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Saskatchewan Birds? (1 Viewer)

Craig S

Member
Those are some really impressive sightings. To see water fowl or waders in those numbers we'd have to travel a few hours north or west. We have seen the Turkey Vultures twice at the lake west of us, once as we drove out from behind a stand of trees one was flying right toward us, came within less than a hundred feet, would have been an excellent photo op, but before we could stop they flew off and we haven't seen them again.
Since the leaves came out I am using the 70-300 lens in the bush, have to use manual focus which for the small birds in the bush is not so easy. Still enjoying the outings though.
Monday is supposed to be pretty nice so we are going to pack a lunch and go to the lake and see what we can see. It will be a nice outing regardless of what we see.
Ravens are much larger than Crows. According to the range map I use Ravens would not be in your area. For us we have to go north of Winnipeg to see them, for you it looks like you would have to go north of Saskatoon. We do see them when we go to visit our son near Dauphin, they are much larger than Crows. The difference is very noticeable.
B&H Photo has just added a buying tutorial to their web page, had a quick look at it this morning seems to be pretty good.
My big catch this week was a Red eyed Vireo, first time I've seen one. As I was walking it flew in and perched on a branch about 10 feet from me, and in the open no less. I got several decent pictures, posted one in the gallery.
The Belted Kingfishers seem to have left, haven't heard or seen them for about 2 weeks. Some Northern Rough Winged Swallows had taken up residence in the area most frequented by the Kingfishers, but they seem to have left too.
Two days earlier this week the woods were alive with birds, but they were really difficult to see because of the leaves, later this week their numbers had really diminished.
Two fledgling Robins were in our yard yesterday while momma hunted up some worms for them. Got a few pictures of them.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
we see turkey vultures quite a bit, but never seem to get close enough to get pictures of anything other then a silhouette..
i manage to get the focus pretty good.. but my bf tends to flip it to manual.. drives him nuts that i dont need to.. lol
apparently ravens migrate here.. i think we have seen them, simply because they were like over a foot high..think we've definately seen them once..
luckily for us, most of the time we dont have to worry about trees.. except today.. saw a warbler we think.. dont know what kind.. will try to ID them tomorrow.. and an oriole.. skittish bird that.. a couple types of sparrows.. and a few other things.. i love goin out looking!
 

Craig S

Member
Crows are 17-21", Ravens are 21-27". Crows are common through out North America. Ravens are common on the west coast of Canada and USA as well as most western states. Ravens are common across Canada except for the southern half of most of Manitoba and Alberta but are not in the southern half of Saskatchewan. Ravens don't migrate. To see them in S/E Sask they would be at least a few hundred miles outside of their range. Not saying it is impossible mind you.
We went out Monday intended going to the lake but most of the park was closed so we ended up driving for about 5 hours in an area of about 50 square miles. Was great we were up into the Pembina Escarpment twice during the drive. Saw lots of birds and added a Boblink and Rusty Blackbird to our list. We saw one male Bobolink and several females along one stretch of road. Saw lots of other birds, took hundreds of pictures. Got some decent pictures of a Red Tailed Hawk and we had a Great Crested Flycatcher show up in our yard late in the afternoon and return off and on until last light. Was here again at 5:30 in the morning. I'm going to start another thread and post a few pictures, he was becoming a real nuisance.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
hmmm maybe we have seen the rusty blackbird.. looks really similar to the brewers blackbird we have here.. who knows.. hard to really tell between them..
i would love to see the flycatcher in real life.. would be awesome.. and we've had cardinals do that to our windows.. had to hang rubber snakes out to make em leave the cars alone!
 

Craig S

Member
Brewer's male black with purplish blue iridescent head, female gray with dark eyes.
Rusty male black with bluish and greenish iridescence, female dark grey, yellow eyes.
There were Rusty Blackbirds in groups of up to 5 on the telephone lines along one road we took. We were able to park right next to them and view them with binoculars, we got a few not so good pictures.
Great Crested hasn't been back for several hours.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
this morning i saw a warbler (yellow i think with the orange breast stripes), and an American Goldfinch i believe.. way far out on the trees though.. yesterday saw a bunch of Ruddys, a canvasback, canadian geese, a bittern, an eared grebe nice and close.. a bunch of coots at war (6 of em all fighting in pairs), pintails, the horned grebe nesting.. then saw a western kingbird, a bunch of eastern kingbirds.. and something i have to try to identify from a low colour picture.. could have been another western kingbird, but im not sure
 

