2020-03-08: Redpolls

For two seasons in a row, I didn’t see a single redpoll over the winter, but over the last few weeks they have been in my yard in droves, jostling for position on the feeders with the chickadees and adding little flashes of colour to the otherwise rather drab winter landscape.

I still find it a bit baffling that anything would consider my area a good place to spend the winter, but I do get that in comparison to places even further north, it’s probably a bit easier to make it through the season here.

I’m enjoying their presence while it lasts, as soon bird feeding time will be over as the bears begin to emerge.  There’s still a while to enjoy the birds as we are still pretty deep in the grip of winter, despite my best attempts to will the snow to melt with the power of my mind 🙂

Here are a few images I captured a couple of days ago, when it wasn’t -20C!

I’ll keep up my mantra, spring is coming soon!  Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2020-01-19: Barred Owl

I spotted a barred owl hanging out in the backyard a couple of days ago while I was having lunch.  It spent a bit of time trying to hunt, and the rest trying to nap.  It was -28C, so I took the photos through my window, as it was just too cold for me to get out to take a couple of pictures.  Besides, Murphy’s Law would have kicked in, and by the time I got bundled up enough to head outside and take a few images, the owl would have flown away.

Thankfully things have warmed up a little bit here; still cold, but at least not bitterly cold.  I hope your week ahead is looking up too 🙂

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Trying to catch a few zzz’s

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Puffed up against the cold.
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Scanning for something to eat.

2019-12-22: Winter

Today marks the first full day of winter, and while I am very grateful that thus far there haven’t been too many bitterly cold days in the transition between autumn and winter, I know they are coming.  I find winter a challenging time, far more so now that I am living in the north than I used to.  It isn’t just the temperatures; it is the lack of colour and the length of time that the area is carpeted in snow.  Yes, the blue sky days, with the snow twinkling in the sunlight can be beautiful, but this morning, the dull grey skies and ice crystals hanging off the branches seemed to perfectly reflect how I feel about winter.  At once both dull and sharp, beautiful and miserable.

I don’t get out to take images that often in winter; I suffer from Reynaud’s syndrome and being out in the type of thin gloves necessary to handle a camera can be a real challenge unless the day is fairly mild.  Sometimes it is worth it regardless of the temperature, but those times are definitely the exception.

I spent a bit of time this morning wandering the yard, hoping to capture what I noticed while out walking my dog earlier this morning.  By the time I got out though, most of the ice crystals hanging from the moss in the trees had dissipated from the slight rise in temperatures, but those clinging to the evergreens and willows still remained.

Here are my early impressions of winter.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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2019-12-08: Random photos from walks

I always take a camera with me when I go out for walks with my dog (or on the rare occasion when I go for a walk on my own).  I haven’t taken too many images in recent months, and as such hadn’t downloaded the card in quite some time.  While out on Thursday, I saw a beautiful barred owl near my house, and while reviewing those pictures, I found a few others I had forgotten that I had taken.

This is a bit of a random assortment of images taken since July, while out and about on walks.

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I see this young buck frequently around the neighbourhood now, but this was the first time that I had spotted him while out on a walk.
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A violet-green swallow seen while out on a walk on the dikes in Pitt Meadows.
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A proof shot that there are moose in the neighbourhood, even if they are seen very infrequently.
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A barred owl spotted on my morning walk last week.
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An early morning along the Pitt River.

2019-11-24: Buck

Sunday posts this month were supposed to be all about elephants, but this lovely visitor changed my plans for the week.  I can’t even explain how nice it felt to have the opportunity to get out and take a few photos, and having both weather and wildlife corporate in the process was a bonus 🙂

I’ve seen a couple of different bucks in the neighbourhood on occasion, but have lately been seeing lots of evidence of them around the yard; they’ve been rubbing their antlers on many of the willow trees around, scoring the bark off and knocking down smaller branches and limbs.

This guy was really unconcerned about me being outside with him, but I kept my distance to not put any pressure on him and cause him to leave the cozy spot he found in the sun to relax.

He’s still in the yard as I type this, and has actually been joined by another, much smaller deer.  The little ones are sometimes much easier spooked, so I am going to leave this with just the images I have so far, and let all the deer graze without interruption.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2019-03-31: March in Review

March’s topic of the month

Heavy sigh, photographically at least.  My topic for the month of March was signs of spring, and I really didn’t get out and capture anything.  I think it would have been wiser to wait for April or even May to really have nice signs of spring to photograph up here, but I was just so anxious to see signs of spring… it was like I was willing it here with the power of my intention.  Even though it didn’t work out with photos, having the topic made me much more aware of the small changes taking place.  The distant early morning call of a robin for the first time this year, seeing my roof shingles, seeing the lawn slowly start to reappear from under the snow, and the absolute joy of going for a walk in runners rather than heavy hiking boots.

