Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Migration Beauty

 Okay I admit mourning cloaks do not migrate, they overwinter in a cosy spot and sleep the winter away and come warm days they emerge from deep sleep and flutter about looking for love.
Frogs were migrating across the paths at Beaverhills heading for Lister Lake. It has warmed up enough that they are now digging out of hibernation. By late afternoon the lakeside chorus was full croak. At first we thought it was a flock of raucous birds they were so loud.
 Frosty the snow frog, not very good camouflage here where Icy snow lingers on parts of the terrain.
 We had to be careful where we stepped as they blend right in with the old dry grasses.

All the following photos are greatly cropped to show you the birds better. We keep distance so as not to unjustly distub them
Beautiful sky-lit Poppa Blue Bird.
A dusky brown Momma Blue Bird with a slight wash of blue on her side below her wing and sky blue uppertail coverts.
I'm glad we walked the mile or so to view these two beauties as I want to do another bluebird painting and  previously not captured quality shots of a female.

If I had my 50D I would have a clearer capture but for now this will have to suffice. Oh, yes on such a lovely day I so cursed the camera store manager each time that my antique rebel could not capture shots that his ears may be ringing into next week. Its the second year in a row the 50D is in for repairs during spring migration, grr, when the problem should have been dealt with previous when I took it in.
 I do actually have a wonderful tired smile on, sparkly eyes and rosy cheeks as a day like today is a joy to cherish. Being out experiencing natures throes of passion, the warm smiley sun and my sweet Gerald holding my arm enabling me to continue the mile hike even though my knee painfully shifted apart twice. He says "lean on me" and wonderfully I can.

Having left the lake we leisurely drove through Toefield with the warm washing thought the open windows when I heard a familiar sound so we stopped to investigate.
 At the edge of a busy intersection amidst the trashy lifestyle of Albertans was a killdeer ruffling, looking for love in the wrong place as Killdeer # 2 did not seem to show interest and casually wandered off.
I don't know if they play hard to get as part of the ritual, or whether she was thinking "no way buddy this place is a dump".
 In Alberta when snow recedes, trash of all sorts sprouts with renewed vigor giving tattered color to the landscape. I cropped most of the garbage out of the images. It is really appalling here in spring as the city and countryside looks like a major landfill site. I question Why must it be so. I would think that anyone who witnesses spring thaw here would think twice before tossing garbage and that garbage transporters would make sure loads are securely tarped and tied down.  Okay back to natural color splash in spring, birding!
This was amazing to watch as the killdeer (whom I am assuming is the male, re research of rituals on the Cornell birdsite) would toss rocks aside drop his breast into the shallow pit and upend kicking with his feet and vibrate chittering. He kept doing this then when the female came close as in the upper shot he stood flaring tailfeathers out in a beautiful display. Killdeer #2 wandered off unimpressed with the nesting site choice, I don't blame her.
Killdeer are one bird that does well due its ability to put up with us and nest in yards, gravel roadsides, near water or not, basically wherever they so choose.
 Mr and Mrs Mallard, they are a classy pair now are they not.
I love the glossy sheen that vibrates from green to purple depending how the males head deflects the light, or does it absorb light? More research needed to answer that one.
Madame and Monsieur Goldeneye found an ice free spot on a prairie pothole pond. Most ponds are still slusshy ice-covered though some are breaking up; come next week they should all be open.
Share the Joy, share hugs, big hugs to all!


Carol Blackburn said...

Great shots, Teresa. Your ACEO is on it's way. I guess you'll have it in a few days, maybe a week.

john said...

Incredible Killdeer shots. Here in Anchorage we have the same winter trash problems, and we deal with it by organizing community clean-up outings.
Does Alberta suffer from the same revolting stench as Alaska when all the accumulated dog poop starts to melt?

Red said...

We rarely see killdeer here . When a kid on the farm there were always killdeer in the yard. Many times a little fellow followed the broken wing routine away from the nest.
Enjoyed your post of the spring outing.