nature photography

Backyard Birding Is For Everyone

 

 

Backyard Birding Is For Everyone

 

 

 

 

backyard birds
Coming In For A Landing                                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

backyard birds
Backyard Eagle                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

I can still hear the screaming sirens of the merlins, the clucking of the cormorants and the take-off squawk of the great blue herons. That was backyard birding this summer and it was always entertaining. Often the entertainment was from a particular perch that was favoured by most flying visitors from songbirds to birds of prey.

Backyard birds as entertainment? They can actually compete with any social media feed, preoccupying you mindlessly, if you just take the time to tune them in. Behind a pair of binoculars you will become immersed in colour, song and behaviour, forgetting that to-do list made moments before. All you have to do is hold your position and take it all in. They will fly into your live feed without prediction or warning sometimes. A drop-in visit last Monday will not guarantee the same bird this week but another may be in the same place. Some are more predictable than others but you can always reap rewards with the usual suspects. They will flit and flutter, scratch and twitch, those fickle feathered friends.

Birds are always on the lookout for their many enemies, eagle eyed or four footed, even the two footed ones. As long as they feel safe from their many predators they may fan their feathers and show off their plumage or spurt out a territorial or mating song. So, if you have a happy place where birds feel safe, and it is in the open where you can keep your eye out for them you will have many hours of happy viewing from your own backyard perch.

For more on birds and birding, see also:

All Creatures Great and Small

Great Horned Owls and Owlets

Swainson’s Hawks

Hermit Thrush

Siberian Boys and Pesky Pigeons

 

backyard birds
Great Blue Heron                                                                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

backyard birds
Merlin Backyard Roost                                                                                  ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

backyard birds
Juvenile Robins at Sunset                                                                                      ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

backyard birds
Kingfisher Perch                                                                                                 ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

We know who the great creatures are at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Bucks accompanied by does and even fawns, the occasional coyote. And, flying by, the big birds, hawks, owls and osprey. But what about the far more secretive yet abundant small ones? A diverse group of songbirds make their home at the park in the summer. They migrate up from southern climes to breed and feed off insects and other northern hemisphere delicacies.

In Alberta, Clay-coloured Sparrows’ most common occurrence is in the prairies and parklands, not treed areas. A walk along a park trail can have them flitting out of the grasses every hundred feet. Listen for the insect-like buzzy calls of the male Clay-colored Sparrows from May through July. They can be distinguished from some other sparrows commonly found at Glenbow, the Vesper and Savannah, by their relatively unstriped buff breast. They search out insects in the shrubbery and seeds in the grass. Nesting habitat is typically a shrubby area with wild grass, situating the nest on the ground or in a low shrub above ground. They build open cup nests out of grass, weeds and twigs, lining it with rootlets, fine grass, and hair. This is another reason to keep dogs on leash in the park to avoid disturbing these or any wildlife shelter.

Spring after spring, Mountain Bluebirds return to nest boxes placed at strategic locations in the park. They can arrive in Alberta as early as March while fall migration for many migratory birds is an extended affair from mid-August to late October. Bluebirds can’t resist the open country with occasional trees for shelter offered at the park.

As members of the Thrush Family (such as American Robins) they feed mainly on insects, spiders or other invertebrates, which they glean from short ground vegetation. Nest boxes are paired, with Tree Swallows often taking one box, and the bluebird occupying the other. The former seeks out insects flying high and the Bluebird will not compete with its ground watch. Unlike other Bluebirds, they often hunt by hovering, obviously inspecting the ground below for any potential food item. The striking turquoise blue is unmatched against the prairie setting.

The next time you see an insect at the park think of the food source and protection it is offering our beloved small avian creatures.

For these and other nature sightings at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, see also:

 

Glenbow July Floral Show

Glenbow Kaleidoscope of Summer

Summer Colour at Glenbow

Mother Nature Human Nature

 

songbird wildlife photography
Hermit Thrush, Beloved Singer                                                                           © heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird outdoors Glenbow
Bird Photography at Glenbow Ranch                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

prairie photography wildlife
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Late Spring Fenceline                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird wildlife Glenbow
Sparrow with Insect                                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Female Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                              ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Waxwings Love Berries                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Male Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Canadian wetlands dragonflies nature
Dragonflies are Tasty to Avian Creatures                                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Superbloom Death Valley Wildflower Peepers Delight

Superbloom Death Valley

Wildflower Peepers Delight

Roadside extravaganza. Desert floribunda. Botany bloomfest. Superbloom Death Valley is on again as wildflowers sprinkle and spread a dramatic carpet of colours in one of the bleakest places on earth.

