Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Smith's Longspur

This is my Lifer Smith's Longspur (Calcarius pictus) found at Last Mountain Lake in south-central Saskatchewan late September, 2012. 

This one plus two others were flitting around the cut and baled hay; two flew off and this male decided to hide in the shade of a large, round bale.  It was a hot day.  I don't blame him one bit....except it didn't give me much of a chance for getting a good photo.  Ah well....

Smith's Longspurs were one of the species I hoped to see around Churchill, MB (June), but we failed to find any.  Smith's Longspurs, along with its more common relative, the Lapland Longspur, is a tundra-breeder.  Smith's migrate to the south-eastern prairies of the US (E. Oklahoma, Texas, etc) to hang out in short grass prairie, mowed hay fields near water.  A habitat that perfectly describes where I saw them in here in SK.

Pete Dunn calls this The Tawny Longspur.  A good description, as my bird had a distinctly tawny breast  and generally overall, even though not in breeding plumage. 

Pete Dunn's Essential Field Guide Companion 

All About Birds


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wildflowers And Turkeys

Last June, after my Churchill trip, I spent a day driving around the woods and marshes east of Winnipeg.  I love marshes and fens. 

 The Blue Flag Irises (Iris versicolor) were blooming (irises are my favourite garden flower) 

There are bugs on these flowers, wonder what they are.

 A Large Yellow Lady`s Slipper  (Cypripedium pubescens var. pubescens).  Another wild flower I am always delighted to find.

Some Yellow Pond-lily (Nuphar variegatum) pads with a flower bud

Two Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) toms....who were displaying and putting on a bit of a performance, until we got close.  I never have the `right` lens on my DSLR.

Oh well, it is always fun to see these big, rather ugly-yet-handsome birds.