Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/14/2015

Photo taken on April 11, 2015

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side view
American Avocet
Recurvirostra americana
SE of Calgary
Frank Lake
long legs
large shorebird

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American Avocets

American Avocets
I had a great day on 11 April 2015, when a group of maybe 13 or 14 of us decided to meet at 9:00 am in High River, about half an hour's drive SE from the southern edge of Calgary.

The first thing we did was go to see the heronry (or rookery) there. Quite a few years ago, I did get to see it on a couple of birding trips. Now, you have to view it from a main road and look to the far side of a huge field. You can see several large nests built high in maybe three trees that were touching each other and some of them had a Heron standing in the nest. You really need a scope in order to see much.

After the heronry, we visited a couple of Great Horned Owl locations - Mom with three owlets were in one of the nests. At Frank Lake, we took some time viewing the lake from the bird blind/hide. Not a whole lot of birds have returned to Calgary and surroundings yet, plus the wind was so strong yesterday that the lake water was really choppy, as you can see in this highly zoomed photo of two elegant American Avocets.

From the lake, we returned to High River around noon and enjoyed a coffee and a chat at Tim Horton's. I couldn't resist the temptation to drive a few backroads on my way home, just around the Blackie area, eventually arriving back home about 5:00 pm. Photographed a handful of old barns, as there was quite a build-up of storm clouds. So many of my barn photos have such uninspiring skies, so these clouds were much appreciated. Not only was it very difficult to hold my camera steady the whole day, but it was also difficult to open the car door in such strong winds. The following day, my hands and arms were painful and very weak from having to grip the steering wheel for hours, trying to stay on the road. This whole area does tend to often be very windy. Despite the wind, it was a great day, and hopefully we can all get together like this again.

"With its elegant profile and striking coloration, the American Avocet is unique among North American birds. In summer it can be found in temporary and unpredictable wetlands across western North America where it swings its long upturned bill through the shallow water to catch small invertebrates." From AllAboutBirds.