Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring is here

On Wednesday, we decided to go look for Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes.  Right before we left, we watched the neighbourhood Pileated Woodpecker flaunting his stylish hairdo on the telephone pole.

There's nothing like watching a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying graciously in a blue sky. We were able to watch a group of 29 and listen to their unique, rich sound as they flew by.   There was one group of 15 and another group of 14.  They were circling around in the sky, sometimes merging in an elegant way.  If they were looking for a field without snow, they were out of luck.  The fields are all still covered in white... but in a week or two, we should see more open fields and more Sandhill Cranes.

We also stopped to watch this American Kestrel hunt.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Weekend Birds

I was very happy to see my first robin of the year on the 18th of April.  We still have lots of snow but it's slowly melting.
American Robin
South Porcupine (April 18, 2014)
Birds are slowly starting to show up.  There's lots of Dark-eyed Juncos and Purple Finches around.  I haven't seen many Evening Grosbeaks since last year but this beautiful male was in our tree this Friday.
Evening Grosbeak
South Porcupine (April 18, 2014)
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is still around.  Originally spotted on November 22nd, 2013, this resilient  bird is many hundreds of kilometres north of its usual range but it managed to survived our coldest and longest winter.  This bird sure brought lots of excitement and color to our harsh winter days.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
South Porcupine (April 18, 2014)
And now… my favorite birding moment of Easter Weekend 2014…
On Saturday evening, we were all having dinner with friends and I spotted a Ruffed Grouse in the snow bank on the other side of the road.  I was pointing it out to my friends' kids.  We were watching the bird through the dining room window when I notice one of the kids had gone outside.  He was walking towards the road then he suddenly hid behind a truck.  Then he was in the forest, crawling slowly on his stomach in the deep snow.  He certainly didn't choose the easiest path to the bird, which is why he got close enough to get this photo with his mom's phone.  I was really proud of him because I know how difficult it is to photograph birds and I find it really amazing that he managed this shot with a phone.  Not bad for a first shot at bird photography at 12 years old!  I still remember my first attempts at photographing birds and I'm pretty sure there was no birds at all in the photos when I was done.   Congratulations Hans… great photo!
Ruffed Grouse photo taken by Hans Parnell, age 12.
Schumacher, Ontario (April 19, 2014)