Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/05/2018

Photo taken on August 21, 2018

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oiseaux de mon monde oiseaux de mon monde

Birds Birds


front view
Anne Elliott
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southern Alberta
Swainson's Hawk
SE of Calgary
Canon SX60
© Anne Elliott 2018
bird of prey
power pole
21 August 2018

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Birds of a feather

Swainson's Hawk juvenile

Swainson's Hawk juvenile 

On 21 August 2018, it turned out to be such a great day, with some much-appreciated sightings. I must have spent about 8 or 9 hours driving and almost every inch of my body ached like crazy at the end of it. Now, each summer, I try and do two or three longer (for me) drives, making sure I don't lose confidence to get there.

Weather-wise, it was around 24C, so not too hot. Yes, it was still smokey from the British Columbia wildfires, making distant hills barely visible and deleting mountains from view, but it didn't have too much effect on closer photography.

It was a good day for Hawks, seeing three on the way south and a few on the way home. I almost missed two Swainson's Hawks, as the hay bale they were standing on was way out in a large field. At first, I thought there were three hawks together, but when I stopped to take a few photos, I realized that there were only two - one looked almost like two hawks close together, but then I saw that it had its wings mantled. I guess it wanted to make sure that the second hawk behind it couldn't steal any of the food from it.

A lone Common Nighthawk also helped make my day. For several years, I had longed to see one of these unusual birds and, finally last year (2017), I managed to find four of them. That time was almost two months earlier in the year than my recent find, so I wasn't expecting to see any in late August. I would still love to find one lying on a wooden railing rather than a metal railing. Last year, I did get a photo of one on a fence post, but the angle was not the greatest. These birds are 9½ inches from the tip of bill to the tip of tail.

"On warm summer evenings, Common Nighthawks roam the skies over treetops, grasslands, and cities. Their sharp, electric peent call is often the first clue they’re overhead. In the dim half-light, these long-winged birds fly in graceful loops, flashing white patches out past the bend of each wing as they chase insects. These fairly common but declining birds make no nest. Their young are so well camouflaged that they’re hard to find, and even the adults seem to vanish as soon as they land." From AllABoutBirds.

"North America has 13 nighthawk populations. All but one are in decline and the species is considered threatened in Canada and several U.S. states."

A Horned Lark, a Western Meadowlark juvenile, and a Vesper Sparrow gave me the chance for a photo or two, and a lone hawk I spotted way in the distance was a Ferruginous Hawk. A happy sighting, as these hawks are so few and far between.

Malik Raoulda has particularly liked this photo

Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda
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