2018-07-08: Birds and a bunny

Last weekend, I had decided that I was going to carry on with bird posts for the month of July.  I was excited because a robin’s nest was discovered in the yard, and while I didn’t see the babies, mama robin was still in the nest.  I had wonderful thoughts of finding a suitable spot to photograph them, while not getting too close and intruding on their space.  Then on Wednesday morning, as I was leaving with Spencer for our morning walk, I noticed that the nest was off kilter (it was built on top of a hose reel attached to our well pump house).  When I walked a bit closer, I saw that the nest was destroyed, and there were 3 baby robins dead on the ground.

I don’t have any proof, but I believe it was a cat that lives down the road and is allowed to roam outside that did the damage.  There were puncture marks in one of the chicks, but otherwise they were untouched, which leads me to believe that whatever attacked the nest was not in need of food.  Even if a wild cat, fox or other animal was disturbed when they were at the nest, if they were hungry, I would expect them to come back and collect the chicks.  Instead, I ended up having to clean the sad mess up.  I’m not going to share any images from that sighting; no one else needs to see that.

That took the wind out of my sails a bit for bird photos.  I’ve actually decided to not have a formal topic for July, and I’ll just post what I am inspired to share on a Sunday.  Today though, I do have a few bird images from around the yard and neighbourhood.  Who knows what next week will bring.

Before I get to the birds though, there is a bunny I’ve been seeing around the neighbourhood.  It’s not the best image, but I don’t think I am wrong in my assumption that it is a descendant of the bunny that was in the area the winter of 2016/2017.  I’ve linked below to one of the posts that featured the original bunny in the neighbourhood.  In talking with neighbours, there are a couple of these little hybrids hopping around.


The original bunny

I have been quite excited to see hermit thrushes while out on walks a few times this summer.  Mostly, I just hear them calling from deep in the bushes, but I’ve seen them on different walks hopping around on the road, sitting on fence posts, or up on the power lines like this one.  The link below has some more information about the hermit thrush, as well as a sample of the pretty song they sing.

Hermit Thrush

The hermit thrush paused here for a brief moment, but only showed off the backside before flying off deep into the bushes.

In addition to the hummingbirds that are going crazy in the yard, I have loads of purple finches and pine siskins (as well as the occasional hairy woodpecker, some juncos and a red-breasted nuthatch family).  I’m grateful there haven’t been any bears in my immediate vicinity, so I have been able to keep the sunflower seeds out for the birds.  I have two large squirrel proof feeders (ha-ha!) that I am filling up every other day at the moment.  I’ve included links to the All About Birds pages for both the birds if you are looking for more information on the species, or want to listen to the lovely songs that I get to listen to while taking my lunch break outside, or while puttering around watering the flowers.

A group of pine siskins dining on sunflower seeds.

Pine Siskin

Female purple finch
Male purple finch


Purple Finch

I hope you have enjoyed my selections for the week.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

2018-06-17: Monthly Photo Projects – Birds

I had planned on creating a post about hummingbirds this week, but it’s just not going to happen.  I have been out taking photos of them as much as possible, but I haven’t had a chance to edit them yet.  As it’s Father’s Day today, I want to spend time with Pops rather than at my computer editing images.

Below is a selection of bird images from my travels that I haven’t had a chance to share yet.

Hummingbirds next week – I promise.

A huge gathering of marabou storks and white backed vultures on the banks of the Boteti River in Botswana.  May, 2017.
Groups of darters and cormorants in the early morning fog at one of the dams on Phinda Game Reserve.  A few hippos in there for good measure 🙂


A pair of tawny eagles spotted in the Okavango Delta.  May 2017.
My best guess at identification is a banded snake eagle.  This bird was up and away very quickly; spotted on a game drive through Amboseli National Park.  September, 2016.
A Coqui Francolin spotted in the Masai Mara.  September, 2016.

2018-06-10: Birds Projects – Sparrows and Swallows

It has been a challenging week for photographing the birds, with dull, cold, rainy days, and flat, lifeless skies.  But, regardless of the weather, the show must go on, and if I were on holiday I wouldn’t give up on taking pictures just because the weather wasn’t perfect.

I took a trip early in the week to a nearby farm where there are nest boxes for swallows and bluebirds.  While I saw a couple of brief glimpses of the bluebirds, I didn’t capture any images, so I will have to go back and try again for those.  I did get some good images of the swallows and bluebirds in the same area a couple of years ago, you can find that old post here.

It looks like the sun may make a brief appearance today, so it’s time to sign off and get outside and get shooting.  I hope you enjoy this week’s images, I am hoping to have some hummingbird images to share next week.

I find it difficult naming the wide variety of small, brown and beige coloured birds we have in the area, but I am almost certain this is a Clay-Coloured Sparrow.  While it looks like the bird is singing a beautiful song, it actually sounded like some type of buzzing insect, which is the exact description of the song for this sparrow in my bird book.

