It was quite noisy in the back alley this particular morning. The fighting between two couples was echoing off the buildings and was loud, attracting people’s attention from the surrounding apartments and condos.. I went out to investigate, taking my camera with me. Turns out that one couple is trying to set up house on the balcony of someone’s apartment (the owners must be thrilled) and the other couple were loudly protesting from the parking area.below. At one point, one of the mates flew up to the balcony but bounced off the wall, not quite hitting the mark.In the last photo the couple seem to be perplexed, maybe giving up. It has been eerily quiet since then and I wonder whether someone took the matter into their hands in a lethal way.
We had two little snow falls lately and i was wondering how the geese were faring. I admit I felt sorry for them as they walked on top of the puddle then broke through, half walking, half swimming.When they came out of the water, there was ice on their bills and feet. I am sure the feathers will keep them warm but the feet? Oh, that must be cold!
When a person has been sick in bed, it is so nice to get outdoors again and take photos.Not many birds and it was cold out,minus twenty, but here are some images of the environment, the Black-capped Chickadee and a Downy Woodpecker.
I had a visit with a friend the other evening to welcome her to Edmonton and we both got something we will not forget. As we came up out of the river valley, the sun was setting and rain was drizzling. There was a glorious double rainbow in front of us , in fact we could see the end of the rainbow right in the bushes below us. That prompted a lot of comments from passers by about finding “the pot of gold.”
My friend couldn’t get the entire rainbow in the lens of her point-and-shoot and my camera was at home a couple of blocks away so I ran as best as I could knowing that I might miss it all.The light had changed as had the position of the rainbow that had mostly faded out I still got some images of wonderful colour and light.
It is a pleasure to go to this city pond, one of many, and see the young ducklings.Some are Lesser Scaups, some American Widgeons, and the Mallards.
Mother Scaup with her two balls of fluff.
No, I am not talking about a large size of bird species, I am referring to the large chunks of bread that was thrown to the birds at the park. The people were happily feeding their feathered friends but I wonder if they would have shown some restraint if they saw this one struggling with its bounty.This young Ring-billed gull got the prize but I am curious what it was thinking as it seemed uncomfortable with the morsel it caught.Bread is not good for birds, but tell that to the birds, or to the people who feed them.
This crow was by itself in the lower branches of the tree, observing the ducks, geese and myself. It was muttering under its breath, making all sorts of vocalizations as if talking to itself. Once in a while it cawed back and forth with its clan in nearby trees, even matching the number of caws, then there would be a lot of noise as they all excitedly called back and forth to each other.
I tried to capture this in these photos as I snapped happily away and it seemed quite obliging in the process.At one point when it was talking to itself, there was a scolding squirrel above it and the crow took this in stride but did did keep a series of mutterings going on with its head down and the eyelid semi-closed, perhaps protection from the debris that was coming from the squirrel.
When the ruddy duck showed up at the pond, I was clicking away, if not always focused, but getting some good shots. When you get close to a bird, or it gets close to you, it is always, “Oh, just a couple more…”
So bear with me as I continue to show off the male Ruddy Duck after he came closer.
When I go to a pool and wade in the water with a young friend, it reminds me that I am living in the days of summer. Cold refreshments to keep hydrated, wading pools to explore in and find leaves, the smell of the peonies in the garden, listening to live music by Asani. Life is Good.
In a small lake in northern Edmonton there are a few pair of red-necked grebes and you know there is going to be trouble when one couple comes closer to another. One bird will attack the other male and they will have quite vicious fights while the apparent females watch. Very noisy and very spectacular. Interestingly, the couple will go right back to their mating displays which is quite beautiful, as their crests and their facial discs raise up but without the wing-raising or extreme biting.
First is a scenario of a fight as one couple gets into another couple’s territory, at least this is my interpretation. Please feel free to correct me.Here is a couple with another single separating from his mate to challenge the territory.
The boys go at it while the females are very vocal as well, watching from the sidelines.They don’t just raise their wings, but bite each other.
It was gripping action to say the least and I was happy that my camera was on fast shutter setting and I was on a hill just above them so got these great shots. There were times one would have hold of the other’s neck and drag it under the water and I was wondering if they were breeding, but no it was a fight.
It gives me such pleasure to see the leaves coming out of their buds and the valley is getting greener.Here are pictures that I took of the trail that weaves along side of the golf course.
Last night while at the library the snow started again. We have had a few “flurries.” This time the weather forecast was for 10-15 cm.
Today it was not as heavy as forecast but it did cover the ground.
The golfers may have to wait a little longer to “tee off ” at the golf course below.
The temperatures are erratic, going up and down , above and below freezing. It may continue for a while so just grin and bear it.
Happy Easter to those who are celebrating!
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.
The gulls’ voices were echoing in the sky for a few days so I went to the park to get up close. Here is a nice photo of one proud adult in breeding plumage. I also took a few shots of the geese hanging out at a big puddle that temporarily serves as a pond. Something showed up in post processing that was not apparent in the initial scene. Surprise! It was the presence of a male mallard, maybe two. Welcome back, ducks!
1/1250 sec@f/5.6 ISO 400, 240 mm
1/200 sec @f/7.1, ISO 400, 190 mm
This beautiful specimen has arrived in the city and is busy flying to a dead tree or seemingly so, to find some twigs for the nest.
Oh, oh! Careful.
Aw, too bad. He/she dropped it! It started over and success!
