Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 12/31/2017

Photo taken on December 29, 2017

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Anne Elliott
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Pine Grosbeak
Pinicola enucleator
NW of Calgary
Cochrane Wildlife Reserve
Finch family
winter Finch
© Anne Elliott 2017
Audubon Christmas Bird Count 2017
29 December 2017
side view

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Handsome Pine Grosbeak male

Handsome Pine Grosbeak male
This morning's temperature is -29C (windchill -40C), with a lovely blue sky and sunshine. I have no intention of going out today, except to clear all the snow off my car ready for tomorrow's New Year's Day Bird Count for Fish Creek Park. This extreme cold is just brutal! Three COLD, day-long, out-of-the-city Christmas Bird Counts have been more than enough.

A video from the Weather Network website, showing how cold it is in Calgary right now:

This photo was taken the day before yesterday, 29 December 2017, when four of us (using just one car) took part in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count for the Cochrane Wildlife Reserve area. I'm not sure why it's called Wildlife Reserve, as it consists of back roads and farms just like on our other Counts. The area we covered (right on the east edge of the count circle) was east of Highway 22/Cowboy Trail.

The first evidence of any wildlife for me, first thing in the morning, was a Jackrabbit that was nibbling on snow-covered plants right outside our leader's house. Of course, at 7:15 in the morning, it was still dark.

One of my favourite things to photograph on this annual Count are the Llamas at one of the farms.. This farmer has several of these large, amusing animals, and they are always one of the highlights of this Count for me. I'm not sure how many Llamas they have - somewhere around 7? Most of these animals were given to them by other farmers who no longer wanted them.

"Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America and Asia about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago) camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America and, due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 100,000 llamas and 6,500–7,000 alpacas in the US and Canada." From Wikipedia.

Another of my favourite farms to stop at has a beautiful, old dog named Fang, along with beautiful cats, and I always look forward to seeing them each year. This day, though, with a temperature of -23C all day (windchill probably at least -30C), cats stayed indoors. I caught a brief glimpse of just one cat outside. The neighbouring farm, which is also included in our area, has two beautiful old, red barns and I was longing to see these again. Unfortunately, no one was home, but I did get the chance to take two rapid shots through the trees of one of the barns, from a side view.

Another farm we stopped at had beautiful Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls coming to a feeder. A joy to see these splashes of colour in a very cold, white, white world.

So, it was a very enjoyable day, though there were not all that many species or individual birds to be seen. Too cold and too much snow to spend much time searching various farmyards, and we had finished the Count by 2:30 pm. I will add a list of the bird species seen, in a comment box below. Many thanks, Dave, for driving us. You did a great job of handling roads that were not in the greatest condition, and it was greatly appreciated. The light was awful all day, and it was so difficult to see where the ditch was and where one road turned off to another. There is no way I would ever try driving on our back roads in winter! Also, a huge thank-you to the various landowners who were kind enough to allow us to wander around their farmyards. These visits make our day so much more interesting!

Nouchetdu38, Cämmerer zu Nau, homaris, * ઇઉ * and 4 other people have particularly liked this photo

8 comments - The latest ones
un oiseaux que nous n'avons pas hélas ; qu'il est beau
11 months ago.
Pam J
Pam J
That is stunning !!

Admired in ~ I ❤ Nature
11 months ago. Edited 11 months ago.
Happy New Year!
11 months ago.
Anne Elliott
Anne Elliott
Thanks so much, everyone! Happy New Year!
11 months ago.
Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen
Beautiful colours and details.
Happy and healthy 2018 !!
11 months ago.
Marvin Matthews
Marvin Matthews
Great shot, if he ever comes this far south, I never see him.
11 months ago.
J Pierre
J Pierre
Super shot
11 months ago.
Cämmerer zu Nau
Cämmerer zu Nau
11 months ago.