2019-05-11: What I’ve seen this week

Here are some images from the past week of my travels, staying at two properties; Lions Sands River and Tinga Lodges.  I have had a wonderful time being back in the bush again!  It’s tea time shortly and then off to see what the afternoon has in store, so I will keep this brief.

I hope you enjoy my selections!

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One of my rare view of a scrub hare in the daylight.
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A group of oxpeckers atop a rhino.
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A long-crested eagle and a fork-tailed drongo.  The drongo had been mobbing the eagle, and resumed its pestering when the eagle took flight again.
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A wild dog looks off towards the rest of the pack.
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A very relaxed lioness.
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Baby elephants are just the cutest!
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Elephants galore on an afternoon game drive.  I think we saw more ellies than impalas!
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An elephant quenches his thirst, with a large herd of buffalo in the background.  Two of the big five in one shot 🙂
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A family of dwarf mongoose in the fading afternoon light.
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An impala making good and sure this lioness was heading off.
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A buffalo making his way past our vehicle, while some rhino look on.  Another two of the big five in one shot.
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A group of wild dogs greeting one another.
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Soon after this was shot, this baby elephant picked up the pace to catch up with Mom.

2019-04-07: Birds

A random selection of bird images this week!

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Oftentimes, spotting a congregation of vultures like this, and heading to where they are circling yields an interesting discovery… but in this case, they were all just hovering over a bare patch of desert beyond this bush.
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A group of wattled cranes seen in Botswana.
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A little bee-eater ruffling its feathers.
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Try as I might, I am unable to identify these raptors.  They were spotted on a game drive in Botswana from the Leroo La Tau camp.
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A red-billed quelea flock at sunset.
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Red-billed quelea leaving a roosting spot.  That small tree was absolutely vibrating with energy while they were there.
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An African harrier hawk taking some grief from a pigeon.
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My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.
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A Meyer’s parrot spotted in Botswana.  This was the first wild parrot I’d ever seen.
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A Meyer’s parrot.

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.

2019-02-03: Roadrunner

I’ve skipped the January Month in Review post, because my posts were so infrequent and inconsistent, there doesn’t seem much point in trying to recap so little.  A friend posted a meme the other day that seems a bit fitting ” January was a tough year, but we got through it”.  We’re on to a new month now, and while I haven’t yet picked a theme for the month, I am going to get back to that as I enjoy the focus for a weekly post.  Based on the current weather and forecast to come though, it probably won’t involve being outside shooting.  It was too cold this morning to even get the dog out for a decent walk.  And I’m not even in the midst of the polar vortex!

It felt like a good time to go through some of my photos from southern California, and today I focused on the roadrunner.  These quirky birds were all around the golf course I stayed at in October, though they proved to be a bit shy when I got the camera out.  With some patience though, I managed to capture a few images.  I feel like these images should be accompanied by comments about Acme products and Wile E Coyote, but I’m coming up with nothing, so let’s get to the photos instead. 🙂

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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2019-01-20: Costa’s Hummingbirds

I was going to post some of these images on Wednesday last week for a wordless Wednesday post, but I was having a few site issues, and just didn’t have the patience to wait while WordPress loaded slowly.  So instead, I’ve gone through my images and found a few more hummingbird images and am sharing them all today.

While I was in Southern California, I enjoyed my morning coffee on the patio, and loved watching the hummingbirds fighting over the best spots at the feeders and various flowering bushes.  I also noticed how chattery the Costa’s hummingbirds are.  They spent a lot of time singing from the branches of the bushes in the garden.  The link below is the All About Birds page for the Costa’s hummingbird, and you can hear what they sound like there.

All About Birds – Costa’s Hummingbird

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Seeing these images makes me long for spring even more, when the Rufous hummingbirds return to Prince George for another (short) spring and summer season.

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.

2018-12-30: Backyard Birds

I must apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t intended on taking any time off the blog in the run-up to Christmas, but time just got away from me.

Christmas Day saw a very unusual visitor to the bird feeder – a Blue Jay.  To those on the east coast I’m sure that doesn’t sound very exciting; but they are considered rare in my area, and I’ve not seen one since I was a kid growing up in Ontario, so I was thrilled.  The jay was very skittish though and while I have seen it a few times over the past couple of days, they are usually blink and you’ll miss it moments.  All I have to show for it are some fuzzy shots through my office window, but at least I have proof that it was here.

We’ve had a fair bit of snow the last few days, and it’s been very busy at the feeders; chickadees and nuthatches, flickers, downy and hairy woodpeckers, gray jays and even a visit from the magpies that I generally only see a couple streets over from where I live.  The ruffed grouse has also been around quite frequently.  I’ve been battling a bug with a nasty cough so I haven’t been outside much with my camera, but I did manage to capture the magpie and the grouse.  Now that I am starting to feel better I am hoping to get out and capture more of birds in the yard, and perhaps with any luck the blue jay will make another appearance.

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Month in Review – November

November’s Topic of the Month – The Night Sky

While I had the opportunity to edit and share images from my night sky workshop in October and some older images as well, I didn’t actually have the chance to get out and shoot the night sky in November, so I guess the topic of the month was a bit of a fail.  There is always another night to get out, and now that we are into the very short days of winter, I don’t have to stay up too late to do so.  Fingers crossed I can get out and get some local images…. maybe even some aurora shots if the stars line up 🙂

What’s new this month?

I’ve come to the realization this month that in 2018 I’ve done some really deep dives into editing in lots of different ways, but I’ve really not spent much time out shooting, which feels like a real missed opportunity, and something that I need to amend moving into 2019.  When I do get out with my camera I quickly get into the zone and find it such an enjoyable activity, that I really need to prioritize it more.

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What’s coming up next?

I’ve decided not to have a specific topic of the month in December.  The month always slips by in such a whirlwind of activity and family time that I would rather just share when I can, and explore what interests me at a given moment, than trying to fit into a specific topic.  I’m also going to spend some time thinking about topics and projects for 2019, which is coming up so soon.

2018-11-22: Barred Owl

I was busy working last week and something caught my attention outside, out the corner of my eye.  I spotted this gorgeous barred owl in a tree in my backyard, and rushed to grab my camera to take a quick photo through the window.

I decided to take a chance and dash outside and hope to get a better shot.  The owl gave me a quick glance, let me snap 3 photos, and then was off, deep into the forest.

I love when beautiful creatures like this decide to make a stop in my yard 🙂

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