Saturday, February 9, 2013

2nd Visit to Desjardins Canal

After having been somewhat disappointed with my visit success the day before, I headed out to Desjardins Canal again for second lunch hour in a row.  This time, the wheels on the car hadn't even stopped and I had already seen two birds that had eluded me the day before.  A male and female American Wigeon (life bird #110) were up on the bank.  I quietly slid from the car and cautiously made my way over towards the water's edge and the two birds that were searching for food along with a large group of Mallards.

female and male American Wigeon

Hoping for closer shots, I flushed the Wigeons and they headed for the protection of the water.  I managed to catch one mediocre shot of the female flying, and then an obligatory water shot of the male.

female American Wigeon in flight

male American Wigeon

I headed west along the bank again, hoping that my "luck" would continue and I'd be able to turn up the Redhead.  Sure enough, a look through the binoculars brought the bright read head of the duck I was looking for into sight very quickly and I made my way over (life bird #111).  When I got there, the Wigeons had made their way over as well and I got a picture with the day's two life birds in one shot.

male Redhead and pair of American Wigeons

male Redhead

I headed for the opposite end of the canal section to see if there was anything else to see.  The Common Goldeneye was still there and wasn't quite so shy as the day before.

male Common Goldeneye and Canada Goose

male Common Goldeneye

As I headed further along, I flushed a Great Blue Heron from the long dead grasses against the bank of the road I was walking along.  Flight shots are so hard, and when you've just been in the mode of taking shots of stationary ducks, all the settings are wrong.  So I was quite please this one turned out nicely in focus despite single point focus and low shutter speed settings.

Great Blue Heron in flight

I had walked to the east again, but later noticed that the heron wasn't where it had landed earlier.  On a hunch, I returned more quietly to where it had been earlier, and sure enough, found it again.

Great Blue Heron hiding

When it finally saw me, it headed for the opposite side, not far from the roadway, at the bottom of a steep bank.  I thought I'd try an attempt to come up behind it and see what kind of shot I'd get.

Great Blue Heron behind Canada Geese

This was the result... I have to say, although it wasn't a new bird sighting, it was the most rewarding experience of the day.  I actually had to calm myself down once I had peeped over the ridge and saw it sitting there.  I think hunters have the same phenomenon - after a pursuit, getting all flustered and not being able to steady their weapon to aim and shoot. I guess it sound somewhat odd, but it was quite rewarding to sneak up that close.  We stared each other down for a long time.  I slowly raised my camera fearing it would spook.  I got off quite a few pictures, then got greedy for more bird and less hill in the picture, but that sent him far down the canal.

My favourite shot of the day!
Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron takeoff.

And now, a couple days later, we have a fresh layer of thick, white snow to return winter to our neighbourhood.  I am glad to see it and love all that goes with it.  Yes, I like shovelling, driving in the snow, and the colder temperatures.  Those who know me have heard me say often, "if we're going to have winter, then let's have it!".  What a beautiful place we live filled with many beautiful animals and birds, created to make us wonder at the source of the beauty and variety that we've been given to enjoy.  How is it that it's all here, and for that matter, why are we?

"The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1-3

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Brian! I have not been to the Desjardins Canal yet, but plan on visiting soon! Looks like we have some sun in the forecast for this long weekend! I look forward to your next post!


Sorry about the annoying word verification... I've been deluged with Spam comments lately and some have been offensive.