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All photographs by David Lilly

Common Grackle in Fall Colours

Fall Colours were excellent this fall.

However, capturing birds in fall colours has not been easy. First of all most of the birds have gone south to warmer places. Secondly, getting birds to pose in good light and having the fall colours has been a challenge.

However, this morning I went for a walk and on my return  I heard this noise. It was a flock of Common Grackles in the Maple trees at the back of my house. I went and got my camera - ready at all times. I then went to see if I  could photograph any one bird in the leaves and show the fall colours.

The photos to the right are the result of my efforts.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Since I put out my bird feeders I have been getting Mourning Doves coming to eat. 

Below are some facts about the Mourning Dove from the Audobun website.

During the breeding season, you might see three Mourning Doves flying in tight formation, one after another. This is a form of social display. Typically the bird in the lead is the male of a mated pair. The second bird is an unmated male chasing his rival from the area where he hopes to nest. The third is the female of the mated pair, which seems to go along for the ride.
Mourning Doves tend to feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. Once they’ve filled it (the record is 17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop!), they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal.
Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day, or 71 calories on average.Perhaps one reason why Mourning Doves survive in the desert: they can drink brackish spring water (up to almost half the salinity of sea water) without becoming dehydrated the way humans would.The Mourning Dove is the most widespread and abundant game bird in North America. Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million, but the Mourning Dove remains one of our most abundant birds with a U.S. population estimated at 350 million.The oldest known Mourning Dove was a male, and at least 30 years, 4 months old when he was shot in Florida in 1998. He had been banded in Georgia in 1968.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Mourning Dove at the Feeder

The Mourning Doves have a long Winter

Here in Canada winter can come at any moment in November.

The birds that stay all winter are tough. The Mourning Doves are one such bird that do stay all winter. 

In the most recent snow storm the Mourning Doves sit in the branches off the trees and I wonder if they are warm.

As I participate in Project Feeder Watch I also feed the birds and count the birds showing up at my feeders.

Mourning Doves come to the feeders and sometimes more than twenty fly in to feed on the seed on the ground.

It is my way of helping the birds by feeding them good food.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

American Goldfinches Are Still Here.

I have been looking everyday for new birds visiting my bird feeders. 

Today, six American Goldfinches came to check out the feeders.

Usually they should be in a warmer climate. I have been following the Ebird reports here in New Brunswick and noticed a few reports of the Goldfinches.

At first I thought they were Pine Siskins as the Siskins were the most likely bird to show up at the feeder this time of the year. However, closer observation clearly showed the distinct white band on the wing that is not a characteristic of the Pine Siskin.

As you can see they are in their winter plumage -  more brownish than their bright yellow summer plumage.

I was able to photograph them for a short period and then they were gone.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon  500mm F4 lens.

Bald Eagles At The Landfill

Fredericton's Christmas Bird Count was on the 15 Dec 19. As a participant I was assigned the Landfill, AKA Garbage Dump. 

It was very active for birds. The photos here are from some of the 15 Bald Eagles we saw forging and flying. In past winters there have been more than 50 Bald Eagles this site. There were more than a thousand European Starlings, a couple thousand Seagulls of different species and of course Crows and Ravens.

Bird Photographers go where there are birds and if that is the Landfill site then that's where we go. I was more concerned with counting the birds than photographing the birds in this case. However, I could not resist the temptation of photographing the Bald Eagles as they flew overhead and sat in the trees close by.

It was overcast in the early morning. As the wind got stronger the overcast skies started to break and the sun started to shine giving me some great light. In the four photos there are four different shades of light, with one photo showing blue sky. The Bald eagles were photographed with me looking to the East and the sun from the West. A situation that produces great light especially at this time of the year.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Watch For This Bird

The bird to the right is a Northern Goshawk. An uncommon bird in the southern parts of Canada.

However, in the winter they can be seen in all of the provinces. I have seen them chasing Collared Doves.

As a matter of fact the Goshawk to the right was resting after a long inflight chase on a Dove. It did not succeed in catching the Dove and stopped for a rest when I photographed it in a dead tree.

They fly very fast making them very hard to photograph.

Learn More about the Northern Goshawk.

Nikon D500 with a 200 - 500mm lens.