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.

A female Ruddy Duck on the slough near our house,

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Pre-Ontario Birding

I went for a birding walk on August 7th, a few days before I left for Ontario. The day was a little cool and overcast, but that makes for good birding. Shorebird migration is in full swing here, but there aren’t any good spots for watching shorebirds within walking distance, so I decided to set my sights on the family of Pied-billed Grebes at one of the nearby sloughs.

I did see one of the grebes, but it quickly disappeared after I set up my scope, and none of the babies came into view. I did see a female Ruddy Duck with seven fairly new ducklings, along with more than 30 American Coots, six Killdeer feeding in one of the flooded fields, along with a Lesser Yellowlegs, a pair of Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, a flock of about 45 Red-winged Blackbirds, two Eastern Phoebes, two juvenile Eared Grebes, and 24 Blue-winged Teals as my highlights.

There were still a lot of breeding birds around, but when I return to Alberta in mid-September many of them will have left. Waterfowl migration will have started, and I hope to find some new species and get some good photos of the thousands of Snow Geese.

Some photos from my walk the other day:

I saw over 20 Clay-colored Sparrows,

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A female Ruddy Duck and her seven ducklings,

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A juvenile Eared Grebe (digiscoped),

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There was lots of Water Smartweed growing in the ditch,

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The Killdeers got quite close to me which made it easier to get good photos, but they don’t stand still for very long, so lots of my photos are blurry. Here are my best two,

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Killdeer (digiscoped),

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My Baillie Birdathon Results

My Baillie Birdathon was a few days ago, and I was hoping to go from midnight to midnight, but I was so tired from Saturday’s 6:30 am start to our local Spring bird count, and then two long days at the 4H beef club show and sale, that I accidentally overslept. So my Birdathon was from 6 am Wednesday to 6 am Thursday.

My goal was to see 80 species and I came so very, very close, with 79 species. My first species was a Barn Swallow and the last was a Marbled Godwit. Most of the species were seen around our farm, house, and my grandparents’ yard, and I saw four species at the local Provincial Park.

All the species I saw:

Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Northern Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Sora, American Coot, Killdeer, American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Black Tern, Rock Pigeon, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.

I was very happy that my scope arrived from Pelee Wings in time for my Birdathon. The scope was a huge help because I could see so far into and across the river, sloughs, and lakes.

My Swarovski scope is an ATM 80 with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece, and a Manfrotto 190 tripod with 128RC head,

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(I am wearing one of my favorite t-shirts, from NYC Audubon by Social Pakt)

Some of the birds I saw during my Birdathon, including a Willet,

A male Ruddy Duck displaying,

Swainson’s Hawk,

A very beautiful male mountain Bluebird at the Provincial Park,

Gray Catbird,

Great Blue Heron,

American Wigeon,

A Pied-billed Grebe,

Thank you everyone for helping me exceed my goal for my Baillie Birdathon, I had so much fun and can’t wait for next year!

My 10 Favorite Birds of 2011

2011 was a great year for birding for me. This year I saw eastern birds I had never seen before. I was able to see 145 year birds and 61 life birds. I was hoping to break the 200 barrier, so I’ll try for that next year (starting tomorrow!).

1. Long-tailed Duck (Toronto, Lake Ontario)

2. Tufted Titmouse (Central Park, NYC)

3. Great Gray Owl (our farmyard)

4. Wilson’s Snipe (across the road from our farmyard)

5. Western Meadowlark (the pasture across the road from our farmyard)

6. Yellow-rumped Warbler (the woods down the road)

7. Ruddy Duck (the slough across the road)

8. Common Merganser (the slough across the road)

9. Turkey Vulture (provincial park near town)

10. Pine Grosbeak (the woods down the road)

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Happy New Year and happy birding in 2012!