Duck Soup

When I head out to photograph birds, things don't always work out as planned. In fact, it rarely goes as planned, but that doesn't mean it's all for naught. Take this past weekend when I set out to photograph a Western Grebe that was reported near the harbour in Port Credit, Ontario along Lake Ontario. Western Grebe is not very common in this part of the country and I thought if I headed out reasonably early in the morning I might have a chance of capturing a nice photo if it happened to be near shore. I quickly spotted it upon my arrival using my scope and observed it for quite some time.

Pine Siskin Among Shrubs

While birding the Long Point area this past weekend, our small group came across several Pine Siskins (PISIs) hanging around a feeder and some nearby thickets. It took a while, but with some patience a few of the birds came out into the open and perched on some thin branches where I was able to capture some images with a blurred background. Of all the images I made, the photo above provided the cleanest background, in my opinion.

Sandhill Cranes on Stage

On Saturday I visited the Long Point, Ontario area located on the north shore of Lake Erie. We came across hundreds of Tundra Swans flying over nearby fields, many of them landing to feed in the area. A combination of fog, cloudy skies and distance hampered any attempt to capture strong images of the Tundra Swans. Early in the afternoon we came across two adult Bald Eagles sitting on a nest. Although the skies had cleared up somewhat by then, distance to subject meant that I had to be satisfied with excellent looks through my spotting scope while my camera gear took a rest.

Gyrfalcon - The Largest of All Falcons Is All Business

Seeing my first Gyrfalcon, a juvenile, last year near Castlemann, Ontario was very exciting and I was thrilled to capture precious few record ID images at the time, in spite of braving extremely cold temperatures of -26C and trudging through snow that was almost waist high at times while carrying my camera gear. Yesterday in Lambton Shores, Ontario, under much more comfortable temperatures and gray skies I got a second opportunity to see this powerful and formidable species, only this time the temperature was a little above freezing, which made it much more pleasant.

Cedar Waxwings Feeding on Berries

Upon leaving the harbour in Port Ryerse, Ontario on Saturday, my friend Andrew and I quickly stumbled across a flock of Cedar Waxwings landing in some nearby berry trees. They are one of my favourite species to observe; however, I haven't had many opportunities previously to photograph them in good light. I quickly got out of the SUV and I smiled upon realization that lighting conditions were close to optimal and so I proceeded to make several images, a few of which I've shown here.

Northern Shrike - An Uncommon Encounter

I've had precious few opportunities to see, nevermind photograph a Northern Shrike. It is an uncommon to rare winter resident across southern Canada and the northern United States (Dunne 2006). On February 6, I spotted a winter resident of Bronte Provincial Park in Oakville, Ontario perched at the top of a bare tree close to an open field. I managed to click several frames, a few of which I've included here.

Snowy Owl Portrait Session

I’ve been fortunate to have the pleasure of photographing many Snowy Owls in Ontario and Quebec. Each encounter is unique in its own way, especially when it comes to photographing these magnificent creatures. Individual personalities vary greatly; some are skittish and do not tolerate approach within two telephone poles or more along a side road while others appear tame and do not seem bothered by humans approaching with care.

Tundra Swans – Migration Stopover

One of the fall migration stopovers for many Tundra Swans is the Niagara River IBA. Fall migration begins in September and lasts until mid-December, peaking in October and November (Dunne 2006). On November 30 I saw hundreds of these swans at different locations along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. One group chose to hang out close to the Canadian shoreline providing a great opportunity to capture some photos in good light.

Bonaparte’s Gulls Along Niagara River IBA

The Niagara River, which is known for its breath taking waterfalls, is an international waterway that is also important for its annual gathering of birds. Four species congregate here in significant numbers (i.e., more than 1% of world population): Bonaparte’s Gull, Herring Gull, Canvasback and Common Merganser. Additionally more than 1% of the Canadian national population of Ring-billed Gulls is present here as well.

Mountain Bluebird – A Perch Hunter

On November 30 I drove from Niagara Falls, Ontario where I had spent the weekend looking at gulls and other bird species along the Niagara River to Whitby, Ontario where a Mountain Bluebird had been reported the previous day as well as early yesterday morning. I was thrilled to see and photograph the beautiful female Mountain Bluebird, a lifer for me, as it spent much of the day making its way back and forth along a pathway in search of bugs and insects.