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!


Carol Blackburn said...

What wonderful sights, Tess. Sorry to hear you are having pain. Good thoughts and prayers coming your way.

john said...

Wonderful photos Tess. In the top photo, I believe that the top bird is a Pectoral Sandpiper, the middle bird looks like it may be a Semipalmated Sandpiper, and the bottom bird a Least. It's hard to tell from just one photo.
Also the ducks you labelled as Greenwings, are Am. Widgeons. I'm painting a widgeon right now. Good lick with your show.

Red said...

You really cruised the pot holes and wetlands. You really have to look for these birds. Nice going.
Good to see you posting again.

tess stieben said...

Thank you for your prayers Carol, greatly appreciated.

Thank you John for catching my miss-labled ducks, I shall correct that and I will pull out a few extra bird books and reassess the sandpipers.

Red we got lucky. Presently the rushes are quite small making spotting easier, though a month from now it will be impossible to see into some of these potholes.