Sanctuary, a little piece of heaven!

This past Saturday, the Cochrane Camera Club outing was to the area of Inglewood in Calgary.  I have been reading about the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and was excited to have this as the first stop on the Inglewood tour!  What a beautiful space, located in the middle of the city, for wildlife to flourish!   We were not the only one’s enjoying this little piece of heaven…there were bird watching groups, families and many photographers!!     With the beginning of the spring birds returning, this area must come alive over the next few months!  Here is what we saw…

I  look forward to returning to the Sanctuary…and will be on the look out for water birds, eagles, herons and more…

I captured the serenity of the Bird Sanctuary in my photo below…”Reflection”…it was a special day with like minded friends, enjoying nature at its finest!!Tree Reflection Inglewood Sanctuary cropped wm

Symphony at Mitford Park

This past week was pretty cold, but one day the sun was shining so I had to get outdoors!  I took a stroll through Mitford Park.   The local paper received a photo submission with a picture of coyotes hanging out at Mitford on a sunny afternoon…so possibility of capturing wildlife right in town!   The park was alive with birds singing.   Sparrows and chickadees enjoying treats from the residents, woodpeckers drumming, geese honking and  blue-jays squawking…it was a symphony!   No pictures of the blue-jays, maybe next time!    My fingers were too cold to patiently wait for the moment…it was time to head home to warm up!Sparrow at Mitford Park 1Chickadee looking Mitford Park wm croppedNew pictures of Chickadees in the galleryDowny Woodpecker Mitford ParkMore pictures of Woodpeckers in the galleryCanada Goose Mitford Park standing guard cropped wmMore pictures of Canada Geese in the gallery

Thank you to our local papers!

I would like to say thank you to the Cochrane Times!   The “Times” is very supportive in featuring local artists, like myself, (this link is to the article written by Patrick Price) providing great exposure to our community on what we have to offer.   Each year, the “Times”publishes an annual calendar, which is another way for photographers to submit their work and have it viewed by the public.   I was fortunate to have one of my photos selected this year for the Cochrane Calendar.     The photo is called “bringing in lunch” taken at our local osprey nest in the Cochrane Toyota Dealership lot…and one of my favorite moments last year!

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Osprey bringing in lunch

My first blog was about this osprey family and represented the launch of my Photo Solutions website…

Both local papers were represented at the Seniors on the Bow Art Show that took place on January 14th this year.   I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Warren Harbeck, who does a local column in the Cochrane Eagle.  He took this great photo of me as I started on my adventure sharing “Nature in my Backyard”!   Thank you Warren for allowing me to share this photo!!

As an emerging nature photographer, capturing special moments in our town, it is great to have this support!

Kaleidoscope of color

Nature photography has opened my eyes to a new world!  I look at things from a different perspective…for instance, I never really paid attention to pigeons before…other than to not look up when they were flying overhead!   On many occasions, I walk on the River Avenue Bridge that connects Riviera to the rest of Cochrane.    There is a flock of pigeons that live on the bridge.  I stopped to take a closer look and discovered that these birds have iridescent throat feathers…how cool!

I love that I learn something new on my photography adventures!

 

What is that noise?

The woods are coming alive with drumming (also called tattooing, tapping and rapping). This is the way woodpeckers communicate with other members of their species. Depending on the type of woodpecker, it can be a faint tap, tap, tap of a downy …or the loud  hammering of the pileated…amazing!

I have had  the pleasure of hearing these noises and locating the source in several parks this past week….and there were a few species out and about!

Northern Flicker in Riverfront Park, Cochrane, AB.  Can you see the wood chips that were flying around in the second photo?   More Northern Flicker photos in the gallery

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Downy Woodpecker – in the Weaselhead and Riverfront Park, Cochrane …new photos in the woodpecker gallery

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It is also the time woodpeckers are starting to build nests, which is done by drilling holes in dead trees.   Check out this sign…a pileated woodpecker is in the area.   The drumming noise was constant during the week….couldn’t figure out what was going on, but didn’t have a chance to check it out.   When I went for a hike, I found this deep in the woods!  Wow…talk about hard work!woodpecker-nest-wm

