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.

2015-12-20: What I’ve seen this week

I managed to take a lot of photos this week; the skies cleared after a large snowfall, and I spent some time shovelling a pathway out to the bird feeders, and then hung around with my camera to see who would show up.

It’s been a full weekend and I almost bailed on putting together this post, but since going through my photos and editing is one of my happy places, it seemed wrong to deny myself that joy just because I’m a bit fatigued.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week.

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A beautiful grey jay. These were taken while standing on tip toe in my office through the window; I couldn’t risk trying to go outside as these guys are very shy.
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The other grey jay of the pair, dropping the suet chunk tat it was trying to eat. I like how it is using its tail for counterbalance.
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A chickadee pauses long enough for me to get a decent photo 🙂 I have some seriously chunky chickadees that visit my feeder, some of them, I wonder how they manage to get airborne!
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I was so excited when I saw the first common redpoll earlier in the week; now there is a fair sized group of them joining the chickadees for some sunflower seeds.
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A male common redpoll perched on a snowy branch. I’ve only seen these starting this week; they are winter migrants to my area from locations even further north!
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A female common redpoll.
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Redpolls and a chickadee sharing the seeds (and the granola too – this was before the big visitors!)
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Not the best photo, but it is the first time I have seen a brown creeper, so I am including it anyways!
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Definitely the largest guests at the bird feeders!
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I recently bought some organic granola from the bulk store, and it was horribly stale. I put it out when I refilled the feeders, thinking something might pick away at the oats and nuts. This was definitely not the visitor I had in mind!
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The little deer has the most comical eyebrows. To me, she looks like a cartoon character drawn to be grumpy!

2015-09-27: What I’ve seen this week

I was originally planning to hold off on this post, in the hopes of including some photos of the super blood moon eclipse… but it’s mostly overcast here at 4:45pm, and it seems pretty unlikely that it will clear in time to see anything.  C’est la vie.

This week has seen me finally sort out the annoying camera spots (sensor dirt, so time for a trip to the service centre).  I’ve also started having a somewhat annoying issue with my Tamron 150mm-600mm; it occasionally will register f0 and stop working.  I need to turn the camera off, unmount and remount to get it back to normal.  Sadly it seems like it is a common problem after doing some research; so that might end up taking a trip to a service centre too.

Hardware issues aside, I’ve managed to remember my camera on most of my walks this week, and was prepared to capture what I saw along my walks.  I hope you enjoy!

A black billed magpie flying through the fog. 1/800sec, f6.3, ISO 2000
A black billed magpie flying through the fog.
1/800sec, f6.3, ISO 2000
I like this shot because it shows off the beautiful wing tips. 1/800sec, f6.3, ISO280
I like this shot because it shows off the beautiful wing tips.
1/800sec, f6.3, ISO280
The wire perch was to my advantage, as the fog wasn't as much of an issue. 1/800sec, f6.3, ISO 6400
The wire perch was to my advantage, as the fog wasn’t as much of an issue.
1/800sec, f6.3, ISO 6400
One wildflower clings on, it's neighbour having already given in to the chill of autumn. 1/160sec, f6.3, ISO800
One wildflower clings on, it’s neighbour having already given in to the chill of autumn.
1/160sec, f6.3, ISO800
Earlier this week, a Mom with a fairly large fawn spent some time in the front yard; again I saw them when heading out for our afternoon walk.  These ones were far less comfortable with my presence and hopped off deeper into the bushes very quickly. 1/500sec, f6.3, ISO2800
Earlier this week, a Mom with a fairly large fawn spent some time in the front yard; again I saw them when heading out for our afternoon walk. These ones were far less comfortable with my presence and hopped off deeper into the bushes very quickly.
1/500sec, f6.3, ISO2800
A couple days in a row, this ruffled grouse was in the long grasses at the roadside (I couldn't see him at all) and when Spencer and I walked within about 20 feet, he shot off noisily deeper into the bushes. On this occasion, he flew straight towards us and passed within about 5 feet, but it allowed me to track him to his perch in a evergreen tree, and finally get a few better shots.  Still not ideal with the low light and the fog, but an improvement nonetheless. 1/640sec, f6.3, ISO 6400
A couple days in a row, this ruffled grouse was in the long grasses at the roadside (I couldn’t see him at all) and when Spencer and I walked within about 20 feet, he shot off noisily deeper into the bushes. On this occasion, he flew straight towards us and passed within about 5 feet, but it allowed me to track him to his perch in a evergreen tree, and finally get a few better shots. Still not ideal with the low light and the fog, but an improvement nonetheless.
1/640sec, f6.3, ISO 6400
Looks at the fluffy legs! 1/640sec, f6.3, ISO4000
Looks at the fluffy legs!
1/640sec, f6.3, ISO4000
Cow-moo-flage. A pair of calves nearly disappear within the tall grass. 1/800sec, f7.1, ISO 6400
Cow-moo-flage.
A pair of calves nearly disappear within the tall grass.
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Just as I was leaving to take Spencer for his afternoon walk, I noticed this young deer grazing in my back yard.  He spent a few moments watching me watch him, before getting back to eating. 1/1000sec, f8, ISO 2200
Just as I was leaving to take Spencer for his afternoon walk, I noticed this young deer grazing in my back yard. He spent a few moments watching me watch him, before getting back to eating.
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Nibbling on some select bushes. 1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 1600
Nibbling on some select bushes.
1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 1600
This little chickadee was clinging quite precariously to a branch, almost upsidedown.  I like how the autumn leaves create a frame for the bird. 1/800sec, f6.3, ISO1000
This little chickadee was clinging quite precariously to a branch, almost upsidedown. I like how the autumn leaves create a frame for the bird.
1/800sec, f6.3, ISO1000