Spring birding and Stickers!

Spring has officially arrived after a long winter, but the weather is not very spring-like yet. in this part of Canada, nature is in charge, not the calendar! I haven’t been out birding lately because of school, practicing for our music festival, and a busy calving season, which has kept me busy.

A couple of days ago, I walked to our mail box about half a mile from our house where I was hoping a particular parcel would be waiting, and did some birding on the way. I saw a bunch of chickadees singing their Spring song, “hey sweetie”, one Downy Woodpecker, a number of Black-billed Magpies and House Sparrows, and a lone Canada Goose flying overhead. the new season is slowly but surely creeping in!

Some of the chickadee were shyer than others, but this one was very co-operative in letting me get close,

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The slough across the road from my house is still frozen solid, but in a couple of weeks it will be filled with thousands of geese,


I found this nest, but I don’t know what species built it,


Success at the mailbox! I was very excited to find my American Birding Association Bird of the Year stickers in the mail, and as usual and I immediately put them on my binoculars. This year, the Bird of the Year is the Rufous Hummingbird,


Summer Poll Results 2013

Thank you very much to everyone who voted on my Summer Poll.

The results are in (below), and the Favorite Summer Bird is the American White Pelican!

American White Pelican: 7 votes

Barn Swallow: 6 votes

Killdeer: 3 votes

Other votes: 3 votes for Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 2 votes for American Avocet, 2 votes for Eastern Bluebird, 1 vote for House Finch, 1 vote for Painted Bunting, 1 vote for Chimney Swift, 1 vote for Northern Parula, 1 vote for Blackburnian Warbler, 1 vote for Arctic Warbler, 1 vote for Common Nighthawk, 1 vote for Purple Martin, 1 vote for Eurasian Hobby, 1 vote for Yellow Warbler, 1 vote for Swainson’s Thrush, 1 vote for Summer Tanager, 1 vote for Western Meadowlark, 1 vote for Mountain Bluebird, 1 vote for Clay-colored Sparrow, 1 vote for Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1 vote for Mourning Warbler, 1 vote for Baltimore Oriole, 1 vote for Northern Cardinal, and 1 vote for a Savannah Sparrow.

I hope you have a chance this summer to see your favorite summer bird at least once!

Thanks very much to all who voted and played along with my summer game!


May Species Count

Last Saturday, my local naturalist society held its annual May species count. I’ve gone a few other years at 5 am or so, and I was asked this year if I’d be able to join the club president then. But with our beef club achievement day, show and sale the next two days, I needed to get as much rest as possible. So I started counting birds at 9 am instead and saw some good birds, though I missed a few common ones such as House Wrens, American Coots, and Barn Swallows.

Chris told me later that he had seen a Blackpoll Warbler earlier in the morning —  it would have been a life bird for me. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but I did get an extra three hours of sleep!

I had a good walk and saw 32 species in three hours with two first of season birds: Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpiper.

I aways have so much fun doing this count and can’t wait to see what I get next year!

A flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls were feeding near the edge of the river and here’s one (digiscoped),


A Tree Swallow on a no trail riding sign,


Buffalo beans,


A view of the river,


I’m not quite sure what species of Dragonfly this is,


A Song Sparrow (digiscoped),


A beautiful Canadian Tiger Swallowtail,


A Franklin’s Ground Squirrel (digiscoped),


I saw quite a few Double-crested Cormorants on my walk (digiscoped),


An interestingly colored American Wigeon (digiscoped),


A pair of Mallards (digiscoped),


Foxy Wednesday

I saw this Red Fox a few days ago, on April 5th when I drove to our farmyard to do the 4pm calving check. The fox didn’t move as I watched it. I went back for the 6pm and the 9pm checks and the fox was still sleeping in the same spot. I was very surprised that it didn’t run away. Red Foxes are hard to see in our area, many people don’t like having them around and shoot them, so foxes try to stay out of sight.

As long as the fox stays away from our chickens we don’t mind having such a beautiful animal around.



Spring Poll Results

Thank you very much to everyone who voted on my Spring Poll.

The results are in (below), and the Favorite Spring Bird is the Tree Swallow!

Tree Swallow: 18 votes

Horned Lark: 9 votes

Canada Goose: 3 votes

Other votes: 4 vote for the American Robin, 3 votes for the Mountain Bluebird, 3 votes for the Meadowlark, 3 votes for the Red-winged Blackbird, 2 votes for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1 vote for the Western Meadowlark, 1 vote for the Blackburnian Warbler, 1 vote for the Eurasian Wigeon, 1 vote for the Wood Duck, 1 vote for Long-billed Curlew, 1 vote for the Northern Flicker, 1 vote for the Swainson’s Hawk, 1 vote for the Mississippi Kite, 1 vote for the House Finch, 1 vote for the Merlin, 1 vote for the Red Knot, 1 vote for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1 vote for the Hummingbird, 1 vote for the Goldfinch, and 1 vote for the gull. There were even two votes for extinct species: the Great Auk and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

I hope you have a chance this winter to see your favorite spring bird at least once!

Thanks very much to all who voted and played along with my spring game!


Spring Calves

It isn’t officially spring yet, but once March calves start coming on the farm, spring is just around the corner. Our herd of cattle started this Sunday and we have five calves so far. The calves are all Black Angus cross and as calves are always, very cute! On a birding sidenote: I saw the first Canada Goose yesterday too, another sign of spring!

This bull calf was born yesterday and was quite frisky, jumping and bouncing around, even chasing after our dog.

You can see the calf chasing our dog in this video,

A sleeping calf,


Cow and calf,