The day of our Great Grey owl adventure, we spent some time at my friends after our tour. She has an amazing acreage where the birds are abundant. On this day, sitting on the deck, we spotted three species of chickadees…
Black Capped Chickadee
A hat trick…unusual to see all three at the same time!
A day to remember…
On many occasions my friends and I head out on an adventure to find the Great Grey’s…sometimes we are lucky if we see one…
…this one was the first one of the day, spending quite a while checking out various locations. It was the beginning of an amazing day…On our way to pick up another friend, we saw 2 more Great Grey’s flying overhead. After gathering everyone…we headed back to check out where the 2 were spotted……and off in the field, we spotted this one. They blend in so well, they are easy to miss! This owl provided us with a show…moving from post to post…
…not seeming to mind us at all….
…with no good options for lunch…off to find another spot….We weren’t sure if this was one of the one’s we saw earlier…but we counted it as a sighting…
Up around the corner…another one was sitting on a fence post on the roadside…but there was a vehicle behind us and no where to pull over…so we took a loop and the passengers watched as the owl headed into the trees….…again…camouflaged and so hard to spot…5 Great Grey’s in one day…truly breathtaking!!
Best photo of the day…up close and personal…
Eye on the prize
….definitely one of the best days ever being in the presence of these astonishing birds and oodles of them to appreciate!
The twin fawns have started to explore the backyard…
They came down out of the woods the other day and went scampering along the back fence finding something good to eat…
Mom called to the young ones from her normal spot in the trees……one listened…popped its head up as if to say “coming mom” and immediately started up the hill…
…the other fawn…kept eating…ignoring the call……eventually looking up as if to say…”Okay, okay…I’m coming”……taking an about face and heading back to mom…
…these little ones certainly bring joy to the neighourhood and I always have a big smile on my face with every encounter!
Down by the Bow River, the young sandpipers are so cute and cuddly…This little one was rock hopping…
…back and forth…up and down and almost a “look at me” I did it moment…strutting to the top of the big rock!!Capturing moments like this puts a big smile on my face!
The “Nature in my Backyard” series of cards, prints and framed art will be displayed during the upcoming Art Walk at the Cochrane clubhouse! Canvas framed in rustic wood, prints framed in various sizes and card collections are available for viewing/sale of the following:
Mountain bluebirds, owls, moose, coyotes, northern flickers, wild Alberta horses, big horn sheep, osprey, baby wrens, golden eagle, finches and more..
Nest on the Bow
This event will run on the second Saturday of each month (July, August, September and October) from 9:30 – 1:00 pm in conjunction with the Cochrane Farmers Market. Come by, say hello and check out the new photography from my recent “Nature in My Backyard” adventures!!
Last year, we had a pair of Swainson’s Hawks that hunted regularly in the hills off James Walker Trail. I was happy to see that they are back in town! They regularly perch on the street light posts before heading out to search for food…
This day they were together, but on opposite sides of the road…
You will occasionally see them sitting on the fence posts along the top of the hill……but not for long!! I was fortunate to catch some amazing photos last year of their family before they left for the winter. You can check them out in the gallery!
Last week, my friend and I decided to head out on an adventure. I saw a grouse for the first time!!
When I arrived to pick her up, we decided to take a tour on her property as there was lots of bird activity out back! Well…it was quiet and peaceful…then a deep, thumping sound started slowly, built to a crescendo then silence again! My friend said…that’s the grouse…but it was difficult to determine where the drumming was coming from…so we started to lurk through the woods. They blend in with their surroundings with great camouflage…
The male was very elusive…he had beautiful colors and it would have been great to catch him in action, but not this time! The female would return to one particular area, which gave us an amazing opportunity to catch some very special close up moments…
She flew up into the trees…and after checking us out for a few moments, it looked like she was closing her eyes to have a nap, so we left her to sleep!!
More babies to watch this summer!!
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)…A 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)
Western Meadowlark spotted on our Camera Club Outing
What an amazing song!!
Eurasian-collared Dove on Township Rd 280
Coot at Lochend Lake
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!!)
The 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!!This week we have had snow the past 2 days….waiting for the sun and warm weather to return so the adventures can continue!!
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!
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!
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!
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!