Canada Geese

A family of Canada geese on the Pitt River.

Mom, Dad and all the kids out for a swim. 1/400sec, f5.6, ISO1000
Mom, Dad and all the kids out for a swim.
1/400sec, f5.6, ISO1000

Wood ducks

I have been having a difficult time in the last few weeks to set aside the time to either edit photos or post anything.  I’ve finally gone through photos from the last two weeks, and as usual, it’s all about birds.  These wood ducks were a first for me – I’m sure I have seen them before, but I had never photographed them or identified them.  When I was trying to determine what variety of duck these were, I learned that the wood duck was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century, but a hunting ban helped to rebuild their numbers.

A female wood duck on the log, with the male behind in the water, mostly obscured by plants.   1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO1000
A female wood duck on the log, with the male behind in the water, mostly obscured by plants.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO1000

Northern Flicker

The flicker has always been elusive for me when I have my camera in hand.  On days when I am walking the dog near my office (camera safely stored at home), I often see one sitting atop a light pole, pecking at the top, making a lot of noise and drawing my attention, or see one pecking in the grasses growing along the dikes alongside the robins.  When I have my camera though, I always seem to hear them only, as they call from distant trees, or watch them disappear as I am desperately trying to catch a single picture.

I finally had my chance, and was lucky enough to see a couple sitting in a tree along the dike… and they didn’t disappear the minute I focused my camera on them.  As with the herons and the eagle (I still can’t believe I saw all of them in an hour one morning), I am really noticing the noise at high ISO on my camera, but unfortunately in BC, lots of dreary, grey sky days are the norm, and quick moving birds require the fast shutter speed.

 

1/400sec, f5.6, ISO1600
1/400sec, f5.6, ISO1600
I like the expression an body position of the flicker closest to the tree trunk, even though it does remind me of a pigeon! 1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO1600
I like the expression an body position of the flicker closest to the tree trunk, even though it does remind me of a pigeon!
1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO1600
The wind had picked up, rifling the feather of one of the flickers. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO1600
The wind had picked up, rifling the feather of one of the flickers.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO1600

Great Blue Herons

Here are a few more heron photos from Saturday’s fabulous walk on the dike.

This female was following the male, and as soon as she got too close, he flew off.  I don't know if that type of behaviour is part of their mating ritual, or he just wasn't interested in being near her. 1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1000
This female was following the male, and as soon as she got too close, he flew off. I don’t know if that type of behaviour is part of their mating ritual, or he just wasn’t interested in being near her.
1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1000
Tired of being pursued, he's up and away. 1/320sec, f5.6, ISO1000
Tired of being pursued, he’s up and away.
1/320sec, f5.6, ISO1000
My camera doesn't handle high ISO all that well, and the noise reduction option in Lightroom leaves the photo a bit soft.  But, it was an interesting sighting and the first time I was able to see a male and female together, so I'm posting them anyways :) 1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO1000
My camera doesn’t handle high ISO all that well, and the noise reduction option in Lightroom leaves the photo a bit soft. But, it was an interesting sighting and the first time I was able to see a male and female together, so I’m posting them anyways 🙂
1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO1000

At rest

Birds, birds and more birds

Saturday was quite the day for bird sightings while out on my morning walk with the dog.  I haven’t had a chance to do much editing, but since I also haven’t been terribly consistent with posting, I thought I should do a quick post showing a sample of the birds I saw on the weekend, and hopefully I will have a chance to highlight each sighting later in the week.