Death Valley is having a flower show? Unpredictable and even more rare, this floral showing is wilder than just wildflowers. Once a century, and recently with El Nino, once a decade, a wildflower extravaganza hits the dismal emptiness of this valley turning a typically hostile environment into a flower festival.

Less than occasionally and sometimes once in a century Death Valley gets more than it’s allotted four trickles a year in rainfall. AND a critical amount splatters the blistered desert in the fall. Wildflower seeds wait for decades for enough moisture to wash off their outer coating allowing germination to perform nature’s magic. The following spring, after a lot of hope and anticipation that this year will be The Big One, Mother Nature nods in approval and the valley turns into a superific extravaganza of colour. Superbloom Death Valley explodes continuously for weeks as the seed to flower to seed cycle progresses from floor (sea level) to ceiling (mountains over 5000 feet) across and up and down this typically barren landscape. With climate change and wet events like El Nino, “normal” is uncommon, and for the second time this century, a “once in a century event” has imploded again.

Everywhere. Watch your step! Please do not step on the desert sunflowers. They are responsible for the entire desert floor taking on a sunshiney yellow hue.

Missing the 2005 Superbloom Death Valley meant a chance of the century passed you by. But last fall the rain gods descended on the desert seeds again with another superbloom. If you miss it you may have to wait another century or a lifetime or maybe just a decade this time.

For more on fragile places and California spring, see also:

California Desert Bloom In Spring

California Drought – Mother Earth is Cracking Up

Spring Equinox Flowers

 

Superbloom Death Valley
Superbloom Desert Sunflowers in Rocky Fields and a Scratchy Dead Bush, Death Valley    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Superbloom Death Valley
Death Valley Desert Sunflowers Dancing In A Superbloom                                           ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Superbloom Death Valley
Beatty Road Blushes in Red, Yellow, Purple and Green , Death Valley                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Superbloom Death Valley
Yellow Fields of Desert Sunflowers in Death Valley                                                            ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Superbloom Death Valley
Yellow Fields at Sea Level, Death Valley                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Pigeons, Travel And Other Street Photography Tips

Pigeons, Travel And Other Street Photography Tips

 

Pigeons travel a lot. Motion triggers interest. Photographers look for interest.

Pigeons can be frightening at close range. Flit and fly, zoom and groom, munch and crunch, coo and, …, well, you know. Pigeon habits can be equally disconcerting. If you do not bring out the pigeon morsels, they pretty much keep to themselves which is a good thing. Polite even. An unnecessary scourge to the street walker but they can be invaluable to the street photographer. They can become your new best friend if you are looking for some action, motion, movement, reaction. Motion triggers interest. Where there is interest, there is street photography. Pigeons and travel go together.

Before you know it, you can become a little partial to pigeons too. Seeking them out, hanging out in parks,  watching for their telltale behaviour and telltale signature. Waterfronts, downtown, uptown, backstreets, main streets. If you do not bring out the seed packet those eagle eyed missiles pretty much keep to themselves, which is a good thing. Unless directly overhead.

Go low and head down, for best results.

Pigeons can be frightening at close range. Flit and fly, zoom and groom, munch and crunch, coo and, …, well, you know. Pigeon habits can be equally disconcerting.

Pigeons may be an unnecessary scourge of the street walker but they can be invaluable to the street photographer. They can become your new best friend if you are looking for some action, motion, movement, reaction. Motion triggers interest. Where there is interest, there is street photography. Pigeons and travel go together.

Before you know it, you can become a little partial to pigeons too. Seeking them out, hanging out in parks,  watching for their telltale behaviour and telltale signature. Waterfronts, downtown, uptown, backstreets, main streets. If you do not bring out the seed packet those eagle eyed missiles pretty much keep to themselves, which is a good thing. Unless directly overhead.

Gerard Petrus Fierot

For more on people and pigeon photography, see also:

 

Siberian Boys and Pesky Pigeons

La Paz Bolivia Street Secrets

Snowing In New York City

Street Photography in India

 

pigeons, travel perspective
Pigeons Check Out Porto Waterfront, Portugal                                  ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

pigeons, travel perspective
Pigeons Delhi Mosque, Jama Masjid, India                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

pigeons, travel perspective
Pigeon Feed Mumbai, India                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

pigeons, travel perspective
Pigeons in Glasgow Princes Square                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

pigeons, travel perspective
Pigeons Hanging Out, New York City Financial District ©heathersimondsphotography.com