Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Columbine

Nothing to say, but have a flower!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peacocks at the zoo


Lots of Peacocks (they're actually Indian Peafowl, males are called peacocks and females peahens) at the zoo, but it's usually hard to get a look at that big, beautiful fanned tail!

But we had good timing, or just good luck, there were a lot of vocal males all over the place, and lots of displaying going on!

They're fearless - everybody loves 'em!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Zoo wildlife

Going to the zoo isn't the most intrepid thing ever!  But Assiniboine Park Zoo has some neat wildlife amongst the fences. 

Lots of tree stands, and some fairly large treed areas.  Saw a good few crows, and heard a lot of other birds that I couldn't identify. 

This is Pearson Memorial Pond.  A very pretty little spot. 

As any park-like area, lots of Canada Geese around!  Time for the half-grown babies!

A real neat surprise was this Swainsons Hawk near the Elk enclosure!  It looked like he picked up a ground squirrel but dropped it...

Speaking of ground squirrels (Richardsons Ground Squirrel, to be precise), they were EVERYwhere!  This little guy raced right up to the stork (Saddle-Billed Stork), got this far, took a good luck, and scurried back under his rock!  Smart move, little guy!

This little guy was hanging out near the Cougar cage.  Just chillin', havin' a snack!

This guy's home was near the Bison.  Looks to me like he's saying "hey you kids, get offa my lawn!"


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A couple of Manitoba birding links

A few links about birds and birding in Manitoba for you!

Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative

Piping Plover Guardian Program

Nature Manitoba. Lots and lots of stuff! This is my favorite page - photos of the rare-for-Manitoba birds!

Nature Manitobas book store. I heartily recommend "Finding Birds in Southern Manitoba" and "Pelicans to Polar Bears", both of which I use constantly in trip planning. The big "Birds of Manitoba" is just as wonderful. Just very big. VERY much worth the bucks though!

Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas

Falcon Cam of the Peregrines nesting on the Radisson in Winnipeg. There are two tabs on the top - click on "Brandon Cam" to check out the birds nesting on the McKenzie seeds building in Brandon.

Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. They tend to the falcon cams!

The Manitoba Birds list on yahoo. Mostly reports of sightings and also updates the provinces lists (Winter list, year list, etc).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trip report - Kildonan Park

Another afternoon trip to another city park.  Not a whole lot of birds, did hear a few that I couldn't identify.  Did get a quick glimpse of an Eastern Phoebe though, thought that was pretty cool!  No pic though - darn!

A little stream near one of the gardens.

Kildonan Park has park ducks.  I don't know if these birds are wild or released - they look much more compact than the wild mallards I'm used to!

Thought this guy was a "manky" mallard, a duck with some domestic ducks in his background.  But he also looks similar to some pictures I've seen of American Black Duck x Mallard hybrids.  So I don't know!  There were a LOT more male ducks than females present, and lots of chasing going on.  This guy was paired up with a female, and was pretty vigorous in going after any others who came too close!

Female Mallard, preening

Female Mallard, looking for corn.  Almost looks like a mini-Mallard!

Male and female, male complaining!

This was a surprise, a late Song Sparrow, hunched on a perch near the riverbank. 

And a very nice male American Robin, looking for worms amongst the tulips!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A big black yard bird

Crows aren't always popular.  But I love 'em.  Spending hours squinting through a pair of binoculars makes you pretty appreciative of anything you can identify on first sight!

They are also quite suspicious, very cagey and hard to get good photographs of!

So here's one that flapped onto the railing and picked through the millet looking for a few sunflower seeds.

Sorry for the cluttered pic, but I thought it was a neat pose.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The last of the yard birds

Sigh!  The trouble with living in the city is that we have so few birds during the summer.  I normally stop feeding, because usually the only birds are the S.S.P.'s (Starlings/House Sparrows/Pigeons), none of which need the help!

