Swallow, Yellowlegs & Owl

On arriving to volunteer at Reifel this afternoon there was a Belted Kingfisher along Robertson Slough. It did not stick around when I got out to walk the driveway. This is the first one I have seen in a while. Carrying on I reached the the parking lot the same time as a couple of bus loads of people.  Still, it was not overly busy on the people front. Birding wise it remains fairly quiet. There was an adult Great Horned Owl being harassed by Crows near the picnic area which did not stay long. While walking the outer dyke checking the handful of shorebirds in the ponds I noticed a Phalarope in with some Yellowlegs. It was all the way across the pond and to far off for me to properly identify. I decided to head to the blind off the centre dyke trail to see if I could get a closer look. By the time I reached the blind, the Phalarope was gone. As a consolation, there was a Barn Swallow family roosting on some branches just outside one of the blind openings.

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

This is one of the juvenile Barns Swallows. Only problem being the opening is too small for my lens to shoot through and resulted in a soft photo which I tried to correct. From here I headed back to the tower area.

Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs

The Lesser Yellowlegs I noted earlier was in a slightly better spot for a photo this time. Then came word of another Great Horned Owl along one of the inside trails.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

This one being a juvenile with the lack of large broad ear tufts of an adult and still somewhat fuzzy head. This young bird also seemed to be favouring its right eye.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

I look forward to seeing the young owls each year. The adults have been nesting in the area for many years now. To finish the afternoon off, one of the Swainson’s Thrush came in and scolded the young owl for a short time. Of course it did not want to pose nicely like the owl and remained tucked away in the branches. A quiet but not uneventful afternoon.

Juveniles Of A Different Sort

Managed to get to Reifel first thing this morning. Being there before the crowds has its rewards as I was greeted by this at the foot of the east dyke trail.

Great Horned Owl Juvenile
Great Horned Owl Juvenile

A Great Horned Owl juvenile.

Great Horned Owl Juvenile
Great Horned Owl Juvenile

While still not as clean a shot as I would like,

Great Horned Owl Juvenile
Great Horned Owl Juvenile

… it was not as obstructed as the last one I saw and photographed.

Coyote
Coyote

A little further along on the Alaksen National Wildlife Area side of the trail,

Coyote Juveniles
Coyote Juveniles

… was a Coyote family.

Coyote Juveniles
Coyote Juveniles

Staying under the trees mostly while they played,

Coyote Juvenile
Coyote Juvenile

… they would make the odd dash out into the open. It was fun being able to watch this family group interact before they eventually moved on.

Great Horned Owl

While I have been seeing adult Great Horned Owls recently, no sign of any juveniles. Early in the year it almost looked like the pair frequenting Reifel might nest in the sanctuary again. This did not happen with the duo likely nesting in the Alaksen National Wildlife Area next door. This afternoon at Reifel I got my first glimpse of a juvenile for this season.

Great Horned Owl Juvenile
Great Horned Owl Juvenile

It was not in a good location for photos, obstructed by branches and with some difficult back light. None the less, it was finally fun to see one. At least its eyes were wide open because of the crows harassing it. All the ruckus is what got my attention in the first place.