A Fall Finch

I have been waiting for the wintering finches to arrive. They usually arrive in December and they are mostly redpolls. I was very surprised to see a Pine Grosbeak in October, though some have been reported in southern Alberta.

I saw this Pine Grosbeak this morning in the woods across the road from my house. The Pine Grosbeak is a Life Bird,

Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for Feathers on Friday, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I will add a link to my post.

I saw this Bald Eagle this morning near a very large slough near our corrals,

If you look carefully you can see one very big talon,

Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for Feathers on Friday, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I will add a link to my post.

Northern Harriers have been a very common sight around my house. But I’ve had very few opportunities to get good photos of the birds.

My Big Sit Results

I had a great Big Sit on Sunday. I was able to count 29 species.

I would have been sitting at 6:30 am but I had my favorite radio show to listen to at 7:30, Ray Brown’s Talkin’ Birds. I started my official count at 8:40. The first bird I counted was a Canada Goose which was not surprising since the part of Alberta I live in seems to be a major flyway for the geese. I counted 2,024 Canada Geese, 2,075 Greater White-fronted Geese and 6,158 Snow Geese. I was seated in a pretty good spot for birdwatching, near a pretty large slough, grasslands and woods. My count was made up of mostly water fowl: Tundra Swans flying overhead, Mallards, Teals Shovelers and alone Bufflehead swimming on the slough.

It took me a while to catch a glimpse of the very scarce chickadees. I also had good luck with raptors: two Bald Eagles, two Northern Harriers and one Rough-legged Hawk which was a life bird. I waited until it was quite dark so I could wait for owls but none came. I finished my Big Sit after 12 hours at 8:40 pm.

I had a great Big Sit this year. I can’t wait to participate in it next year!

My circle site,

I used sticks to mark my circle,

The first bird to be counted,

I saw 80 Short-billed Dowitchers,

Thousands of Greater White-fronted Geese flew over me throughout the day,

A bad photo of a Rough-legged Hawk, life bird,

A Northern Harrier flew right past me twice through the day,

The Great Pumpkins

On Saturday my family and I went to the Smoky Lake Pumpkin Festival. We have gone three or four times in the past few years. There is a pumpkin weigh-off to see which pumpkin is the heaviest. The winner (heaviest pumpkin) weighed in at about 1,000 lbs.

After the weigh-off there was a pumpkin auction, where my father bought two pumpkins, one weighing 452 lbs and the other one 166 lbs.  We are going to have a Halloween party at our house at the end of the month and carve the pumpkins as part of the festivities.

At the end of the day there was a pumpkin drop, where one big pumpkin was dropped on another, and then the heaviest pumpkin was dropped onto an old car.

I love these coveralls,

A vendor was selling an assortment of very neat pumpkins and gourds,

A very bumpy pumpkin,

The giant splat that the 900 lb pumpkin left after falling on the car,

Sitting on our 452 lb pumpkin,

Sitting on a concrete pumpkin,

On the way home from the festival we stopped it Andrew, home of the world’s largest Mallard Duck,

The Big Sit

On October 9, 2011, the 17th annual Big Sit will start. This will be my first Big Sit.

I will be a team of one and will sit behind my house where I hope to see a wide variety of birds in that spot.

The Big Sit was founded by the New Haven (CT) Bird Club and is being hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest. The Big Sit is an international event, you can register your team here.