Return of the Redpolls – 7 Dec, 2014

Redpoll

A Common Redpoll – Carburn Park, 7 Dec 2014

Winter 2013/14 in Calgary was virtually devoid of winter finches (redpolls, siskins, grosbeaks, etc) so it’s been great to see some of them return this winter. However, I had not seen any redpolls until today when a pair flew over my head and conveniently landed in the tree next to me. I love the colours of Redpolls, especially the pink males!

Kananaskis Critters – Summer 2014

zGrizzly7After 2 years of concentrating almost exclusively on birds as subject matter, early in 2014 my wife suggested I try my hand at shooting some of the many mammals that inhabit Alberta. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, I found bird photography skills to be very transferable to mammal photography and so, like bird photography again, the real challenge became finding the subjects!zGrizzly1a

zGrizzly6The highlights of the summer for me were undoubtedly the Grizzlies – a species I’d only ever seen once in my 7 years in Alberta.

Closely followed by the outrageously cute Pikas:Pika-3 Pika-1 Pika-2

Pika-4And of course, finally seeing a full-blown bull moose in peak condition:Bull Moose-2 Bull Moose-1

I hope to add to this initial portfolio next year, and will be on the look-out for some of the more elusive animals such as bobcats and lynx, wolves, and all of the weasel family! Any tips on where to find these hard-to-find creatures would be most welcome, so please drop me a line.

 

Ducks over the Bow – 2 Feb, 2014

A Barrow's Goldeneye in mid take-off....a lifer for me!

A Barrow’s Goldeneye in mid take-off….a lifer for me!

Spent two hours in the afternoon shooting various ducks on the Bow River, just south of Calgary. While Common Goldeneyes made up the majority, a real bonus was getting images of a male Barrow’s Goldeneye – a lifer for me! He was also cooperative enough to do a couple of take-offs pretty much right in front of me.

A Common Goldeneye just about to touch down on the icy Bow River

A Common Goldeneye just about to touch down on the icy Bow River

All through this session I’d been sitting on snow & when I got up to leave I realised that my butt was pretty much frozen and I went through some rather painful thawing out in the car on the way home. My learning is to bring something to sit on (like a roll-up camping mat)!

Another Common Goldeneye making a not-so-graceful landing.

Another Common Goldeneye making a not-so-graceful landing.

Buffleheads – Jan 26, 2014

The most skittish duck species I’ve come across…always seems to be on the far bank of a river or heading away from me! Took a good deal of patience & some frozen extremities to get these, but easily my best Bufflehead shots to date & a treat to see the males’ iridescence.

The male…A25K7669d&b-mask-crop2-fb

and a female…A25K7585g-final-crop-fb

Great Gray Owl – Griffith Woods – Jan 11 & 12, 2014

What a privilege and a pleasure it was just a few weekends ago to be able to watch & photograph a GGO within the Calgary limits. Here are some of the shots:GGO2GGO3GGO4GGO7GGO1GGO10-with vole

Calliope Hummingbirds – Cranbrook, BC – 10 May 2013

Calliope5Spent an enjoyable extended weekend in picturesque Cranbrook, surrounded by hummingbirds and other new spring arrivals. Had fun shooting these little fellas who don’t sit still for very long!Calliope4

 

American Dipper – Dec 2012

After three attempts, I finally found the American Dipper that had been reported at Votier’s Flats in Fish Creek Park.

These shots come from two separate visits over the Christmas period. Another life bird and a fun bird to watch!

Postcard from Oz – Nov 18-24

It had been 2.5 years since I last returned to the place where I grew up, Melbourne, Australia, so it was about time we visited family friends again and November is generally a great time of year to do so – not too hot, but definitely not cold. Amidst all the visiting, and an unfortunate¬†bout of stomach flu (that hit every member of the family!), I was able to do a little bit of bird photography in my folks’ backyard, as well a ‘big day’ of birding with a great¬†local birder & guide¬†(Steve at www.themelbournebirder.com), followed by some coastal birding in Sorrento on Port Phillip Bay.

The higlight from the backyard were the Rainbow Lorikeets – a noisy bunch, but just about unbeatable for colourful plumage:

There were so many highlights on the ‘big day’, given that we visited multiple ecosystems from scrub to rainforest to coastal wetlands, but I was very pleased with¬† the fairy wrens,¬†the wetland¬†birds in flight and some nice close-ups of a Black-shouldered Kite, who had eluded us up until¬†the very end of the day :

I know the birds I got to see were just the tip of the ice-berg, so I hope to be able to go back & check out some other ecosystems next time!