At 1/500 sec shutter the take-off was a blur but it flew deep into the valley and came back a couple of times in an hour. It is not an easy job, it takes co-ordination of the turns and twists and careful footing.It was an impressive undertaking.The crows seem to gather in one area below some apartment buildings in tall trees.Maybe they nest in the dense trees in the bottom of the valley.
A woman’s dog was attacked by a pack of reportedly 7-9 coyotes in the river valley in Edmonton last week. It survived and so did she after being rescued by police after going down a 20 foot embankment when the coyotes chased her smallest dog down the hill and onto the thin ice. She managed to chase the coyotes away but refrained from going onto the thin ice. She had a cell phone with her and called the police. Police responded as did Fish and Wildlife and park staff who rescued her because she couldn’t get back up the embankment and the dog. She was not hurt apparently, and the dog was taken to the emergency vet but no further news.Must have been scary, she certainly has my sympathy as does her dog.
I have run into a coyotes at another dog park myself a few years ago but just one that I was aware of. I called the dog I was with to me, then we both left the path.The coyote came through the trees on an adjacent path into the open. I yelled out to the other dog owners and a man picked up a big stick and chased the coyote away. In the past I have seen them in different parts of the city, usually at night and from a car. I hear them howling across the river often in the past couple of years. My most recent sighting was at dusk when I saw one last winter skulking through the trees near the bird feeders at the park.
I was listening to the news about this incident and heard from a wildlife officer that we have about 600 coyotes living in our river valley. There are trails that I have walked on that have signs notifying you of the fact there are coyotes in the area and to keep your dog close. But the dog-owners don’t always take heed.They let their dogs loose all over the park whether they are on off-leash trails or not. I am sure that that woman thought it wouldn’t happen to her, either. Be forewarned.
I think we can co-exist here, in fact we have been doing so for dozens of years. I want them to stay wild and have a little fear of us and I want people, especially children, and pets to be safe.
Some of the advice from the city is to keep your dogs on a leash in areas where coyotes are known to roam, do not let them run off alone. Do not approach coyotes but show that you are bigger than them by carrying a big stick, or yelling, then slowly detouring.Do not run. Do not leave food and water from your pets outside and clean up fallen fruit from trees as well as keep your garbage containers sealed. Coyotes will be attracted to the food and lose their fear of people. And don’t let your pet play with one. Often there is a pack a short distance away and the playful one will lure your dog to the pack where they will attack.
The best way to get along with coyotes is to be respectful and enjoy them from a distance. It is better for all of us that way.
I like snow for the most part, especially when it is wind-blown and sculpts fine lines in the landscape. I don’t always like shovelling the stuff, especially when I am lazy however I always feel invigorated after the job is done. It has so many qualities: crusty, sharp, melting, fluffy, icy,pristine, dirty.
I thought that I would like to do a series about the different ways I see snow. First is snow in the context of a larger scene. I really don’t know where I am going with this, I was going to post a bunch of images at one time but I think that I can make a stronger statement by posting a single image. How many in the series? I don’t know, but I will try to remember to label them. Here is the first.
1/80 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 200
I was standing with a couple of other photographers when one of them spotted this fellow out for a walk, heading to the feeder for a meal. I always enjoy seeing a ring-necked pheasant in the wild even if I don’t end up with a great shot.Both were hand held and shot in manual mode with some cropping and lightening after ward.
1/125 sec @ f/8, ISO 400, 150mm
1/125 sec @ f/8 ISO 400, 300mm
It didn’t take long before he left the open path and safely disappeared into the thick under brush.
To be honest, I am more inclined to stay home and read a book than go exploring outdoors. Too cold. It has been minus 25 but getting warmer today and may even go to the plus side this weekend. Here are some photos that I took last week.
We didn’t get as much as estimated, but it was still a bit of a chore scraping and brushing off the car as the precipitation started as rain, then turned to snow. The effect was like that of hoarfrost, but upon a closer look, there was a layer of ice on the trees with a topping of snow. It was not a matter of just brushing the powdery snow off the car, it was STUCK on. I was glad that I covered the front wind shield with a sun cover for I could simply peel it off. Still , it made for pretty snow scenes and a visit to friends for conversation and coffee warmed things up.
I went out too late to take decent shots of fall colours in the daylight but the colours looked promising for the sunset. Holding my camera on a fencepost to steady it I did my best to capture the sun as it was setting.
Then I turned my camera more to the right because I liked what was happening in the clouds.
then waited a bit after the sun went down, because then the reflections hit the clouds.
There was still more to come but more subtle.
I thought that I would try my hand at photographing the animals and birds in the city parks because I am finally seeing them more often. In August it was as if the birds disappeared. I did take shots at the feeders but am trying to get the birds on the branches that they perch on before they go to the feeder.
Some, like the nuthatches, are smart, always going to the back of the tree when they come to the feeder or when they depart. Some patience is needed until they get more trusting and I start to figure out where they are most likely to land.Either way, they are fast!
All these photos were taken in Aperture Priority at 400 ISO in low light due to trees around me on both sides of the trail.
Here I am getting scolded by a red squirrel.
You can see the colours of fall in the next one.
As you can observe , I have some practising to do. None are sharply focused and it was getting darker with the camera facing the sun. There were a couple of downy woodpeckers but they were very blurry and deleted. This is a project that I won’t mind taking on, because I get so much pleasure out of taking photos of these creatures and watching their behaviours.