Friday, 29 April 2016

Painted turtle, Leucistic Bald Eagle (20160422) A little fishing trip with Len

We have finally have had a nice day or two so Len and I headed out for a little fishing trip. I was looking forward to heading to an area where we might find some turtles.Whenever I do a post with reptiles or amphibians I think of Kerri and her love of these little critters.
When we first arrived there were at least 6 painted turtles on this single log. Our entry into the lake disturbed them, but they started coming back to continue their basking session.
These three were the most that returned and stayed for a bit to give us the chance for many images.
Of my shots for the day this is my favourite. These are not very large subjects and we didn't dare try to get too close. I love the colours presented here.
We also spotted this clump of "jelly" like material in the water that is likely some lifeform that is in the process of maturing. It would be great to know what this clump actually is.
A little later I grabbed this shot of a turtle at total ease. If you look you can see that his legs are tucked in and his tail is dropped almost vertical.
On the way home it was getting pretty late when we found this beautiful raptor.
It would appear that this is a Leucistic Bald Eagle. It was very late and this was quite a distance off.
I am hoping that we will be able to find this bird again in some better light. I have in flight shots but they were very blurry.  We both managed to get a little "wild" in our lives. Do the same soon, it'll do you well!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Meganser, Horned Grebe (20160409) A trip to the spit!

Anytime I make it Toronto the Leslie Street Spit home of Tommy Thompson Park is on the agenda. It is a little frustrating how they close it through the week and often on the weekends too. Since my first visit a couple of years ago I have become addicted! I started this walk by meeting a local birder Steve Pidgeon (no kidding) as we shared a look at this Pied Billed Grebe.
I also managed to grab this swift fly-by of a male Red-breasted Merganser.
Of course the Red-winged Blackbirds were out in force, a definite sign of spring.
Next up here is the real purpose of my visit. I was hoping that the Long-tailed ducks would still be here and in full breeding plummage. While not fully transitioned, they were starting to show some changes.
There were quite a few Horned Grebes visible around as well. I don't often get to post images of these birds. The bonus here was the fish that it had caught.
I'll add a second image here as, for the first time, I have been able to see the yellow in the eyes of these birds.
As this was my first view of a Tree Swallow for the year, I thought I would include a shot here.
Here is a LTD with a little more breeding colouration.
Here is a nice looking pair, she looks like she is ready to head north in her "new look" along with her man.
Here are a couple of close up of these beautiful ducks. First up is one of the ladies.
And here is her partner. I love these ducks not just for their colouring and personality, but for being so accommodating!
The end of my day provided me a few additional opportunities with some more Red-breasted birds.
Certainly the best day I have ever had with those birds.
I was also on the lookout for a mink or two. The one I did manage to spot was quite a distance off and on the move so no opportunties were provided. It was a short time I had to re-visit this beautiful spot so that will be the end of this post.
Put some "wild" in your life, it'll do you good!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Ruffed Grouse, Redpoll, Red Fox (20160405) A quick trip to Algonquin

Well it was just great to touch base with my old school buddy Allan in Callendar. We had made arrangements to head out to Algonquin park, a place I had never been to before. Al had recently retired and had some time on a Tuesday to keep me company, it gave us a great chance to get caught up. It still being "winter" up here in the "great white north" many of the side roads were closed off and the highway was our principle roadway. We did manage to find a short sideroad that produced this Ruff Grouse that Al spotted right on the road.
 Next up on one of the roads through one of the winter camping zones Al spotted this beautiful Red Fox. This little creature was obviously pretty comfortable around people.
I was able to get out of the car and get several shots of this gorgeous subject in and out of the sun. It is one of the critters that the park is known for.
On another side road we were able to travel we found a small flock of Pine Siskins, and I was able to grab this image quickly through the passenger window.
We also found a flock of Blue Jays squawking in a parking area.
It was really nice to get some images of these birds here in Ontario. I post a second here as a tribute to the Toronto Blue Jays, hoping that they can repeat into the playoffs again this season.
As we headed for home we swung through the winter camping spot and not only found our original little Red Fox but its companion as well.
It is easy to see why these subjects capture everyone's heart, they are very photogenic, and can be quite accomodating at times.
Back at Al's place I was able to add a few birds to the day's list. This is the first Redpoll that I have been able to post on the blot this winter.
Then maybe the easiest picking I have ever had for an owl. This is Al's Barred Owl that resides on the wall in the living room.
I'll wrap up this post with another of my favourite winter birds, the Common Redpoll.
A super day spent with a SUPER guy. It was a real pleasure to have the chance to get caught up a little with a guy that I went through grade and high school with.
Put some "wild" in your life, it'll do you a world of good!

Friday, 15 April 2016

GBH, Cardinal, Grackle (20160403) A morning stroll around Toogood pond in Markham.

Now that we are in Toronto for a couple of days, the "clock" had me up a little early, so I took a walk out to the pond. The air was cold (-7c) with a cutting wind that made being out unpleasant. Sometimes that is the price you have to pay. While not a big fan of Canada Geese, I thought I would add this image here with a little behavioural tip for the readers. Any time you manage to find waterfowl "breeding", right after the encounter the male will do some preeningthen almost always do a little wing flap. These are great opportunities if you are after "that" shot.
This local Great Blue Heron seems to have suffered an injury to its middle toe of one of its feet.
The Robins were about in numbers, obviously still migrating through.
When I do get the opportunity for an upclose portrait of a goose, I will grab it.
There were quite a number of Grackles squawking and raising a rucous. This bird is showing its nictitating membrane over the eye while squeaking out some noise. 
It was nice that there were several Cardinals floating around trying to establish their territories. These red birds are just gorgeous and the favourites of many folks. 
Putting the time in nasty conditions seems to have paid off for me today. I am enjoying these Cardinal images.
This next bird was a great surprise. The overnight snow must have made foraging a little tougher than usual. This Red-winged Blackbird dropped in on the snow quite close to me, so I took the shot. 
I'll wrap this post up with a Grackle on the wing. I think this is a bird I might try andget more in-flight shots of, they have a wonderful sheen. 
We had a mid-morning appointment and the chilly conditions chased me in. It was my chance to put a little "wild" in my life!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Cardinal, Vulture, Hairy (20160402) A little trip to Toronto

Well, the bride had to go to Toronto for work so we decided to add some weekends and did the drive across the East. It was a long haul but we did it a day. When we were headed out in the morning for a drive out to Lloyd's the male Cardinal greeted us at the car.
While out a Lloyd's we took a little cruise and we found a few Turkey Vultures.
I really like this image showing quite a bit of the back of one of these scavengers.
When we got back to Sharon's I had time to take a walk around and grab a few more springtime like images. The American Robin is a sign of Spring for many.
 Of course the Downey's are out and drumming up a storm these days as well.
Here is a tiny blue flower that I had to capture. I think it is early enough that there are many more to come.
To wrap up my walk I spent quite a bit of time with this little female Hairy Woodpecker.
This little beauty was working the ground versus a tree for her meal this evening.
She was getting something out of the earth. These were taken quite late, nearing sun down.
So from the first thing in the morning through to the last thing in the evening, I had "wild" in my life today. Try it yourself, it'll do you well!