Lots of Buds
I keep trying shots of the orchids, because there are so many buds, and/or new blooms. These were shot in the evening in the window with a tungsten light and natural light. Should get lots of opportunities to practice.I used my 70-300 mm zoom lens with a narrow depth of field, probably f 4.5 or f 5.6.
I got up close and personal with this red-breasted nuthatch the other day. I am sick and have no energy so this post is short but I like the photo. Enjoy.
Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are quite common here in Alberta as well as the Hairy Woodpecker but it is usually more likely to see the Downies.The two look very similar but there are ways to tell them apart. The Hairy is larger overall and its bill is longer. The Downy has spots on the edges of it’s tail feathers but they are not always apparent.
If you look at the white tail feathers in the second photo of the Hairy Woodpecker, there is just white, no black dots. These are both male birds because of the red at the back of the head.Sorry for the poor quality, there were so many branches.Hopefully you can see the difference in size using the feeder as a comparison.Happy birding!
More Female Pine Grosbeaks
it is interesting to approach the berry trees with no sight of a Pine Grosbeak, but quickly they come to the tree in twos and threes. it feels magical, how they start showing up. I only had a half-hour but took the time specifically to see and photograph the birds. In this time period I saw only the females but was able to get very close.
Getting A Closer Look at Nature
I like the big scenic shots outdoors as well as the closer views that caught my attention at Elk Island National Park. I took these with my 70-300mm zoom lens. I felt sad when I saw the withered state of the once magnificent dragonflies and damsels and chose to pay tribute.
Autumn Scenes from Elk Island National Park
These shots are from a trip that I took to Elk Island National Park, just a 45 minute drive from Edmonton. It officially became autumn around 8:30 p.m. today. After that early snow we had a couple of weeks ago, the weather now is sunny, hot and the scenery beautiful.We stopped at some of the roadside ponds at the side of the main road near Astotin Lake.
Later my friend introduced me to the Amisk Wache a trail that is new to me that I would like to get back to at another time. It is a short trail, but not being up to too much walking, I was content to stretch out on the board walk on one part of the trail and just look around.Very relaxing.Here is what I saw from this viewpoint::
Take the Time
18 mm, 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 800
Take the time to go for a walk. You will never know what is out there if you don’t. After the sun sets, take the time to see what happens next. it is worth the wait.
A Trip back to the Old Park
Hawrelak Park has been getting excavations in readiness for the World Triathlon Event in August of this year.. For a long time the lake was drained so the bulldozers could deepen the depth and you may remember that I was somewhat distressed over what would happen to the ducks and geese as there was no place for them to swim or nest.
I went there for a visit in the early evening and was happy to see less poop so I could lie on the ground, also that a few geese thrived and raised their offspring. I have seen hundreds less of the fowl this summer, so was happy to see them again. It was funny, as I lay on the ground and said to the geese before me that it was nice to be able to lie down, when one let it fly out its butt. Oh well.
I walked around the lake and found quite a few Canada Geese, some Mallards,Wigeons, Cedar Waxwings and murders of Crows.The geese are mostly grown up but there were a couple of young duck families and the cuteness factor was in full force.
I have been getting physio for an old back pull and been getting extreme cramps in my legs (too much sitting) but the walk on Mother Earth did me good. My Heartsong was in full melody but I did start to feel pangs of frustration and resentment at seeing the old habits displayed,, that is, of the people with their loaves of bread feeding at the side of the water, so I left while I was still feeling happy. 😉
Here is a photo of a gaggle of geese walking across the lawn, with one running to catch up. Wait for me! Wait for me!
And a mother Mallard and her ducklings:
I was delighted to see this mother Wigeon and her brood:
There is more to come, from a crow chattering and cawing to its mates, observations of molt and young ones so cute it will make you laugh, smile or even say, “Aw-w-w-w…”
Canada – 147 Years Old
Happy Birthday Canada! It was a great Day.
It has the same magpie squawk, but with a smaller voice. It was outside my door this morning, the first day of summer. I suspected it was a baby and knew this for a fact when I could get so close to it. The feathers are still coming in. I snapped a few quick ones, obviously poor quality with big shadows but it is a cute sequence. I hope the little one can get back to the nest and/or survive.
