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Posts tagged “winter

Touches of Spring- a Little Teaser

Some things that I have looked at in my journeys during the last  week when I am not focused on birds. Although this is March, when we could get big dumps of snow, there has also been signs of spring weather with high temperatures in the teens , the arrival of flocks of geese, melting snow and big puddles.

My Header and profile picture are those of the colder months but for now I am leaving them “as is” because it could go that way again before the real spring arrives. There is a sign outside of a local business, “Think Spring. Think Harder.” I get it.

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Walking the Dogs

No this post is not about the dogs, but show some of the captures of images that I took while walking them when I was dog -sitting. My camera was not with me all the time because I promised  them that they would be my main concern. I miss the regular exercise and routine, even the morning licks on the face as they encouraged me to get out of bed.(blehk…)

The sights that greeted us were many, from hoar-frosted trees to to sun-lit woodlots and heavy sleet/snow. These images show some intimate areas of the off-leash dog park.winter, parks,birds 107 IMG_0823
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Two Nuthatches

During my visit to the feeder I noticed not one type, but tow types of Nuthatches, the White-breasted Nuthatch and the Red-breasted Nuthatch, the latter being the smaller of the two. The White-breasted Nuthatch is described as having a song “yank, yank, yank” a little lower in pitch than the Red-breasted. They travel up and down tree trunks using foot power alone and i find them to be a challenge to capture because they zoom into the feeder from a far away branch then take off to a distant perch. Here , they have stuck around a bit longer, which enabled me to get these shots.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is the smallest, smaller than a Chickadeepictures 264-2

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The White-breasted Nuthatchpictures 277-2

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These were shot using a Canon Rebel XS and a 70-300 mm zoom lens.

Will you Stay or Will you Go?

I was taking photos of the Black-capped Chickadees when I heard a similar call, softer with a pretty whistling sound. The Boreal Chickadee was back and I was delighted to capture a couple of shots.They are a rarity around here so when they show up  all of us birding types get excited. It flew from low-lying shrubs into a nearby tree and was joined by another before the two of them flew away together.. Are they mates? Are they going to stay? Or will they go? Either way, I enjoyed the moment.That is what it is all about, right?

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A New Bird-Boreal Chickadee

This is the first photo that I have taken of this species, a Boreal Chickadee,  quite pleased to find it.Not the best photos but I am happy to have a record of the sighting. They are not too common here in the city.

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Off Leash

I enjoy walking the dogs that I am caring for, it is good for all of us as we get outdoors in the fresh air, and at minus 16 celsius believe me, it is fresh! I try to get ahead of them while they are sniffing around, then snap some shots as they run to catch up. It is difficult to get low with my stiff knees but it is fun to try. I also shoot as they run ahead of me, then they stop and wait for me to catch up.

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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.


Ann’s Orchid

This is for Ann, who looks in on my blog. I took a photo of her orchid, which is coming into bloom. At least I think this is hers, will include more than one, just in case. Ha Ha!


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I haven’t been out much, would get back to work,the cough would come back, I would go home exhausted and in no time  be under the blankets again, obviously with a fever and no energy, coughing.

After resting a few days, I am back to longer walks with the dogs, exploring. All of us love it. We have had some sunny warm days and melting snow that makes the paths slippery so I am happy that I got my cleats on.This day was heavily overcast I adjusted the exposure about two-thirds higher in aperture priority mode, then in post-processing lowered the highlights and lightened the shadows, all to get more detail..I will be returning to work tomorrow.

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Growth in a Few Days

I have taken photos of this beautiful Amaryllis for two days now since I am house and dog-sitting. Not getting too far since having some setback with the breathing problems but went to the doctor and taking medicine, drinking lots of fluids and resting.

It is amazing how fast these flowers grow, will post more of these as well as my adventures with the dogs and the beautiful environment in the city parks.

This is one stem…on the 11th and the 14th…

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And this is the other stem, on the 11th and the 14th

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Getting Outdoors

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.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year Everyone! I have been outside only two times in the last 3 weeks other than work because the flu laid me so low. I am back at work but usually just hit the couch when I get home. Today was my day off and I went to the park where I briefly watched some chickadees and talked to other birders.

