Blueberries and Ospreys

Last week, my parents and I headed up to Moose Lake to pick up my brothers from 4H camp. The landscape around the lake is quite different from home as the lake area is part of the northern boreal forest. The habitat around the lake includes paper birch, poplars, jack pines, white spruce, sand dunes, and lots of wild blueberries!

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There were quite a few of other berry pickers in the woods, but there were lots of berries go around. My family picked three ice cream pails of blueberries and so far, my mom has made jam, and a blueberry crumb cake, and I made blueberry-cream muffins.

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There weren’t very many birds in the woods, but there were quite a few squirrels,

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This squirrel was nibbling on a pine cone,

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More blueberries,

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I was walking through the woods and came across this active Osprey nest. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the Ospreys on the nest as they flew away as I approached, but I watched them circle the nest for quite some time,

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A close-up of the very large nest,

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The Ospreys were a Year Bird for me, putting my 2014 Year and Alberta lists at 162 species,

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There was a flock of Black-capped Chickadees and Yellow-rumped Warblers feeding in the the pines. There were also a few small songbirds mixed in with the chickadees and Yellow-rumped Warblers that I wasn’t able to identify as they were difficult to see in the trees.

Here’s my eBird checklist from our adventure of blueberry picking.

Here’s one of the three Dark-eyed Juncos that were feeding in the low shrubs,

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Some of the beautiful trees that surround Moose Lake,

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Spring birding and Stickers!

Spring has officially arrived after a long winter, but the weather is not very spring-like yet. in this part of Canada, nature is in charge, not the calendar! I haven’t been out birding lately because of school, practicing for our music festival, and a busy calving season, which has kept me busy.

A couple of days ago, I walked to our mail box about half a mile from our house where I was hoping a particular parcel would be waiting, and did some birding on the way. I saw a bunch of chickadees singing their Spring song, “hey sweetie”, one Downy Woodpecker, a number of Black-billed Magpies and House Sparrows, and a lone Canada Goose flying overhead. the new season is slowly but surely creeping in!

Some of the chickadee were shyer than others, but this one was very co-operative in letting me get close,

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The slough across the road from my house is still frozen solid, but in a couple of weeks it will be filled with thousands of geese,

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I found this nest, but I don’t know what species built it,

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Success at the mailbox! I was very excited to find my American Birding Association Bird of the Year stickers in the mail, and as usual and I immediately put them on my binoculars. This year, the Bird of the Year is the Rufous Hummingbird,

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Hawk Platform

About five years ago my dad put up a a 32-foot tall hawk platform on our farm, hoping to encourage the Red-tailed Hawks in the area to nest there, but the hawks still haven’t shown any interest. For the past two years we’ve put sticks on the platform to help entice the hawks, maybe this will be the year?

This past Sunday, we added some more nesting material to the platform, using our Skytrak telehandler. Here I am by the platform,

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Hawks do a much better job of arranging the sticks than I do, but it’s just to get them interested and (hopefully!) they can finish the job,

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