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Posts tagged “red squirrel

Ah-h-h-h…Sweet Taste

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Catching a Few Z-zzzz’s

Now I am Canadian but this is once case in which I say “zee” not “zed”-it just wouldn’t sound right. Sleepy squirrels have been featured on my posts before but this  is a newer one and is cute, not to mention funny. I shot with the sun to the side and it was bright late afternoon so there were a few blown-out spots in the background that I cropped out. This squirrel sat motionless, and i thought that s/he was guarding the bird feeder below it but after a while realized that s/he had been sleeping. We have all been here, keeping our eyes open, then our head slowly sinks and we jolt awake because our heads drop or we lose our balance, in this case nearly falling off the branch.It is not a sharp focus, some movement involved, mine or the squirrel’s.

I am trying to shoot with a depth of field that keeps everything on the animal or bird  in focus so have changed these images to f/8 rather than f/4 or 5.6. Focal length is about 200mm. ISO 800 and shutter speed over 1/1,000 give or take.

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The chickadees are more approachable as are the squirrels and gulls as they gather food  and seek handouts. These are favourites of a young Ring-billed Gull, a  Black-capped Chickadee and a Red Squirrel seen in the parks in the city. I did not feed them, they just came to check me out and let me take their photo..

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Last Days of Summer

After the cold and snow flurries last week and the inevitable whining, I felt so relaxed and grateful today as I walked along natural paths, observed  the changes in the trees and bushes. and watched the  squirrels as they hurried back and forth,  with mouths full of food , preparing for the inevitable cold days ahead.It was a good day to be out doors with temperatures back in the normal zone.

Except for a few territorial squabbles, and the odd chase by children, the geese mostly ate grass and relaxed. I took photos of the things that caught my eye. hope you enjoy my look at the world.

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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.

Acrobatic Squirrel

Saw this red squirrel at the bird feeder today repeat the same behaviour over and over. First it would perch on the branch, then stretch out to the feeder and grab a bite to eat,  somersault around the branch , sit up straight, then stretch down to the feeder again. Did this for a few minutes.






What Caught My Eye

While I was photographing the birds, I kept seeing this fella, or gal, approaching the feeder from all directions, stopping , starting, up the trees, then down again, weaving it’s way along the trails and alternate routes. Sometimes it was hiding, other times he/she came into full view. Of course I got the inevitable scolding while it was perched safely on a high branch. I must give the red squirrel its due.

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The Sky is Falling!

The sky is falling – I hear the steady plunk, plunk, plunk of spruce cones as they hit the ground. i look up and search the heavy-laden branches and see rustling motions until I focus on the cause. Oh, you again!  I caught you in the act and you caught me!


I watched as you navigated down a branch that was fifty feet in the air and shimmied down to a cone.



Once you chose your favourite, you twisted or bit it off at the top, then had a nibble.




Then, after another bite, you dropped it to the ground. Quite clever! I wonder, do you gather parts of the cones and store them in your nest for the winter?

Birds and Squirrels at the Feeders

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.

More Birds from Last Week

While I take a break from shovelling the snow from around the car -at least one foot of it – I would like to share some photos of the birds that I saw near the feeders at Hawrelak Park in the last week.

The first few were shot using Aperture Priority, the woodpecker in Shutter priority and the squirrel in Manual mode. I have been experimenting  with modes, departing from using  my usual manual mode because sometimes the birds move so fast or the light changes so quickly that one less button to adjust might come in handy. It is nice to have a narrow depth of field but more likely that parts of the bird will be out of focus when it is moving so much so better to shut down the aperture somewhat from f/6 to f/8.  I find too, that being zoomed- in totally gives me a better chance of losing parts of the planned composition.When I need the fast shutter speed I turn up the ISO. Live and learn.What mode do you shoot birds in?

Mostly I like to get a shot of a bird when it lands on a branch before or after going to the feeder but in the case of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, it was too well-hidden in the branches and very evasive.

There was a White-breasted Nuthatch.


as well as a Red-breasted Nuthatch. I once had one of these land in my hand while I was feeding the chickadees.


