Sunday, 31 January 2016

Cardinal, coot, squirrel (20160125) A trip back to the Pond looking for the Otter.'

With the promise of a bright sunny day I thought I would head into the pond and see if I could get better images and video of the Otter that I shot there a couple of days ago.  So I stopped in to check out the food supply for the local celebrity. I have been spotting more and more squirrels in the area.
 Also this morning the female Cardinal put in an appearance. It was really nice to find her in the berries.
It is also nice to be able to capture a Chickadee on a nice frosty branch. One of my favourite environments!
Then the lady Cardinal provided an excellent pose, that I really enjoy. It is just great to have such beautiful light this morning.
With the morning traffic cleared, I headed to downtown Dartmouth and Sully's pond to see if the otter was around. Unfortunately it seems he is not around. So I take advantage of available targets and great light. I am always trying to get better Mallard shots.
After a bit this little black-headed gull came in and started to bath in the flow of the creek.
It spent quite a while dipping and fluffing around in the water. It spent probably 7-10 minutes dabbling. It put on quite a show!
I'll finish this post with a tough bird to shoot, and I am happy with the result. The old, ivory billed duck is a tough subject. I enjoy the American Coot.
A terrific day with terrific light, putting a little "wild" in your life can't get any easier than that!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

River Otter (20160122) A hot tip leads to a great encounter.

First off I have to thank Clarence for giving me the tip of an Otter in Sullivan's Pond in Dartmouth. So Friday morning I met up with Len on high alert for our four footed quarry. It didn't take too long to spot, but it was a long way off. For simplicity sake I am going to refer to it as "he". Here is a short video that shows him finishing a meal before returning to the water for his next nugget of a meal.
The light was absolutely attrocious but you take what you get, and when you get a target like this you  just shoot!
While we were shooting this crow popped in and gave me a proper "yelling at". I expect it was expecting to get fed. I liked catching it with the nictitating member closed.
Here is a shot, that I call "Toothy", I don't know why he hardly shows any teeth here.
This is a fairly large critter, he was likely 40 or more yards off. He was a joy to watch as he would occassionally come out of the water and scootch around.
When he stops and just looks, he is quite a handsome dude!
I was amazed at just how short his hind legs are. The front legs are pretty short as well.
But the captivating aspect of these large weasels is their playing in the snow!
I won't bore you with any more images. But there is a second slightly longer video of that very behaviour, you can play it by clicking here! So that is how to put a little "wild" in your life. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Chickadee, Cardinal, Chat (20160121) A return to Chat territory

As I have been setting out grape jelly to try and keep the Yellow Breasted Chat alive I get over every couple of days. The "greeter's" were out in full force. The Song Sparrows are always the first ones you see when you get to the area.
Even before I was able to do a good check on the target bird this female Cardinal put in an appearance and posed for me.
Next the Chickadees came into view. The light was pretty good, and the red of the rose brambles make a nice addition.
Then our resident hero put in an appearance. A lot of the birding community has taken this beautiful bird into their hearts.
I went back and grabbed this follow up shot of the Cardinal. I almost prefer to shoot the female of this specie as the bright red of the male is very tough to get right.
The Chickadees were also flitting about. I really like the environment in this area for the backgrounds and colourful limbs.
A final image of the star of the show. I hope that she continues to bring joy to many people here. 
Well another "wildlife" day, and I walk away grinning ear to ear--Nothing better.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Yellow Breasted Chat, Cedar Waxwing, Robin (20160119) A New bird on my 600th post.`

When I started doing this more than 4 years ago I don't think I ever envisioned doing this many posts of my adventures, both solo and with my many friends. So hold on to you hats, and here's hoping for at least another 600! 
I had been keepin an eye on the Nova Scotia Bird Society facebook page regarding a Yellow Breasted Chat at a local (to me) cemetery. Someone suggested that providing food would help it survive our colder winters. So I started putting grape jelly out to try and help the little bird out. On this day we had some nice clear skies so I took the camera for a walk. I was happy to find this little Song Sparrow to start my morning.
It took me a little while to find my next set of birds, but when I did things stated to happen pretty quick. I first spotted some Robins, then some Starlings, but the Cedar Waxwings were a real find.
The rose-hips were the food that everyone was after. Even the red Squirrels were in on the act.
These Waxwings are just not what I am accustomed to in the winter. The Bohemians would be what I would be looking for in Alberta.
These crested, masked beautifully coloured birds are just hard to pass up. This will be the last image for this specie in this post.
Next up is the normal harbinger of spring for many folks, an American Robin.
The other birds there were the Starlings. These birds are a long way from my favourites due to their invasive nature. But this is the first time I have been able to capture the "grey" iris of these usually dark birds.
The colouring on these birds are indicating to me that they are ready to "pop" into their breeding plummage any time. They can be quite striking.
Then just as I was starting to head out I found my mysterious target bird.
The yellow on this bird is absolutely brilliant. What a great bird to add to the blog here. As regular visitors are aware, first appearances of a critter entitles them to an immediate second image.
This sweetheart was being very cooperative, as was the light for a change. I will wrap this post up here with a third image of this unexpected resident.
So take a little time today, or this week, and put a little "wild" in your life!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Bald eagles, Red-tailed Hawk (20160115) A solo run for Eagles.

