Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/15/2016

Photo taken on July 18, 2016

1/1250 f/5.0 108.0 mm ISO 100

Panasonic DMC-FZ200

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Nycticorax nycticorax
side view
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
Black-crowned Night-heron
E of Calgary
© Anne Elliott 2016
wooden post
18 July 2016

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Black-crowned Night-Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron
I posted a similar photo a few weeks ago and at the time of posting, I couldn't decide which of two images to upload. Decided to post the other one today, as I will probably never get such a great sighting of a Black-crowned Night-heron again.

On 18 July 2016, I had a wonderful day out NE of the city with my daughter. The last time I actually drove eastwards was about six months ago, when I was shooting Short-eared Owls near the end of January. The last time (also the first time) I had ever driven out as far as Drumheller was on 29 September 2014. A few times, I had been fairly close when I went on several botany trips out that way, but when you are carpooling, you can't just go wherever you want. So, my daughter and I had a great time exploring the roads between Calgary and Drumheller. There were a handful of things or places we wanted to check out, but many things were total surprises. We knew we wanted to see fields, yellow fields full of canola as far as the eye could see. No disappointment there, as we took in the gorgeous colour and the perhaps not so pleasant smell of this crop. When we were driving through regular, green landscapes, it all seemed so 'ordinary' after being treated to vibrant gold.

As well as canola fields, we also knew of a particular grain elevator and nearby old barn that we were keen to see. There was also an old, two-storey house in a hilly setting that we knew would have to be photographed from a great distance, but we were curious about it. There was also a small wetland that I wanted to drive by, just in case there was something to see. How glad we were that we went, as this Black-crowned Night-heron was posing nicely on a post out in the open. This was the first time I had ever seen one close, so it made my day. At least, an adult - in October 2015, I had seen a gorgeous juvenile in Fish Creek Park.

Continuing on our way, we stopped to take a couple of quick shots of an Eastern Kingbird and then my daughter spotted a dark patch just above ground level, hidden in the bushes. It turned out to be an Eastern Kingbird's nest, with what looked like three large babies in it. No idea how she caught sight of this, but it was a treat to see.

Soon after this, we stopped to photograph a beautiful red barn and then stopped again to photograph a Western Kingbird. This is not a bird I normally see, so i was very happy to catch sight of this one.

A short drive further, we spotted a shorebird standing on a fence post - and then a second one a few posts away. At first, we thought maybe they were Wilson's Snipe, but then realized that they were something different - two beautiful Upland Sandpipers. I had seen one a number of years ago, but it was too far away for a photo. These are uncommon in Alberta.

It was a pretty good day for hawks, too - so much so, that I got a gentle reminder form my daughter that I didn't need to photograph EVERY hawk we saw, lol. We had other places and other things that we wanted to get to.

As well as birds and beautiful scenery, we saw several old barns, including a special small shed/granary. Each year, the farmer allows the graduating class from the local high school to decorate this old building in any way they wish. A fun idea and it certainly adds a splash of colour. I was absolutely fascinated to read a little bit of history from someone who was a contact of mine on Flickr two or three years ago. Her Grandmother was apparently born in this house/shed. It was later converted to a granary and now, of course, has become the canvas for local students.

One of our main goals was to visit the old grain elevator at Sharples. I had wanted to visit there for quite a while and finally, we made it. Unfortunately, the elevator and nearby barn were in shadow, but it was great to see both old structures. We also passed another old elevator when we were driving along the road north of the river, on the way to Drumheller. This, needless to say, meant another stop for photos.

A great day of fun, seeing and photographing such a variety of things. Beautiful weather and, best of all, a day spent with my daughter. Thanks so much, Rachel - glad you felt up to a day out, but sorry you got so many mosquito bites!


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