Feathers on Friday

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

A Red-winged Blackbird at the slough,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 100, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

JG Birds+

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

Anotherdayinparadise

A Day in The Life

The Angling Birder

Feathers on Friday

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

A pair of Blue-winged Teals near the house,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 100, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

JG Birds+

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

Anotherdayinparadise

A Day in The Life

Feathers on Friday

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

I was photographing prairie crocuses the other day when my first of season Turkey Vulture flew right over my head. Because of the flowers, I had just my small 50mm lens on my camera (not the best lens for far-off bird photography), but I was surprised at how well the photos turned out. A nice surprise on a spring afternoon!

A Turkey Vulture,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f9, 1/400, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f9, 1/400, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

My intended photography subjects, prairie crocuses,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

JG Birds+

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

Anotherdayinparadise

A Day in The Life

Alberta Birding and Nature Festivals

Festivals are a terrific way to connect with other birders, learn about birding hotspots, hear new speakers, and learn from experts on guided tours. They are also great for outings with family and friends.

Alberta offers some fantastic bird and nature festivals, so I decided to compile this year’s listing as a handy reference. If you know of an event to add to the list, please let me know in the comments below so I can make the changes.

— April 23-24, 2016: This year marks the 17th annual Tofield Snow Goose Chase organized by the Edmonton Nature Club and the town of Tofield. In the morning, stop in at the town hall to see the displays and exhibits from the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Beaverhill Bird Observatory, John Acorn “The Nature Nut“, and Pete Heule from the Royal Alberta Museum. I’ll be there too with the Young Naturalists’ Corner. There will be an owl banding talk and public bus trips for viewing the Snow Geese, swans, and other spring migrants.

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—  April 23-24, 2016: The Friends of Saskatoon Island along with Alberta Parks celebrate the return of Trumpeter Swans to the Peace Country by holding the Saskatoon Island Swan Festival, features guided tours, presentations, and activities for families.

—  May 28-29, 2016: The Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory holds a Songbird Festival in Slave Lake, Alberta. The event kicks off on Saturday with a pancake breakfast followed by guided birding hikes, workshops, and tours of the migration monitoring station.

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— Saturday, June 18, 2016: The Camrose Purple Martin Festival will be celebrating its seventh annual festival this year with keynote speakers, bus and walking tours to Purple Martin colonies, activities for kids, and tips and techniques for making a wildlife-friendly yard.  

— June 19-23, 2016: The Waterton Wildflower Festival celebrates Waterton as the wildflower Capital of Canada. The festival features guided walks on plant identification and park ecosystems, family programs, and photographic presentations. Last year the festival offered birding sessions with experienced guides, so they might be available this year too.

— July 1st, 2016: The Ellis Bird Farm Bluebird Festival near Lacombe, Alberta, focuses on the Mountain Bluebirds that nest around the farm. Come to the farm for free crafts for children, a talk on Purple Martin and Mountain Bluebird migration research, and a Neighbour’s Market.

— July 23rd, 2016: The Ellis Bird Farm BioBlitz will feature biologists on site to share their expertise on all the wildlife at the farm, as well as site tours.

— August 6, 2016: The Ellis Bird Farm’s Bug Jamboree opens with a performance by John Acorn, “The Nature Nut”, and a butterfly count. Garden tours and children’s crafts are also part of the event.

— September (date to be announced): Waterton also hosts a wildlife festival in September, celebrating the park as one of the best places in the Rocky Mountains to view wildlife, especially mammals. Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, bears, and foxes, more than 200 species of birds, six species of amphibians, four species of reptiles, and 24 species of fish have been found in the Park. Workshops, presenters, and guided walks are some of the activities at the festival.
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— October (date to be announced): Canmore celebrates the migration of Golden Eagles over the Alberta Rockies with a Festival of the Eagles. The weekend celebration includes guided hikes, bird walks, interpretive displays, and guest speakers. Spotting scopes are set up at Canmore Collegiate High School to view the migrating eagles.

Young Birder of the Year Contest and New Blog

This year, I decided I wanted to compete in the American Birding Association’s Young Birder of the Year Contest. It will be tight for time with other things I have to do, but I think I can do it. There are five modules to choose from. I’ve chosen to compete in four of the five categories, both two major modules, Field Notebook and Community/Conservation Action, and Photography and Writing as my supporting modules.

I had a difficult time deciding what I could do for my Community Action project as I must spend at least 40 hours on my project. If my Summer plans work out and I get to be away for part or all of August, I need a project I could work on from a distance. Fortunately, a project I’ve been thinking about for our local naturalist so club, to improve communication and hopefully  increase interest seems to be a good fit. I would also like to include posts to document the new pipeline activity about to start in the area, which I started writing about here.

I decided I would start a blog and Facebook group for my local naturalist society to let members know about field trips, meetings, wildlife, and conservation issues around our area, to stay in touch better and keep up with activities. And hopefully I’ll be able to interest some new members to join, especially since our numbers are dwindling.

Here is the blog, which I hope is of some interest even to readers who aren’t in our club who might live some distance away, and I’m planning to get the Facebook group up this weekend. I just published a post about native wildflowers and have one flower I could not ID, so if you know, please leave a comment!

Yellow Lady’s Slippers,

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Flowers, Birds, and Eggs

At 5 am this morning I went out birding, I didn’t intend to, but I have a tooth that is bothering me so I couldn’t sleep. It was a beautiful morning and a lot of great birds!

Northern Shoveler (digiscoped),

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Wild Rose,

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On my walk I saw seven broken duck eggs floating in the water, here are three,

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Blue-winged Teal (digiscoped),

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Savannah Sparrow (digiscoped),

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Eared Grebes (digiscoped),

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Yellow Lady’s Slippers,

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Snow Goose Chase & Young Naturalists’ Corner

This post is a sticky until the end of April 2013, to promote the 2013 Snow Goose Chase organized by the Edmonton Nature Club and the town of Tofield, Alberta.

The 14th annual Snow Goose Chase will be Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, 2013, in the Tofield/Beaverhill Lake area, east of Edmonton.

New to the Snow Goose Chase will be the Young Naturalists’ Corner, with information for kids and their families. Are you interested in nature, want to explore the great outdoors, and learn more about the environment? Do you want to meet other kids who like nature, animals, rocks, and planets? Come visit us at the Young Naturalists’ Corner at the Snow Goose Chase on Saturday, April 27!

14th Annual Snow Goose Chase, Tofield Alberta, April 27, 2013

For more information, visit the Snow Goose Chase page at the top of my blog. See you there!