What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, I met friends Cathy and Terry NW of Calgary and we spent a great day in sunshine and reasonable warmth. When I opened my blinds this morning, I discovered that it was snowing heavily! While a May snow storm isn't unusual here, I was hoping that our April snowstorm was simply a May snow storm that had arrived too early : ) Yeah, right! Despite getting up pretty early yesterday morning, to give a better chance for seeing a Great Gray Owl, none were to be seen. However, the highlight of the day was seeing this handsome, delightfully blue Mountain Bluebird and his mate. I've seen a few of these birds so far this spring, but only from a long distance. This gorgeous pair gave us lots of photo opportunities, though the bright sunlight tended to blow out the paler chest on quite a few of my images, unfortunately. Still plenty of others, though, that are without the blinding brightness. For those who are following the Northern Hawk Owls, all is well with them, too. When we got back to the road after seeing them, there were two small birds on the gravel behind someone's truck. Not sure yet what they were - Crossbills perhaps or Grosbeaks? The brighter one was quite orange. I drove my own vehicle yesterday and followed Cathy and Terry in theirs. I thought that getting away from the computer would give my arms a rest from mouse-clicking - by the time I got home after many hours of driving, my arms were more painful than ever. Gripping the steering wheel while trying to avoid the worst of the potholes didn't help, either, I suspect : ) Totally worth it, though, as we had such a good day. Thanks, Cathy and Terry, for your always enjoyable company!
In Bluebirds, the blue colour is produced by the structure of the feather - there is no blue pigment. "Tiny air pockets in the barbs of feathers can scatter incoming light, resulting in a specific, non-iridescent color. Blue colors in feathers are almost always produced in this manner. Examples include the blue feathers of Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Blue Jay's and Steller's Jays."