I felt that it was time for a little change to the routine to keep the creative juices flowing so, today I brought my birding lens with me on my walk. My goal is to capture some of the birds that are feeding and nesting in the creek behind the house.
As I walked down the path I noticed this little squirrel taking a break on a branch. He seems quite comfortable there. My presence didn’t seem to disturb him in the least so I snapped a couple photos and moved on eager to find those elusive birds.
The first bird I spotted was this Blue Jay. He seemed interested enough in me, so much so that he stuck around on this branch for quite some time. Needless to say I have more than enough shots of him. But the surprise of the day was this American Pipit.
Although I didn’t know it at the time that I was photographing him, this little bird was only migrating through our area. Talk about a lucky capture. That’s the second bird I’ve found here that I’ve never seen before and that seems to be passing through. Although secretly I hope that the grosbeaks stay the summer. Bringing my long lens with me today gave me a fun break from that macro lens I’ve been using all spring.
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.
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
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.
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.
In a previous post, I mentioned the pussy willow flowers (known as catkins) were the first flowers to appear this spring, and today I’ve found my second spring flower – the Siberian Squill. This small purple flower was found by the creek and I would have passed it by if it didn’t stand out so much in the sea of brown.
As I was shooting the flower I heard some rustling behind me. Two grackles were foraging in the trees behind me but I was able to get this quick shot before they flew off.
Continuing my walk along the creek path I saw some dried-up teasels. They are apparently very good at capturing small things that come into their vicinity.
This poor little petal (or flower?) got stuck as it floated by. I’m not sure what it is exactly but it was doing a great balancing act on the spears of the thistle. I think I may be visiting these teasels more often to see what else they capture.
I’m off to Colonel Sam Smith Park with my friend Nigel. It’s the middle of January and we are hoping to find something to photograph. We’re anticipating seeing some ducks and lo and behold we find – ducks.
Gadwall Playing in the Waves
This Gadwall duck is playing in the waves at the shoreline before swimming as far from us as possible. I guess our long lenses are intimidating. Interesting fact about the Gadwall is that they often snatch food from diving ducks as they surface. They’re the pirates of the lake.
I notice that the ducks seem to congregate along the shoreline. I guess the shallows are warmer. Do ducks even feel the cold? I wonder sometimes as I’ve seen them stand on ice for long periods and they seem to enjoy just barely unfrozen water all winter. How? And can you give that superpower to me?
Male Long Tail Duck
This long-tailed duck is one of many enjoying a paddle around the shoreline. He has an impressive tail which I assume is for mating purposes but what’s interesting to note is his plumage during winter The males have two mirror-image plumages: in summer mostly black with a white face patch; in winter mostly white with rich brown, black, and gray on the face. I’ve only ever seen the winter plumage as they are from the high arctic and they are there for the summer and my travels don’t take me that far.
After our fill of the ducks we head home to warm up and plan our next outing.
It’s the last day of our trip to Algonquin but the exploring isn’t done just yet. After breakfast we head out to Big Pines Trail for what we hoped would be a snowshoe but the melting snow didn’t make for good conditions.
After our hike on the Big Pines Trail we decided to do one more hike at Spruce Bog Trail. This trail is always a good spot for spotting birds and other wildlife.
We were not disappointed as we were greeted by a nuthatch and a couple chickadees. A red squirrel also joined us and was more than happy to pose for our photos.
As is traditional we stopped one last time at the Mew Lake campground to see if we could spot the Pine Marten again and we were lucky enough to have him come out of the forest and visit us.
Although hesitant he was more than happy to eat the seed that people have left behind. Another great trip to Algonquin comes to an end but we look forward to future trips here.