Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Birds of 2014: a photo gallery

This Prothonotary Warbler was one of the most photographed birds of the year in Regina. A stray
from farther east on the continent, it stayed near Wascana Park for several months, singing
each morning for a mate that never came.
I know some very good bird photographers with terrific equipment, so I am reluctant to display my fuzzy shots, but I do it anyway now and then. Here are some of my best bird memories of 2014, caught on the pixels my Canon Supershot puts together when I point it at feathered things.

One of the last birds of winter was this Northern Shrike I found east of the city on a March morning.
Toward the end of May, the Say's Phoebe showed up on a cold and damp day when there were no flying insects out. I caught some flies in a vacuum and then placed them on the deck of our cabin, where the phoebe could see them. Within minutes she was eating them off the deck.

The signature bird of Cherry Lake is the black-crowned night heron. These birds of dawn and twilight nest in the marshes between the local lakes and along the creek.

Their red eyes apparently help them to see in dimmer light.

I see American wigeons off and on through the summer near and on Cherry Lake.

By June, nests were being made . . . (this one is a Wilson's Phalarope nest) . . .

And here is a Sharp-tailed Grouse hen, brooding her new hatchlings in a pea field near the road where I do my Breeding Bird Survey at Tyvan. When she lifted her skirts, a dozen caramel and ochre-coloured feather balls jumped up and skittered off into the vegetation.

In June, during a bird blitz on and around Cherry Lake, one group found a pair of Trumpeter Swans, very rare for the prairie region. A couple of weeks later, I got image of them far across a large slough with five new cygnets.

While kayaking the rapids on Swift Current Creek on Canada Day, I took this distant shot of a Yellow-breasted Chat in full song. There were seven of them along that stretch of creek.

These white pelicans roost on the spit that cuts across Deep Lake just north of Cherry Lake.

And, finally, we came across this male snowy owl on the Regina Christmas Bird Count on December 27.

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