Well I’ve been pretty much overwhelmed by life and other pursuits this week and haven’t found the time to process all my images, never mind prepare any blog posts about them. The coming week doesn’t look to be any better and I’ll be preparing for a family vacation for the following week. I hope to get a few posts prepared in advance before we go, but I can’t promise anything.
In the mean time I wanted to share a link to some amazing Prairie Falcon flight images posted by Calgary area nature photographer Rob McKay. I’ve posted about Rob’s work before and since then I have come to realize that he is a master of photographing birds in flight. The main image in the gallery he posted today is absolutely incredible. I see Falcons pretty regularly in my travels but have never had an opportunity to make any images like these, so that makes them even better!
It was incredibly windy today and this little falcon was facing into the wind and hovering in place for long periods of time before eventually diving down to the prairie floor to grab a snack. Kestrels are known for their ability to hover, but it was really incredible to watch it do so in such windy conditions!
I had a lot on my mind today and so I took a short break this afternoon to go for a drive in the country East of Calgary. It was quite cloudy and very bright, which can sometimes make it hard to see birds and animals against the snowy landscape (they tend to look black against a white horizon), but it turned out to be a great day for birding. It was a very welcome diversion from my thoughts.
The Canada Geese are in the full swing of their spring migration and I saw thousands of them. There were huge flocks of them in every farm field and there were swarms of them flying in formation in the skies above as well. I also saw Common Mergansers, Goldeneyes, and Mallards in the sloughs and on the irrigation canals. There were European Starlings in every slough and puddle, and there were also quite a few raptors perched high in trees and on power transmission lines.
The highlight of the day for me was a finding a Merlin perched on a fencepost! Although these tiny falcons are considered to be year round residents of the Calgary area, I haven’t seen any of them all winter. I was very excited when I saw the distinct shape of the bird as it flew by, and then when it actually landed on a nearby post I was ecstatic!
I also saw I saw a beautiful pheasant on the side of the road and pulled over immediately. It flushed as soon as I stopped, but it quickly landed on the shoulder of the road just a short distance away. I slowly approached it hoping to get a few closeup shots, but it took off again. This was the only image I managed to make.