Owl & Swallows

A lovely summer afternoon and a moderate crowd at Reifel this afternoon when I showed up to help out on the trails. While fairly quiet on the birding front, there have been a couple of Mourning Doves and Eastern Kingbirds for a change of pace of late. The highlight for most though,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… was this Great Horned Owl along the east dyke trail. I spent a good part of the afternoon with the camera set up on it providing this view to visitors.

Meanwhile back at the Tree Swallow nest,

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

… I continue trying to get shots of the adults arriving with food for the chicks. I managed to see three juveniles in the nest at once today.

Tree Swallow Nest

During the quieter summer months one of my favourite things to do is trying to find a Tree Swallow nest. While we are all probably familiar with seeing them at the numerous nesting boxes, I prefer to find a more natural one, a cavity in a tree or old snag. There is one I have been watching since they were incubating eggs. For about two weeks now they have been actively feeding young, but the moment I wait for,

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow

… is when the young Tree Swallows are large enough to be sticking their heads out of the nest and begging for food as the adults arrive. The rest in the series as the adult male arrived to feed the juvenile.

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow

While this feeding consisted of a beak full of smaller insects,

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow

… he did arrive with a larger dragon fly which was deposited inside the nest.

Cooper’s & Swallow Nest

The day got better as it progressed and this afternoon’s walk was back to the North 40. No sign of the Bullock’s Oriole today, but while checking for them a familiar “pek pek” got my attention. It was coming from a tree behind me, one frequently used as a staging area by the Cooper’s Hawk pair.

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

The adult male Cooper’s Hawk was on a branch inside the tree with prey in its talons. I could not make out what it had before he flew off towards the nesting area.

With nest on the mind, I made my way to an area where I had previously seen some Tree Swallow activity and suspected there was a nest.

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

It did not take long after arriving before I could see the adults arriving and feeding the young in the nest.

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

While you can only see two here, I could make out at least three at one time. They look to be a good size and crowded in there, so it will probably not be long before they fledge.

One other fun shot from this afternoon,

Squirrel
Squirrel

… was this Squirrel stretched down the trunk of a tree eating leaves.