The View From Over Here

Nigel and I headed out to Colonel Sam Smith Park today. It was chilly out by the lake, but we hoped we could get a few good photos while we were here.

Yellow Bush on Rocks

I spotted this yellow bush all by itself on the shoreline.  A pretty little pop of colour against the blue ake.

The View From Here

These two ladies were enjoying the view of the city skyline in the distance. Nothing much else was happening at the park. It was that kind of day.

A Hazy Summer Day at Tommy Thompson Park

Wow! Another outing beyond the regular neighbourhood walk. This time my friend Nigel and I headed into Toronto. Our goal today was to walk the Leslie Spit – more commonly known as Tommy Thompson park (or is it the other way around?), followed by a walk in the financial district after the sun went down.

Tree Blur

Tree Blur

I had a little fun with this photo. Originally it was just a tree-lined path which had some great light on it but I wanted to blur it to create something different. A little bit of abstract art for you.

All the lookouts that we walked to didn’t result in any great photos. There were no clouds in the sky and the haze from the fires out west were settling in. It just looked blah.

Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline

This is one of the only photos that peaked my interest. I decided to create more subdued colours and treat it more like a silhouette by darkening up the landscape and skyline.

At this particular lookout there were some stones to sit on. As I was taking a break ont hose stones, I noticed these wonky shaped trees to my left. The sun was low enough to make it an interesting photo. Originally, I shot the image with my phone but then decided it was worth taking on my DSLR camera too.

Sunlight Through the Trees

Sunlight Through the Trees

Back on the main path, we made it halfway up the Spit  before we decided we were too hot and tired to continue. From here we headed to Cherry Beach to watch the sunset and grab some poutine and onion rings from the street truck for dinner. Although our original plans were to head to the financial district, we decided we were too tired and our feet hurt so we headed home, promising ourselves that we would be back to do some night shots in the downtown core another time.

When Swans Irritate Herons

For another change of pace, my friend Nigel and I decided to head over to the Royal Botantical Gardens in Hamilton to do some birding. We decided to hike the trail along Cootes Paradise Marsh. We definitely choose the perfect trail because there were a lot of birds to photograph along here. A few in particular caught our attention. First a Snowy Egret was calming stalking the fish in the shallows of the lake.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

We also watched a Blue Heron, which was out of range for my lens, catch a few fish as he stood stock still waiting for them to swim by. It was fascinating to watch, I just need a much longer lens to get some better shots. I still took the shots but they just didn’t make the cut.

As we continued along the loop I noticed some fungi growing on a log. After I sat my butt down to get a better shot, Nigel brought to my attention that if I looked past the log I would see something better. As I looked up I saw 3 beautiful white-tailed deer, unperturbed by our presence, munching away on the plants only a few feet away.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

I was extremely lucky to get this up close and personal shot of one of the smaller deer. To clarify, he’s not sticking her tongue out at my but rather munching on those greens. I just happened to catch him at the right moment. And, that wasn’t the last surprise this place had for us.

Heron Eyeing Swan

Heron Eyeing Swan

As we neared the end of the trail we went off onto a small side trail where we startled a Blue Heron. It didn’t fly too far away before it settled back in the water. It was then that this large white swan started swimming up to the heron. The heron however, was having none of this, glaring at the swan as it swam closer, and then deciding the swan was too close for comfort, he flew away.

I love watching wildlife interactions and I wish they would happen more often when I’m out shooting. Overall it was a great day out and I came away with some good photos.

Snowless February

Today I, with my friend Nigel, head out to Humber Bay park in search of…you guessed it…ducks. Beause what else are you going to find in the middle of February when there is no snow?

Mallard

Mallard

Going later in the day (which isn’t thalate this time of year) gave us this beautiful golden light that reflected off our subjects. There were lots of mallards, but then again, when aren’t there lots of mallards? As we explored the park we came across something unusual none of the mallard groups – a white mallard. 

White Duck

White Duck

It’s not an albino. Its eyes, beak and feet are the same as the other mallards. Plus those other mallards seemed to have no issue with this weirdly coloured duck in their midst. So what’s up with its white feathers? Is it a spirit mallard, like the spirit bears from BC? I’m so curious to find out more.

I found out that it isn’t that uncommon for a mallard to be white due to Leucism. Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation that can result in white, patchy or pale pigments. We see this in nature more than we realize – a white tiger, a white snake and, of course, the well known spirit bears from the west coast. 

So, essentially our white duck is a mallard in all respects except its white colouring. 

Swan

Swan

There was one other common bird hanging around – the swan. You have to watch out for swans. They can be one mean bird if they don’t like you and yet there they are paddling away, looking all graceful and stuff. I see you swan, being all handsome and unassuming, trying to pretend you’re not coming up with some evil plan to take over the world. lol 

As always it was a great evening out exploring the park and getting some unexpected photos and some fun close-ups. 

Ducks of All Sorts

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.

Gadwell Playing in the Waves

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. 

Rocky Shoreline

Rocky Shoreline

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

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.