Friday, July 29, 2011

The Moth Orchid

Look what my older Phalenopsis orchid has done!  It's never bloomed like this before.  The blossoms are huge.

The last time this orchid bloomed, and the last time I posted a photo about it - just after I started this blog last Fall, the blooms immediately started to turn yellow and drop.  I hope I haven't doomed the pretty thing again.  I think, though, that I've finally figured this particular plant out.  It is very, very fussy about temperature.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ferocious Fledgling

I snapped a few more photos (like about 78!) of some Cliff Swallow fledglings.  This one just amuses me so much.

I mean, Angry Bird, all over the place

Small, but tough!

And, very, very ferocious. 

Have a great day! (Click on pix for larger & clearer, if you want to).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Good Morning, Sunshine

Many of our roads are lined with wild sunflowers.  Maybe whoever cuts the roadsides will be too busy for a little while longer so I can continue to enjoy these flowers as I drive around looking for birds.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Three More Eared Grebes in the World

Brand new Eared Grebes

Okay, bet the two sitting nice and orderly up front are girls.  The one goofing around in the back is definitely a little boy grebe.  Next thing you know, it will be spit-balls and other sorts of mayhem in the classroom.

Click on pix for larger & clearer, if you want to.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eared Grebe with Chick

More grebes!   This time, Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) with a chick.  To my delight I've found an Eared Grebe colony in a slough close to a road.  

The birds are skittish about a vehicle stopping so I can only snap a few quick (and blurry) pix and move along.  But anyway, here's one newly hatched chick tucked into Mom's feathers.

More Eared Grebes to come...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pied-billed Grebe Chicks

Well, I'm finally back to blogging.  Some of my problems were self-induced as I forgot to...when I....and then there was...oh nevermind. 

On to the subject of this post.  Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) chicks (grebelets?)  These grebes are all over the place.  Anyone, at least in North America, who has visited a reasonably quiet body of water has seen these funny little diving birds - or more likely, have seen the concentric rings on the water surface where the bird was a second before.  They dive, but they also manage to just sink of out sight.

Perhaps, though, not everyone has seen the chicks. 

Here are two, following a parent around and begging for food. They are probably about 10 days old, almost as big as the parent.

I don't know what the adult is doing here.  S/he partially raised and fluttered the wings, while making a series of whistles and peeps. 

Probably warning me off.  The little ones didn't seem agitated nor did any of them dive at that point. 

Click on the pix for larger & clearer, if you want to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Woodlawn Park & Golf course - after the flood

The water has receded.  This is what the place looks like in the aftermath.  All photos courtesy of Larry Preddy.  I'm using most of his descriptions too.

Washed out road into the golf course and silt on road to Woodlawn entry gate (there were drifts of silt at least 2 feet high around the gate)

 #9 Fairway 

 Area in front of clubhouse with #18 green in background behind the pine trees

 You can see the high water mark on the maintenance sheds (at park entrance)

Road into the campground area is completely washed out and part of the river now. There used to be at least 30 campsites on at least 30-40 yards of ground to the left before the river.

The picnic grounds and oldest camping areas

 The river from #47 bridge - it's quite a bit wider now

Thanks Larry!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just Fledged

and not quite sure about the strange things in this new world outside the nest.  This funny, little bit of a bird is a young Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

It survived the Great Flood of 2011, having been raised in a mud nest tacked to the uppermost part of a culvert through which poured the raging water from Boundary reservoir into Rafferty.   Stay safe, little bird.  

(Click on pix for larger & clearer, if you want)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Common Nighthawk

For the past few years, I've noticed a lack of Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) around Estevan - ever since the huge, old, brick Estevan Collegiate Institute building was torn down.  I'm pretty sure these birds nested on the flat parts of the roof.  [They are also ground nesters - clearings in trees near water.  Well, we do have a lot of water around here this season....and now a lot of mosquitos!] 

Lately, though, there is at least one, hopefully two, nighthawks often cruising the sky over my place in the evenings, issuing their familiar nasal 'peent' (others may choose to translate the call otherwise, 'peent' is the way it sounds to me)

A week or so ago, I found a group of 17 nighthawks out near Mainprize Park (west of Estevan some 50-60 kms).  That particular windy afternoon, all except one were sleeping - or trying to sleep - on the rails of a corral. 

It was good to see such a good number of these insect-eating birds.  There's a lot of current concern about the rapid decline in numbers of the Barn Swallow.  Out here in the prairies, we still have a lot of Barn Swallows, but I would say the Common Nighthawk decline is not insignificant. 

Click on pix for larger & clearer, if you want.  It was pretty windy that day with feathers flying up and such; everything looks a bit blurry to me. 

For more information and an audio clip of 'peent', go to All About Birds:
and Wikipedia

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Prairie Slough

One of the things I missed most during my several decades of city dwelling was the Prairie Slough. 

A Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, hen and chicks

Prairie sloughs are simply the most peaceful, relaxing and interesting places on earth.

Black Terns, Chlidonias niger.

An Upland Sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda

sky watching.

A family of Northern Shovelers, Anas clypeata

A Pied-billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps, quietly floating, sorry about the shadows.

A displaying male Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis.  These guys remind me of little tug-boats.

And what prairie slough would be complete without a bunch of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus, squawking away

A perfect afternoon, even with a few mosquito bites.