Rufous Hummingbird

During part of a morning I watched couple of hummingbirds taking nectar from these small flowers belonging to gooseberry plants. About every ten minutes one of the hummingbird would show up to take the nectar and I would take their pictures during the process. Hummingbirds need lot energy each day, so when these flowers are out they take full advantage of it.

Rufous Hummingbird

Canada Goose

New life is out, these two about a week old were spotted eating and moving with their parents , who were right behind them. With waterfowls the young have to be able to move soon after the force their way out of the nest. Dealing with the real world right away, parents will do their best to provide safety from the elements and predators.

Canada Goose

Red-tailed Hawk

After warm summer like day, winter was back. Snowed most of the day though out much of the park. After work I was out looking for things to take pictures of. This Red-tailed Hawk was perched top of a tree, head partially covered by snow. Helping me get my winter like picture for the day.

Red-tailed Hawk

Barred Owl

The Barred Owl was not only out in the open but also calling out. So it did not take long before the magpies arrived and started harassing the owl. Magpies and other birds will harass any bird or mammals that will harm them or their nest. So when they have a chance, harassing is a normal reaction when predator are spotted.

Barred Owl 170521f Amar Athwal.jpg

American Robin

Weather is getting warmer and more leaves are coming out, summer is not far off. The robins have been back for few months, they are quite common in the park. So I can take my time getting the right picture of them. Few mornings back I was bird walking, I saw this robin on the ground, as I got closer it perched on a branch with new leaves,  nicely framing the American Robin.

American Robin

Savannah Sparrow

I have been spending lot of time out there taking pictures of birds, taking advantage of the bird migration season. Big or small, I enjoy and seeing and taking pictures of them all. I saw this Savannah Sparrow early in the morning as the sun was making its way up. The sunlight behind the sparrow helped make this picture, providing the glow and the colours in the background.

Savannah Sparrow

Mountain Bluebird

One of the highlight of birding in Banff National Park is having a chance to see the beautiful Mountain Bluebird. I came across this male in a meadow, first spotted perched on top of a burned stump. Its bright colour got my attention and I quickly snapped several pictures. It was looking toward the ground, searching for insects to feed on. After few minutes it found a snack and then it found a different perch. Providing a better picture.

 


Until nest moment, 

Amar

Mountain Bluebird

Red-necked Grebe

I was watching two red-necked Grebes diving for food in the Bow River, they feed on fish, crustaceans, insects and few other aquatic related food items. They also ingest large quantities of their own feathers like the other grebes. Still no clear idea why they do that  and why they feed their feathers to their young. It might be to protect the lower digestive tract from hard indigestible material. The morning I got this picture, I was just happy to get a good photo during a morning snow fall. 

 


Until next moment, 

Amar

Red-necked Grebe

Great Blue Heron

In the morning I came across this Great Blue Heron fishing on the side of the Bow River. I watched from a distance as it caught two fish, both the same size as the one in its mouth. After it caught the two, things slowed down. It kept moving to different parts of the river but no luck. It finally decided to fly away.

Until next moment,

Amar

Great Blue Heron

Canada Geese

The birds have been migrating back for a while, but now its full on. It seems everyday another bird is heard calling out, on the water, in the forest and  in the sky. Even if you are not a birder, its great to hear all those calls. Every chance I get I'm out there, looking for those who nest in the park and those who are just passing by. The Banff Community Birdwalk kicks of tomorrow, let the fun begin.

Until next moment,

Amar

Canada Goose

Three-toed Woodpecker

The Three-toed Woodpecker is the most often spotted woodpecker here in Banff National Park, found year around. Boreal forests and montane coniferous forests is their preferred habitat. Diet preference are insects, dominated by wood-boring beetle larvae, also happy to eat fruits and feed on tree sap. So the nest time you are in their habitat and hear a soft chipping sound, stop, locate the direction of the sound and step over to watch the woodpecker scale off flakes of bark to get at insects. 

 

Until next moment, 

Amar

Three-toed Woodpecker

Northern Shrike

This masked feathered friend goes by the name of Northern Shrike. Comes down to southern Canada and northern United Sates during the winter. It's a predator, feeding on birds, mammals and insects and also considered a songbird. Shrikes use their pecking skills to kill their prey and if the prey is too large to hold in their talons, they will impale them for easy eating or for snack at a later time. 

