May 3, 2015

Fauna and Flora of the Prairies: Avifauna Aplenty

Bird lovers young and old, I have many more pictures to share of many avian species of the water, reeds and grasses.

You will find birds that are endangered and that are common. One species that is considered of "least concern" by the IUCN was very elusive to catch on digital film, but their song was crisp and clear as the big, blue sky of the open prairie. I'm talking about the Western Meadowlark, those beautiful vibrant birds with their bright yellow breasts and striking black V on the chest. If I had the time and patience to catch one with the camera, I would. But work on a ranch, even if it's doing rangeland research, can't wait.

I did keep my camera handy at all times out in the field for any opportunity that came up for any mammal, bird or plant I would find that I figured I should take a picture of!

A road-runner! No, it's a pheasant that was high-tailing it outta there, away from the truck me and a couple others were in. Man, they can run!

The following pictures are of a pair of bitterns that were nesting in the wetlands right by where we were staying. I only have one picture of the female (third one down), the other four pictures are of the male. And if you look carefully, you'll notice that their feet are actually bright, almost flourescent green!

A lovely red-winged black bird in the evening light.

Barn swallow

King flycatcher, one of the largest flycatcher species in Canada!

A little marsh wren, cute little thing, he (I think) was busy collecting cattail fluff for a nest somewhere in the reeds.

Another yellow-headed blackbird. Too bad their song isn't as pretty as their looks!

A few Common Goldeneye ducklings! There were about a dozen of the little stinkers swimming in one of the full canals. They were sure cute!

This is a picture I took of a Long-billed Curlew, which is listed under Alberta's Endangered Species Conservation Committee as a Species of Special Concern. It's primary breeding and nesting habitat is in the short- or mixed-grass prairie of dry or moist grasslands, which is why grasslands are also so important for even shorebirds like this one, and another species shown below. Development and agricultural activity (primarily crop production) is the largest threat to this species in loss of habitat and species decline.

These pair of birds are Upland Sandpipers, also breeding and nesting in similar habitat as that of the Long-billed Curlew.

An Avocet in mid-flight. Apparently I upset him with his nest nearby, cause he was flying around me when I was close to the shore line. Of course I couldn't go out very far because of the thick, deep and sandy mud of the large wetland area. The birds had better luck traipsing across the surface!

Not my best picture, but this is a Wilson's Snipe also giving me a warning call because he (or she) must've had a nest nearby. This bird also has quite the sound at night, turns out it's the tail feathers that make this winnowing, quick and haunting hu-hu-hu noise when the bird goes into a dive or levels out from a dive, and is made in defence of a nest, territory, or to attract mates.

Another Upland Sandpiper.

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