April 2, 2018 · 4:27 pm
Back to the nest this afternoon, and the momma was sitting there when we arrived. No babies yet. Once again it was sunny and windy. I sat on the opposite side of the sun and tried to get some shots but the light was bad. Just then I looked up and there right above the nest, perhaps within 20 feet, sat a very windblown red tailed hawk. It too had the sun at its back so I had to move about to try and get a shot from a better angle. I was going from hawk to hummingbird, adjusting my camera and trying for a good shot all the while the wind was blowing the hawk’s feathers and the hummingbird nest all over the place.
female Anna’s Hummingbird
I bet the hummingbird knew the hawk was there – she hardly moved while we observed her, the hawk right above her nest.
Red Tailed Hawk
A few people passed by and didn’t notice anything, so we didn’t bother to tell them what we were looking at either. Further on we saw numerous birds and one oddity – a Rufous, or Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), an uncommon bird hereabouts.
Rufous or Eastern Towhee
The regular crowd was out too; one Great Blue Heron, Mallards, Song Sparrows, Coots and Stellar’s Jays
March 22, 2017 · 3:13 pm
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.
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.
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
blue bug on the window
Filed under Birds, Photography, Wildlife
Tagged as anna's hummingbird, daffodils, feral cat, great blue heron, hooded merganser, nest, northern flicker, owl pellets, red tailed hawk, snow scenes, squirrel, turtles
November 9, 2016 · 3:03 pm
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.
Nothing exciting, I carried on to a bridge over the creek that flows out of the lake.
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.
Nearby I saw a Cat on the path.
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.
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.
Carrying on I saw another Cat in the field, and it seemed to be waiting for a Mouse to come along.
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.
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.
February 24, 2016 · 6:00 pm
The other day I picked up a cheap old tele-converter for Pentax, for five dollars. I thought I’d test it out with my 500mm Tamron mirror lens, just for fun, expecting nothing. This is close to a 28x power telescope on the APS-C size sensor of my K100 DSLR. There are two problems with doing this; first thing is it reduces the aperture another f stop from f8 to f11, thereby slowing down the shutter and forcing the ISO higher. Both those factors effect image quality negatively. But second; the thing is really hard to hold steady! However, in the sunshine today I was able to get a few shots, which proved not bad. Remarkable in a way, when you consider these were hand held. The hawk probably would have been acceptable if I’d used a tripod, as the shutter speed was 1/45th of a second. That’s absurdly slow for a 1000mm lens. I applied some post processing to that image to try to make it look more artsy, since it was rather fuzzy to begin with. The heron was about 200 feet away however, and it turned out not too badly. If I wanted to get better results than this I’d have to buy a lens that costs over a thousand bucks, which isn’t going to happen soon.
January 6, 2016 · 1:39 pm
Last night I won $84 on my 6/49 loto ticket. So I purchased another one. I know that statistics prove that lucky streaks are random occurrences, but maybe I’m having randomly occurring luck. It certainly seems to be that way with the birds recently. I’ve seen three bald eagles in the past five days, another one just today around noon. It seems to have taken up residence in a local tall tree.
Another bird that is quite literally trying to take up residence is a Pileated Woodpecker. I heard its tapping and then saw it low down on a rotten tree trunk, right beside the trail, excavating a huge hole. I had the camera set up at f32/400th of a second, which was a mistake, because the auto ISO function set the ISO so high the image was very noisy. I’m trying to improve my image sharpness, but this was over doing things. I also took some video of the woodpecker, but it wasn’t in focus.
Crossing the floating bridge I was treated to a show of herons and ducks. One heron was preening itself as several Mergansers cruised by. One Merganser then flew right in front of me but the photo was out of focus, sadly. However, I did catch another heron as it swooped by.
heron and merganser
heron in flight
Yesterday, close to home I spotted a Cedar Waxwing.
Now to spread the good fortune around I will be promoting my novel The Game of Hearts, by giving away the Kindle ebook free for the next five days, starting tomorrow, January 7th.
Just go to the Kindle website listed at the top of this page and you will find it there.
I returned to the tree 2 hours after I first saw the Pileated Woodpecker to try my luck again. This time I set the camera on a tripod and waited. Sure enough after a few minutes the woodpecker returned with a series of squawks, and began digging out the tree. It was on the opposite side of the first hole however, and the sun was right behind it. I had to move the camera into the shadow of another tree, which obstructed my view somewhat, but the results were much improved. While I was waiting for the woodpecker a wren arrived to check out the excavation.
too much lens flare!
pecking the other side of tree
wren checking out the digs
March 28, 2012 · 8:55 pm
Great Blue Heron
WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOTHING LIKE THE ABOVE
(FOR TYPOSPHERIANS MOSTLY)
Swiss watch with German typewriter
note: both typewriter and watch say ‘Deluxe’ on them!
Alanbury 'Deluxe' wrist watch
homemade loupe from an old Pentax
Isn’t this ‘Deluxe’ too?