Last December…

Today was my final exam for principles of ecology. The snowshoe hare came up in a few of the exam questions, so I thought this would be a good day to publish a post I started earlier this year and finished a few weeks ago. A little after sunset, on December 9th 2017, the white rabbit appeared, well a hare actually, or more precisely a … Continue reading Last December…

They’re back!

According to eBird data, Common Redpolls are not seen in the Edmonton area between June and September, except for the sighting of a single bird on July 5th, 2014. Their breeding grounds are north of Alberta, in Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta (Semenchuk 1992) does mention occasional nesting in Edmonton. This species also breeds in … Continue reading They’re back!

Furry Friday

The red squirrels looked particularly red today. Was it just because of the quality of the sunlight? Or did it have something to do with the season too? They always look my way when I approach. And then they usually move. Sometimes they disappear, and sometimes they yell at me and keep yelling until I walk away. For some reason, this little fellow only yelled … Continue reading Furry Friday

Gwyndolyn’s nest: Part 4

A little recap… Gwyndolyn and her goslings left the nest on May 6th 2016. For a while, George and them were the only goose family at the pond, but soon another family joined them. Part 3 ended on the morning of May 23rd, with cold rain and both mother geese brooding their goslings under their wings. Part 4 starts a week later, on a much … Continue reading Gwyndolyn’s nest: Part 4

Gwyndolyn’s nest: Part 3

On the morning of May 6th, Gwyndolyn’s nest was empty. The whole family was swimming across the south pond in an approximate line, with mom in the lead. I can only count 7 fluff-balls in the photo, but there were 8. Their destination was the tasty and rarely human-disturbed grassy strip that forms the central portion of the peninsula which separates the north from the … Continue reading Gwyndolyn’s nest: Part 3


January started cold in Calgary this year. For the first two weeks, temperatures were near -20 degrees Celcius. I went down to Bowmont Park once to feed the Black-capped chickadees, but I didn’t hear a peep from a single one. Luckily, temperatures were balmy last weekend (a touch above 0) and the chickadees were singing happily. About ten of them took turns picking sunflower seeds … Continue reading Chickadees

Flicker kiss

Northern Flickers usually peck at the ground for insects (mmm, nutritious ant larvae!) but occasionally they peck at trees. They do excavate nest holes in dead or diseased tree trunks. However, I don’t think this male was excavating a nest. The tree trunk was riddled with little holes and the Flicker pecked the trunk in a few different places. He didn’t enter the large hole … Continue reading Flicker kiss

Vancouver Song Sparrows

This photo was taken in Vancouver’s Stanley Park on October 10th 2015, when J and I took a walk along the Lost Lagoon trail. The day was overcast but, luckily, it didn’t start raining until we got back to our car. We were visiting my sister and her husband in Vancouver for Thanksgiving. Also, J and I got married that weekend! I recently saw my … Continue reading Vancouver Song Sparrows

Singing Song Sparrows

In the past two weeks, since Spring started springing, I’ve been enjoying the harmonies of American Robins and male Red-winged Blackbirds on some of my morning walks. Yesterday, I got treated to some new tunes. Song sparrows! So many of them! It was a beautiful sunny morning along the Bow River at Bowmont Park. The leaf buds of the many, many balsam poplars have opened … Continue reading Singing Song Sparrows

Coyotes in the brush

Looking for grouse in the knee high brush in front of the Alberta Children’s Hospital, I saw a small, light-beige rectangle way off in the distance. Tree stump? I really wanted it to be some kind of animal, so I took out my camera and zoomed in. Maybe a lynx??? (Wishful thinking – at camera display screen size, the face above could possibly, maybe belong … Continue reading Coyotes in the brush

Phoenix area hummingbirds

Male Anna’s Hummingbird. Gilbert Water Ranch, Gilbert, Arizona. December 2015. I saw a few hummingbirds when I went to Arizona last December. And when I looked through my photos, they were all male Anna’s hummingbirds. Male Anna’s have fancy magenta feathers on both their crown and throat. The colour is not a pigment, but a structural property of the feathers. When light hits the feathers … Continue reading Phoenix area hummingbirds