Parent bird swept down and jammed the food down the young one’s throat so fast that I only caught the aftermath, then flew away and the baby ran for the cover of the bushes. Look at that iridescence!
What is that Call? What is that Bird?
I went on a bender of birding visits to local ponds and truly enjoyed my time. Now I am broke and staying put until the next pay check.Though the visits were not always successful in the way that I wanted, there was always something to discover. At one point, I heard a call that I knew was somewhat familiar, a kind of “witcha-witcha-witcha, whitcha” and I kept trying to spot whatever it was. The sound came from the thickets surrounding the marsh. This is what I captured-can anyone help me to ID it? I live in central Alberta, Canada. Not a great shot and not sure that the sound belongs to this particular bird. Any suggestions?
They are real Traffic Stoppers
For all the hassles caused by the Canada Geese they seem to warm people’s hearts at this time of year. Twice this week. they have made the news as either police or firemen helped them across busy roads. The one that I heard about today stopped traffic on the Yellowhead Trail, a freeway that crosses the north part of the city. Police were called and the officer had a big smile on his face as he cleared the way for a mother goose and her goslings as they crossed the road. He told the reporter that no one cussed or honked their horns during rush hour but took it in stride.The news report said they “were taken into custody” and re-released in a safer area.
I am keeping my eye on this nesting mother in a natural area as her nest gets bigger as she adds reeds and feathers.
Male and Female Yellow-headed Blackbirds
Their raucous call echoes across the ponds in the wetlands and they make for comedic moments as they aim for an approaching mosquito, jump and almost fall off their perch. I find these birds beautiful so am happy to see them stay at the John E Poole Wetlands walk for the breeding season.
Too bad the one of him jumping and losing his foothold didn’t turn out but I like his concentration as the mosquito approaches. The bugs were out in full force but that fact made the birds quite busy and approachable.
The females have become brighter the last couple of days and they are ducking and posing on the rushes to get the attention of the fellows.
Curious Squirrel Kept Coming Back for a Look
While I was at Elk Island looking for birds, I heard the chatter of a Red Squirrel then saw it watching me. It would stop and stare, then run away , then come back. I found this rather amusing and good practice to get the animal focused in my viewfinder.
How did I do with the birds? Saw a few and heard more though not as many as I hoped for. I will share them in the next post.
Still Life in Nature
Hand held for 1/60 sec at f/ 9, 300mm, ISO 800
Nests Revealed-Ones to Watch
This is a good time of year to observe the nests in your neighbourhood, before the leaves grow and cover everything up. There are many kinds and it surprises me how close some are to the trails that we frequent or right out in the open in our own neighbourhoods. Some seem to be abandoned but others are being built up this year. Here are some samples.
Sunset on Trees
1/125 sec @f/5, ISO 500 shutter priority, 170mm
I like the reflected colours of the sunset on the trees, so warm against the backdrop of blue sky which is nice to see after so many cloudy days. It takes my mind off the icy streets, windrows and deep ruts that beckon then trap my wheels.
Three Days of Snow
Joined a friend for lunch today then we went for a walk in the snow, bringing our cameras with us. It is treacherous driving with a lot of fender-benders but if I drive slow I can manage it. It helps that other people are being careful, too. It took me an hour to brush off my car on Wednesday night but I am glad I did it before Thursday morning or I may have been late for my appointment. I am trying to get on track with time management but I was late for lunch. There is some improvement because I called ahead to say that I was on my way.I am learning to say and think, “I will do better next time” rather than “I will try.”
We had a tasty lunch and I have to add I used her wash room and told her that I liked her kleenex box (see “A Cheap way to Decorate”) and she told me that she liked the colours and built the theme of the bathroom around the colours on the kleenex box! I told her that she must read my blog from a couple of days ago.
Outside it is a winter wonderland with heavy snow weighing down the branches and very grey with low light.When we got to the top of the river valley we saw two raptors which I thought were hawks but then was delighted to see that they were eagles, flying high and hard to see because the snow was falling. One was a full adult and one in its second or third year.This delighted us because we have done ceremony together in the native tradition and with the conversation we were having found this to be significant. So here are some snow scenes, winter has definitely arrived.