Monday, 25 February 2013

Third Boreal Owl Nest Box Outing

Well this past weekend brendan and I got out to setup a few more boxes. It was such a beautiful day. Barely a cloud in the sky and the tress were covered in snow. We didnt get out as many boxes as we had hoped but we did put together this video from the days adventure. Hope you enjoy it and we should soon have a section up showing step by step on how to build a nest box. We're also included some photos from the day.

Here is a view from the road side as you head to Cape Spear

Female Pintail from Bowring Park

Next weekend we will be heading out to either butterpot park to check our boxes and maybe place a few more there or we will try and do some photography. we are both very excited for spring but with the dead of winter apon us its hard to think about nice hot sunny days shooting for hours without feeling like you have frostbitten hands and feet.

Below you can clearly see where an owl has swooped down and captured s vole !

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bird Feeding

Backyard bird feeding can be a great way to attract a variety of birds that you can photograph with a few tricks. The best thing to do first is to establish your bird feeder to the birds, basically let the birds get comfortable in your yard. Its always good to provide shrubs or trees in your yard so the birds can hide in them if a hawk comes..and believe me they will !
Over the last 3 years i have seen 12 species of birds and have been able to get some nice views from my window !
Below i am going to explain how i have attracted these birds to my yard and how you can too !

1. Trees and Shrubs I have only one tree in my yard and i get such a large amount of snow in my yard in winter that most trees don't make it even when i cover them up. So i did the next best thing and that was to bring trees i cut down from behind my house in the woods. The trees i have in my yard have been there for 4 months and are still green and look natural.

2. Multiple Feeding Stations I know many people that have had great success from placing only one feeder out and get lots of birds. But i am going to exlpain what works for me. I have 6 feeding stations so that when bigger birds like Starlings or Northern Flickers come to feed they wont scare away the smaller birds like juncos or goldfinches. The idea basically is so that they can go to other feeders and keep their distances from the bigger birds

3. Providing a Range of Bird Food I offer the most common and most effective bird seed Black Oil Sunflower Seeds which are the norm for almost anyone who feeds birds. If you want to get real into it and are planing on feeding the birds for while then you can offer Suet for Woodpeckers, Peanuts for jays and chick-a-dees also nuthatch come for them too.Nijger seed is a little pricey but is a very small seed that pine siskins,goldfinch and purple finch love!

4. Have Patients !!!It might take sometime before the birds become frequent at your feeders but they always remember where they have fed in the past and are sure to return.

Both Brad and I have had sucess at bird feeders and capturing amazing images !

The most hated bird at my feeders....Starlings, AKA black birds. They destroy the suet blocks i put out for the woodpeckers.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Quidy Vidy Lake- Gulls

This morning I had no school and brad managed to get the day off work so we headed to quidy vidy lake to see if the eagles were around and also just to practise on photographing birds in flight. We did see a few eagles early in the morning but they didn't last long.

The lighting was not the best but we made due with what we had and we got some cool results !

This is a little abstract edit I decided to try on a flock of pin tales, like it ? hate it ? what are your thoughts

There were thousands of gulls on the lake along with 3 eagles in total,2 coots and some nice looking scaup.
One of the best inflight poses are banking shots and I(Brad) was happy to pull one off today
Pretty much my last shot of the day. As we were leaving a man decided to feed the gulls and this Black Headed Gull decided to come in close.


This weekend we are going to be out doing some more photography and taking a short break from the boxes. Next weekend we will be in full force for next weekend as the time is here to get them out.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Second Boreal Owl Nest Box Outing

After 5 hours on Friday night I (Brendan) and my dad  had completed six more nest boxes and had six more cut out and waiting to be put together. I also have 1 that was damaged from last year that I have to replace the back on before I can put it back out.
Sunday six o'clock AM brad and I set off for the lower Salmonier line to a place nick named owl alley. We brought along with us six more boxes to place in hopes of getting boreal AND saw-whet owls. Local birder Paul linigar shed some light as to where over the years he has seen and heard numerous owls so thank you Paul.

Both brad and I have been in that area in the past but we have never visualised it as a place for boxes. We were astonished when we got in the bush as to how rich the area is and how old the forest is. Perfect for owls favourite pray item the vole. The stretch of road was not as long as we hoped so we only got out five boxes. We didnt place all six because we wanted to space them out so there would be no worries of owls territory's crossing.

We were so caught up in the beauty of the pristine boreal forest that we completely forgot to take pictures and videos which is strange for us !

Next time I'm sure we will make up for forgetting this time around. This upcoming weekend the plan is to place boxes on bauline line and Indian meal line. Also maybe of we have time we will try for pictures of maybe some eagles and other birds of the popular Quidy Vidi Lake.

Below are some shots we got on the way home in Holyrood.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

First Boreal Owl nest box outing

First off we want to thank Tina Lenard for putting a rush on our permit. Two days before meeting up with Keith we were informed we needed a permit to place nest boxes in Provincial Parks. Explaining to Tina situation we were in and needing the permit for the weekend she put a rush on this and she came thru for us. So thank you once again Tina.
Also we would like to thank Ducks Unlimited Canada and their partner newwalta for providing funding for our project this year.
We headed out this morning Feb2nd to meet up with Keith Brown a park ranger at Butter Pot park. As mentioned this would be the site of the first boreal owl nest boxes for the year. Keith provided us with some amazing information about the owls in the park and showed us the first recorded photo of a boreal nesting in one of his nest boxes. He told us many stories about various birds and animals that call Butter Port their home and we were both blown away at the amount of sightings he has had over the years of different species.

He took us around to show us nest boxes that he has placed in the park so far and gave us detailed information of places he felt would be good for our boxes. So off we went and installed 4 boxes thru out the park. The habitat looks perfect for the owls and from what Keith said there are lots of voles around. Below you can see a shot of Brendan installing our first nest box. Man can this kid climb and any time I thought there was no way he would get up the tree sure enough he did. We’ve also included a video and some pictures of a few Gray Jays that were hanging around outside of the main camp where we meet Keith. There was a heavy snow fall the whole morning so taking any shots of the Jays was difficult so we will return to do a session with them when we check the boxes.
The four nest boxes we installed this morning

Brendan listening to one of Keiths many stories 

Brendan installing our first Boreal owl nest box of the year

Brad's picture of one of the Gray Jays in the area 

Brendan's picture of one of the Gray Jays  

Friday, 1 February 2013

Karwood Cabin's

Karwood cabins AKA blueberry creek is one of mine and brads favorite places to do bird photography and is actually one of our first conservation projects which included placing tree swallow nest boxes and duck hen houses.
I first met brad after I had posted to the local birding fourm (Nf.birds) talking about how many swallows I had seen at this pond and how I had boxes set up for them. He had contacted me because he was interested in photographing them. Well as you can see he liked the idea of helping the little birds out and here we are today working on a MUCH bigger project involving several species.
We have seen many species of birds at Karwood cabins not many rare birds but there is common birds in numbers which is good for photography. I could be wrong but I would be willing to say Karwood cabins is probably one of the best places in Newfoundland for tree swallows and was where I seen the first swallow of the year two years ago.
In the upcomming months expect to see many posts talking about our favorite little pond and many photos and videos to go along, to show you how to make a tree swallow box and many other things.
Below are some of my (Brendan) favourie pictures from Karwood cabins over the last few years.