Craig S

Member
Bird you describe sounds like a Yellow Warbler, they are not that easy to photograph as they seldom sit in one place for more than a few seconds. I've been seeing them for about the last month or so, usually see one and sometimes two on my walks.
Sounds like you are seeing Bitterns like I see House Sparrows.
The Kingfishers are back, don't know where they went, maybe they were just being quiet the last two weeks, sounds like they have young. Was able to get a few pictures of them yesterday, they seemed to be pretty frantic, coming and going from where I think their nest is. Can't see the nest as it is in the side of the river bank on my side of the river. Land across the river is private property.
It can be time consuming trying to identify the birds.
Got some pictures of a Lark Sparrow yesterday too.
Saw my first Cedar Waxwings since last summer, first saw only two at a distance, pictures did not turn out, then further along the trail came across a flock of at least 8, got some pretty decent pictures of them as they were within 20 feet.
Finally got a picture of an Olive Sided Flycatcher, not sure that I will post it though, it's not that good.
Replaced my $12.00 holed metal tube peanut feeder that the birds pretty much ignored with a $2.00 wire mesh peanut feeder from Dollarama. There is a Hairy Woodpecker at it right now. There have been quite a few birds at it since I put it out, Hairy and Downy's, Blue Jays, Grackles, Nuthatches, Sparrows. I am pretty pleased with it and surprised at the quality for $2.00.
Action pretty heated at the feeders this week, suspect a lot of eggs have hatched, suet balls were lasting a few weeks in winter, early spring most of the day, mid May they were gone in 5 hours, now they are gone in 2 hours.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
the birds around here have rejected our feeders.. they shun them.. BOO i say..
we seem to see the same two bitterns.. i saw it again today.. right next to the side of the road, and it sat and posed for me while i took like 40 shots from the truck..
i would love to see the waxwings!!
i am finally getting some sparrow shots.. unfortunately i dont have a chance in heck of trying to ID them.. think i got 4-5 types, but ... impossible to try to identify the little ones with no distinguing marks
 

Craig S

Member
First year I put out feeders they didn't get a lot of attention, the following year they got more, the last two years I am getting lots of birds. The black oil seed will attract the greatest variety of birds, finches, sparrows, nuthatches, grosbeaks, grackles (boo), blue jays, red polls, which feed from the feeder, then there are birds that feed on the ground like doves, pigeons, some sparrows, juncos, etc. We get quite a variety of birds during spring migration. The one I really look forward to seeing every spring is the Harris' Sparrow, they have been coming the last couple of years. One will usually show up in our tree late in the evening, look around and leave. It returns to feed for a few days before departing north. This year they stayed for a week, probably due to the cold wet weather. We also had 6 show up this year.
A suet feeder will attract brown thrashers, grey catbirds, woodpeckers, grackles (ugh), and probably a few more. We even had a Robin feeding from our suet feeder regularly this year.
I make my own suet, very easy, takes about 3/4 of an hour to make about 17 suet balls. 1 lb lard, 1lb crunchy peanut butter, 3 cups bread crumbs or crushed crackers, 1 cup of rolled oats, and 4 cups of bird seed. I freeze them. I also throw in a handful of raisins. Next time we go shopping I may buy some dried fruit. You can substitute rolled oats for the bread crumbs but it really raises the cost. It costs around $8.00 to make about 17 balls. The birds love it and every morning there is a huge battle between the grackles and the 2 brown thrashers who come for it. The grey catbirds sit on the sidelines and wait for their opportunity to get some.
Didn't get out yesterday, but plan on going out this morning.
I'm thinking about ordering the Kenko 1.4x teleconverter today, this would boost our 70-300IS lens to about 420mm. If reviews and sample photo's I've seen hold true I think it will satisfy that itch for more range, hoping it will get rid of that "need" for an L series lens. I would love to get some of the incredible pictures I see in the gallery but that is not likely for me with an L series lens as we don't use tripods or monopods. I use a stedi stock which is a little better than free hand.
Grey Catbird finally got is opportunity to get to the suet, but is having to scare of the House Sparrows.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
finally saw my first hummingbird (ruby throated).. he perched on a branch right near me.. unfortunately he was in the shade, so the colours are muted, but if the pictures are as good on the computer as they are on the camera.. it looks like i got some good shots!!.. also got a yellow warbler and a... house sparrow? this one looks like it has bright red on the back..
my only problem with birdfeeders, is that we have a rather large barn cat population around here.. and i was kinda afraid that i would be giving them an all you can eat buffet
 

