Monday, April 16, 2007

Barrow's Goldenye in Calgary

Canon EOS 20D with 70-200 @ 200mm ISO100

Who said that you have to head out of town to find a wetlands that has interesting waterfowl. As you can see in the above photo that I shot near the Calgary airport at this wetlands that I frequent regularly, the mountains have not heard that spring is in the air. This is the same wetlands where I shot my award winning photo ( Tank farm and Wetlands ) last fall. The photo will be published in the Alberta Consevation Magazine next month.

I don't know if it is my imagination but I seem to notice a number of these Barrow's Goldeneyes this spring which look quite similar to the Common Goldeneye. Similar to the Common Goldeneye, the rapid wing-beat of their wings produces a whistle when in flight. The Barrow's Goldeneye winters on the coast and their summer and breeding range includes Alaska, the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta. In 2000, Barrow's Goldeneyes were considered to be a species of Continental Conservation Concern and received Status Assessment in the United States.

This male Barrow's Goldeneye was busily trying to impress a female Goldeneye with its elaborate courtship display. They are quite amusing to watch as they dive for food and then pop to the surface like a cork. This male Barrow's Goldeneye did not see me making a approach with camera in hand from behind a small mound, and I was hoping to get close enough to shoot a decent photo that would show his plumage.

I could use a much longer lens if I was going to do any serious bird photography. However I guess that will have to wait, as a serious birding lens in the 500mm focal lenght can run as much as $6500.00. Maybe after I win the Loto. As I came up over the small mound that kept me from being visible to this male, I stood up slowly trying to spot him before he spooked. I barely caught sight of him and he exploded into the air and flew to the other side of the wetlands.

Canon EOS20D with 70-200mm @ 200mm ISO100
The various wetlands that I visit in and around the city of Calgary have various types of reeds and grasses growing in them. I cannot give you the name of the plant in the above photo, however I found it interesting with its reflection looking like something from a nature painting. All that's missing is the Barrow's Goldeneye to complete the scene.

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