More spring birding around Calgary

Common Merganser female

Common Merganser female

Well spring migration is really kicking into gear since my last post, and it’s been great to see swags of species coming back to southern Alberta each week. Many waterfowl species are in making their way through, from the American Wigeon, Canada Geese, mergansers and Mallards:

Mallard drake

Mallard drake

Canada Goose pursuing rivals

Canada Goose pursuing rivals

American Wigeon - female

American Wigeon – female

American Wigeons

American Wigeons

I was also quite pleased to get some shots of the striking Northen Pintail:

Northern Pintail drake

Northern Pintail drake

And the ever-majestic Tundra and Trumpeter Swans are always a pleasure to see:

Trumpeter Swan portrait

Trumpeter Swan portrait

Trumpeter in flight

Trumpeter in flight

But of course it’s not just the ducks and already another early summer resident – the Mountain Bluebird – has become abundant in the past few weeks. On a sunny day, the plumage of these passerines is just electric:

Male Mountain Bluebird

Male Mountain Bluebird

Spring also means that a number of owl species will be on the nest and raising young, which in turn means they will be out actively hunting more than usual both to feed their nesting partner and in time a number (hopefully) of hungry young mouths to feed. Indeed, since my last post I’ve seen several more Great Greys out & about on their vole hunts:TH1D7016d&b-fb-web

GGO hunting at sunrise

GGO hunting at sunrise

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TH1D6987-fb TH1D7295merge-web TH1D7334mask2-fb-webA kind fellow birder (thanks Jackie!) also gave me the chance to shoot some more of our soon-to-be-departing winter finches, namely the photogenic Common Redpoll:TH1D6692d&b-mask2-fb-web TH1D6663-fb-web TH1D6608d&b-crop-fb-web TH1D6592d&b-mask2-crop-fb-web

And finally, with the snow rapidly disappearing & trails becoming walkable, I was able to re-visit a local provincial park forest and see more of the up-tick in spring activity in the form of little forest gems singing away from the cheerful Pacific Wren:

Pacific Wren in full song

Pacific Wren in full song

Pacific Wren - they seem to like to sing in spring :)

Pacific Wren – they seem to like to sing in spring 🙂

To the never-sit-still Golden-crowned Kinglet:

Golden-crowned Kinglet - male. What a cool hair-do!

Golden-crowned Kinglet – male. What a cool hair-do!

Golden-crowned Kinglet - female

Golden-crowned Kinglet – female

However, the biggest personal highlight for me was to finally get to see the stunning Varied Thrush – also in full spring song mode:TH1D8043-web

 

Cheers,

Tim.

 

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6 Responses to More spring birding around Calgary

  1. Tim Hopwood says:

    Hey thanks, Scott! I pretty much always use a Canon 1Dx DSLR paired with a Canon 600mm f4L ISII lens and 1.4x teleconverter. Not cheap gear, but I think it’s worth every penny.

  2. Eileen says:

    Wow, awesome captures! I love the Owl and the Redpoll! Happy Tuesday!

  3. Sharon says:

    Gorgeous photos!!

  4. Scott Garrett says:

    Great images, Tim! Amazing detail @ sharpness. Was wondering what camera body & lens you normally use? Do you use fill flash very much? Thanks, Tim