Almost every marsh or pond in the Foothills with cattails or some form of brush on the water’s edge is attended by one or more mating pairs of Red-winged Blackbird now. They have returned from their winter south or west of Alberta over the past couple of weeks and are now setting up for the kids. I love the energy that is growing now that spring is truly underway (in May, I know…)
This fellow flew within a few dozen yards to check me out. He may have just thought that the tripod and long lens was overkill for his little pond but he hopped along the bullrushes nearby and then flew across the water to where I could see his mate was perched.
There was a storm that burst out of the mountains and settled over the prairies around Calgary in the middle of the week. With the warmer weather that preceded the blizzard, there are hundreds of shallow depressions currently masquerading as ponds in the fields and meadows. It serves the waterfowl that are currently migrating to their breeding grounds in the north. I found this resolute swan paddling in one of these pools in Springbank. Together with a partner, it was dunking its head looking for food and seemingly oblivious to the angry snow falling. The Tundra and Trumpeter Swans briefly stop in this part of Alberta, the largest regattas only staying for one or two days. By the end of this weekend, most will have flown on. I did not get too close to these birds so I have to guess that this is a Trumpeter as I could not see a yellow spot on the bill which is only found on the Tundra Swan. However, with the mottled grey plumage, I think it is an adolescent and I’m not certain whether the yellow spot only develops in adults. Either way, great to see these short-term visitors.
2010 rolled up and down like a boat on the ocean and I enjoyed most of the ride. I’m excited to move into a new year. Here’s to a great 2011.
All the best to you and yours in the new year.