A goose and his territory
A couple of weekends ago it was a beautiful, sunny morning at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Ducks were quacking and swimming around the open water in the ponds. Two Canada geese flew in and paddled towards the edge. The scene was hectic but peaceful… up until a nearby goose took exception to them coming into his territory. He flew over and then chased them away. This image is when the defender was attacking his perceived intruders with hissing, splashing and general malevolence.
A chickadee at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary flew up in front of me. Made me think of positive aspirations – onwards and upwards. A good visual to ruminate on.
A day of twos
It was interesting thinking about two in different forms on this 22nd day of the 2nd month in 2022.
I liked thinking of couples, pairs and partners. I ended up thinking mostly about my love most of all. Happy two day sweetheart.
This image from the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary of two Canada geese taking off from the Bow River seemed a good fit for the theme.
A run of warmer weather preceded the latest dip of the thermometer here in southern Alberta. That opened up a couple of the ponds at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary last weekend. The calm, open water drew in dozens of Canada geese, mallard ducks and a few common goldeneyes. A steady cacophony of quacks was the soundtrack by the water. Some calling out to partners, occasional angry exchanges and seemingly random squawking here and there.
The sun was low enough that the light was still warm and, to my eye, a bit buttery. I focused on moment of action – flapping to dry wings, short flights across the pond and a couple of chases.
Wood ducks shakin’ in YYC
Wood ducks are one of my favorite species of waterfowl (side note: that is a weird word!) I love the plumage of both genders. To me, they are among the most beautiful birds. Beyond that, I like watching them paddling around, chasing one another and most of all splashing during their cleaning routine.
Last weekend I spent a couple of hours watching them carry on about their day. Every now and then, one would separate from the raft of ducks, presumably to get some space, before dunking their head under the water several times, shaking the water off, flapping wings, rising out of the water and then repeating it for as long as they saw fit. I didn’t tire of watching the water drops fly!
I’m heading down to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary to see which migrating as well as resident birds are around on a wet, cool afternoon. Kezia and I were down there together last weekend and found some wood ducks, a variety of gulls, one heron and a good number of Canada geese. This one was paddling on one of the ponds near the river. Kez and I both like the serene aspects of this scene.
A morning at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
A couple of weeks ago, I walked with a friend down to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Canada geese were massed along the Bow River in and around the cold water. Flights of these birds came in and out all morning.
I dragged the shutter and panned with the birds as they flew past to create blur and lend motion to the images.
A very enjoyable couple of hours went by and then my friend had to leave. I elected to stay and walked down the iced over path that parallels the Bow along the eastern edge of the bird sanctuary.
A young stag trotted along the rocky beach right in front of me at one point. He stopped for a few seconds out of mild curiosity before skipping around the corner and quickly going out of sight.
An immature bald eagle alighted in a tree across the water a few hundred meters away. It was watching the geese that congregated near the water intently. After half an hour it launched into the air, crossed the river and flew directly overhead. I love eagles so this was a highlight of the morning for me despite the somewhat harsh lighting.
The day was close to noon by then and I headed towards the ponds. A couple of magpies were making a terrific racket which drew my attention. Looking in the dense stand of trees I spied a great horned owl calmly perched a couple of meters off the ground. She stayed mostly oblivious to the angry birds and they soon moved on. I returned to check on the owl a couple of times in the afternoon but she was napping for the most part so I didn’t photograph much. It was unseasonably warm so I enjoyed spending time with the owl with no expectation for more.
A heron fishing in silhouette
Walking back from the birds along the shoreline of the Bow River, I drew a line along the ponds in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. The daylight was failing and the paths were in deep shadow. The water reflected the southern sky where there were breaks in the surrounding forest. In one of these bright patches, was a welcome surprise, there stood a Great blue heron, his profile silhouetted and motionless at first.
The bird then moved slowly in the shallows and I loved watching as the hunter stalked the fish below.
Within a couple of minutes, a strike came. The water was pitch black to me but that did not help this fish. The heron lifted its head out of the water with a very nice sized dinner I would imagine.
Once finished, the heron continued to ply its trade, looking to have seconds.
A Cormorant in motion on the Bow
I spent an evening on the Bow River at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary on the weekend. It was a beautiful day, warmly lit in golden light, and I had a great time photographing the birds well into dusk. Among the birds nearby were a few Double-crested cormorants fishing and flying around. I photographed as they flew or swam by. They are exceptionally fast birds and they often fly just above the water at speed which is exciting to watch. After the sunlight had left the river, I caught sight of one of these cormorants moving upriver. Darkness was starting to settle in so I dragged my shutter in order to use the lack of light to pan with the bird as it passed me. I used a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second and it worked out pretty well.
A female Mallard duck stretches out of the water to shake the water off of her wings. My friend Jeff (his photography website) and I were down at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary that is in the middle of Calgary on one side of the Bow River to photograph the birds that overwinter there. There are hundreds of Canada Geese and Mallards on the water at any time. The Sanctuary is a great place to watch their natural behaviour with very few disturbances.
Playing with chickadees
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is well-known for living up to its name and being one of Calgary’s finest locations for birding. I consider the paths through the forest that connect the viewpoints along the Bow River to be just as exciting as the shoreline. There are Great-horned owls in the trees, a couple have been spotted recently but I could not find them, as well as deer, coyotes, woodpeckers, magpies and the list of animals grows considerably in the warmer months. Easily the most interactive members of the community are the Black-capped chickadees. Easily seen along the pathways, they are curious and like to come very close. One precocious little bird perched on my camera and the day before another one had landed on my friend’s head. It is great fun watching them flit through the brambles and chirp at one another.