The Little Ones – Tadoussac

It was a joy to walk around in the woods and look out for all the busy small birds collecting food after their long migratory voyage. Some more colourful than others, some better hidden than others.

I saw these 7 within a few hours. Four of them, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Cape May Warbler and Palm Warbler are all birds of pages 208/209 of my indispensable guide “Le Guide des Oiseaux du Quebec et des Maritimes” which I use to id then back at the hotel.

Back to Tadoussac

I visited Tadoussac in 2013 with the main goal to see some whales. I returned this year in the hope to get more photos and not only of whales. It’s early into the season and there are still snow patches here and there. Temperatures are reasonable though and migratory birds have arrived.

Here the link to my previous post about Tadoussac

It was a very fortunate day today, with many birds species I see the first time. I also saw a few belugas and a porcupine.

Featured Photo: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, difficult to spot and even more difficult to photograph. It hides within the bushes most of the time and flies fast and erratically.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

 

Drama in the Pond

Great Blue Herons is the largest bird you can see in the parks around Montreal. Dominating the pond with its size, this bird is an excellent hunter, patiently waiting or moving slowly along the border to spot careless frogs or fishes.

Here a short clip showing you how a the heron catches and swallows a fish, recorded in Rapids Park Lachine, April 2018.

Featured Photo:

Taken in Rapids Park Lachine, Montreal, April 2018, showing you a close up of a Great Blue Heron with its catch, a frog, most probably a Wood Frog.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

PS: This shot has been selected for Flickr “Explore”:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/khmuller/26827450727/

Special – Gulls

I already planned a special about gulls a while ago, when I was exploring Newfoundland but always postponed to write about the subject. Gulls are not that popular birds. They are raptors and scavengers, noisy but also elegant, versatile flyers and beautiful to watch when circling along the beach or rivers.

Around Montreal, I was able to identify three different species. Herring gulls have been more of a lucky catch as they look very similar to the a bit smaller Ring-billed Gull with the difference that they have a red spot instead of the black ring on the bill. Herring gulls are often seen within other gulls. Thus when you see a larger bird within a flock of Ring-billed gulls, it may be a herring gull.

More photos of gulls?

Featured Image:

My first photo of a gull taken in Park Lafontaine, Montreal

Chouette à Voir – Nice to See

It was my second visit of Chouette à voir, this time thanks to better light conditions, I tried to get some close up shots of the different bird of prey species.

Chouette à voir is a place maintained by UQROP [Union québécoise de réhabilitation des oiseaux de proie]. At this location, there are installations where birds can recover after having been treated by a veterinaire before they are released again. When you visit this place you may be witness of such a release and if you win the auction you may be even be the person to release the bird.

In Quebec, Canada, by law, if you see a injured or dead bird of prey, you have to report it to the authorities.  Injured animals then are treated and kept in a rehabilitation center like UQROP until they can be released again. Although, some birds cannot be released anymore as they may not be able to survive in the wilderness due to the type of injury or because they got too used to humans. These individuals then serve as ambassadors for the organizations like UQROP and you can see them from close or even hold one for a short photo session.

If you plan to visit the place consult the web site of UQROP before you visit as Chouette à voir is not open every day.

Disclaimer: I haven’t received any compensation to write and publish about Chouette à voir or UQROP.

 

A White Eastern Grey Squirrel

This time of the year, photos of animals around Montreal are mostly chickadees and squirrels and they don’t do anything different than hanging around near the bird feeder and foraging. Difficult to get interesting shots.

White Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)

Thus, spotting a rare white Eastern Grey Squirrel is a highly welcomed change from the usual. This one was the first one I saw. More frequently, I spot another variant, the black Eastern Grey Squirrel. For you to compare a small gallery of all three.

I resist elaborating the underlying genetic mechanisms for these color variants. If you are interested you can consult these two resources:

I did it, a blog post about Eastern Grey Squirrel. Eagerly awaiting the end of winter for more interesting shots and videos ;)

Selected Photos 2017 – Outlook 2018

Like every year in January, I browse through the camera roll of my flickr account and select a few photos to create a slideshow of the shots which I like most and create a short video for YouTube. First time, I used one of own piano improvisations for the sound track:

This year, two of my photos have been selected by Flickr to be shown in Flickr’s “Explore” section, a photo of two Pied-billed Grebes and a shot of a jumping Humpback Whale, taken at Cape Spear, Newfoundland.

Finally, I was able to spot Black-crowned Night Herons, in St. Eustache, and one of the shots made it into the collection. Another highlight was the observation of two Common Moorhens in Park de la Frayere.

Thanks to the Nikon D500, I was able to get more consistently good shots of birds in flight. It may be true that a good camera is not needed to be a good photographer but without the high frame rate of the Nikon D500, taking photos of birds in flight would have been a frustrating endeavour.

There is a collection of close shots of different bird species and white-tailed deer which I like very much and from which the photo of the curious American Yellow Warbler is my favorite shot of 2017.

Nevertheless, comparing Selection 2017 with 2016, I cannot see major progress regarding the quality of my photos. I was able to get out more frequently and create more opportunities for pleasant photos, though.

I decided for the domain name, faunaflora.photography, of my website about identification of species in Quebec and finished programming and design: Fauna & Flora Photography. I had to go through a rebranding of different social media accounts.

2018?

There are a few species which I really would love to encounter this year. Among them, Snow Goose and Fox are due. I plan recording many more videos. Besides ND filters, I have the necessary equipment. A small investment comparing to the rest of the hardware. Nevertheless, I want to replace the Tamron 150-600mm with a Nikon 200-500mm. I am not convinced of sharpness of my Tamron tele zoom lense and I don’t like its bokeh.

Anything else? Going outdoors and searching for animals to watch and take photos is a lot of fun. A perfect balance to my sedentary work life. There will be another change which will have a major impact in opportunities. More about that in January 2019.