February was a short but sweet month of birding and photography. I got back from my trip to Vancouver and Whistler at the start of the month and, after taking a much-needed break, I launched a photography contest and did some great winter birding around Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec!
Here’s everything I got up to in February and a preview of what’s up for March (hint: I am planning for a BIG trip in April and May).
The first half of February I was mostly in recovery mode after my trip to Western Canada. I actually took two complete weeks off of birding and photography which may be my longest break since I started! But, in the latter half of the month I heated things back up seeing 2 lifers and 1 Ontario lifer: Gray Partridge, Golden Eagle and Northern Saw-whet Owl.
As you may have read in my January monthly recap, I tried for Gray Partridge five times in January and failed! I made three more attempts in February and on my 8th try I was finally rewarded with views of these striking birds!
Seeing my first Ontario Northern Saw-whet Owl on a trip with Eastern Ontario Birding was another of the month’s winter birding highlights. This tiny beauty was half asleep with a mouse in its talons!
I ended the month with a half day excursion with Always an Adventure to the Gatineau Escarpment. Okay, so technically this was in March… but since I’m a few days late with the monthly recap I’m including it! Aside from Algonquin Park, this was the most thrilling winter birding I’ve done this year! We saw at least 4 Golden Eagles as well as Bald Eagles, Evening Grosbeaks and close-up views of a Northern Shrike.
I had the interesting and rewarding experience this month of teaching a friend how to do manual exposure with her newly purchased DSLR. Despite her initial instinct to throw the camera off her balcony lol, she started to gain confidence after we went out in the field which was fantastic!
I’ve been taking more time this month to edit my photographs. After I get back from an exciting shoot with a lifer or unusual bird, I’m always tempted to upload the photograph to social media as fast as possible (am I right?!). I’m still guilty of doing this, but with particular photos I’m trying to take the time to do some important edits that I find really make a difference.
One of my favourite editing skills is still the de-noise technique that I posted a few months ago. Here’s the before and after of a Short-eared Owl that I posted in February, edited using this technique. The proof is in the pudding because this is also my most popular photograph on social media this month!
Photography Contest and Most Popular Post
I can’t talk about February without mentioning the photography contest that I organized. Given the popularity of the contest, it’s not a big surprise that Birds in Snow Contest Winners was the most popular post of the month!
Here are the top 15 finalists:
And the winning photograph by photographer Kerstin Ring, who received at $25 voucher from Gilligallou Bird:
I also updated my About Me page.
Coming up in March 2017
I don’t have any big birding trips planned this month because I’m gearing up to spend April and May in Melbourne, Australia! My boyfriend is from Melbourne and I’ve never been so we’re taking this opportunity to spend a longer period of time over there.
If any of my readers are from Melbourne or have birded in that area, I would LOVE to hear from you. We may do some travelling around Australia as well, so any tips would be amazing 🙂
Happy March birding everyone! Surely spring is finally just around the corner.
-The Afternoon Birder