Clark's Nutcracker

Today we had our local Christmas Bird Count, where we volunteered to see how many birds we can find in a selected area. My friend and I had the Vermilion Lakes and the Fenland Trail around the Town of Banff. It was much warmer then last year, temperature went above freezing by few degrees and the wind did not arrive until later in the day. The day started with about 76 Ravens flying overhead and we ended it by seeing several chickadees and nuthatches. All together we saw 14 species of birds, not bad for winter day in the mountains. One of the favourite highlight was watching this Clark's Nutcracker looking for dead larvae in a vacant wasp nest.

Until next moment,

Amar

Birds

Few days back I had gone for few short hikes to take pictures of birds. First I decided to explore the Hoodoo Trail and spotted several birds, but only able to get close and take decent pictures of Gray Jays and Clark's Nutcrackers. Nutcrackers were going after the pine nuts from the pine cones and cache they had hidden.

Then went over to the Vermilion Lakes and spotted two Bald Eagles, one close enough to take a photo of.

Until next moment,

Amar

Clark's Nutcracker

I started working in the Banff Park Museum NHSC August 2005, and it did not take long for visitors to ask me questions about birds.  It was easier answering questions about the common birds spotted in town, but beyond that I needed help. Having few hundred mounted birds in the museum was going to bring up lot of questions.  So I decided to learn about these feathered friends, read books and web pages and as well getting knowledge from those around me. The more I learned, the more interested I became. But it was mid September 2006 when I first tried to take a picture of a bird, which was of a Great Blue Heron standing in the middle of a marsh, with rain coming down. Took the picture with a compact camera with a three time zoom, the GBH was a small but important part of the overall picture.

I took few pictures of birds here and there, but in 2008 birds started to become one of my main subjects for photography.  I started to go for walks or hike just to find and take pictures of birds. Have to have lot of patience when taking pictures of birds, it helps if you find your photography subject interesting.  For the Great Blue Heron, I had to wait until April of 2009 to get good close up pictures. Most of the pictures I take are of birds not used to being near people, so I have to learn to adapt to their environment in order to get the pictures I want.

Attached is a picture of a Clark’s Nutcracker, which has this amazing relationship with Whitebark Pines. Nutcrackers feed on the Whitebark Pine seeds, eating some right away and storing many more at a time as cache. They can have up to 10s of thousands of these caches, food stored in the ground for those winter months. They like to store the seeds in an open windswept area, making it easy to find.  Those they don’t find, get a chance to become future Whitebark Pines.  This bird was comfortable with people, and was hoping for food, I instead offered to share its image with friends.

Until next moment,

Amar