To find out more about the Clay-Coloured Sparrow (and here the insect buzz call), check out the link below.

All About Birds – Clay Coloured Sparrow

A tree sparrow peeks out from the nesting box.
A tree sparrow couple during one of the brief moments of sunlight while I was out.


2018-06-03: Monthly Project – Bird Photography

Part of the reason that I chose bird photography this month was to get out and enjoy the nice weather, as well as get familiar with a new lens I have purchased.  So at first glance it may not make any sense that today I’m posting images from my last trip.  I have gotten out a bit over the past couple of days and taken some bird images, and I have been really impressed with the lens so far.  But I’m already half way through Sunday and I haven’t had a chance to start editing, so rather than miss posting altogether or rushing my editing process, I decided to go for some bird images from my catalogue that I haven’t posted before.

I hope you enjoy my selections for this week, and next week I will be sharing some of our local birds.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

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We came across a very large sociable weavers nest while on a game drive through Etosha National Park.  There was a lot of activity in and out of the large communal nest, here one of the birds pauses in a more open spot where it is easier to see them.
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Up against the nest, the weaver is very camouflaged.
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The nest itself was so large it brought down one of the large branches of the acacia tree.
crimson breasted shrike
This crimson breasted shrike played hard to get for a photo; this was the best that I could do while driving through the Makgadikgadi Pans.
glossy starling
A beautiful glossy starling in early morning light.
My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.

2016-09-04: Cee's Photo Challenge Feathers

I noticed this challenge before taking off on holidays, and thought it would be a great chance to showcase a series of photos I had edited and saved in a folder titled water birds.

I hope you enjoy!

A rufous bellied heron.
An African darter drying its wings.
An egret stalking in the shallows.
A mixed group perched in a dead tree, including African spoonbills and sacred ibis.
An African jacana.
A grey heron standing very close to a nile crocodile.
A brown hooded kingfisher.
A pair of malachite kingfishers.
A hammerkop.
A pair of pied kingfishers in the Okavango Delta.

Please note, I’m away for several weeks, so I have scheduled some posts in advance. I will moderate and respond to any comments just as soon as I am able.

I am hoping to be taking loads of photos, so if you would like to follow along, please feel free to give my page a like on Facebook @jennifersawickyphotography and a follow over on Instagram at jensawicky.


Cee’s Photo Challenge: Feathers

2015-11-22: What I’ve seen this week

This will be a brief one, as I haven’t taken many photos this week.  I’ve seen a few interesting things that didn’t translate into photographs though; like the tracks of a moose passing through my yard (and from what I can see of the hoof print and the stride, a large one as well).

My Tamron lens is back from sick bay, and I am hoping I will get a chance or two this week to take it out on my walks and see if it is working properly again.  The extra reach will be nice as the grosbeaks seem to be just a little too far away a lot of the time to get any photos.

Have a wonderful evening – hopefully I will have more to share next week!

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Spencer has been having a lot of fun zipping around the yard after our walks, playing in the small amount of snow we currently have.
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Sunset is happening really early these days – this was just after 4pm! Some beautiful colours peeking through from behind the evergreens.
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A female pine grosbeak hopping between branches, working on the pinecones. I’m hoping one day I’ll see one of the brightly coloured males in light like this; it was such a beautifully sunny day! 1/500sec, f6.3, ISO220

2015-11-08: What I’ve seen this week

I’ve been on my computer far too much today, so I will keep this brief.  Unfortunately the most interesting thing I saw this week, two large flocks of bohemian waxwings, was when I didn’t have my camera with me… however, it was awesome to see and hopefully the next time they are passing through town, I will be ready!  I also saw a smaller group of pine grosbeaks, but they were at such a distance and it was so foggy, that the photos aren’t even worth editing. On a more positive note, my D610 has returned from the journey to the service centre, seemingly good as new, so I am a happy Jen.

With that, the few photos I’ve selected to share this week.  Enjoy, and have a great evening.

Even with a house in the background and the fog, this is still the best photo I have managed so far of a ruffled grouse!
Even with a house in the background and the fog, this is still the best photo I have managed so far of a ruffled grouse!
I finally decided to get some food out for the birds, now that the daily highs are in the low single digits (celsius).  The first visitor I had was totally new to me, a grey jay.
I finally decided to get some food out for the birds, now that the daily highs are in the low single digits (celsius). The first visitor I had was totally new to me, a grey jay.
A little acrobatic snacking.
A little acrobatic snacking.
The grey jay kindly tidying up some dropped seeds.  There was actually a pair of them, but only one fed at a time.
The grey jay kindly tidying up some dropped seeds. There was actually a pair of them, but only one fed at a time.