Category Archives: Wildlife

Baby Hummingbirds Feeding

March 24, 2017

1.30 pm – back at the nest waiting for the mother hummingbird. Got the 500mm lens on the camera now. Checked my focus and exposure ten times. Been here 5 minutes. Saw hummingbirds flying here and there but not near the nest. When I arrived I saw a squirrel heading down the trunk of the tree. Did it find the nest? I suppose not, as the nest is intact. Much chirping in the area.

Waiting… waiting… saw two Hairy Woodpeckers and a Red Tailed Hawk. People pass by on the trail, but I just sit here. No one sees the nest, and I don’t point my camera at it.

1.50 pm – the mother has to come soon. How long can she stay away feeding herself? Hold on, she’s over there on a branch. I blink and she’s gone again. Where did she go? She’s on the nest! I missed her fly 15 feet in a blink. Camera up, start clicking.

mother arrives

feed baby #1

baby #1 fed, check around

time for #2 next

feeding baby #2

done and gone in a second

 

 

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Equinoctial Photographic Magazine

Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.

hummingbird nest

I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.

hummingbird and nest

Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.

squirrel at rest

The field nearby is full of daffodils.

daffodils

Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.

Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.

People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.

red tailed hawk

flicker ground feeding

one of the “wild” cats that hang out in the park

a mouse, after the owl ate it

crocuses

hooded merganser

blue bug on the window

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Solstice Greetings

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peanuts tree

Winter solstice is here, now the days will begin to get longer, even though the winter has just begun. That is some comfort! Here are a few scenes of winter, if you could even call it winter here, which is a joke to many who must contend with snow, ice and frozen snot-cicles. I count myself fortunate that I no longer suffer from those, and yet my hands still get cold! Such suffering! I got a pair of bum glove/mitts for that, with a mitten that flaps over the open glove fingers, thus allowing the use of a camera without exposing one’s entire hand to the frigid air.

My Annual Christmas Poem

Winter rain turns into snow
Off to the clothing shop I go
Tables piled high with ware
Jackets, scarves and warm hats there
Gloves and mittens for my hands
Flannel shirts from foreign lands
Shop clerk sporting Santa hat
Offers help with this and that
But my needs are few so I
Quickly pass all those things by
What I need hangs on the wall
Ten feet wide by six feet tall
Dangling folded up on hooks
Many sizes, colours, looks
Christmas day inside a box
Can you guess? Grey wool socks!

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horse in woolys

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there was ice, briefly – puzzling the ducks

random acts of Xmas decoration in the forest

random acts of Xmas decoration in the forest

the nutcracker found this mesmerizing

the nutcracker found this mesmerizing

only in winter do we get Hooded Mergansers

only in winter do we get Hooded Mergansers

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Daily Six Pack

That arctic outflow has us in its grip, but only very loosely. Temperatures hover around the freezing mark, leaving icy patches about but also wet places where the sun shines for a while. On the lake the water level must rise at night, evidenced by the suspended ice plates I often see on days like this.

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With brilliant sun and cold we seem to get more birds. This Barred Owl was sitting directly above the path,  unperturbed by my attention, swiveling his head as I circled round to get a better angle. He  was still there when I returned an hour later, but another photographer had taken my place and no doubt filled his memory card with owl pictures.

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Across the floating bridge there were the usual crowd of Mallards and this lonely Hooded Merganser.

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Across the lake I had a brief look at this Cooper’s Hawk before it split in a hurry. Maybe it was hungry. They don’t sit still for long.

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The lake has flooded the surrounding lowlands and in a seasonal slough behind the ring of bush that borders the lake I saw a large flock of ducks and geese. I walked through the closely cropped grass past a gaggle of grazing Canada Geese to get a closer look. Quite suddenly the flock erupted and headed to the air.

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On the return leg a Bewick’s Wren was picking at the bark of a tree.

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The last bird I saw was this one, a male House Finch.

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Three of a Kind

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A few more for your viewing pleasure:

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Strolling in the Park

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Today in the park, I saw some new wildlife at long last. I can’t fathom why the past month or so has seemed so utterly barren of birds out there. But today all seems suddenly better. There was a Great Blue Heron preening as I walked out onto the floating bridge. Then a Cormorant came along.

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Nothing exciting, I carried on to a bridge over the creek that flows out of the lake.

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Then I spied the Hawk in a tree. Haha! It was back. I stepped off the path and took a picture with the long lens, then hurried forward. By the time I reached the tree in question the hawk was up circling.

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Nearby I saw a Cat on the path.

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I carried on, and came to a Spider that had just strung a line of web across the path. It must have just done so as only minutes prior several runners came along from that direction, and the web was at chest height.

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Further walking and I detected a soft squeaking noise Looking up I saw a Woodpecker excavating a deep hole in a dead branch. It went right inside and came out with a beak full of wood fibre.

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Carrying on I saw another Cat in the field, and it seemed to be waiting for a Mouse to come along.

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Not far beyond I came to a man holding a Snake he’d found beside the creek. He was looking down at another Snake in the leaves. He told me that he’d seen a Barred Owl yesterday. So they are here, but I haven’t seen them yet.

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Besides this there were numerous Towhees, Tits, Sparrows, Robins, Gulls and Squirrels black and grey. Also a man taking pictures, and another one shoveling wood chips from a pile into a wheelbarrow.

Now I must to my typewriter to write my daily words for NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it 5 times already, so it’s a habit now. This year I’m trying something different, a memoir… if only I could remember everything.

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Winter Cometh

THE WOOLLY BEAR

THE WOOLLY BEAR

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It has been a lean October for birds. Neither hawk nor owl nor woodpecker to be seen, but banded woolly bears are here. Not real bears, mind you. Circumnavigations of the lake provide numerous encounters with slow moving fuzzy caterpillars. A Google image search turned up only that this picture was of an invertebrate.

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However, a search on the words “fuzzy brown and black caterpillar” turned up exactly what it was:

Pyrrharctia isabella

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Isabella tiger moth
Pyrrharctia isabella – Isabella Tiger Moth (14842796231).jpg
Adult
Pyrrharctia isabella - Caterpillar - Devonian Fossil Gorge - Iowa City - 2014-10-15 - image 1.jpg
Woolly Bear caterpillar
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Pyrrharctia
Species: P. isabella
Binomial name
Pyrrharctia isabella
(JE Smith, 1797)
Synonyms
  • Phalaena isabella Smith, 1797
  • Pyrrharctia californica Packard, 1864

Pyrrharctia isabella (Isabella tiger moth) can be found in many cold regions, including the Arctic [needs citation]. The banded woolly bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it freezes solid. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. In the spring it thaws out and emerges to pupate. Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth it has only days to find a mate.

In most temperate climates, caterpillars become moths within months of hatching, but in the Arctic the summer period for vegetative growth – and hence feeding – is so short that the Woolly Bear must feed for several summers, freezing again each winter before finally pupating. Some are known to live through as many as 14 winters.[1]

 

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