Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/29/2016

Photo taken on June  6, 2015

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SW of Calgary
Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Anne Elliott
Tree Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Tachycineta
wooden fence post
back view
6 June 2015

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Tree Swallow from the archives

Tree Swallow from the archives
On 6 June 2015, my place was beginning to get uncomfortably warm inside. That meant I needed air-conditioning and the only place to find it was in my car. So, off I went along the backroads SW of the city. I wasn't expecting to see anything different, but there were certain birds that I was certain I would see - birds that I really enjoy photographing. I really do need to drive somewhere different, but this drive is just a fairly short drive and fits nicely into an afternoon or early evening.

The "usual" included Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. Funny how Tree Swallows will sometimes "tease" their Bluebird neighbours by flying and landing very near the Bluebird nesting box. Out of nowhere, the brilliant flash of blue of the male flies at top speed to chase the Tree Swallows away. On this day, I noticed the female Bluebird landed just a couple of feet from the Tree Swallow nesting box and just sat there with a Swallow on either side of her. No idea why she did this, as it annoyed the Swallows, and of course she was chased away.

"Handsome aerialists with deep-blue iridescent backs and clean white fronts, Tree Swallows are a familiar sight in summer fields and wetlands across northern North America. They chase after flying insects with acrobatic twists and turns, their steely blue-green feathers flashing in the sunlight. Tree Swallows nest in tree cavities; they also readily take up residence in nest boxes. This habit has allowed scientists to study their breeding biology in detail, and makes them a great addition to many a homeowner’s yard or field." From allaboutbirds.

Other sightings on my drive included Red-winged Blackbirds, Black Terns, a pair of Cinnamon Teal glowing in the bright sunlight, a distant Coot feeding her little ones, a Pied-billed Grebe who was annoying an adult Coot who kept racing across the top of the water to chase the Grebe further away. My final sighting was a Coyote in a field of Dandelions. By the time I had pulled over and raised my camera, it was already heading off in the opposite direction, stopping once to look back as Coyotes tend to do.

I almost forgot to mention the highlight of my drive! Not far from home, I noticed a Canada Goose in the distance, standing in the grass right at the edge of the road. I thought it might just step out in front of me, so I stopped in my lane on this fairly busy road and turned on my hazard flashers. Sure enough, it did exactly what I was suspecting - and it was followed by its family of half a dozen or so goslings walking in a very disciplined single file, with Mom/Dad bringing up the rear. Fortunately, the two cars coming behind me in the other lane also slowed down and stopped till everyone was safely to the other side. May sound silly, but I find it such an amazing, humbling experience when this happens : )

ROL/Photo has particularly liked this photo

Another excellent photo
2 years ago.