Tofield Snow Goose Chase

The 17th annual Tofield Snow Goose Chase hosted by the Edmonton Nature Club is coming up very soon, on Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday, April 24th, at the Tofield Community Hall on Main Street from 9:30 am until 12 noon, followed by bus rides into the countryside to see the Snow Geese and other arrivals.

In the morning, stop in at the Town Hall to see the displays and exhibits from the Edmonton Valley Zoo, the Beaverhill Bird Observatory, and meet John Acorn (aka “The Nature Nut”), and Pete Heule (“The Bug Guy”) from the Royal Alberta Museum.

I’ll also be there at the Young Naturalists’ Corner, so please stop by and say hello! I’ll have a display of nature-related books, and might even be giving away a few prizes!

Here are my two blog posts about the 2012 and 2013, and also my page on Snow Goose Chase Resources.

I hope to see you there!

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Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

The other day while working on my second to last chapter of my Cornell Lab Home Study course in Bird Biology, I would periodically look out the kitchen window at the slough across the road. Among the Mallards, Northern Pintails, American Avocets, and Greater Yellowlegs were two Black-necked Stilts. Black-necked Stilts aren’t all that common in this area, but I’ve seen at least one every spring at this same slough for a few years in a row now.

I took a break from the birds on the page for some digiscoping of actual birds. I used my Swarovski ATM 80 scope with the 20-60 zoom eyepiece and Phone Skope adapter to get this photo.

One of the Black-necked Stilts,

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More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

JG Birds+

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

Anotherdayinparadise

A Day in The Life

Birds of Germany

I returned to Canada last Tuesday and have since been thrown back into everyday life, including calving, the last curling bonspiel of the season, and school. A definite change from the previous four weeks, which were filled with various trips to visit relatives a road trip to Rome with stops along the way in Lucca, Pisa, and Florence, and Parma. A cousin and I also took the train to Berlin for a two-day trip of sightseeing and a little shopping. I had a really lovely time in Europe and came home with so many wonderful memories.

I’m planning to publish some Europe posts throughout the month, mostly be about birds/birding, but with some non-bird photos from the various cities we visited as well.

Below are some of the bird photos I took in Germany, mostly taken in passing since I was travelling with my grandmother and other relatives. All these photos were taken with my Nikon D610 and the 200-500mm lens.

The photography conditions were not always ideal in Germany — full cloud cover, rain, and wind were common; however, this photo of a European Robin was taken on one A rare sunny evening,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

This Great Tit photo was taken the same evening as the Robin; you can see the pretty golden light shining on the tree branches,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Another Great Tit in the same location in Oer-Erkenschwick, but taken on a cloudy morning,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/200, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

On the way to Italy we visited Schloss Nordkirchen (which translates as Castle North Church), located 34 kilometres north of Dortmund in Germany. The landscape and architecture are similar to Fontainebleau and Versailles in France, with big gardens and water features with several pairs of Mute Swans and Mallards.

One of the Mute Swans which was molting,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

One of the classiest looking jays around, the European Jay,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/1,000, ISO 1000, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Common Blackbirds are certainly common, but I found them to be quite skittish,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

This Common Chaffinch was positioned perfectly in the sun and on the really lovely lichen-covered branches so I photographed it until it flew away,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

A European Starling,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 160, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

I found the Eurasian Nuthatches really fun birds to watch, and their song is very melodic,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/1,250, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Please stay tuned for more posts from my trip!

Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

Since my first sighting of Canada Geese usually happens the second week of March, I’ll have to wait until I get home from Europe to see some. I took this photo of Canada Geese in March last year,

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More Feathers on Friday posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

JG Birds+

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

anotherdayinparadise

A Day in the Life

A Forgotten Post

I found a post I’d written in May in my drafts folder and realized I had never published it. So here it is, after quite a delay. It’ll be another seven months before I see these birds again, but in the meantime I though I should share these photos which I took at the slough across the road from my house.

I remember that the day was beautiful and warm. Shorebird migration was in progress and the mudflats at the slough were full of shorebirds. I sat for over an hour watching them feeding, preening, and taking the occasional rest.

A Killdeer and Semipalmated Plover,IMG_8586 There was only one Killdeer in the mix,IMG_8588 There was a solitary Lesser Yellowlegs too,IMG_8667 Along with the plovers were some Pectoral Sandpipers,IMG_8655

A Semipalmated Sandpiper,IMG_8622

My favourite part of the afternoon was watching the Semipalmated Plovers running up and down the mudflats. They are beautiful little birds, but difficult to photograph as they are constantly moving.

I got down and dirty with the plovers because I was lying on my stomach trying to get eye-level shots,IMG_8608 IMG_8612 IMG_8616

This is one of my favourite pictures from the afternoon,IMG_8631  IMG_8650IMG_8629Among the adults was an immature plover,IMG_8638

Two adults on the left and an immature on the right,IMG_8636

Happy as a Lark

This past Sunday, my grandmother stopped by to see our lambs, chicks, and calves (I hope to post some pictures soon).

As she was leaving the yard, I heard a bird singing in one of the spruce trees on the south side of the house — it would sing every minute or so. The bird was very well hidden in the branches and it took me some time to find it.

When I finally was able to see it peeking through the branches, I saw it was a Lark Sparrow, which I’d never seen before and which is fairly uncommon for this area.  I ran into the house to get my camera, but the sparrow had left and I didn’t get a photo.

Lark Sparrows are more common in southern Alberta, so it was very nice to have one show up in our yard.

When I went outside yesterday morning, I heard the Lark Sparrow singing in the spruce tree again. I was able to get quite a few good photos of the bird and so far, it’s the best “Yard Bird” I’ve seen! Lark Sparrows are very beautiful and have a lovely song — I hope I get to see more soon.

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Spring Migrants around Vermilion

My spring has been very busy, but I’ve been able to do quite a bit of birding these past few months, if not so much blogging.

Here are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken this spring.

An American Robin,IMG_8488

An American Avocet with a Lesser Yellowlegs in the background,IMG_8502

There are an abundance of Tree Swallows around our yard — we put up 20 more bird boxes around our property so hopefully all the boxes will have occupants this summer.IMG_8513

A Lincoln’s Sparrow at my feeding station,IMG_8536

A Lesser Yellowlegs,IMG_8552

A pair of Northern Shovelers,IMG_8474