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.

Up until yesterday, my photos of Western Meadowlarks weren’t very good. The species have nested in our yard for years, but I was never able to get any decent photos.

I came back to the house for lunch this afternoon and this male Western Meadowlark was singing on a fence post. I got my camera and took a few photos, and though they’re good, I’d like to work on taking some even better ones.

A Western Meadowlark,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 100, Nikkor 50mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/400, 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

Happy Easter!

I’m having a wonderful Easter and hope you are too! Here are some photos for your Easter.

We even had an Easter baby: our cow Becky gave birth to a healthy heifer calf  named Candy,

A Western Meadowlark,

Our Easter table;  I made the paper mache eggs from a not martha tutorial,

Easter eggs I colored yesterday, chicken eggs on the left and goose eggs on the right,

A Spring Poll

To celebrate the Equinox and first day of Spring today, I have a poll!

Vote for your favorite Spring bird by the evening of Thursday, March 29th, and on Friday, March 30th, I’ll have a post with the results. Thank you!

My 10 Favorite Birds of 2011

2011 was a great year for birding for me. This year I saw eastern birds I had never seen before. I was able to see 145 year birds and 61 life birds. I was hoping to break the 200 barrier, so I’ll try for that next year (starting tomorrow!).

1. Long-tailed Duck (Toronto, Lake Ontario)

2. Tufted Titmouse (Central Park, NYC)

3. Great Gray Owl (our farmyard)

4. Wilson’s Snipe (across the road from our farmyard)

5. Western Meadowlark (the pasture across the road from our farmyard)

6. Yellow-rumped Warbler (the woods down the road)

7. Ruddy Duck (the slough across the road)

8. Common Merganser (the slough across the road)

9. Turkey Vulture (provincial park near town)

10. Pine Grosbeak (the woods down the road)

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Happy New Year and happy birding in 2012!

Evening Birding

I went out Tuesday evening in search of owls, I didn’t have any luck, but instead I was able to find about  20 Lesser Yellowlegs, one Merlin, one Western Meadowlark, countless Canada Geese and 26 Sandhill Cranes. It was a great night for birding even though the skies are now getting dark before 9 pm.

Some of the Lesser Yellowlegs feeding,

A Lesser Yellowlegs,

As I was watching the Yellowlegs, I saw a flock of Sandhill Cranes. They were in a neighbors wheat field eating the grain,

I love these two pictures of the cranes where you can see just their heads,

To end my post I thought I should add a picture of the beautiful sunset we had last night. Though I saw many great species of birds I never heard or saw any owls,

Late! Bird Photo Quiz #4: Answers

I’m very sorry for missing this post on this past Sunday. We had a very bad hail storm here on Saturday, which not only knocked out our internet service but also broke windows, damaged shingles and siding, and destroyed my mother’s vegetable garden.

So here at last are my answers for my Bird Photo Quiz #4:

Picture #1 is a Western Meadowlark

Picture #2 is a female Yellow-headed Blackbird

Congratulations to Brendan at Catching the Thermals, who correctly identified the birds. Thanks for playing along!

Must-see birds: August

I got the idea for a northern Alberta version of “Must-see birds” from Pat Bumstead’s and Bob Lefebvre’s Birds Calgary blog. Matthew Sim, who is another young birder, had the idea for the “Must-see birds” posts and writes them all.

August is the month for early migrants, especially on the Canadian prairies, so be watching for them. I wanted to find the best birds for Must-see birds: August. Here are some birds that you can still find in the month of August.

1. Western Meadowlark

The male Western Meadowlark is a very striking bird, with a black V on the male’s breast. The breast is bright yellow, the bill is very thick and sharply pointed. The Western Meadowlark is an open grassland bird, so look for it on fence posts and small bushes,

2. Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a very large bird, with a blue-gray back, a very long neck, and a long pointed bill used for spearing small amphibians. This heron can be found at heron rookeries, lakes, ponds and sloughs,

3. Spotted Sandpiper

The Spotted Sandpiper is a relatively small sandpiper, with a brown back, orange bill, white eyebrow, and white breast with bold spots,

4. Yellow Warbler 

This is a female Yellow Warbler so unlike the male she doesn’t have the orange streaking down her breast. The Yellow Warbler has olive-green wings and tail, and the head and breast are bright yellow,

5. Purple Martin 

The Purple Martin is the largest North American swallow, which nests mostly in man-made boxes. The martin’s color is iridescent blue-black. This bird can be found at golf courses wherever a nest box has been put up,