Saturday, December 04, 2010

Another Life Bird

Red-shouldered Hawk
It has been a while since I found a new life bird in its natural habitat (not in a bird net). Today I drove north into Mennonite farm country to get some fresh farm produce. The sun was shining for a change and that compelled me to keep driving to look for the raptors which overwinter in our region.


Several Old Order Mennonite farmers were spreading manure on their fields from horse-drawn wagons. Other years I have seen Snowy Owls and Bald Eagles close to farm buildings where manure piles attract rodents and other small mammals.


I pulled to the side of the road and watched a couple of Northern Harriers skim over fields. They moved too quickly for me to get a good picture but the males are easily identified with their dark wing tips and white bellies.


I stopped by a river bank and heard a loud raptor call from a large tree. A beautifully marked Red-shouldered Hawk watched as I approached on foot and posed as I took many pictures. Unfortunately the sky had clouded over but there was enough light to get some clear shots. It was a good morning for winter birding and many more birds will arrive here for the next few months. Here is my list for the day.

Red-tailed Hawk (4) Northern Harrier (2), Rough-legged Hawk (1), Red-Shouldered Hawk (1),  Downy Woodpecker (1), Red-bellied Woodpecker (1), White-breasted Nuthatch (3), Slate-coloured Juncos (4), Blue Jay (1), Black-capped Chickadees (many) as well as the usual farm field suspects...Crows, Pigeons, House Sparrows, Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, Herring Gulls. And at my feeders... Northern Cardinal (2), House Finch (6), Red-breasted Nuthatch (2),Goldfinch (several), (Chickadees, WB Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Juncos)

14 comments:

  1. You got some very nice shots there, Ruth.

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  2. Beautiful shot of the hawk Ruth. I can never seem to get close enough without spooking them even with the zoom.

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  3. How delightful to just go for a drive through the country and get to see so many birds. Yet I'm surprised that with snow on the ground you can still get fresh produce.

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  4. Adding a a new life bird to the list is always exciting.I like the river shot,it is such a pretty scene.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  5. Thanks for your comments...
    @Gaelyn- The farm I go to has cold storage for apples and other hard fruit as well as squash, cabbages, and root crops. Kale, arugula and other hardy greens are still in the ground for another couple of weeks or until we get sub zero temperatures for weeks on end.

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  6. Congrats on another life bird. I have a hard time telling hawks apart. They all look the same at a quick glimpse. It sure helps me when you post and share your pictures. I can identify easier when I see them. Great shot of this beauty bird.

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  7. We have plenty of the Red-shouldered Hawks here, but I've never ween a Harrier! Wonderful photos Ruth.

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  8. Have you ever thought of photography as a side job? You pictures are always beautiful.

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  9. Good thing that you went on Saturday before the big snow fall all day Sunday. Good birds. Sounds like a fun day.

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  10. Thanks Cheryl, Jayne and Holly.
    @Dave...the storm missed us. The ground here looks the same today (Monday) as it did Saturday with just a dusting of snow.

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  11. As always, such lovely evocative photos. I can almost see, smell, taste and feel what you experienced.

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  12. That's an impressive list. I enjoy seeing your photos and the little peek of Mennonite life you show us.

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  13. Congratulations on the lifer.I'll hope to find a Red-shouldered Hawk this weeekend during our Christmas count.Blue Jays like to imitate their keeyar keeyar call which throws me off the track.

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  14. I use to live on that Mennonite farm in the second picture.

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