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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 31, 2010

Red Bird update

The beautiful little red and black bird in the pictures I posted a few days ago is called a White-winged Crossbill.  Odd  that, because its wings are only edged in white and, although they have white streaks, the wings themselves are black.  I had a little trouble identifying this bird, partially because of its name, but also because it looks quite similar to a number of other birds, one of them being the Pine Grosbeak.

Pine Grosbeaks however, as  you can see in the photograph below (courtesy of Wikipedia), have a heavy short black bill to help them crack seeds. This bird is also rose red in color, but its wings have more white streaks, and  they have gray areas on their chest, as well as below the wings.  In addition they have gray patches around their bill, while their tail is long and slightly forked.   The Pine Grosbeak is the largest of the finches who inhabit the northern parts of the country.

Pine Grosbeak

Mar 30, 2010

Episode Guide - The Series - One Ocean Online

In watching this series, I have come to realize just how important it is to learn about how everything on this planet, including ourselves, is intertwined, interconnected and interdependent.  All life on this world begins with our oceans.  We really need to start taking  better care of our world.  Please watch and learn at the link below,  and then share.

Episode Guide - The Series - One Ocean Online

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Red bird: something new to research

So the sun was shining and the outdoors was calling.  Naturally I went, and to my absolute delight discovered something new.  Of course now I also need to do some research because the little red and black bird I  caught on camera is totally unfamiliar to me.  Here are some pictures and the information on this little bird will follow as soon as I have discovered it.

Red belly
Red Bird in flight

A closer look

Mar 29, 2010

Birding: First trip out

Today I decided is was just about time to go out and see what birds I could find.  There weren't many, at least nothing new.  In  my enthusiasm to get started on my  bird watching, I think I jumped the gun and went out too early.  The ponds at both parks are still frozen solid and I saw only a couple of geese and some cocky Blue Jays.  In my experience however, you never know what you might see when you least expect it so why not take the opportunity?

Besides I had to experiment and practice with my new equipment, and there really is no better way than just to go out and do it.  The video camera is going to take some getting used to and I'm going to have to learn to do a few new things on the computer to get the most out of it.   It has a thirty four times zoom, perfect for watching and capturing hawks in the sky, and so far it looks like it is going to be worth every penny, even though I will no doubt suffer some frustration in the process of learning how to use it.  It is a good thing  that  I enjoy learning  new things. The sooner that is done the better, since I really do want to share the video footage, which will also hopefully give me some good clear shots to use.

Blue Jay going up

Mar 24, 2010

Canada Goose

Geese in flight
One of the birds that I see frequently when I visit the parks here in the city is the Canada Goose.  In the spring  and fall especially, but throughout the summer as well, they are seen flying everywhere, sometimes in formation and sometimes only in pairs, their loud honking heard even at a distance. On occasion you will even see a goose flying all by itself, although that is an odd event, as geese are clearly social creatures, who greet each other rather noisily in welcome when arriving wherever other geese are present.

Mar 22, 2010

Peregrine Falcon

My days always start early, it doesn't  matter if I  am working or not, and I am simply not content to be idle. So I usually have a plan or two in place for things to do on my days off and this often involves birdwatching.  Typically however, I do not see a  lot of birds when I am working, because of course I work indoors, although I have a tendency to carry my camera equipment around with me in case I spot a bird on my way to and from work. I also always  arrive early to work to allow me the chance to have a cup of coffee.   It is a good thing  that I do both, as it turned out on this particular day, when I stepped outside before starting work for the day to finish my coffee.

Peregrine Falcon perched on building

Because I always have one eye on the sky especially in spring, summer and fall, I spotted a member of  the raptor family that I had never seen before within just a couple of minutes.  But, to my dismay, it dove after a pigeon and out of sight.   Nevertheless, I decided to take the chance that it might fly by again and so I sprinted inside to grab my digital binoculars.  Talk about a lucky decision!

Mar 21, 2010


Every once in a while I see a bird that I can't identify, usually briefly and at a distance.  Sometimes this is  frustrating, especially  when I see it on more than one occasion.  In cases like that I try to remember that  when it comes to spotting birds I tend to get lucky eventually  with a close up view.   This was just the case with the Cormorant which I had seen in the air a  few times.  It is the long wings, in addition to the long neck and tail, of this bird that will get your attention if you ever see it in the air, as you can see by the blurred image below.

Cormorant in flight

Mar 19, 2010

Butterfly park

One of the main reasons, besides seeing my mom, that I looked forward to my trip to the Caribbean was the prospect of seeing and taking pictures of birds and wildlife. This particular stop on our Caribbean cruise, St Thomas Island, was to be dedicated to exploring the local shops, tourist market and the beaches. So of course I was looking forward to visiting the beach, rather than the shopping.  Imagine my surprise in discovering that at the port in St Thomas, the first thing I was told about was a butterfly park situated directly next to the docks and cruise ships.

St Thomas harbour

Mar 17, 2010


On the two occasions that I have seen Ospreys, both times I was on vacation.  I had seen pictures of this bird of course, as I was doing research on other birds, which allowed me to recognize it, but where I live one isn't likely to see one.  The first time I saw this magnificent bird, I was traveling toward various locations in Alaska.  We were on a cruise ship in the Golf of Alaska following the coastline which would lead us to Ketchikan, our first stop.  It was early morning, the sea was calm and it was a bright and sunny day, that was unexpectedly warm for the time of year we were traveling.

Osprey in flight


Spring is here!

For me spring is always marked by several things. Obviously the weather turning warmer is one, but it is only one. When I see the Geese fly I always experience incredible joy and relief.  Joy because I know migration season has begun, and relief because I really dislike winter intensely.  This is the point when I get spring fever. Ever since I started to go birdwatching and realized that some part of me needs to be close to nature, this happens to me every year and is incredibly intense.

The first hint that I have spring fever is when I resist going to work on a daily basis, doing household chores or going shopping.  I grumble and groan, while my mind yells very loudly "I don't want to".  All I really want to do for the first couple of weeks of spring is be outside to soak up the sun, go for long walks and visit nature in various locations that bring me peace.

Spring Geese