This bird is a new find for me! I had heard several reports of Horned Larks having been seen in the area recently, which many take to be a good sign of spring approaching. So I was very excited when I actually saw this one perched on a post. It was singing away and at first I mistook it for a Western Meadowlark. Although the two species are very similar at first glance, the tufts on the head of the Horned Lark are a sure giveaway and make them very easy to tell apart.
This is another image I made way back in the spring when the Blackbirds had first returned to the prairies near Calgary. I was very excited to have them back in the area because they are very curious and even more fun to watch. They sing all the time and are never too shy to pose for the camera! I watched this one for a long time before we were both ready to move on.
I’ve been dreaming of warmer and sunnier times lately, and so I’ve gone back to work on some old images that I never got around to processing. These are pictures of Western Bluebirds that I found while on a trip with my Dad just outside of Winfield, BC (North of Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley).
These are beautiful little birds that shimmer in the sun. They are very curious and easy to spot, but you have to know where to look… I’ve learned a lot about Bluebirds by searching for Mountain Bluebirds in the foothills South East of Calgary. I was quite surprised to discover that the Western variety are extremely similar in both appearance and habit. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and I’m looking forward to next spring and summer when I’ll get to go on another Bluebird search!
This is the first Kingbird I’ve seen this season. Although technically a songbird, their call is no substitute for a meadowlark! I’ve never heard one singing before though so this was a pretty cool encounter for me. And it’s always cool when a bird will continue to sing while it’s being watched rather than immediately flying away instead.
These are some of the later birds to show up in the Calgary area in the spring and their arrival is a pretty good sign that summer is just around corner. The main reason for their late arrival is that they overwinter in South America. That’s a long way to fly in the spring and the fall!
Sometimes you make the image you plan to make. Sometimes you get the butt…
NOTE – these birds were found while visitng my parents home in Winfield (near Kelowna, BC), not in Alberta. I had an interesting request for information from Jocelyn Hudon (Curator of Ornithology at the Royal Alberta Museum, and the Chair of the Alberta Bird Record Committee) wondering whether I had found these in Alberta. That would have been a much more exciting find since, according to Jocelyn, there have been fewer than 15 such discoveries in Alberta. This was not quite so exciting as that, but still interesting for me!
Check the Official List of the Birds of Alberta at http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/natural/birds/birdlist/intro.htm