Sunday, January 30, 2011

Waiting for the Varmint in the Woodpile

The lady often watches from indoors, in frustration, the activities of a squirrel around the woodpile. Today, she's outside, waiting... waiting for him/her to make a move.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Look... don't touch.

It's an amazing experience to approach a magnificent stand of trees coated in white fur. A few minutes after I captured this image a gust of wind made short work of that most delicate hoar frost.

Against All Odds

I know how it feels...

And That's The Way It Was

Many of our winter days this year have been depressingly grey. It was wonderful to be greeted this morning by this colourful display. There's always room for one more sunrise/sunset picture, eh?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Wetlands 1

In other postings here you see various views of this same wetland pond, known locally as Tayor Lake, located north of Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan. It is home (in summer) to all kinds of ducks, geese, muskrats, and other creatures. In winter, it's an entirely different world.

Sun Doggie

I'm not absolutely sure, so don't quote me, but I think this phenomenon is called a "Sun Dog." When the humidity, temperature and sun position are all just right, this colourful ring will appear around a hazy sun.

Moody Wetland Morning

There's such a profoundly moving stillness and silence in our wetlands that most Canadians I suspect never experience. There is such a "disconnect" when you compare and contrast this scene with, say, a photo of Yonge & Bloor at 8:30am on a weekday. How have we wandered so far from reality? How will the insanity end? 

Early Morning Paddle

It's really depressing to know there are those who wouldn't hesitate for a second to destroy this entire habitat by plunking down an oil well.

Orchard Sunrise

It was a clear and frosty morning...

Monday, January 24, 2011

We've Got Flurries!

When those "lows" come galloping up the east coast in winter they sure suck up a lot of moisture to dump on us. The problem is that one week it falls as rain and the next as a blizzard that, with winds to 90kph, can pile up meter-deep drifts which make it difficult to just get out the front door. The snowblower is an essential piece of equipment around here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Evening Grosbeak (male)

These colourful characters arrive in groups at our feeder even on a sub-zero winter day. This good-looking guy patiently waited for me to get my camera to capture his close-up through the front window.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunset Over Harvey Lake

I'm sure the world already has millions of photos of sunrises and sunsets, and likely doesn't need any more, but I'll risk censure and post one of my favourites anyway. This lake is just a few minutes' drive from us in SW New Brunswick, Canada. Hope you enjoy the image.

Winter Sunrise 2

Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning! Heavy snow forecast for later this day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Sunrise in Orchard

It was one of those "once a season" sunrises with moisture layers in the crisp air causing crazy things to happen to the sunlight. Not perhaps my greatest photo, technically speaking, but it's certainly got "orange" down pat!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Cats have such wonderful flexibility and agility when they're young. Don't we all?

That Pesky Squirrel Again

The lady immediately goes into hunt mode whenever a bird chirps or a pesky squirrel chatters. Most often she doesn't actually go after the noisemaker... she just loves to stalk the potential prey.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ruffed Grouse 2

Berry pickin'

Black-capped Chickadee 3

These little guys and gals seem impervious to the cold. I've seen them searching for seeds at -40C - in fact, my book tells me they spend 20 times as long in these temperatures searching for food as they do in summer. Me too.

Black-capped Chickadee 2

It states in my book that these birds can be enticed to land on a hand that's offering sunflower seeds but I haven't tried. It takes all I can do to just follow them with my camera flitting from branch to branch.

Ruffed Grouse

Both the Spruce and Ruffed Grouse take to the trees in autumn looking for berries.

Spruce Grouse

These birds are quite tame and trusting. They often just wander out in the open assuming their camoflage will protect them. Guess that's why their nickname is "Fools Hen."

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

These fascinating butterflies float like yellow snowflakes from flower to flower searching for nectar in apple blossom time in Saskatchewan.

Green-winged Teal

The Green-winged Teal is a fast, evasive flyer but like all ducks is flightless during the summer moult. I must have waited an hour for this male to paddle into position in the reeds for his portrait.

Honey bee stopping by

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female)

These are unique creatures. They weigh about as much as a quarter. They can fly at speeds of 100 km/h for brief periods and can beat their wings up to 1,200 times per minute. They can also fly vertically and in reverse. And all on a drop or two of nectar.

Evening Grosbeak (male)

These warblers nest way up north but come south in the autumn and often visit bird feeders.

American Robin

This early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Black-capped Chickadee

Chickadees, both the Black-capped and Boreal varieties, are found pretty much throughout Canada. You have to be fast to catch a good image of one - they flit from branch to branch almost without pausing to pose!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This shy creature usually skittered away to the opposite side of the tree whenever I approached but I guess it thought the leaves were hiding it from view. Wonderful to watch. The holes they made in the trees to get their sap were often visited by a whole variety of insects, pictures of which I'll post when I get a chance.

Wetland Reflections 3

Small yellow pond-lilies in bloom in a Saskatchewan wetland.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wetland Reflections 2

Larger than a pond but not quite a lake this wetland is home to dozens of varieties of ducks, geese, herons, and other creatures both above and below the surface. When the water lilies bloom they decorate the surface magnificently in yellows and greens. Ducks swoop in at high speed for landings from a direction behind the camera. Often in pairs, they usually startle me with their sudden "whooshing" noise, flare out and settle with a sizzle on the surface with a precision that would make the Canadian Snowbirds or US Blue Angels envious. In winter the place goes into suspended animation - "not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." I'll find an image and post it.

This wetland in northern Saskatchewan was a magical place. Just below the surface live colonies of muskrats which, if I was quiet enough, would swim silently past me leaving their trademark wake. The grasses and reeds here hide dozens of waterfowl and other bird's nests. One of my favourite spots on the planet.

Wetland Reflections

Usually the surface was rippled, if not from wind then from the muskrats that inhabit these waters. The morning I captured this image there wasn't a breath of wind and, I guess, the muskrats were either sleeping in or sneaking along the bottom.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I tawt I saw a birdie!

Again, the birds have her full attention. I swear you could fire a cannon beside her and she wouldn't flinch. I wish I had her powers of concentration and patience.

Getting the Hang Of It

It was funny to watch her learn to negotiate "the wilds."

Am I Gorgeous Or What?

I haven't anything to add to the thousand words in this picture.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Strike the Pose

Here she's about 1 1/2 years old and really hasn't, to our knowledge, spent more than 5 minutes in a tree in her life. Yet there she stands... on guard... as if she was born there. Her coat is a little ruffled from the branches and wind but she sure knows how to "Strike the Pose."

Waiting for Godot

The snows lie like blankets of melted marshmallows over the sleeping fields. All is quiet... almost. She hears them. The little critters that scurry about in warm and cozy but unseen tunnels. Here she sits... waiting... waiting... waiting... I know not for what. Godot perhaps?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

If Only I Could Fly...

... those birdies would be toast. She locks onto anything that moves like a fighter jet's radar locks onto a bogie.

Lily in all her splendor

This Woodland Lily couldn't attract more attention if it was fitted with neon lights. I had one printed 24 x 30 but the result was a little disappointing. The computer screen makes images dazzle. Prints have much greater resolution than screens but they don't have that punch I like so much.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hiding in the Mighty Oak

Her spirit is huntress through and through. She strikes all the right poses but I really don't think she knows what to do then. Reminds me of a dog barking at cars going down the street - wouldn't know what to do with one if he caught it! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Got Up Here, Now What?

Her ladyship is basically a house cat with feral instincts. Something tells her "See Tree. Climb." So she does. Getting down is quite another story.