming while beating droplets into a fury around him were among my favorite moments. Here are a few of the images that put a smile on my face when I reviewed them a couple of days after the encounter.


Road warrior

After hunting along a field to the right of the road, this great gray owl flew low across to the other side. I left a few minutes later while she continued to closely watch the grasses while moving between fence post and traffic sign perches.


The first hummingbird of the year

We heard a quiet buzz above our deck yesterday, looked up and saw a Rufous hummingbird hovering near our feeder. It was our first one of the year and one of the most welcome migratory birds that return to our backyard each year.


An owl in the rising sun

I went out onto the Foothills last weekend to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful but this great gray owl stole the honors for the morning to me. I loved having her backlit by the warm sunshine while she flew to hunt in the field.

Amid a number of current challenges, I enjoyed getting out for time to photograph and put energy into this passion of mine.


Happy Easter!

The robins have just returned to our home this weekend. It was a nice surprise from the Easter bunny to see and hear them in the backyard again.

Desirée thought the image above suggested the bird centre in the sunlight was the hope of spring emerging from darkness of winter. I liked that a lot. She has a beautiful way of seeing things.


A whisky jack in flight

We have several gray jays that visit our backyard a few times a day. I watched this one land in the trees in the afternoon. When it launched, the snow sprayed behind as its wings flared out as it flew into a dive.


Morning flight

Mallard ducks backlit against morning sunshine rise off a pond east of Cochrane in Alberta, Canada.  Photographed on September 26, 2020.


Hummingbirds in the backyard

Early in the summer, we had a couple of hummingbirds that visited our backyard. We had a feeder out before we went on vacation and I had a couple of great photography sessions sitting on our deck watching them come and go. These are a few photographs from those.

This is either an immature or a female Rufous hummingbird. I don’t know this species near well enough to say which one. Certainly a beautiful bird no matter.


Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron over Frank Lake

After a day that started with snowfall, the clouds cleared in the evening.  Desiree and I headed south to Frank Lake to see what birds were staging around the shoreline.  With the unusual dip in temperature, I was unsure which birds may have jumpstarted their migrations and which would still be there.  We were treated to a large squadron of white pelicans which were the main focus of our bird watching and photography.  The sun fell under the clouds an hour before dusk and the light was incredible right through to sunset.  Aside from the pelicans, we had several species of seagulls, great blue herons, cormorants, hawks, coots, ducks and shorebirds that came by.  And, a number of Black-crowned Night-Herons too. Surprisingly to me, most of those were juveniles.  Which Desiree was able to identify as Night-Herons.  Which was great as I thought they were an egret or another type of heron.  The young look very different from the adults in this species of heron!  This photo caught the heron flying into the warm sunlight and I was lucky to have it catch the eye.


Loon on the lake

A quiet moment watching a lone loon between his dives under the water.


Swallow vertically

A tree swallow on barbed wire south of Cochrane.