Weaselhead Natural Area

I have been reading about the different parks in Calgary and the winter bird activity.   With the weather getting a little nicer, and my camera finger getting a little itchy, I decided we should check out one of the locations!  Our pick was the Weaselhead…one that is close to Cochrane and from what I read, there is a lot of activity in this location.  They were right!   It is a beautiful hiking spot … and there are feeders all around the trails that bring in many different kinds of birds!    From the parking lot, we headed down the Glenmore Pathway, the main paved trail.   As we started down the hill towards the river, there were feeders in the trees…with several redpolls and chickadees taking advantage of the seeds …redpoll-on-feeder-weaselhead-wm…on the other side of the trail, there was a tiny woodpecker that we scared from the feeder (there are more photos of woodpeckers from different locations in the gallery)…woodpecker-on-feeder-at-weaselhead-wm…this little one flew into the nearby trees …with just enough light to snap a photo.   What a cutie!woodpecker-weaselhead-cropped-wmWe crossed the river and stuck to the main trail.  The trees are amazing …big pines that would be a fantastic spot for an owl to hang out …we kept our eyes peeled, but no luck finding any owls on this adventure.   We came to an intersection and took a fork off the main trail.   The trail winds through the wetlands, with tall trees on both sides.  Every once in a while there is a bridge or fence and on the tops of many of the posts are seeds. Someone must do a lot of walking everyday to put out the seeds!  In these wooded areas, you hear the chickadees all around you…they are curious and come very close …           (there are more chickadee photos in the gallery)chickadee-weaselhead-wmThe Elbow River winds its way throughout the area … it was pretty easy to get turned around as you would come out into a clearing and the river would be on the right one time and the left the next.  There were lots of deer tracks … we even saw what looked like weasel tracks.   As we came around a corner, my husband spotted a Pine Grosbeak (read about this mini adventure) up in the trees … amazing!red-pine-grosbeak-weaselhead-wmHe also spotted another small bird up in the branches …a red breasted nuthatch.red-breast-nuthatch-weaselhead-wmWe made it back to the main trail after a great morning of wondering around in the wilderness! This little fellow was there at the main trail to say goodbye …bird-on-feeder-at-post-at-weaselhead-wm

 

Osprey – Sibling Rivalry

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The Osprey’s, known as William & Kate, annually nest atop a telephone pole at the Cochrane Toyota Dealership.  I was fascinated that the Osprey’s were not bothered by the activity of people below them…and how many people actually didn’t notice all the activity above them!

I spent many a day watching William & Kate getting the nest ready for the young.   There was always a flurry of activity.   The chicks were born about a week  apart and the age difference was quite noticeable.  Like most families with children, there was a bit of sibling rivalry.    William or Kate would bring in a fish and the oldest chick would dominate the feast.  I guess that is also part of nature.  There was plenty of fish on a daily basis and both chicks grew and flourished.   At times it was hard to tell who was the adult and who was the child, but I learned (after doing much research on these amazing birds) that the young have reddish, or orange-tinted eyes…quite a contrast and easy to distinguish from the bright yellow eyes of the adults.

Another trick I learned after many missed photo opportunities, were some signs that helped to anticipate the arrival of a meal.  The young osprey starts calling.   When the calling is constant, if usually means that a fish is coming shortly…so be ready!

One day, at the end of August, I stopped by the nest to see if there was any action.  The youngest sibling was alone in the nest and squawking to tell mom and dad that she was hungry.   The constant call meant that lunch was coming and sure enough, William (dad) dropped off a fish!

This was the start of my photos above!  Dad didn’t stick around long…actually almost got pushed out of the nest by the very aggressive youngster.   All the squawking, brought her older brother back to the nest!  He was very patient, but she let him know that it was her lunch….protecting it with her wings.   He made a flew loops around the area, getting different vantage points…waiting for the opportune moment.   In a flash, he dropped in, snatched the fish and took off with the prize!   It reminded me of the many occasions I witnessed this same behavior with my own 2 children!!  The memories put a smile on my face…I laughed to myself that I happened to be there… at the right time…to watch and was successful in capturing this special moment.

Sibling rivalry caught in action!