Until next moment, 

Amar

Northern Shrike

Raven

Raven is one bird I can always cont on seeing or hearing no matter where I am in the mountains and no matter what the weather is like. They are very adaptable and always are able to find what they need to survive in harsh conditions. This one was hanging around the road, looking for food I imagine.

Until next moment,

Amar

Raven

Northern Hawk Owl

I'm not much into New Year resolutions, because for me there is only one thing I want to do and do more of it,  next year and the year after that and the year after that. That is eat more chocolate, oops sorry, I mean take more pictures. Nature photography is my way of having balance in life, the more pictures I take the better every other part of my life is. I use photography to connect with people and I use photography to connect with nature. 

Until next moment,

Amar

Northern Hawk Owl

American Dipper

Today was the Christmas Bird Count day in the Bow Valley, the night before there was a weather alert for this morning. Temperature around - 32 Celsius and called for heavy winds to bring windchill to under - 42. Waking up this morning the alert was removed, the temperature was only - 24 and the windy was only bringing it down to - 38. Piece of cake, well it was while wearing a coat loaned to me for the day by a friend, with the heavy parka, cold was never an issue except for my hand when I took pictures. And I only did that when there was a good chance of getting a good image, the one attached was the best one of an amazing bird, the American Dipper, who did not seem to be bothered by the cold weather as he went in and out of the open water to find food. The three friends I was with and others out in the valley were challenged today, but in a small way we got to connect with this dipper and few other birds we came across on a very cold day. And for them there is no warm home to go to at the end of the day.

Until next moment,

Amar

American Dipper

Bald Eagle

 The holiday season is around the corner and depending on the area you live in, Christmas Bird Count time is here. For us in the Bow Valley, it will be Saturday, December 17, 2016, click over to "bowvalleynaturalists.org" for more info.. It a great way to spend time, listening and seeing birds that call the Bow Valley home in the winter and the occasional rare guest that has decided to stick around for the winter instead of flying somewhere warm. Some Bald Eagles were still around few weeks back, when it seemed winter was long off. Now we are in full winter mode, but still a chance one or two eagles will be spotted. But Christmas Bird Count is more then just about spotting birds, it's a great way spend time with others and connect with nature around us. 

Until next moment,

Amar

Bald Eagle

Mount Rundle and a Snow Goose

For several days we had a rare sight in Banff National Park, a Snow Goose. A not so shy juvenile Snow Goose that was spotted in the water near the shore and on land eating away. In most cases the snow geese fly south around the park, but for some reason this one decided to land in Banff and hang out. It was spotted with blood behind its head, no one is sure what the cause was. When I saw it one morning, it seem to be in good health, it was very busy eating on land. One night I arrived to its original location from where I heard it had moved on. From the lights of my car I could see no sign of any waterfowls or hear any. Thinking I was along, with light on my head I made my way next to the open water. I took several 30 second exposures, when I noticed on the rear screen of the camera some dark object in the water. After I zoomed in I realized the Snow Goose was back, resting safely in the water for the night. After confirming with my headlight, it was time for me to move on.

Until next moment,

Amar

Mount Rundle and a Snow Goose

Northern Hawk Owl

I was making my way home toward the end of the day, when from the side of my eye I saw this Northern Hawk Owl perched on top of a tree. It seems to be passing through, I don't often see this or any other owls in the area. I was able get few of its picture before leaving it in the area.

Until next moment,

Amar

Northern Hawk Owl

Bald Eagle

I was driving when I noticed a juvenile Bald Eagle, perched on top of a dead douglas fir. I quickly decided I would turn around at the next opportune location and see if I could get in a position to get the picture of the eagle without scaring it away. I thought I had a good chance, large birds tend to perch for a long period of time, this one was perched near a pull-off, where people were moving around, the bird was not too shy. But my main reason trying to get this picture, the tree base was located below the road, giving me an opportunity to get the picture having the camera at the eye level of the Bald Eagle. Not always easy with wildlife. Took me about ten minutes to get back to the pull-off and another fifteen minutes to get close enough to get the picture and to leave the bird enjoying the view.

Until next moment,

Amar

Bald Eagle