Thursday, May 24, 2012

More photos from the road-trip

It is so wonderful having readers correct when I miss-identify a bird. Thanks to John I re-looked through my five bird books then I ended up going on line this morning and found a downloadable four page "peeps identification". So corrections were made to last post.
 I love Gadwall's, they're subtle, soft looking and elegant.
 Post-hopping Meadow Larks. He would sit atop the fence and sing away then fly into the field and sing there then back to another fence post then back to the field, etc.

 Savannah Sparrow

 Not a clue as to who this is, but my does he camouflage well with the stubble.

 Blue-winged Teal showing his blue lapels.

Green-wing Teal drake and hen. Below photo shows the hens wing bars with green speculum flashing.

Northern Shoveler drake and hen. These ducks are easy to identify by their wide bills. They are surface feeders.

 Abandoned farmstead. I have heard that Vultures make nests in some of these old buildings and the way to tell is guano build up on the window sills.

 Mallard hen. 
I should have posted this in the last post with the male, oh well, she's here now.

 Coot, don't you just love those wonderful limey green legs. I need to post one that shows their feet, they are unbelievable.

I find I did get a female yellow-headed blackbird. 
I still have photos to edit as I took about 2000 shots, eee-gads thats a lot of editing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

and we twitched all the way home

May Long weekend tends to be when camping officially starts and campers get the jump on the upcoming warm season. We took a road trip to drop off art for an exhibition and to spend an enjoyable weekend with our grandson and family. We pretty much took it easy all weekend as once again I'm experiencing pain. Due pain I need make many stops when travelling to prevent muscles from seizing up so monday we left late morn and leisurely twitched all the way home along secondary and gravel roads.
Mourning doves are abundant along the secondary roads, like us they tend to avoid the high traffic areas. Have you ever noticed that Dove's carry a splash of gold aside their neck? I never noticed that till now.

We stopped at roadside potholes and marshes. Above is a nine inch Pectoral Sandpiper and bottom left is a six inch Least sandpiper and bottom right I believe is a Baird's Sandpiper. Now I could have these wrong as I am attempting identities as best as I can for an amateur, and lets face it many sandpipers look similar with maybe a variance of leg colour or beak length to distinguish them. (I have since found out thanks to John that what I thought was the Baird's Sandpiper most likely is a semi-palmated Sandpiper as apparently the Baird's has longer wings than tail, this peep doesn't.)

Love is in the air. Killdeer flashing reddish tail feathers as they wag their bottoms.

Pectoral Sandpiper. 
So as not to disturb the migrating birds on these roadside marshes we shot from the car.

This is my coup of the day. Wilson's Phalarope. I have seen Phalarope in the past but never so close as to obtain an clear identifiable image that could be used as reference material. This unusual shore bird is the female. Females are promiscuous mating with more than one male and leaving the male to attend and raise the young. Photo below shows female and male. The male coloration is not as brilliant and feathers are mottled to aid camouflage while on the nest.

Wiley Coyote on the run. Taken through the front window; though its not a clear image I like the blur effect.

I believe this to be a Marbled Godwit.
Another "yahoo" shot captured as it just landed. This is another bird that I have seen far off in the distance and finally now have a clearer image. It really was an exciting day.

Old abandoned house in the fields.

Everything is greening up. One of the gravel roads we traversed. Thinking back I really should have switched lens and taken a wide angle shot to capture the "looking down the road" effect but I was mainly interested in the lime greens rather than composition.

Blue-winged Teals, drake and hen.

American Widgeon drake, hen and a Canada Goose.
Thank you John for correcting me. 

Drake Mallard on the wing.

Now this interesting duck is named a ring-necked duck which is bizarre as unless one sees it up very close the ring cannot be seen; yet both the hen and drake has a beautiful ring around its bill which is identifiable from a long distance. Someone sure goofed naming this one.

Drake Mallard resting under the water swamped willows. A hen was swimming near by but not sure if they were paired up.

Lone Canvas-back, we saw a few drakes on this pothole but hens were absent. I delight in the beauty of these sleek elegant diving ducks.

Yellow-headed Blackbird, male.
Males blackbirds arrived aprox three weeks past to stake out territory and this weekend I noticed females have now arrived, sorry no photo to post yet as they were too quick or hid in the rushes.
Enjoy the week, hugs!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Of Wildflowers and Dreams

Jackies Wildflower Dream
acrylic, 5x5

This little 5x5 inch painting took a while to complete as I repainted the background three times. At first it was an abstract background with bold yellows. Well that proved too much for this wee bunny, so I over coated with dark blue, that too was overpowering. Once I settled for soft blue I then decided Jackie needed some wildflowers to sit amongst. Isn't she a delightful charm. 

One Prairie Aster began to pop its head from the cool earth to greet the morning sun only to have our resident Jack eat it back slightly lower than ground level. I may not ever see it grow but at least its being enjoyed. Next Asters definitely get planted in the back out of bunny reach, which reminds me we have to block the rabbit hole in the fence before my native sunflowers get found out. The joys of nature and planting Native plants is wonderful. We thought we were planting for the birds to find out that we are also planting for jackrabbits as well as native bugs and bees. So all in all its a wonderful learning experience; and I don't mind sharing the Asters as without a resident Jack or Jackie I would not have had the chance to paint their portraits.
Big hugs and may your life be blessed with the joys of blossoms Native to your abode.