(I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.)
Starting in October, birds were starting to be very scarce, and now in the coming winter they will be even more so. So instead of five Must-see birds for each month, I’ll have just two Must-see birds monthly. I will resume the five Must-see birds in the spring. Here are my two Must-see birds for November (all photos by me):
1. Northern Harrier
A few Northern Harriers can be still found in Alberta in November but they won’t be here much longer. I saw one yesterday. The adult Northern Harrier is gray with black wingtips and the juvenile has a rusty colored body and a distinctive white rump. Northern Harriers can be found in marshes and fields.
2. Tundra Swan
The Tundra Swan is completely white with a black bill with a yellow spot on the base. You can still find Tundra Swans flying around in November. So catch one while you can,
I saw a male Northern Harrier today – most raptors have left my area; the few harriers around lately have all been the juvenile browns, until today. Actually, this harrier was involved in a slight in-flight squabble with a Prairie Falcon. I was watching the falcon when it dipped low over a slough. Next moment another bird (which turned out to be a harrier) was tangling with the falcon. I don’t know which attacked. Anyway, the falcon flew away; the harrier stayed around hunting – it was obviously searching for food in an insistent sort of way, so also a migrating bird. Made for an interesting few minutes in an otherwise uneventful birding bird.
I enjoy your photos and blog stories alot. Nice work.
That would be such a neat sighting to see, its neat to see raptors in such a tussle. I would love to see a Prairie Falcon, its one of the next raptors I would like to add to my life list.