Near Priddis, on my way to photograph at Frank Lake, I found a bald eagle perched in this interesting tree. I waited for a few minutes before the bird took flight. For me this image is a subtle allegory for choosing to fly above chaos – I like that!
As spring takes hold, you can find ducks busy wherever there is water. Whether it is at a lake still mostly covered with ice or a pond that is not much more than a puddle in a field, a male and female pair are often there paddling, wading, fishing or cleaning. I found this couple in a shallow depression where snow melt had collected. The light was warm gold and I thought they looked absolutely beautiful.
As I slowed down, I flushed them into the air. I was disappointed in myself as I’d prefer to wait until they chose to fly on their own accord. Still, it was a transitory location for them and one that was close to the roadside so I didn’t carry too much concern away with me after watching them launch and head away.
On the other side of the road, this Great gray owl continued hunting after it flew across. She left the open forest for the denser evergreens on the southern approach which provided a completely different look from the images that I shared yesterday.
She flew between a couple of posts before gliding between a couple of trees. I was lucky to be in position for some great opportunities.
The owl flew into the middle of this large tree, beside the trunk, and I thought she might choose to rest there for a while. She did for a few minutes, but soon grew restless and began scanning the ground for activity. She turned around, saw something and then shot out of the tree. I lost sight of her almost right away but heard a lot of squawking and commotion before things went quiet again. I assume the owl struck successfully but did not go into the woods to check – either way the cycle of hunter and hunted continued with one coming out successfully.
November 13, 2016 | Categories: Alberta, Birds, Bragg Creek, Nature, Owls, Wildlife | Tags: alberta, animals, bragg creek, Canada, flight, flying, Great Gray Owl, nature, owls, wildlife photography | 20 Comments
A couple of weeks ago snow had fallen overnight and I went into Bragg Creek to see what I might be able to photograph in this prelude to winter. I was thrilled when I spied this Great gray owl flying along an old fence line. She looked amazing against the lightly blanketed grass and trees. Her colouring made her appear as a piece of the forest in motion.
This owl has a well-defined hunting ground that I’m familiar with. That said, I hadn’t seen her in over a month until the week before this encounter. That time it was dusk and my camera and I both had trouble focusing as she flew past. She stared at me for several wing beats which looked fantastic. However the images were soft and I came away disappointed for missing some great shots. Persistence paid off, as it often does given enough of it, and she was even more engaging this time around.
Keeping an eye on my whereabouts was a minor distraction to her hunting and she made three separate attacks over the half hour that I watched her. One was successful and a fourth, when she disappeared into the deeper woods, seemed successful given what I could hear.
She hunted on the north side of the gravel road for most of the time I was there. This forest is open with relatively wide spacing between the mostly Aspen trees and tall grass filling in between. On the south side, the forest is dominated by evergreens and is much denser. I will share some more images of this owl from the other side tomorrow.
I love watching Great gray owls fly – particularly when they launch. The snowstorm that hit Bragg Creek on Thursday night created a wintry scene that was still hiding spring on Saturday when I went out. It made for an interesting backdrop to this owl as it took flight.
March 30, 2016 | Categories: Bragg Creek, Owls, Wildlife | Tags: action, alberta, animals, birds, bragg creek, Canada, flight, flying, Great Gray Owl, Strix, strix nebulosa, wildlife, winter | 17 Comments
I love Gray Jays, also called Whiskey Jacks, and found a pair foraging for stray sides on a path in Kananaskis on the weekend. You will almost never see a lone jay, they are always found in a pair – I like that. Here, I caught this little one in mid-flight as it flew off a branch to the ground.
One of the Snowy owls that I photographed recently made a dive while I was watching. She came up without a mouse but had a clutch of grass instead. I’m sure it wasn’t her preference but it was a bit unusual to see one of these raptors flying around with a talon full of grass. She gave a couple of good looks around as she looked for another target during the same sortie but had no luck on this flight.
February 27, 2015 | Categories: Alberta, Nature, Owls, Turtle, Wildlife | Tags: alberta, BIF, birds, blue sky, Bubo scandiacus, Canada, flight, flying, nature, owls, raptors, Snowy owl, wildlife | 4 Comments
One morning while I was set up for sunrise in the rocks on the coastline, one of the resident Ospreys flew low overhead looking for fish. Her sharp eyes picked me out easily and she looked at me for a couple of seconds before banking back towards the open water. The pink light from the eastern horizon softly painted the belly and underwing covert feathers.
There are two ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) who are residents at the Hacienda del Mar resort in Los Cabos. Ospreys are another favourite animal that I am fortunate to be able to photograph quite often at home. It is a bit surreal to see them living in a warm, southern climate as I think of them (myopically) as being a bird of the lakes in and near the Rocky mountains where I usually see them.
If any images appear grainy or pixelated, please click on the image to open a higher resolution version.
They own the palm trees that line the pools and sun decks which overlook the beach using them as viewing towers to find fish near the shore in the Sea of Cortez.
December 22, 2014 | Categories: Birds, Mexico, Osprey, Wildlife | Tags: BIF, birds, Cabo San Lucas, flight, flying, Los Cabos, Mexico, osprey, Pandion haliaetus, wildlife, wildlife photography | 3 Comments
This Great egret (Ardea alba) stepped around the point and into view from the rocks where I was photographing.
After a short pause, she flew across a small gap and began fishing. The head cocks back and then strikes into the water, rarely coming up without a fish.
At home I photograph the Great blue herons frequently which is in the same family as egrets. Their mannerisms are very similar as is their size. The white feathers are the most obvious difference and I love shooting them against the blues of the water and the warm hues in the rocks.
In flight, I find them particularly alluring and this bird flew between several outcrops affording me great opportunities to watch.
On my return from the two separate visits with Great Horned Owls near High River, I drove past Okotoks, through Black Diamond and Turner Valley and then back to Bragg Creek. I counted more than twenty five hawks before I reached Priddis. Along the way, I stopped a couple of times that were in interesting locations.
One Red-tailed hawk was hunting from a wooden gate and fence dividing a farm from the highway. This hawk dove once while I was set up – it was great to observe an attack from close range thanks to a long telephoto lens. It returned to the post empty-taloned but then launched out over the field and grabbed a mouse when it neared the far side. Too far for a decent photograph but great to watch.
October 4, 2014 | Categories: Birds, Hawks, Nature, Wildlife | Tags: alberta, bird in flight, Buteo jamaicensis, Canada, flight, flying, Hawks, nature photography, Red-tailed hawk, Turner Valley, wildlife photography | 8 Comments