Our year round birds, Chickadees, Hairy/Downy/Pileated Woodpeckers and White-Breasted Nuthatches are typically scarce around the feeders during the summer.  We don't see many fledglings at all from these birds. 

There might still be a close by pair of Chipping Sparrows however, so with any luck, they'll bring some babies around to visit!

We did get a Baltimore Oriole, a male, that visited on the 27th.  He was most suspicious, and flew off anytime someone went to the window, so no photos!  But very glad to have the visit anyways!

A female Downy Woodpecker, wonder what's caught her eye!

Sure hope this works!  Caught a Swainsons Thrush having a bath, but didn't have much luck at photos, so thought I'd try a video!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

A few flowers

With most of the birds gone, attention goes to the flowers!

Cherry blossoms, taken about two weeks ago - most are gone now!

Flower buds on the Honeysuckle - I love how honeysuckles have two totally different types of leaves!  Our honeysuckle is pretty big, more than six feet tall, and probably just as wide.  We get hummingbirds on it, but not usually til the fall.

Another one planted for the birds - a Mohican Viburnum.  This one has shot up at least six inches this spring, and has a TON of flowers!  Not sure who eats the berries, but most of them disappear before they're even ripe!

One of the pink and yellow columbines

Closeups of Lilac blooms

A red Marigold, still full of water from a passing rainstorm


Trip report - Assiniboine Park

The trip to St. John's Park was about a week ago, never got a chance to upload the pics.

Went to Assiniboine Park on Tuesday.  Hoping it would be (relatively) unpeopled, being a weekday, but still quite a crowd.  Hate to think what it'll be like on the weekend!

But it's beautiful!

The bridge to Portage Avenue is very well attended by Cliff Swallows.  Canada Geese were loafing on the shores, and a pair with a single gosling paddled/were swept underneath the bridge to land on the shore further along.  The river was full, and pretty fast (as it goes!)

The English Garden is already colorful, but it was in a bit of an inbetween stage.  Mostly tulips, but many of them (in particular, the yellows) were already finished.  Still lots to be seen!

This was a gorgeous big tree.  Wonder what kind - I want one!

A beautiful early iris!

I think these are Alliums. 

My only bird photograph other than the swallows.  Some kind of flycatcher, maybe a Phoebe?  Brutally bad photo!

Only saw a few birds.  Heard a lot, but could only identify a few.  Did get the bins (but not the camera) onto a hearily singing Red-Eyed Vireo, and heard some Goldfinches later on. 

Trip Report - St Johns Park

Gotta admit I was skeptical of seeing any birds here, this park, while it is on the river, is smack dab in the middle of town.

That's also an advantage though, it's nowhere near as crowded as some of the better destinations. 

There's a bit of a wayside park, just a nice big green area, before you get to the actual park.  Love to finally see all that green!

The river was still pretty high, and had formed a little lagoon at this spot.  That'll be shoreline within a couple of months!

I loved how these trees looked, fighting gravity so hard!  The shore where the roots were was well-trampled, they must be very attractive to kids!  I wonder how long they've been leaning into the water.

More shoreline trees, up to their knees in water.

The little lagoon was attractive to the ducks.  There was a lone Mallard male and a pair of Wood Ducks.  I managed to catch a picture of the male, but his mate was shy, and they took wing almost as soon as we spotted them.

The Mallard was a noisy guy!  I wonder if he had a mate and a nest nearby. 

We also got to see a Canada Goose family.  Baby goslings are the best!

There were a few warblers at the park itself.  Most were too high up and too active to pinpoint any identities.  I NEED to get better at birding by ear!  Did manage to get the binoculars on a singing male American Redstart (no pictures, darn!) and after a LOT of watching, managed to pin down a photograph (not the greatest!) of a male Yellow Warbler, who had also been singing his heart out. 

We also saw a few Chipping Sparrows (and heard a lot more!).  This American Crow was having a drink at another bit of floodwater.