(click on picture to view in larger format)
On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I traveled an hour outside of Calgary to a bird conservatory named Frank Lake. It is a large slough really, in the middle of farmland and prairie, which is home to so many beautiful species of birds that I could hardly believe it! Of course, it was the wrong time of day and weather for really good pictures - mid-afternoon and bright sunlight - but the wind was blowing which meant no mosquito bites, and it was warm, which meant taking pictures in comfort, so I am NOT complaining!
I had never seen this bird before - and when I shot this picture, he was in the air and far away - just a black outline really. But when I got home, and uploaded the pictures onto my computer, I saw all the beautiful iridescence of his wings and was AMAZED!!!
In my bird book, it tells me that the name of the bird comes from a "naked facial patch" which is white - you can see it around the eye area, extending to the beak. It has red eyes, and lays 3 or 4 bluish-green eggs. This bird is "very rare" in Alberta from May to September, so I feel like I have made a "catch" in capturing this one on camera! What an odd shaped bill it has - perfect for gleaning the aquatic invertebrates it eats - but odd looking! It is anywhere from 48 - 66 cms. long, and its wing span is 91 cms.!!!
Be sure to click on the picture to view it larger - and enjoy this wonderful creature as we did on Sunday.
Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian visitors!