Craig S

Member
Shooting from a sunny place to a dark place can be a problem, always best to have sun at your back. Of course the birds are not that cooperative. I am constantly moving from sunlight to shadow when walking. I use the AV setting and set the camera to F8 for shooting in the bush, then I have the manual setting set to F8 and shutter speed to 800 for when I am shooting up into the trees with a bright sky. I use a film speed of 400, but depending on light can adjust that up to 1600. It works most of the time as I don't usually have time to play with the settings. These settings are not perfect.
I do use Adobe Elements to edit my photo's. I will lighten or darken a photo and add sharpening and do cropping.
Photoshop elements runs $75-!00, cheapest I recall seeing it was at newegg.ca.
My first N Flicker was up in a tree, well shaded, my first outing with a DSLR, had no idea what I was doing, picture came out really dark, like unrecognizabley dark. I edited the picture and it turned out not to bad, it is in my gallery. I was able to identify the Flicker, first time seeing one, was amazed with the flicker, had no idea we had something as pretty as a Flicker in Manitoba.
There is a free editor at:
http://www.getpaint.net/download.html
It is a resource hog I find though. They are not to difficult to use, but I find PS Elements to be much better.
House Sparrows are the most common sparrow, never seen one with red before, not certain what you might have seen, maybe a House or Purple Finch.
We have quite a few cats here too, I have chased them away from our feeders several times. Have seen them catch birds near our hedge and once a squirrel across the street.
Your feeders should be set up away from anything a cat can hide behide to ambush the birds. Haven't seen a cat get a bird at our feeders in the 3 years we have had them up, have 7 feeders. The feeders should be at least 4 feet off the ground. Nearest cover for the cats is a tree about 4 feet from the feeders, but, I suspect the cats look for easier prey. Cats are usually ambush predators.
Still haven't taken the plunge on a teleconverter yet, been reviewing them all week, Kenko 1.4x sounds like the best bet. Reviews and samples seem to point to it as being most likely to work with our 70-300mm IS lens, but, there are enough reviews to say it may not to make me wonder.
Price also jumped $20 or $30 since I last looked at them.
We may head to Winnipeg tomorrow to go to Fort Whyte Center, I will be using my 500mm mirror lens as the wife has commandeered the 70-300mm lens. I don't mind the mirror lens, I just don't like that there is no zoom for when we are in bushy areas.
 
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AlainaLee

Well-known member
i was in the shade too chasin the damn hummingbird.. lol
i use elements when i really wanna tweak my pix.. otherwise, i just crop em and lighten em up a bit..
ive seen a couple flickers here. hard to photograph the buggers..

this was a little bird, with a black almost figure 8 of black on his face (black around the eyes, narrowed and then widened for the chest).. and white/grey front.. then the back looked mostly red, with one white bar.. i got him from the front, so no real way to know how the back really looked..
 

Craig S

Member
Perhaps a Palm Warbler, they have a red cap in spring, but their back is not red.
I think Elements is one of the best editing programs out for people who want to edit photographs.
We went to Fort Whyte in Winnipeg today, there was so little water fowl. Not many perching birds in the bush either. It was a bit of a disappointment, instead of a 2-3 hour visit we spent about 45 minutes walking the trails before leaving. Was nice to get out though.
Hummingbirds come by a several times a week, but, this has been the pattern for 2 years, after the summer birds go in August the hummers come regularly until some time later in September.
Orioles are in short supply this year, we might have 3 that are coming off and on, last year I counted 7 in the tree just about every morning. They would empty our 16 ounce Oriole feeder in a day. This last week they drank maybe 6 ounces.
I'm wondering if the flooding has changed migration patterns this year, we usually see a lot more waterfowl at Fort Whyte.
One thing I have noticed is that the grass under our feeders grows faster and is a lot greener than the rest of the lawn.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
apparently the bird ive been seeing.. they havent had here in years.. so im really lucky i am able to see all these types of water birds..
only missing like loons, and 1 or 2 types of grebes that are supposed to be around here.. more north though i think..
went wandering around the old garden yard.. saw yellow warblers, western kingbirds( i think).. orioles (baltimore..) a bunch of them.. the hummingbird at the tippy top of a large tree (thank you zoom).. house sparrows (and the one with the red is a house sparrow).. robins.. a cedar waxwing (horrible picture, but enough to ID it).. and a chipping sparrow..
have one all brownish bird we cant identify. .could be the female of something.. cant really see the shape of the beak as it looks like it has a fly in it..
went out a couple of days ago, and was able to get some good shots of a horned grebe and the damned ruddy duck.. got a good one of a blue winged teal as well..
 

