I am adding the description that I wrote under a previously posted photo taken at the same time. I desperately need to make more room on my computer, so I am very, very slowly going through some old photo folders before deleting them. As I do so, I grab a few old photos to post.
"Three days ago, on 17 May 2015, I finally got out with my camera for a few hours. The previous few days had been dreary and overcast, with rain the last couple of the days. The sense of freedom felt so good, as I stopped in at a wetland in SW Calgary and then drove my usual loop along the backroads SW of the city.
At this first pond, I saw the usual Mallards, Lesser Scaup, Redheads (seen in this photo), Common Grackle, Red-headed Blackbirds, and a quick glimpse of a distant pair of Cinnamon Teal glowing in the sunshine. Something I didn’t know until a few minutes ago is that many female Redheads make no nests of their own, but instead lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks.
I had intended walking around to where I had seen the Canada Geese nest in other years, but before I did so, I suddenly noticed a distant pair of Geese swimming in my direction. I didn’t really think much about it, but as they got closer, I realized that they were escorting 10 little goslings. They swam right up to where I was standing, as if to show off their new little family. And then they were gone, swimming off in the direction from which I had seen them come. After taking a few more photos of the nearby ducks, I carefully looked at each pair of Geese on the pond and none of them had any goslings swimming with them. Maybe they had returned them to the edge of the wetland and hidden them well. These were my very first goslings this spring, so I was happy as can be to see them.
A week earlier, on 10 May, my daughter and I had great views of a pair of Red-necked Grebes, who seemed to be building a nest closer to shore than in previous years. It was disappointing to see that the tiny "island" that they seemed to have chosen was now very low in the water, after all the rain we had had. Hopefully, they won’t move to a higher mound that is further away, but that is what I am expecting. Makes me thankful to have seen the pair fairly close 10 days ago.
From this pond, I continued on my drive, greatly appreciating the sunshine and fairly empty roads, despite this being the Victoria long weekend here. The Brewer’s Blackbirds were perched on fence posts, and I always love to see these birds with their white eyes.
In one large pond, I watched two pairs of Blue-winged Teal, a Muskrat, a Pied-bill Grebe, and a pair of Red-necked Grebes. Most of these birds were very far away, but I did manage to get a few distant shots of the Teal.
At the next slough that I stopped at, I saw one solitary Swan, too far away to tell if it was a Trumpeter or Tundra (apparently a Trumpeter). I also spotted a funny little Pied-billed Grebe swimming fairly close to the road, but by the time I had driven a bit further in order to turn my car around, the Grebe was already closer to the far shore. Further on, I stopped to see a pair of Mountain Bluebirds that came to their nesting box just once while I was there. Tree Swallows made a quick appearance at the nest box that was nearby.
Continuing my drive, I passed a pair of American Wigeon preening themselves at a tiny slough, along with a Green-winged Teal. Further yet, I stopped to take a few photos of Red-winged Blackbirds and – to my great delight – a Wilson’s Snipe, one of my favourite birds to photograph. Last year seemed to be such a great year for Snipe, so I was hoping this spring might be the same. When I drove this road in one direction, I was happy to spot a distant Snipe down in the grasses, but still wished that it had been standing on a fence post. After turning my car around, I slowly drove along the edge of the wetland again and, this time, there it was! Absolutely made my day – anyone would think it was my very first sighting ever of a Snipe! Surprisingly, it didn’t stay for long, but gave me time to get three or four shots.
From here, it was time to return home along some of the backroads before eventually having to get back on to the highway. A dark phase Swainson’s Hawk was where I had seen it (same one?) on a couple of other occasions. Took a photo or two through the windscreen, so not the best photos, but I thought it might fly if I got out of the car.
It was so good to get out and, though I saw no new or rare birds, I was, as always, happy to see the more usual ones, especially when they are close enough to photograph."
Posted by annkelliott on 2021-05-03 07:53:33
Tagged: , Calgary , Alberta , Canada , SW Calgary , nature , wildlife , ornithology , avian , bird , waterfowl , aquatic bird , duck , swimming , pond , wetland , water , back/side view , close-up , migrant , migratory , outdoor , 17 May 2015 , annkelliott , Anne Elliott , Panasonic DMC-FZ200 , FZ200 , Lumix , Lesser Scaup , female