Some Common Redpolls:


and a few  Black-Capped Chickadees. Although I can not see this one’s face, I like seeing how it holds the seed between its feet so it can break the husk off.Image

Here is a different view of a Hairy Woodpecker feeding at the suet feeder:


and one with a Chickadee flying away that has no still, in-focus parts, but I like the action:


And of course, though it is not always welcome,  I had to include a Red Squirrel. Took this shot using manual mode and do admit is is somewhat over-exposed in spots:


I am looking forward to going back to the park but first need to dig myself out. Usually there is lots of activity at the feeders after a big snowfall.

Sleepy Squirrel

It pays to look through your camera. I was so caught up with this squirrel’s behaviour that I forgot to take a photo in the earlier seconds.They would have been priceless photos.

What happened:  I saw a squirrel on top of the bird feeder, nothing new, except this one ‘s head was drooped and was starting to lean forward as if he was “nodding off.”  I walked closer and saw that he was doing just that , then spoke to him and he jerked and sat up straight, then he stretched his front feet downward in a big stretch while giving a big yawn, pink tongue showing.

Those were the photos I missed but I like to affirm, or rationalize that I was living in “the moment”. I did click a few more which I will share here:

Second Nod-off

Nodding off again…

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aware that I am present…

So Sleepy

succumbing to sleep…

Squirrel Acknowledges Me a little more alert…

Wide Eyed and Awake

wide-eyed and awake. Now leave me alone!

Come Out and Play

Come Out and Play


© Jane Chesebrough

Some nice new features on WordPress as well as annoyances. It goes with the territory when you are learning new things. I tried to edit my image then couldn’t get back to the writing.What I have written previously will probably show up later as a post. At least I found out how to make my picture larger.I am going out after being very lethargic for two days! Yes, it is warm and cosy here but I am getting nothing done except for drinking coffee with eggnog, eating comfort food and spending too much time on the computer!.

I will go out into the brisk fresh air and breathe and get some exercise. Of course I will take photos. Then maybe I will come back and with renewed energy, pull out my decorations from the closet and welcome the Christmas season. Happy December, folks! Just think, soon the days will start to get longer!

Just Another Squirrel or a Moment of Appreciation


Yes, sometimes these creatures can be just another squirrel, or even a nusiance if you are camping and over run by their species. But they too, have their individual personalities just like human beings. I consider it  an honour to get close to nature to have the opportunity to celebrate diversity. The journeys I take with my camera are satisfying to myself yet at the same time get me to look at the bigger picture. At this moment I appreciate  the presence of this squirrel.

©Jane Chesebrough

It’s a Leap Year!

I was outdoors trying to get a successful photo of some Pine Grosbeaks-the ones from the other day were dismal and I got some that were better that I will show you but  I had this little  inquisitive fellow following me for some time. Well he would come right up to me, then run away and usually be too close for a shot-he was quite the tease. When I saw this one shot I remembered it is indeed a leap year, so thought this fitting for the first day of 2012.

©Jane Chesebrough

My Definition of a Good Day

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My definition  of a good day for me is being outdoors and getting close to the creatures of the wild, even the smallest ones.It is a very good day when I see a few species that I don’t always get to see. This one day I took a small bit of birdseed and my camera to a bird feeder in a  local park and saw a red breasted nuthatch, a white-breasted nuthatch, chickadees, a red squirrel, a downy woodpecker and a piliated woodpecker all in the same area!  I say a small bit of  birdseed, because, while it is a thrill to have these small creatures land in my hand to take a seed or two, they are wild and I don’t want to enable them to rely on humans so much that they forgo their natural abilities. Besides, it is impossible for me  to take a picture when they are flying right at me, too close to the lens to get a shot. Some photos were taken with a 18-55mm lens, others with a Sigma 70-300mm lens.

It is great to combine my love of photography with my love of birds and a priority for me once I bought my DSLR a couple of years ago was to buy a zoom lens to get closer shots of the  birds-I did buy the lens- a cheap one- but it works for me. I can reduce camera shake by using high speed shutter settings or will “cheat” sometimes and take photos in the sports mode. I am so grateful to get out for walks in nature and get close to the inhabitants of the land, as well as to enjoy the land itself, to breathe fresh air, to get exercise and practise seeing the world in a different perspective. I am truly living ” in the moment” and feel free of all the distractions and stresses of the  rest of my world.

It is a moment with my Creator, other creatures and with my self. Whatever the weather, I come back from a trip to nature feeling refreshed and happy.