Thursday, April 20, 2017

Some more Spring Birding

Here are some more photos from yesterday of some spring birds.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are now common yard birds, and we often see them coming to our suet feeders right out our window, which is a lovely treat.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler
When my brother was in music lessons I had the opportunity to bike to a nearby park, Bois-des-Esprits,  to see if there were any birds around.
As I was cycling I heard a Merlin, and saw a Northern Flicker (first of the year) and a Hermit Thrust (first of the year).

When at the park I cycled around the bike trails, got a little lost and got my bike a little muddy. There were some great birds though, such as a Cooper's Hawk which kept calling and flying around, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes and Northern Flickers.
Because I was biking on rather rough trails, I didn't get too many photos, but here are a few of them:

Large wood carving in the park


White-breasted Nuthatch

Canada Goose 
Canada Goose

 Yesterday evening we returned to Oak Hammock Marsh to try and see the Eurasian Wigeon again. When we got there the flooded field the it and many other ducks were in was mostly empty. We weren't able to find it, but at least two others saw the Wigeon yesterday.

After we were unable to find the Eurasian Wigeon we went for a short walk at the marsh.
Red-winged Blackbird

Canada Goose


There were also a few Short-eared Owls flying around near the parking lot. Because it was already dusk we couldn't get good photos.

Short-eared Owl

Happy birding!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eurasian Wigeon at Oak Hammock Marsh

Yesterday we went to Oak Hammock Marsh for a friends birthday.

Before we left to the marsh we walked around our yard and saw some Eastern Phoebes and Yellow-rumped Warblers. The spring birds have been coming in, with first of the years day by day.
Eastern Pheobe

We headed out to Oak Hammock Marsh, but several kilometers before the turnoff to the marsh we stopped at a field full of waterfowl.
There were a lot of Northern Pintails, Mallards, as well as a few Green-winged teals.

We spent ten or fifteen minutes scanning the flock of ducks. My brother spotted a different looking duck with a orange head. The bird was perhaps 500 m away. At the time we weren't sure what it was, but we later identified it from the photo as a Eurasian Wigeon. Eurasian Wigeons are accidental here, only being seen once in a while. eBird says the last time one of them were spotted around this area was about ten years ago.
After enlarging the photo you can clearly see the rufous head and buffy forehead.
Unfortunately due to the distance I did not get any better photos, but enough to make it out clearly.

Eurasian Wigeon

As soon as we pulled into the Oak Hammock Marsh parking lot we spotted a Great Egret in a pond.
Seeing it brought back memories of Florida a year and a half ago, where we saw hundreds of egrets.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

We then walked around the trails of Oak Hammock Marsh, about 3.5 km.
There were many of the common marsh birds, and many species of waterfowl have returned. It is a bit too early for shorebirds, except for Killdeer.

Red-winged Blackbird 

There was also several Yellow-headed Blackbirds, which is a bit earlier than usual.
Yellow-headed Blackbird

Song Sparrow

And of course many ground squirrel running around.
Ground squirrels chasing each other around
Richardson's Ground Squirrel

Richardson's Ground Squirrel - This one took a beating
Richardson's Ground Squirrel - On lookout as I watch it

American Tree Sparrow 
Song Sparrow

There were also some waterfowl out on the water, but too far for decent photos. There were Red-necked Grebes, Buffleheads, American Coots, Ring-necked Ducks and Horned Grebe.

As we drove out we were able to snap some more photos of the Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret
Canada Geese

Great Egret flying

Great Egret 
Great Egret

Great Egret

Since yesterday when we discovered the Eurasian Wigeon, I believe it has been seen two times. We returned again today in search of it but to no avail. However we did see some Short-eared Owls flying around the marsh which was a special treat.

Stay tuned for more posts as more Spring birds come around!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Update 2017

I'm very sorry for my recent inactivity. I hope to be more active in posting now.
It has been pretty warm for several weeks now. All the snow has melted, and the ground is starting to dry up a little bit. Yesterday the temperature was +18 C. Slowly and steadily the birds are coming back, with new spring arrivals almost every day.

Black-capped Chickadee

I went to the Hawk Watch at St. Adolpe (just south of Winnipeg) several weeks ago to see some early raptor arrivals. Raptors we saw there were Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Northern Harrier.

Bald Eagles (adult and immature)

immature Bald Eagle

Another bird that has arrived is the Cooper's Hawk, which has faithfully been returning to our yard for many years. It landed on our deck rail one morning and my brother Matthew snapped some photos.
Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

For a number of weeks already we've had Purple Finches around our feeders and singing jubilantly in the trees.
Purple Finch

We've also had a great abundance of Golden-crowned Kinglets in our yard, which is always a joy. They are such friendly little birds.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Brown Creepers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have also been present in our yard.

Brown Creeper

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

I've also been to Birds Hill Park at night to listen for owls, which was unsuccessful. We did however hear a handful of American Woodcocks and Wilson's Snipes. 
I also saw my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the year a few days ago and Fox Sparrows have returned.

I will try to post more regularly now, especially as more and more birds return, so keep an eye out for future posts. 

In May I am going on a family trip to Europe. To Rome, Hungary and the Netherlands. I'm planning to do plenty of birding there, so there will be many posts after we get home from that. 
But for now have a blessed Easter!

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.