I'm having some real difficulty with my bird identification, but I think this is a juvenile bald eagle, based on the beak and the size.
I’m having some real difficulty with my bird identification, but I think this is a juvenile bald eagle, based on the beak and the size.
I'm not sure what type of sandpiper these are.  They were in a small pond next to the dike - these were a first for me :)  Not a stunning photo, but just great to see something new.
I’m not sure what type of sandpiper these are. They were in a small pond next to the dike – these were a first for me 🙂 Not a stunning photo, but just great to see something new.
The female was in hot pursuit of the male, and as soon as she got too close, he would fly a little way further down the shore.
The female heron was in hot pursuit of the male, and as soon as she got too close, he would fly a little way further down the shore.
I have been hoping that one day I would be able to get a decent photo of a flicker, and Saturday was my day.  More to follow!
I have been hoping that one day I would be able to get a decent photo of a flicker, and Saturday was my day. More to follow!
So, I had a post called Slow; where I called myself out for not taking my camera with me.  This time, I put it away moments too soon.  After the juvenile eagle, an osprey that I didn't manage to photograph, the flickers and the sandpipers, I thought my photographing was done for the day, and put my camera away, as I was only a couple minutes from the parking lot.  And of course, a pair of adult bald eagles took off from the trees and headed straight towards me. :(  This is the best I could capture... note to self, don't put away the camera until you're in the car!
So, I had a post called Slow; where I called myself out for not taking my camera with me. This time, I put it away moments too soon. After the juvenile eagle, an osprey that I didn’t manage to photograph, the flickers and the sandpipers, I thought my photographing was done for the day, and put my camera away, as I was only a couple minutes from the parking lot. And of course, a pair of adult bald eagles took off from the trees and headed straight towards me. 🙁 This is the best I could capture… note to self, don’t put away the camera until you’re in the car!

Hawk / Northern Harrier? Neither, it's an Osprey

With the wings spread open, it is easy to see the beautiful stripes in the feathers. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO800
With the wings spread open, it is easy to see the beautiful stripes in the feathers.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO800
The lines of the wings and the neck are just beautiful. 1/800sec, f5.6, ISO800
The lines of the wings and the neck are just beautiful.
1/800sec, f5.6, ISO800

I had some lovely photo opportunities yesterday while out walking with the dog, both of the heron that I posted earlier, and of this beautiful bird.  I have tried to determine what type it is, and think that it could be one of several different types of hawks.  But while looking through birding websites and photos, I realized that photos I posted earlier, of what I thought to be a cooper’s hawk, may in fact have been a juvenile northern harrier.  Regardless of what we call them, they are wonderful to watch.  Maybe one of these days, I will see them under blue skies rather than the stark grey we had yesterday.  At least it waited to rain until after I got in the car!

Update: I ran into a lovely couple from the Alouette Field Naturalists group, and they took a look at these photos and told me this is an Osprey.  They had been watching an Osprey rebuilding a nest that had been taken over by a Canada goose.

Things happened quite quickly, and I am not sure if the hawk went towards the tree to tae a branch, or mistimed a landing and ending up breaking the branch off. 1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1100
Things happened quite quickly, and I am not sure if the hawk went towards the tree to tae a branch, or mistimed a landing and ending up breaking the branch off.
1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1100
After gathering up a smaller clump of branches, the hawk landed on the top of a power pole. 1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1100
After gathering up a smaller clump of branches, the hawk landed on the top of a power pole.
1/500sec, f5.6, ISO1100
As we got closer, the hawk got ready to take off again. 1/500sec, f5.6, ISO800
As we got closer, the hawk got ready to take off again.
1/500sec, f5.6, ISO800
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO800
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO800
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO800
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO800
The angle of the light was just right for a silhouette photo.  Right after this, the hawk was gone. 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO450
The angle of the light was just right for a silhouette photo. Right after this, the hawk was gone.
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO450

 

Great Blue Heron

On our drive to the dikes this morning, we had a great blue heron take off from the side of the road, and fly straight towards the car.  I braked hard (luckily it was early and there was no one else on the road) and the heron decided to change direction at the last possible moment, so thankfully, no casualties today 🙂  It’s amazing to see them up close though, and be able to see how big their wingspan is.

I am glad I grabbed my camera bag on the way out the door, as I had some great bird sightings today.  I only managed a few shots of the heron, but I have lots more photos to go through for future posts.

A great blue heron coming in to land.
A great blue heron coming in to land.
A lovely reflection of the heron in the river. 1/160sec, f5.6, ISO1600
A lovely reflection of the heron in the river.
1/160sec, f5.6, ISO1600
Relaxed at the water's edge; no doubt keeping an eye out for the next meal.
Relaxed at the water’s edge; no doubt keeping an eye out for the next meal.

Sleepy Spencer

Sleepy Spencer

Spencer was enjoying the sunny weather on the weekend – it’s been the first time this year that we have had any porch time.