Singing male Red-winged Blackbird.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Saskatchewan in the 1990s. With no sign of spring arriving in Ontario I thought a spring photo of a species that arrives in Canada for the summer would be nicer than another photo of snow and ice.

This male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) has recently arrived in Saskatchewan to spend the summer and is singing to establish a breeding territory. I’ve always liked the backlighting on the bird that’s illuminating the red epaulettes that give the male birds their name.

Backlit male Red-winged Blackbird proclaiming its territory.

Colourful Dusk.

The new Wits End Weekly Photo Challenge is Bright Colors.

A fairly easy challenge you would have thought. I came up with a long list of possible subjects in my head. I then thought about some of the colourful skies I have photographed over the years and changed direction for this post.

This colourful dusk is one that I may never forget. Not just because of the colour but also because it was -40° and a few minutes previously there had been Snow Buntings flying past me to roost in a reed bed. It should be noted that -40° is roughly the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit.

I added a glow with Snapseed to give a dreamlike quality and then a border as I’ve been on a bit of a border kick recently. The view is of a section of frozen marsh at Little Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada approximately 20 minutes after the sun dropped below the horizon.

Frozen marsh at dusk.

Living sky.

This current Weekly Prompt Photo Challenge is Sky.

A subject that I have rather a lot of options available for. Then I thought about living in Saskatchewan, Canada in the late 1990s. Saskatchewan proclaims itself the “Land of Living Skies” with the slogan on the provincial license plates.

That got me thinking about some of my shots from my time in Saskatchewan and some of the flocks of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes. This is a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying to roost at sunset in the autumn. The photo was taken north of Little Quill Lake, part of a wetland complex in Saskatchewan.

Living sky.

Specks in front of the sun.

A photo of the setting sun taken with a telephoto. I had a couple of teleconverters stacked behind the lens to make the sun as large as possible in the frame. The specks around the sun are very distant wildfowl. I was hoping for a large V of Sandhill Cranes to cross the sun but they wouldn’t cooperate.

One from the archives taken in early autumn when the wildfowl and Sandhill Cranes are gathering up ready to head south for the winter. Little Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada in the late 1990s.

Specks in front of the sun.

Wings across the sky.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Wings Across The Skies.

There was some obvious choices for me. At the same time, a bit of a challenge because of the range of choices.

I picked this shot of Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis) flying to roost at sunset because they cross the frame, from one side to the other. In other words, wings across the frame. The photo was taken at Little Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada in the autumn. The Quill Lakes area is a staging area for Sandhill Cranes on their way south for the winter.

Flying to roost at sunset.

Flying in formation.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1990s. At this time of year the Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis) are gathering together ready to head south for the winter. It wasn’t unusual to see flocks of hundreds of birds in places and a few miles away there could be a family party of four or five by themselves.

One of the staging areas was around the Quill Lakes wetland complex. It is also an important staging area for Snow Geese on autumn migration. I had a few locations around the northern end of Little Quill Lake that I visited at sunset to photograph the various flocks flying over to their roost sites.

Sometimes I would isolate small groups, other times I would shoot wider for larger groups. I picked this shot of five Sandhill Cranes because they appear to be flying in a loose formation. I find it interesting that the wing position of each bird is different.

Formation flying at sunset.

Foxtail Barley detail.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Saskatchewan in the late 1990s with a close up of the heads of some Foxtail Barley. Taken on a section of the Little Quill Lake shoreline near Wadena, Saskatchewan.

Alternative common English names are Bobtail Barley and Squirreltail Barley. Although it is native to North American it is regarded as a weed and an invasive species by some people.

Foxtail Barley seed heads.