Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hummingbirds Arrived April 28, 2009

Saw my first hummingbird yesterday. Took the photo through the window so it is not very clear.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cooper Hawk - Male A nice find April 28, 2009

I heard the male cooper hawk before I saw him. What a beautiful raptor. Was just driving around and heard the call. Doubled back and there he was just sitting in the open. At first I thought he was going to fly - he stretched his wings then sat back down again. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Birding with my grandson Cole April 26, 2009

I spend the weekend with grandson Cole and took him out to see some birds. Here are a couple of shots. A couple of deer from our house, a egret flying overhead, killdeer (saw them mating as well), yellow rump warbler and a beautiful mockingbird. Also was able to add to my life list a Little Gull.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fox Hunting on the street april 24, 2009

Today I was watching the fox hunting on the street. It was amazing. He would go under every tree, bush, up and down driveways in the backyards etc (this was at 6am) looking for food. I believe he has a family with kits nearby so he needs to increased the hunting time. He is very fast and totally avoids people. I have seldom been able to get a shot of his face. Today only a shot from the distance and him moving fast on the other side of the road. I just sat on my porch and enjoyed watching him.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Great Horned Owl April 16, 2009

Only had a couple of hours before work. Saw papa great horned owl sitting in the sun having a snooze (check out the eye lids) and also having a good shake. A few deer and other birds. Don't forget to double click the photos to see them enlarged.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wood Ducks and Juvenile, "Eastern" light form Red-tailed Hawk April 13 2009

Wood Ducks - 10 pairs of them and they were sooooooooooo beautiful and then a very co-operative juvenile, "Eastern" light form Red-tailed Hawk. Wonderful bird . Enjoy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Male Pileated Woodpecked and more April 12, 2009

A quiet walk on my own and what a nice treat I had. A few little ones and then the big whammy. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Screech Owls Mating & Flight of the Red Tails April 8, 2009

Note of event from Lee on our April 7, 2009 evening adventure

We’re keeping this our little secret among this group because one of the owls has decided to stay very close to the path near the building and has been out in full view. We’re not taking pictures while people are around but all of us are good birders and/or photographers so hopefully all of us can help to protect these birds, especially over the next couple of months because we’re going to have baby owls soon!
Ann and I decided to go down to the park to see if we could see the owls hunting at night, and Carol came down to get something from Ann and wasn’t going to stay, but she did. Little did we know what we were about to witness…

Just to go back a bit, last. The owls had been seen very infrequently over the past few weeks, and none of us knew if they were still around or if they’d left. As I was leaving the park Thursday, I saw something hop from one branch to another in a pine tree next to the building. It was the red screech, and I called Frank and Walter over to see it, too. I had to leave but came back twice, the second time being close to 8 pm and Frank and Walter were still there, waiting to see if the grey screech would pop out from somewhere. We saw them both in flight and there was an exchange of food. The grey one then went back in the direction of the tree and we left because we couldn’t see much of anything.

A couple of nights ago, Ann and I decided we’d go and we saw one screech – we assumed it was the red but are now sure it was the grey – fly out from the area of the new tree, which is very close to the old tree. It then flew into a tree very close to us and we could hear what we thought was a cat meowing, but when we started walking towards the “cat”, we heard it above us and saw the blobbish form of a screech owl! We called Chris and she told us when a single note is sung from high to low, it’s the female and she wants food. We left soon after since it was getting dark, and that leads us to today.

I saw the red screech in the pines by the building a couple of times, and Chris went down after work. Fast forward to tonight. Ann, Carol and I met around 7:30. Red was still in the pines, no sign of any other owl. This time, there were no other people around, which was good because we don’t want anyone to know about the owls, outside of this group and the people who work there.

We decided this time we’d sit on the benches just south of the pine trees and we could keep our eyes on red while watching out for grey, all the while staying out of their way. Red stayed on the branch but was much more alert than during daytime hours, lots of swivelling, preening etc. Ann suddenly spotted grey screech in a hole in a tree along the path. This tree is on the same path as the old tree, just across and over one. The hole is very small and is facing west, and it’s about 15-20feet high. So the three of us sat on the benches as if we were waiting for a bus. We kept seeing grey popping her face out of the hole but not much more. She went in and out several more times. We could hear them calling to each other. We kept turning to look at red just to see if he was still there. All of a sudden, red was gone, grey flew out of the hole and landed in a branch 10 feet above us! Here we were trying to stay out of their way and they decided it was show time! Red came back from the area he’d gone to, landed on grey and they mated, and it gave new meaning to the word Quickie! I don’t think I’ll ever forget her face, her eyes both popped wide open, her mouth made the form of an O, and just like that it was over. Of course, we were in shock and on the verge of going into hysterical fits of laughter so we were all sitting there in a row with hands clamped over mouths. The owls just stayed on this branch, probably for 20 minutes. Later I asked Ann if red was smoking a cigarette which set off another fit of laughter.
I sent Chris a text message:
“They mated ten feet above our heads!!”
Her reply:
“Oh my God that is unreal, you’re going to be grandparents!”
At that point, I lost it, it was like being at a funeral when you know you are not supposed to laugh and it finally erupted. The whole time we were there I kept saying to myself, “I can’t look at Ann” because I knew we’d start laughing and it wouldn’t stop. We didn’t want to disturb the owls, and we also didn’t want them to decide to attack us but hey, we were there first! We went to this area because they’d never been there before (as far as we knew) and they were drawn to us like moths to light! So the three of us were killing ourselves laughing and the owls just looked around like we weren’t even there.

They stayed on the branch above our heads for a good 20-30 minutes. Suddenly the red one was gone, we didn’t hear a thing but we saw him east of us and he was hunting. Grey then flew over there too. We took our cue and got up and left. We all had visions of staying overnight so as not to disturb them but they seemed to enjoy our company.

As all this was happening, the moon came up over the lake, nice and full and bright. It was such a gorgeous night and we’ll never forget what we saw.
I took three pictures (without flash) with my Blackberry. They’re the really dark ones in this set, followed by 3 more of the same pics which Ann lightened:
If anyone wants to see the tree where the nest most likely will be, Ann, Carol and I all know exactly where it is now so we can show you.
And if anyone wants to go down, I’m sure one of us can join you.

A few shots of the red tails flying over my head today at work. They were very busy bringing in branches to build their nest.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Red-Tail Hawk from a few weeks ago

The Red tails from MPC were very active. The first one is the hawks mating.

Last week I received a call about a beautiful red tail hunting on a side road. Went to see this beautiful hawk. It had a golden back with a bright red tail. He was hunting non stop in the farmers field. Was able to catch a snake and many voles. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fox April 1, 2009

Today when I arrived home I had a fox on my front yard. He stayed in the neighbourhood for a quite a while. He is a regular visitor.

A couple of past favourite photos March 8, 2009 Great Grey Owl

On March 8, 2009 Carol, Jen, Jeff and I went for a drive and saw a Great Grey Owl. It was a lifer for Carol and myself. We were treated to seeing the Great Grey Owl fly, hunting for food and then sit on the ground looking around. They are an awesome looking owl. This is a day that we will not forget.