It is cold out, minus 30 and the birds are feeding and all puffed up.I enjoyed being outdoors and saying hi to people and having dinner with a friend but have used up all my energy and since I work tomorrow, going to sleep early so I can rest and wake up refreshed. It was good to get outside and see my chickadee friends.Here is my shot for the day. pictures 032-2

More Reviews from the Past Year

First, I chose my friend Lindsay’s orchids. She is very good at growing them and I like to capture their images.pictures 043-2 Secondly, I was capturing images of geese last April with not a lot of signs of snow.I wonder if these geese over-wintered?Hermitage Park-029-2 The pastels in the skies were pretty last March.20140312-IMG_0067-2 Another “painting” of a gazebo in the central area of the city.pictures 007-2 a close-up of a house finch that nested in the area.Liked hearing its song which was a pleasant change from the house sparrows but I know my neighbour was NOT amused by the singing just under his window every morning.Birds 009-2A magpie showing off it’s tail feathers. I wonder how the weather will be for the rest of winter, a lot has melted and the temperature is up-and-down like a yo-yo. One day at a time.Birds 070-3

Early Signs of Spring

After hearing reports from south of the border and knowing better, I set out to Hawrelak Park regardless to see if there were any new birds arriving.The ponds have been fenced-in since last fall, drained and bull-dozed to make the depth of the water deeper for the Triathlon finals in August. I am sure some geese and ducks will return but  whether they will stay, who knows. There will be the songbirds coming back too.It will be interesting to record in pictures but may have to set my sights further afield for good birding.


There is still snow to come and still lots in this park although there are definite signs of melt.


A couple of years ago the city allowed dogs in the park if they were kept on leash and stuck to the trails.Do not know that that is working very well there are a few people not observing the rules and I hope they don’t ruin it for everyone else. I had a photo but will spare you the graphic proof.

Heard the magpies, ravens, chickadees, nuthatches, waxwings and a real howl-fest from the coyotes across the river but none of the usual spring birds. I will keep on checking.

There are other early signs of spring that I took photos of, a reminder that some things never change.





Enjoy the Day!

Black-capped Chickadee

I had some personal issues to deal with for a while, so felt quite panicked and absent for a while but taking a moment to post a cheery shot of a Black-capped Chickadee in a “log cabin” feeder.The weather has been crazy with temperatures of minus 30 Celsius but the good news is, by the end of this week, the temperatures should go above freezing to the “plus” side. I look forward to spring being around “one of these” corners.


The Pause that Refreshes

I got a kick out of the gestures made by this fellow as he savoured some water.Who knows, maybe his teeth got cold or he got “brain freeze”





all taken at 1/80 sec @f/16, ISO 200


I thought that I would try for a different view of a horse, so got down as low as I could with my arthritic knees and went for this point of view. I used to ride a lot and though it may take a lot of yoga classes to regain my flexibility , I may get get back on a horse again. It felt good to just be around them.


Aperture priority, 1/50 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 800, 235mm

Backlit Horse

When I was at the stable the other day I did take photos of horses as well as the barns. I liked the warm glow of the setting sun on this sorrel horse’s back with the grey horse in the background.

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1/160 sec@f/5.6, ISO 800


The orchids in my friend’s window are abundant and there are even more buds on it. These flowers give a pleasant respite from the ice and snow and promises us that spring will arrive.


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Silouettes and Sunsets

You got to love the evening light in January. I went along the river valley to shoot photos around the “golden hour”. The camera was hand held  while using shutter priority. I edited using HP Media Smart Photo, sometimes using the auto lightening feature which brought out the colour the way that I saw it but could make the photo “noisy”. The Sharpening feature works very well. A good basic editing program., alas, no noise removal.

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Fox Drive Eve

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January Sunset

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Going to the Dogs

January Jane 022It has been a lot warmer the last few days so it has been a pleasure to walk the dogs and watch them play. The fresh air and exercise is good for me, too. Shot at 1/200 sec @f/4.5, ISO 800 using shutter priority.

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.

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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