Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Bird Wednesday

A post at last. Unfortunately I haven't been doing much birding recently, so here is a photo from a while ago. Can you guess what this bird is?

Leave your guess in the comments!

Other WBW Posts:

Bird Boy

Canadian Birder

Friday, February 24, 2017

Feathers on Friday

I unfortunately have not post many of these lately. Here is a simple photo of  a chickadee from a few weeks ago.

Black-capped Chickadee

Other Feathers on Fridays:

Prairie Birder

Back Yard Bird Blog

Wolf Song Blog

Birds In Your Back Yard

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Owls at Hecla Island

On February 4th we head up to Hecla Island with Christian Artuso to see if we could see some winter birds. It is a two hour drive, and is located on Lake Winnipeg.
We took a lot of photos, and I have not gone through them yet, so I am just going to make a quick post with a few photos for now.

The first notable bird was a Northern Hawk owl that we saw as we crossed the causeway to the island, though it was a good distance away and we didn't get a good picture of that one.

Northern Hawk Owl

From then on we saw numerous owls, totaling 4 Northern Hawk Owls and 4 Great Grey Owls. We sat in the car watching the Great Grey Owls for a while, waiting for a good photo opportunity. They would take off and fly every once in a while, which made for some great photos.

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl

By looking for 'scaling', that is bark stripped of trees,and listening for tapping, we were able to find a Three Toed Woodpecker. It was a lifer for us! They are very quite elusive, but quite approachable when found. The one we found was pecking on a tree only one foot of the ground, so it made for great pictures.

 Other birds we saw were grouse, both Ruffed and Sharp-tailed.
Sharp-tailed Grouse

Northern Hawk Owl

As we were sitting watching the owls, I decided I could take some short videos to compile together. Here it is:

I still hope to make another post more fully covering our trip, but it might be a bit before I can process all the photos.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Bird Wednesday

Here's a photo crop from a while ago. Can you guess what that bird is? Leave your guess in the comments.

Other WBW Posts:

Bird Boy

Canadian Birder

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It feels like Spring!

It has been very warm in Winnipeg in the past few days. Today it went up to -2 C, and it felt like Spring was coming. We even went biking, which is very strange to do in January.

Anyway, there were some nice redpolls and Purple Finches at the feeders. I got some nice photos, so I  thought I'd share them.

Downy Woodpecker

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Downy Woodpecker

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Our dog

My twin brother biking in the snow

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Bird Wednesday

Here's a photo from a while ago, I've cropped it for the purpose of you guessing what it is.

Leave your guess in the comments!

Can you guess what this bird is?

Other What Bird Wednesdays:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Update

Sorry for my inactivity. I haven't been birding or blogging as much as I would like to.
I hope to update my blog a bit and renovate the website. I haven't updated my life list and year lists in a good while, so I should do that.

We're also planning a big family trip this spring, I'll tell you more about it soon.

So keep an eye out for changes. :)


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 in Review

Happy New Year everybody! I thought I'd share a few photos from the past year, and sum up the year of birding for me. I've also linked posts from each notable birding experience that I blogged about this year, if you're interesting in reading more.

 I shall include a few photos from Florida even though it wasn't technically in 2016.
We went to Florida in December 2015 and came back the day before the new year.
Roseate Spoonbill
Ruddy Turnstone
Caspian Tern
Reddish Egret

When we got home we were greeted by some beautiful winter finches that haven't been too common the past few years, like this female Pine Grosbeak.
female Pine Grosbeak

In March we went on a birding trip to the Boreal forest an hour or two east of us to look for owls and the elusive Black-backed or Three Toed Woodpecker.

It was quite successful, we saw a Northern Hawk Owl, Great Grey Owl, Northern Shrike and a Black-backed Woodpecker (a lifer).
Great Grey Owl

Black-backed Woodpecker

Bald Eagle

Spring yielded a good amount of sparrows around the feeders.

Another very exciting thing that happened was the pair Long-eared Owls returned to our property. Last year they nested right in our small woods, and the year before that they were around a lot but we didn't find their nest. This year the owlets were around a lot in June.
Long-eared Owlet

At the end of May I did my second Birdathon! We got 127 species, compared to 90 species from the previous birdathon. Christian Artuso was very generous to help us out and come along.

