Birds of a Feather

It’s time for another late afternoon walk around the neighbourhood creek. I’ve noticed that the Forget-Me-Nots are starting to appear in more areas of the creek. This bunch was nicely positioned in front of an old log. Such happy little flowers. 

Forget-Me-Nots

Forget-Me-Nots

As I was photographing the flowers I noticed that a few of the white blossoms from the tree above were raining down on me. When I looked up I saw this little brown bird that I had not seen around here before. 

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

It turns out it was the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak! Wow! I had no idea that these birds flew through our neck of the woods. And what was this bird doing? She seemed to the plucking the flowers and occasionally casting them aside. Turns out she may be eating them or possibly an insect that might be on them. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

It wasn’t too long before I encountered her male counterpart. He decided to stare me down for a few moments before flying off. Isn’t he just so pretty? I wonder if they’ll stay for a while.

I Heard a Knocking

More and more trees are blooming and the creek paths are filled with flowers has spring continues along towards summer.

Creek Path

Down the creek path I happened across these purple catkins hanging off random branches. They seem to have blown off another tree to land all over the ground and some have gotten caught up on some branches. As I look around me I don’t see any tree that might have these catkins attached to it. I know I’ve seen catkins like this before but unfortunately I didn’t really pay attention to the tree it belonged to and so a mystery is born and may not be solved until next year. Unless by chance you know what tree?

Purple Catkin

Purple Catkin

As I walked along the path on the other side of the street towards the schoolyard I heard a knocking. It sounded like a woodpecker was nearby but I couldn’t see where it was. It didn’t take long to locate the noisy little bird. The Downey Woodpecker was on an old stump way up at the top so of course, my macro lens wasn’t going to cut it. I took the photo anyway.

Woodpecker

Woodpecker

This photo was cropped way in so you could see him. It was a great end to my walk today but I did wish I had brought a long lens to capture this fun moment. Maybe I’ll see him again and who knows, I might have the right lens with me to capture him way up in the trees.

Messing Around with Comps

When out for my walk today I happened to capture a shot of a seagull flying overhead. It was the most boring photo I could have taken. I’m not sure why I even bothered pointing my camera straight up at the gull on a cloudless sky. 

Seagull Before

But then I decided to take the photo into my editing program and replace the boring blue sky with something a lot more dramatic. I used the editing program’s sky replacement tool which allowed me to insert another sky shot over the blue in the original photo. After lightening and warming up the seagull to match its new environment I created the photo below. 

Seagull Comp

Seagull Comp

What do you think? Much better right?

 

Neighbourhood Things

It’s been over a week of working from home full time and I have decided to try to get out for a walk every day – rain or shine. My goal is to work on my macro skills as I wander my neighbourhood’s natural areas. I’ve done something like this in the past but I figure since we’re not allowed to go anywhere because of this pandemic I would concentrate my walks to my neighbourhood and focus on raising the bar with my macro skills.

Shriveled Berry

Shrivelled Berry

So far things are looking drab in the colour department as spring hasn’t hit us yet. I did find a pop of colour in some red branches and orange shrivelled up berries. Otherwise brown is still the predominant colour.

As I walked a little further down the creek path I startled, and was startled by, a Cooper’s hawk that had made a kill and was starting to have its meal. I don’t think he was pleased at the interruption and had to wait until the coast was clear to go back for his dinner.

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

I, once again, had the wrong lens to capture this gorgeous bird but that’s what happens when you choose to go out with only a macro lens. The point of these walks is to concentrate on the micro world but I couldn’t pass up the chance to try to get a shot of the hawk. So, I’ll have to accept he fact that I won’t be getting too many bird shots on my walks.

Our Claireville Greeter

Nigel and I decided to go back to Claireville today in the hopes that we can find something to be inspired by. So far things are still brown but spring is around the corner so we should start seeing more plants and animals emerge from their hibernation or come home from their travels abroad.

Nuthatch

Another Nuthatch

Our nuthatch from yesterday came to greet us again. This time he ventured a little closer than yesterday so I was able to get a much better shot. I’m going to assume he was hoping we brought some seed to share but no luck here this time. 

Cattails

Cattails

After seeing the nuthatch the rest of the trail walk was pretty quiet so we finished our walk and headed home.

Nuthatch in Claireville

Four days ago the World Health Organization announced that this new virus that has been circulating, is now considered a pandemic. Pandemic – something we hope to never have to deal with in our lifetime is now here. My employer has asked everyone to work from home as of end of day today. How long will this last? No one truly knows but we all hope its over soon. In order to get out of my head I decide to get myself out into the world. A world that for some reason still seems to have no snow. Winter, where did you go?

So today I’m back in Claireville with my friend Nigel to photograph some nature. 

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

As we walk through the marsh we are greeted by a pretty nuthatch who seems to be curious enough to get a little closer. I, of course, have the wrong lens for birding but I figured I can alway crop in if its not too far away. And that’s exactly what I did with the above photo.

Corridor of Trees

Corridor of Trees

As we walk back to the main road we take a path through this corridor of trees. As silly as it is for us to be planting trees in rows since the natural world does not do this, it does make for a great photo. Especially when you have soft golden light shining through their branches.