Craig S

Member
I saw a House Sparrow at our feeder yesterday that a chestnut colored back, and thought perhaps that might have been what you saw.
I've seen Loons twice at Fort Whyte in Winnipeg and once at the lake west of us, so I would think they would be in your area too, but, I don't think they are all that common. There are two types of Loon common to Manitoba, the Common Loon which migrates through southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Also the Red Throated Loon, but they would be north of Winnipeg and in Sask the very far north during migration.
Took the plunge this morning and ordered a 1.4x Kenko teleconverter, it will convert my 70-300mm into a 100-420mm lens. Should have it by the middle of next week at the latest. It is supposed to work well, except in dim light I may lose autofocus.
On my walk this morning saw a whole lot of Robins and Grackles, not much of anything else. although I saw one bird that looked like a Robin but something about it looked different. I watched it and it finally turned so that I could see its face, which had markings more like a Lark. Got a few pictures and will have to see what it is. Maybe it is just a juvenile Robin, but never saw markings like that on a juvie before.
Will be suspending my walks for a while, those darned worms that hang from the trees have been getting worse all week. This morning there must have been a thousand or more of them hanging over the trail, there were many in clusters and I must have brushed hundreds of them off of me. Had to clean my camera and lens twice this week as they were covered with their goo and webbing. They have stripped some trees bare and really decimated the foliage on many of the trees. It is much brighter on the trail today than even a few days ago due to the loss of leaves to these little monsters.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
havent been out too much.. dusty as heck and most of the roads are flooded over.. been seeing quite a few coot babies, and mallard ducklings once.. finally got a good shot of my flicker i think.. snipes, and an upland sandpiper i believe.. beein seein some weird behaviour from some of the ducks.. ruddys Male and female chasin eachother (mating? isnt it too late for that?).. saw 2 male shovelers attacking eachother.. coots without babies have been assuming the submarine position (arse in the air, head as close to the water as possible)..
been seeing a major influx of ruddys.. a ton of them out.. my waxwing ive seen a few times.. the hummingbirds..
saw one.. all yellowish belly, black markings on the face and throat, darker wings.. wonder if its the waxwing.. only thing i can think of that it can be, but i didnt think their black face markings went under the throat..
 

Craig S

Member
It certainly sounds like mating behavior.
I have seen some waxwings with black throats.
Haven't been out much either, darned worms hanging from the trees were ridiculous, went once late last week but didn't see much, other than the worms are almost finished their cycle.
Got my 1.4x teleconverter Wednesday, wasn't at all to my liking and sent it back on Friday. I think I will wait until next spring and order the pro version as it is supposed to be much better.
Saw a family of Black Ducks on the river, just had a short glimpse of them as they swam to cover. Canada Geese have a brood also have seen them a few times in the last couple of weeks.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
apparently its a juv. male orchard oriole.. didnt know we got em here..
we're just discovering those wormy things.. sucks..
got a coot with chicks behind the house.. however theyve got a fine warning system and hide the babies as soon as we get near the pond.. havent seen geese for awhile.. a week or two ago had a bunch of flocks flying over, but thats the last we've seen of them
 

Craig S

Member
I saw an Orchard Oriole a year or two back, haven't seen one since. Good catch.
Went to the lake west of town today, park is now open, but, some of the trails are closed. There is a lot of water in the park.
We saw a couple of Mallards in a field outside the park, a Savannah Sparrow, lots of swallows, and a hawk we weren't able to identify. A Northern Harrier flew across the highway in front of us, was only a few feet off the ground. The only waterfowl we saw in the park was a lone Western Grebe. We saw a Red Headed Woodpecker, a Kingfisher, a baby Robin at the edge of a bushy area, it looked pretty healthy and alert, but doubt it will survive as it should still be in a nest. Got a nice picture of a Grey Catbird.
It was a pleasant outing and the bugs weren't bad. Hardly any mosquitoes around. I don't think it has been warm enough over night for them to hatch.
 

AlainaLee

Well-known member
yea this guy was a juvenile up in a tree.. havent been able to look for birds much.. but have been able to see the massive amounts of coot babies out there.. got some ponds with 3-4 different ages of them.. (red headed ones, white headed ones, and ones with a different colour beak).. but theyre all clustering around coots.. so its kind of weird.. hoping to watch them a bit more in the coming weeks..
got a really awesome bird book.. wetland birds of north america by scott leslie.. has some incredible pictures
 

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