Thursday, 31 March 2016

Adult Female Northern Harrier

   I was photographing ducks at Hemeon's Head when this bird flew into view on March 13. She caught a mouse and flew to another spot to devour it and then returned to hunt the same area for several minutes possibly with some success again since she disappeared into the grass and didn't reappear for some time. I've been trying to decide whether the animal in her talons was a mouse or a meadow vole, the white belly would seem to indicate a mouse although I don't know my rodents nearly as well as I know my birds.
   I haven't seen any harriers in the area lately so I guess this bird and the adult male seen earlier were just passing through the area.

American Widgeon

Well it's the last day of March and I realized I haven't posted anything for the month yet so this is my chance to remedy that. There had been a flock of six American Widgeon in the area for the last month or so in the company of Black Ducks and a few Mallards.  I took these photos on March 13 at Hemeon's Head.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Black-capped Chickadeee

February 22, Hemeon's Head. It was a slow day.

Harlequin Ducks

A few shots of a flock of 20 or so Harlequin Ducks seen at Hemeon's Head on February 22. They are a protected species that seem to be making a significant recovery in recent years.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Adult Male Northern Harrier

This was the first adult male Harrier I've seen in a few months. I thought I might just see his white rump from behind as he flew past but something caught his eye and he turned to face me. It was only a fleeting look as he continued on his way and I haven't seen him since. Generally you see the males more often in the early Spring as they migrate back to establish nesting territory. This one seems too early to be a Spring migrant and so probably over-wintered here. February 21 near Matthew's Lake.

Ring-billed Gull

Sometimes you end up shooting birds that wouldn't be your first choice for a subject, they just happen to be there on those days when there isn't much around. These are three shots from the same series on February 21 near Matthew's Lake.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Black-headed and Bonaparte's Gulls - A Comparison

Two of the smallest species of gulls that are regular in this province are Black-headed and Bonaparte's. The top three shots are of the former, bottom three the latter. They are fairly close in size but if you were to see them together you would notice that the Black-headed is slightly larger, 16 inches in length as opposed to 13.5 for the Bonaparte's. One of the most obvious differences especially from a distance is the dark under-wing of the Black headed. The bills are different as well with one having an all black bill while the other has a red bill with black tip. Otherwise in habits and appearance they are quite similar. If you could see the feet of the Black-headed ( I find it interesting that they are totally hidden here) you would see they are bright red. The Bonaparte's in these photos has pinkish feet but I understand they can be noticeably red as well.
The Black-headed was photographed on February 21 at Matthew's Lake. The Bonaparte's at East Ragged Island on February 27.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Female Purple Finch in a "Blizzard"

When the weatherman was calling for a blizzard on February 13 I got exited to take some pictures of birds in the snow. Well the snow storm they were predicting didn't really materialize but I did manage to get a few shots -one here- where there is some weather happening in the frame. They're giving another nor'easter for this weekend so I may get another opportunity.