What’s new this month

Certainly not many images!  A second Fuji body did make its way into my home though, and I am really excited to be traveling with an X-T2 and an X-T3 for my upcoming travels in May.

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What’s coming up next?

April is going to be topic free!  I am trying to work through the last of my editing backlog before traveling at the end of April, so I am going to share what I am working on from past trips.  I know I will be very happy to return home and be able to concentrate on working through new images, rather than still having ones I want to work on hanging around from past adventures.

2019-03-10: Signs of Spring

Spring is definitely taking its time to arrive here in Prince George.  It’s creeping up, little by little, but the changes aren’t really picturesque.  It is nice though to go outside at midday and feel a tiny bit of warmth to the sunshine now, and see that the snowbanks are receding little by little.

The photos I have today aren’t really a sign of spring, but I am hopeful that I won’t have another opportunity to take them again this year, so I guess it somewhat ties into the theme.

I was walking with Spencer early yesterday morning, it was quite cold and the bare tree branches were covered in frost and ice.  When the sun came up and hit the branches, it was just so pretty.  The trees were sparkling in the warm orange light.  I tried my best to capture it, but taking photos while wearing mittens (and while my glasses were fogging up) is not an easy task!  I wasn’t about to go bare handed when it was -18, so I snapped a couple of photos and hoped for the best.

Like light playing upon moving water, snow and ice sparkling in the sunlight is something that is challenging to really capture in a still image.  I think the magic of seeing it in person is a bit lost, but still, I try.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2019-03-03: Topic of the month – Signs of Spring

This week I have really been trying to look for signs of spring.  Honest, I have.  But waking up today, the temperature was -29C with a high of -12C for the day, and it really does feel like spring is far away.  I have noticed a few things though.  I can see about a 6″ band of shingles on the roof of my house, from the days when it has been warm enough for a bit of melt to happen.  I noticed one lone willow tree, buried in about 4 feet of snow drift at the side of the road, starting to bud (despite the cold in was enveloped in).  But mostly, I have noticed the trees.

It has been stark white for a very long time in my back yard, and over the past two weeks, between the strong winds and the the (slightly) warming days, the evergreens have shed the huge cloaks of snow from their branches.  There are still bits of snow tucked into the crook of branches here and there, but finally when I look out my windows, I see a bit of green, rather than just white.

Pictures of bare branches in my backyard seemed a bit boring, but frankly, getting all bundled up to do a photo walk this weekend also didn’t hold much appeal.  So I went out for a short time to photograph some of the birds feasting on the sunflower seeds.  Today, only the chickadees were around, though usually there is a pair of red-breasted nuthatches plus the woodpeckers that pass through.  The chickadees made a steady stream from branch to feeder and back again; I couldn’t count them all as they were constantly coming in from every direction.

As a bird lover, one of the sad parts about the temperature warming is soon the birds will have to fend for themselves, once it warms enough for there to be a threat of bears visiting the feeders.  I think we have a ways to go before that is an issue though.

Here are a few chickadees for today; fingers crossed next weekend there are more signs of spring around.

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I saw this on one of the evergreens by the bird feeders; to me, it looks like the tree is giving the cold weather the middle finger.  But that’s just my interpretation.  To some, just an odd icicle that’s grown upwards, instead of down. 
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One of the many inquisitive chickadees in the yard.  They generally do not mind me being close by, and will even come to the feeder while I am standing there trying to fill it up.
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I can’t even explain how excited I am to see green.
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This one had been picking up a fallen seed from the ground; just a little leftover snow on the beak.

2019-01-13: What I’ve seen this week

This is a topic I haven’t done in a while!  I’ve been trying to keep my camera close, as there is such an abundance of birdlife in my yard at the moment.  It can be a bit challenging though, with the days being so short, and we’ve had a lot of overcast days recently.  But even when the light isn’t great, it’s still awesome to have camera in hand.

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This was shot through my office window, as even though the blue jay is now a frequent, daily visitor to both the bird feeders and the deer bowl, it is still quite shy and won’t stick around if I am outside.
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I’ve taken to having my camera on me when I go out to fill the bird feeders and the deer bowl.  This doe was not at all concerned about me filling the feeder about 10 feet away.
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A red-breasted nuthatch pausing from eating suet.
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A grey jay I spotted in the yard this afternoon, enjoying some of the cob that I put out for the deer.