A few days after my run with Len the weather was calling for a nice clear morning so I headed out to Sheffield Mills to see if I could get some Eagle shots. I arrived right at the premium time and got set up to watch the action.
There were only about 6 or 7 birds hanging about in the trees.
Eagles were not the only raptors that were in the area. There were at least two Red-tailed Hawks surveying the area. This is where I actually captured my first Red-tailed with my initial digital DSLR set up.
It has been almost 7 years since I first came here with Len to capture these birds. Here is another shot of one of the Red-tails.
With so few Eagles present there was no real feeding frenzy that occurred. The birds took their time to come in and feed at a very leisurely pace.
Of course any time there is something to eat around the Corvids are going to be around looking for a free meal.
While they fly around with the Eagles, the larger birds are certain to let the Raven know that they are not welcome.
The other opportunists that are present at the Great Black-backed Gulls. They can actually get the Eagles to take action and start feeding, if they decide to get too close to the food supply.
It was a great morning. I spoke with some terrific folks while waiting for the action to pick up. I stopped by and had a cup of tea with Mom and headed home.
It just that easy to put a little "wild" in your life. Give it a try!

Bald eagles, Downy Woodpecker(20160109) January means Eagles in Nova Scotia.

Well, here it is January 2016, Happy New Year to all! Since the 1940's the local farmers around Kentville Nova Scotia have fed Bald Eagles through the winters. So we are headed out to see how the gathering of the feathered clan are doing. First thing though my resident rooster was around so I'll add him as a starting point for this post. He is my buddy I have taken to calling "Feathers".

We headed out and in an area where the bride and I had spotted about 20 eagles on New Years Day, we found about the same number hanging around in the trees. So we swug into the area to see if we could manage some shots. But the sun was all wrong and we knew we would have opportunities for closer birds so we held off shooting. On the way out, Len spotted this beauty so we stopped.
I thought it was interesting to see how he used one of his toes to hold a piece of the bark out of the way as he goes after his little grub.
Just up the road we found a little Eagle action so we stopped and spent some time.
Not accustomed to being the passenger I made a major rookie mistake and tried to shoot over a hot engine hood. I lost most of my images due to heat shimmer, but I did manage the odd keeper.
Along with about a dozen adults there were 3 or 4 juveniles. They too make great subjects, particularly in flight.
Here is a youngster showing that he is ready to be wearing his big boy pants. They walk with such attitude, it is terrific to watch.
We spent some time around Sheffield Mills but only found a few long distance birds. We dropped in and said "hi" to mom and had a cup of tea. Then it was off home. That's how we put a little "wild" in our life on this day!

Friday, 22 January 2016

White-eyed Vireo, Cardinals. (201512-Christmas) Christmas in Toronto this year yielded and excellent find.

Well Christmas in Ontario typically means Cardinals. I love shooting these beautiful birds. But the weather wouldn't cooperate. While the weather was very mild, the skies just never seemed to clear.
The males tend to be a little more tentative to reveal themselves. Even in low light they are pretty skittish.
 The House Finches were pretty constant visitors around the feeders at Sharon's too.
On Christmas eve we did have a little sun so I took a solo walk around the pond. The Mallards always look great in sun, and being citizen ducks, getting close enough for a shot isn't too tough.
The lighlight of the whole trip put in an appearance 0n this day!
This little White-eyed Vireo was a total shocker, but I'll take it. This is the one bird I was hoping to see at Cape Sable Island and didn't get the chance to.
I let the Toronto president of the bird society know of the sighting and sent him a photo so that the local Christmas Bird Count would be aware of its presence. As a first ever on the blog, it deserves a couple of images. 
On Boxing Day, I went looking for the Vireo but to no avail. I did however find this female Cardinal. I also found her feeding on these berries.
The local Mallards were also out. I include this shot as it is the first time I can remember seeing a Mallard swim backwards. I don't know what he ran into under the water but it spooked him into this unusual behaviour. 
On the 28th I headed out on a pretty crappy weather day for a short time and managed to find this Hairy Woodpecker with her prize for working the tree so hard.

So that was Christmas and the White-eyed Vireo. Even when visiting it isn't hard to put a little "wild" in your life. Like Nike says, "just do it!".