American White Pelicans.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Saskatchewan in the summer of 1999.

I spent most of the day in the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area. I found a flock of American White Pelicans feeding in a channel where a marsh drains into a section of the lake.

It was a hot day and I wanted to get as close to eye level with the birds as possible. That meant either lying on the bank in the sun or setting up a tripod in the water and sitting behind it in the water.

I had a Uni-Loc tripod with me so it set it up in the water. The Uni-Loc tripods are different from most tripods with the legs in effect reversed. Which means that they can be submerged in water up to the bottom of leg lock. There’s no need to strip the legs down to drain the water and dry the locking mechanisms out unless you go above the leg lock.

The birds were feeding by drifting down the channel letting the water carry them along. These three Pelicans are swimming back up the channel to start again.

Trio of Pelicans.

Swimming in the Shallows.

Throwback Thursday travels back to the 1980s and a bird in its habitat. The photo was taken at Brown Moss, a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest near Whitchurch, Shropshire, England.

This is a Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) in breeding plumage. An alternative name for the Little Grebe is Dabchick which seemed more commonly used when I was growing up. The bird is swimming in a shallow section of the large pool on the reserve.

Little Grebe or Dabchick.

Friendly Friday: Ebb and Flow

The latest Friendly Friday Photo Challenge is Ebb and Flow. It got me thinking about some of the locations I have photographed birds over the years.

A couple of locations in Saskatchewan stood out, in particular Last Mountain Lake, especially the National Wildlife Area that surrounds the northern end of the lake. Bird numbers would vary massively over the year.

In the spring the area is a stopover location for species such as this Killdeer. Some will stay in the area to breed while others will carry on north after feeding and resting.

Stretching Killdeer.

 

In the summer the area is a breeding location for species such as American White Pelicans. These birds are feeding in a channel where a marsh drains into a section of the lake.

Feeding party of American White Pelicans.

 

In the autumn the area is a major stopover location for Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes on autumn migration. This is a section of a Snow Geese flock, the birds can number in the thousands.

A gathering of Snow Geese.

 

In the winter the lake is frozen and partially snow covered. There are no water birds left in the area although you may see the occasional flock of Snow Buntings. It is however still a good location for sunsets.

A frozen Last Mountain Lake.

Surrounded by bubbles.

The Daily Post one word prompt is Bubble.

An American White Pelican surrounded by bubbles. The Pelican is one of  a group fishing in a channel where a marsh drains into a section of Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan. There is a sluice gate to regulate the water level in the marsh which is causing the bubbles in the water.

The horn on the Pelicans bill shows it is a breeding adult.

Breeding adult American White Pelican

An unlikely morning

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is Unlikely.

One spring morning I’m out with the camera at a section of Little Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. The location was several miles from the nearest road and I’ve no idea where the nearest occupied farm was and I had managed to lock my keys in the truck after getting the camera and tripod out. So I decided to photograph a Common Tern fishing and then preening before breaking into the truck.

Eventually I decided it’s time to learn how to break into your own vehicle. How hard could it be, you see actors do it all the time on TV. There was the remains of a long abandoned barbed wire fence nearby so I  walk over and break a piece of wire off. I used the multi-tool I keep in my camera bag to strip the barbs of and get a straight piece of wire. I’m just about to slide the wire down the window to try to pop the lock when a bus loaded with birders drives up followed by a convoy of other vehicles. It was the weekend of the Wadena Shorebirds Festival and they were on an outing to Little Quill Lake. So I’m now being watched by dozens of people as I try to break into my truck. I slide the piece of wire down the window, wriggle it around and the lock pops open. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, I must have looked like a professional car thief to the spectators. A couple of the birders wander over to make sure that I was breaking into my own vehicle.

After a while the bird tour departs and a few minutes later half a dozen Wilson’s Phalaropes fly in and start feeding along the shoreline. I crawl across some sand, well I’ll call it sand although there was rather a lot of duck and goose poop mixed in it, and get into position to photograph the Phalaropes. They completely ignored me, I had females walking almost up to the lens, to close to focus on.

Feeding Phalarope.

One of the female Wilson’s Phalaropes poses for a portrait.

Female Wilson's Phalarope.