Territory Battles!

The mountain bluebirds arrived at nest box 54 a month ago.  They have been busy building their nest, bringing supplies in and out!!   Female Bluebird RR 51 building nest cropped wmIn the middle of April,  the tree swallows arrived.  They have been taking up residence down the road in box 46, 47 and 48.  Last Saturday,  it looked like these two groups were having a turf war…both the male and female bluebirds had ruffled feathers as they chased off the tree swallows…Male Bluebird RR 51 ruffled feathers cropped wmBluebird house under attach from Tree Swallow cropped wmMale Bluebird building nest RR 51 in flight cropped wmFemale Bluebird RR 51 ruffled feathers cropped wmI would be defending my nest box with a backyard view like they have…Female Bluebird RR 51 mountain background wm…and the front yard is filled with flowers!!   The crocuses have started to bloom!!Crocus RR 51 cropped wmEnjoy more bluebird photos in the gallery and other stories in my blog

Duck, Duck, Moose…along with a few surprises!!

My morning adventure started off with a stop at the Great Horned Owl nest…they are getting so big…and check out the fluffy horns!!   The adventure continued with surprise after surprise!!Baby with little horns cropped wmDid you ever play the game duck, duck goose when you were a kid!  My adventure last Thursday was filled with anticipation…just like when you were playing the game and you didn’t know if you were going to be picked as the goose!  On this adventure, there was a surprise around ever corner as I was checking out the ponds near Lochend Road….first a duck, then another duck and then a moose…

Other surprises included a hawk that stuck around for a few moments!!  This year there are so many hawks but they are usually in the air before you can focus!! Hawk warning on fencepost RR 23 cropped wmBack to the ponds…a couple more varieties of ducks…and a moose!!

and to end the day….one of my favorite birds this year…the Mountain Bluebird!!Male Bluebird fence RR274 cropped wmYou can get a feel for how tiny these birds are with the ratio of the nails in the old fence!! Fun to watch and exciting to capture such amazing moments of nature all in one day! What an amazing backyard to explore!!

New sightings and highlights!

What a great week!  So many new things to see…starting with the promised picture of Kate, the returning Osprey!   The pair has been very busy at the nest (if you know what I mean)…Osprey returned to nest cropped wmA few birds that I have not had the privilege to see in the Cochrane area before…(although I am sure they were always here, but it was before I was looking)

Meadowlark GVR Photo Outing cropped wm

Western Meadowlark spotted on our Camera Club Outing

Meadowlark GVR Singing cropped wm

What an amazing song!!

Eurasion Collared-Dove on wire cropped wm

Eurasian-collared Dove on Township Rd 280

Coot at Lochend Lake croped wm

Coot at Lochend Lake

Junco at Paddy Flats near Elbow Falls cropped wm

Dark-eyed Junco at Paddy Flat’s

The Tree Swallows have returned and they are getting settled in as neighbours to the Mountain Bluebirds…both were spotted on our Camera Club Outing this past Saturday on one of the detours (previous blog) I added to our trip!!   (everyone was very excited!!)

Male Bluebird RR 51 photo outing day cropped .jpgThe hawks have returned to the area…there are so many soaring everywhere you go these days!

…and the muskrat babies are venturing out on their own!!Muskrat baby Lochend Lake cropped wmThis week we have had snow the past 2 days….waiting for the sun and warm weather to return so the adventures can continue!!

Detours are a sign…blues and hoos!!

In a few weeks, I am leading the field outing for the camera club.   I wanted to be prepared, so yesterday, I did a test run of the outing!   I have been on this route many times to photograph the wildlife…but yesterday…I decided to add a few detours to offer the club’s landscape photographers a reason to attend.   What a great adventure it turned out to be!  I started out at Ghost Reservoir to check out the sunrise, but unfortunately it is still frozen solid, and I started to worry about how this outing was going to come together.  I took the first detour south off the highway to check out the Bluebird boxes…amazing moments!!    This couple was busy getting ready…and always moving……for those who have not seen a bluebird… they are about the sizeFemale Bluebird on locked stack cropped wm
of a sparrow…check out the size relative to the lock…pretty small!

I watched this female gather grass, fly in and out of the nest box while the male stood watch…

The male had a couple spots as look outs…on the fence posts and adjacent wire…

…then he was off in a flash…Male Bluebird south of 1A fencepost ready to fly cropped wmThis will be a great first stop on the outing!!   There are more Mountain Bluebird photos in the gallery

Next…onto Grand Valley Road…a treasure for all kinds of wildlife…opportunity to see raptors, elk, moose, deer and owls!  I took the second detour west on a gravel road to check out the view of the mountains from this higher vantage point…I think this will be a great stop!!Rocky Mountains from Wild Cat HillsTouring on the other side of the ridge something moved in my peripheral, but I lost it quickly…then movement again and I saw this…a Great Grey Owl out hunting…they blend in with the trees and are so hard to spot until they move…Great Grey Owl spotted Wild Cat Hills wmI was given the privilege of watching the hunt for a few moments…silently the owl moved from fence post to fence post…scanning for prey…Great Grey Owl fencepost looking down cropped wmGreat Grey in flight wmIf we are lucky, we will see this on the outing!!  More great pictures of the Great Grey Owl hunting can be found in the gallery!!  These 2 detours are going to be a great addition to the outing in a couple weeks!!  It was certainly a sign that there will be many great adventures to come this year!!