A few photos from the Birdathon
American Goldfinch
female American Redstart
Golden-winged Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Red-headed Woodpecker (a lifer)
Sandhill Crane

American White Pelicans

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Virginia Rail (a lifer)

In June my brother William (who is also interested in birds) went to Alberta for a friend's graduation. He saw some great birds there, including a Rufous Hummingbird.
Rufous Hummingbird

Mountains in Alberta
When William was in Alberta some of my family and I were canoeing in Kenora (a town a few hours east of Winnipeg).
Us canoeing in Kenora

In September we went for an outing to Assiniboine Park and got some nice shots of some Hummingbirds.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

At the end of September we went birding with Christan Artuso along the Winnipeg beaches and saw some nice birds.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Birders marching along the trail
In November a shocking bird showed up in Pinewa, a small town east of Winnipeg. It was a Painted Redstart, the first ever record of this bird in Manitoba. 
We were lucky enough to see it just before it left from the area.
Painted Redstart
And at last, in the middle of December we went to the Oak Hammock Marsh Christmas Bird Count. It was very cold but our team was able to see 10 species. The highlight that we saw was a Rough-legged Hawk, pretty rare at this time of year. 
Rough-legged Hawk

Thanks for reading folks! That is what my year of birding was like. If you haven't seen them yet, I hope you check out the posts I linked to throughout. I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Winter Update 2016

Winter came very late this year in Winnipeg, it wasn't until into December that we got a snowstorm and a foot of snow.
A week go the Great-horned Owl finally showed up. The owl has been returning every year in the winter to our property, for many, many years.

This year seems very, very slow for winter birds. I saw my first winter finch yesterday, a redpoll at the feeder. Since then I had only been seen chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers at the feeder.

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Oak Hammock Christmas Bird Count 2016

I'm very sorry for my inactivaty  recently. For one I've been quite busy with school and other things, and around the yard bird activity has been very slow. The Great-horned Owl has returned to our yard though, as it does every winter.

For now, here is a post about the 2016 Oak Hammock Marsh Christmas Bird Count.
There are no great photos in this post, because we were birding from the vehicle  most of the time, and photography was not the purpose.

Bird life seemed very low this CBC, and we had trouble finding many different species.

Chickadees, ravens and Blue Jays were the most common, and anything besides that was a treat.

We were assigned zone 2, and set off. We covered the Western part of the zone fairly quickly as there were few roads, and very few birds.

There were five Grey Partridges on a driveway, the first exciting birds!

Grey Partridges

It took a minute to figure out what this little bird hiding under a feeder was. It's a female House Sparrow, another  species onto the list.
House Sparrow

We spent more time on the Eastern part of our zone driving in and out, through and among the little residential roads, mostly looking out for feeders that might host some bird species. There was a little mark on the map showing a house with feeders. We visited it and found out why someone had marked it on there. There were tonnes and tonnes of feeders!
Not as many birds as feeders unfortunately, however we did see some more chickadees, blue jays, White-breasted Nuthatch, and added a Downy Woodpecker to the list.

Downy Woodpecker

We were sitting at 9 species and we were getting to head back to the Interpretive Center because the results and a hot lunch was there for 12:00.

I was just saying how it would be nice to see one final exciting bird, and how that somehow seems to happen often when we're birding. Just as we were on the last road to exit our zone, I saw something sitting on a pole, which was not a raven. From a distance I tried to figure out whether it was a Owl or a hawk. When we got closer I could see that it was a Rough-legged Hawk, and we were able to get close enough for some half decent photos.
Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

It was quite a treat to see at the end. And with that we headed back to the building and the results were tallied. We had 10 species and I believe about 64 individual birds.
The team with the highest species count was 15 species. After a tasty lunch the 'Best Bird' was voted as a Gyrfalcon, and the prizes were handed out. There was also a Rusty Blackbird seen, which would have been the runner up.

Afterwards we, and several other birders, went to try and see the Gyrfalcon, which is very uncommon.

We saw this Rough-legged Hawk in a tree, which I was fairly sure was a Gyrfalcon, because it was where a team described it to be. The bird was across a field against the sun, so the photos were bad and you couldn't tell what it was. There was a while of humming and hawing until it flew and we could see it was a Rough-legged.

And here is a bad photo of some Grey Partridges on the snow.

Here I come to a close my friends, for that day of fun birding had come to an end. I must say, it was thoroughly pleasurable and I am certainly looking forward to next years CBC and any future birding excursions.