Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/14/2016

Photo taken on May 21, 2016

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Mountain Bluebird
Sialia currucoides
SW of Calgary
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
nesting material
side/front view
© Anne Elliott 2016
21 May 2016
my 'usual' pair
piece of dry grass
holding in beak

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Nest-building Dad

Nest-building Dad
In Bluebirds, the blue colour is produced by the structure of the feather - there is no blue pigment. "Tiny air pockets in the barbs of feathers can scatter incoming light, resulting in a specific, non-iridescent color. Blue colors in feathers are almost always produced in this manner. Examples include the blue feathers of Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Blue Jay's and Steller's Jays."

This was a Mountain Bluebird male seen where I often take photos of Mountain Bluebirds, SW of Calgary. Taken on a cold, rainy day, on 21 May 2016, after I had spent the morning with a group of friends at Barb Castell's acreage. It had been arranged for us to visit to see birds such as Evening Grosbeaks, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, and three species of Hummingbird. However, I guess they just didn't like the weather any more than we did and were keeping hidden and sheltered somewhere. We did still see a Tree Swallow, Mountain Bluebird, Sapsucker, etc., but not the less commonly seen birds. It was an early start to the day, too, as I had to leave the house at 7:00 am.

After spending time at Barb's place, we stopped at several sloughs to check on birds, and then we went our various ways. There were a few places I wanted to check out, plus a brief stop at Brown-Lowery Provincial Park (the best place because it has an outhouse!). When I was there, I thought I might as well at least take a few steps down the rough path, where I was happy to find a group of tiny mushrooms. Also bumped into a fellow birder, who spotted a Cape May Warbler on top of the tallest coniferous tree. I had never seen one before and must remember to see if I can brighten the very distant, black silhouette in a photo I took.

From Brown-Lowery, I called in again at a favourite slough to look for the Wilson's Snipes that I love to photograph and found a couple of them. Also found a pair of Mountain Bluebirds that were so cooperative. The male in this photo and his mate were busy collecting strands of dried grasses to line their nesting box. Quite amusing to watch the male try to handle one piece that was too long.

Normally, when the weather is very overcast and raining, I stay home : ) I was amazed that some of my photos came out reasonably well, at least when seen at this size, despite the low light.

The day after this, on 22 May 2016, it was the same kind of weather. The day was spent with my daughter (as an early birthday for me), but we were mainly in the car and not outside in the rain. Some photos came out OK and others were blurry - just thankful for the ones that came out well enough. We had a lovely day together, starting with a late breakfast at the Saskatoon Farm and then driving some of the back roads SW of Calgary. Thanks so much, Rachel!

Pam J
Pam J
Gorgeous !

Admired in ~ I ♥ Nature
2 years ago.