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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Nov 26, 2010

No new posts for a while

My apologies to my readers, due to the upcoming Christmas season it is unlikely that I will have time to write any new posts for a week or more. I will post again as soon as things on my day job slow down.  In the meantime feel free to explore and enjoy the older articles on this blog.



Nov 21, 2010

Butterflies: Just pictures

I don't often get to photograph butterflies.  The one time that I did, I was at a butterfly park which enclosed the butterflies in a fine mesh gazebo.   Most of the time I don't see very many butterflies and in the wild they simply don't  hold still often unless they are warming up in the sun, feeding on a flower or drinking water on the ground.   Their little wings beat so fast that I would need a faster shutter speed than my current setting allows and by the time I have changed the setting on my camera the butterfly is usually gone.  This year however, I really lucked out and got some fairly decent pictures to share.

Little Blue
Painted Lady

Gray Copper


Mourning Cloak

Milbert's Tortoiseshell
As I learn about these butterflies, I will let you know what I discover about these beauties.  In the meantime...


Nov 14, 2010

Silhouettes of birds: Head,bill and body shape


A bird's silhouette can tell you a lot about what kind of bird you are seeing, but there is more than one thing you need to pay attention to when you do.  In my first post on this subject, "Flight Silhouettes of birds: How to tell the difference," I compared the flight silhouette of an Eagle and a Raven to point out the differences in the shape of the tail and wings to help with identification.  However identification is much easier when two bird's are so large and dissimilar.  Identifying a bird's silhouette becomes more complicated when the bird is smaller in size and/or very similar to another species.  Nevertheless birds are much like people, in that they display a variety of very different physical characteristics.

Nov 10, 2010

Say's Phoebe: A fly catcher

On the day that I spotted this flycatcher near the end of September, I had already decided sadly that migration had come to an end for this year.  It didn't help that the weather was all cloud and damp, and so my mood was as low as the clouds.  I was at the park near my work, staring at the pond, which was completely devoid of all but the fish in the water.  With no hope left of sighting waterfowl or any other bird species besides local finches and sparrows, I started walking slowly to work after only a couple of minutes, which meant I had to walk part way around the pond.

That's when I saw a bird dive into some bushes. Naturally, knowing I had the time, I stopped and waited to see if it would fly out and reveal itself.  Well it didn't, not at first.  It wasn't long before I made up my mind that I had likely just seen one of the finches that inhabit those bushes on a regular basis anyway.  With that thought in mind and because of my mood, I started walking abruptly right past the same bushes, only to flush the bird out unintentionally.

Nov 3, 2010

7 reasons why I'm engaged in bird photography

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk
As I am sure is obvious by now, I like to take pictures of the birds I see while out on bird watch.  One of the reasons I like to do so, is that I take them out and look at them quite often to remind myself of the joys of birdwatching, especially in winter when I usually don't see very many birds.  For me doing so falls into the same category as reading a favorite book over again.  However, there are other, more important reasons why I take pictures of birds and these are as follows:

Oct 28, 2010

American Redstart: Butterfly of birds

American Restart male
In August of this year I went to explore another new area in the city that is only about three blocks away from my present residence.  It is a forested area that is actually quite large and has a creek running through it.  I was amazed at how many different trails wind their way through it and I realized soon enough that it would take more than one trip to explore.  As is typical when I explore a new place, I simply enjoyed the experience, stopping here and there to examine wild flowers, berries, mushrooms, and the creek itself and in so doing also absorbing the peace that nature provides.

Oct 20, 2010

Muskrat: New wildlife encounter

Something swimming in the water behind the duck
When I was out bird watching in late September of this year, taking pictures of some Golden Eye ducks, I thought I saw something very small swimming behind one of the ducks across a pond.  But because it could just have been floating debris, I dismissed it.   When I loaded my pictures into the computer however, and zoomed in, there was definitely something there leaving two very small, perfect little waves behind it in a v shaped stream as it propelled itself through the pond.  I just couldn't make out what the creature was, except that it was light brown in color and small, which was somewhat frustrating.  It was also exciting because I knew that I had seen something new.

Oct 15, 2010

Woodpecker: Just pictures

I don't see Woodpeckers all that often, but when I do it is usually in the fall.  No doubt this is because the trees are mostly bare of leaves.  Although I haven't identified the Woodpeckers the below the Northern Flicker yet,  I thought you might enjoy the pictures I managed to get this year.

The following is a yellow shafted Northern Flicker:

Northern Flicker on the ground

Northern Flickr
Northern Flicker and feather
Northern Flicker Watchful
Norther flicker in flight
Just the wing
On the tree trunk

This one below is a female, notice the lack of red coloring on the head:

Through the fence
Downy Woodpecker

On the tree
Searching for bugs

Woodpecker in flight:

Downy woodpecker in flight
Fast flight
Downy woodpecker taking off

This one is a male with a bright red spot on its head:

My backyard
Upside down
In between



Oct 13, 2010

Canada Goose: Species and subspecies

Canada Goose in flight
As promised here is what I have recently learned about the Canada Goose.  In my last post about this species I stated that perhaps not all Canada Geese are created equal and, as it turns out, there are many subspecies of Canada Goose divided roughly by size, or large bodied and small.  There are seven subspecies in the larger bodied group and four in the smaller bodied, tundra group.  Of the two groups, the four smaller subspecies have recently been listed as a separate species called the Cackling Goose.  

Oct 9, 2010

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler
This lovely species of bird is the first brightly colored bird that I ever encountered here in Edmonton.  Up to this point I had only ever noticed the plainly colored species around me.  In fact, I didn't notice many of the smaller bird species at all.  Since my only interest at the beginning of my bird watching experience, was in hawks.   Raptors continue to be my motivating and main interest when ever I head out on bird watch.

 However, this little bird is responsible for creating in me some excitement and enthusiasm for the discoveries to be made in seeking out the smaller bird species.  Perhaps I only noticed it, because this particular bird  was sporting it's breeding colors at the time.  These birds are much plainer in coloring during the non-breeding season after all. 

Oct 5, 2010

Canada Goose update

First of all my apologies to everyone.   My old computer finally kicked the bucket by going up in smoke. Literally.  The salvaging of my files and photos is in progress and  recycling will take place soon.  It took some doing but I managed to get a new computer, so hopefully I will be back on track within the week.

Canada Goose

Sep 23, 2010

Fall migration: saying good bye

 It is getting more and more difficult to find birds these days other than the resident species.   Last week the Robins were gathering in large numbers for their migration, the week before that it was the American Redstart and somewhere in that time frame the Cedar Waxwings all seemed to disappeared overnight.  There are fewer hawks to be seen soaring in the sky and today I watched Sandhill Cranes dance on the currents of the wind as they head to their wintering grounds in huge numbers.  Nothing is more fascinating and relaxing.

Migrating Cranes riding the currents