Spring Spring Spring

Environment Canada has served notice that if I don’t publish this post today my title may expire. Forecasts of ice, snow and wind can try one’s patience so here goes with a pictorial essay on my spring exploits for the last month or so.

I’ll begin with the Peregrine falcons. They have returned to the Renaissance tower in downtown Saskatoon. Forays to the river every day for 2 weeks were devoid of Peregrine sightings, and on April 8 the female (more on that later) showed up.

I saw this bird but did not know it was a female.

I set my camera up and waited for the bird to fly. I was delighted when I processed the pictures to see a leg band.

Even more delighted when I could read the tag as M59

My delight continued on its upward spiral when I sent the pictures to Paddy (a falconer who monitors this nesting site). He reminded me that this was the same bird we photographed last year at the top of the tower.

Here is a picture from last year. Now if I could only tell her story of how her winter down south unfolded.

More on the Peregrine saga.
You are forewarned that the next section is mildly X rated. I was down by the Bessborough Hotel and noticed a flurry of activity at the top. I had seen one of the Peregrines fly off the Renaissance toward the Bessborough and thought it had caught a pigeon as there was a tangle of wings at the top of the tower. Turns out it was a mating of the two Peregrines that I had captured.

Brings new meaning to the phrase “Get a room”. Come to think of it maybe the top of the Bessborough is totally appropriate.

Post-coital roll away by the male.

You will have to make up your own mind what this bird was doing.

As an aside I imagined that this California gull was deliberately looking the other way as it flew by the top of the Bess.

This scene will be familiar to many of you as the Black-billed Magpies are nesting all over the prairies as they have for hundreds of generations.

Now a few returning migrants that have popped up over the last week.

Female Redhead duck.

Male Redhead duck.

Ring-necked Duck.

Male Hooded Merganser.

Female and Male Hooded Merganser

Two pair of Common Mergansers

American Tree Sparrow.

California gull.

Ring-billed gull.

And a Black-capped Chickadee just because they are such survivors and so damned cute.

And now for a few insects.

Talk about survivors… Here is a challenge for us humans. Fill up on nectar, rotting fruit, and sap, shed all your clothes, find a nice spot on the forest floor, bury yourself under a layer of leaf litter, shut down your metabolism, sleep for 6 months, wake up, emerge and head out to look for a mate. Wow what a lifestyle.

Two of the masters of this technique are the Commas butterflies and the Morning Cloak. I found these on the Meewasin trail yesterday as I was out walking the woods.

Maybe a Satyr Comma (from iNaturalist)

A Morning Cloak butterfly.

Another overwintering insect is this Ichneumonid Wasp. I found it crawling around in the leaf liter.

Now here is a beauty. As Linda (a photography colleague) commented “Good grief, it is a strange face”. This Leafroller decided to come into my house and land on the windowsill. The whole bug is about 9 mm. long so the magnification is quite a bit, especially on the portrait below.

Kind of looks like a large eyed, hairy faced puppy.

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  1. Joe Shorthouse April 19, 2023 at 8:20 am #

    Another beautiful set of photographs Trent. I especially liked the ones of the peregrine falcon in downtown Saskatoon. Reminded me of when we released peregrine falcon chicks in Sudbury in the 1990’s when the former mining company ‘Falconbridge’ thought raising and releasing the birds on a tall, cliff-like building on the campus of Laurentian University would illustrate how Sudbury’s environment was being restored. How I wish we had photographs like Trent’s at the time to tell the Sudbury story.
    Fine work my friend.

  2. Don Harris April 19, 2023 at 7:48 am #

    I send a thankful, warm gratitude for this, and each, of your posts and commentaries. We will return to Saskatoon with heightened anticipation of the delights of Spring on the prairies.

  3. Leona April 18, 2023 at 5:11 pm #

    Again, wow. Again, thank you.

  4. Earl April 18, 2023 at 2:48 pm #

    Thanks for the most interesting photos and commentary. With our comi g snowfall, I hope the butterflies aren’t caught off guard and survive this cold spell.

  5. Ray Romanski April 18, 2023 at 1:21 pm #

    Amazing. And funny too. Thanks Trent.

  6. Miranda April 18, 2023 at 1:13 pm #

    So much for Spring weather! With luck it will return soon and entice more of these wonderful creatures out of hiding. Thanks for the hilarious commentary.

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