Peregrine for the Win

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting outside, working on a blog post and enjoying the sounds of the geese and cranes on the slough (pond) across the road. At one point, I looked up from my laptop and saw a good-sized raptor hunting over the cattails in the slough.

I grabbed my binoculars and saw a bird that looked a lot like a Peregrine Falcon. I ran and got my scope and camera to get a better look. It was a Peregrine Falcon and was getting closer.

It eventually flew right over our house and headed west. This is one of the best species I’ve seen around our house and I’m so glad I decided to work outside.

The first time I saw a Peregrine Falcon was back in 2013 in Ontario. This is my first sighting for Alberta, and I can even add it to my “Yard List”.

View my eBird checklist from yesterday here.

Peregrine Falcon!IMG_9821

The same photo, just cropped,IMG_9821

Here’s a photo of the huge flock of Sandhill Cranes that was circling above me as the falcon flew over,IMG_9822IMG_9825

Looking back… and looking ahead

With the end of one year comes the beginning of another — 2014 was full of excitement as well as some difficulties; I got my driver’s licence, had the best summer job, and my trip to Washingto, DC, where I finally met Ray Brown and the crew of the Takin’ Birds radio show. There were also some sad moments: my grandfather moved into the nursing home after a stroke and my dad was diagnosed with cancer (though his surgery was successful and is feeling great now).

My lists:

I saw a total of 170 species in Alberta this year — it’s a good list of species, my best so far.

I added three species to my Year List while in Washington, DC: Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

I was able to add five species to my Life List bring it up to 272 species I’ve seen since I started birding in 2012. The new species for 2014 were Black-backed Woodpecker, Blue-headed Vireo, Western Kingbird, Le Conte’s Sparrow, and American Bittern.

My resolutions:

1. To blog more. A blog needs fresh posts regularly.

2. Make more of an effort to submit eBird checklists every time I go birding.

3. Read through my collection of bird books. I have lots of books I still haven’t read yet.

4. My target species for 2015: Boreal Chickadee, Fox Sparrow, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Here are some of my favourite photographs from 2014. Happy New Year everyone and may you have a happy and healthy 2015!

A Northern Mockingbird from my trip to Washington, DC, in November,

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A squirrel,

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A Dark-eyed Junco,

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A male Ruffed Grouse,

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A male Mountain Bluebird,IMG_4333