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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jan 28, 2011

Silhouttes of birds: other physical traits

As I mentioned in my posts regarding identifying birds by their silhouette, there are many things to watch for which will allow you to do so.  In the first post on this subject I touched briefly on the shape of wings and tail.   These are very important physical characteristics that I would like to elaborate on here.  Some birds have broad tails, some have long tails, such as the Magpie for instance.  Others have tails that are rounded at the tip or straight edged, and some have tails that are notched with a "V" like that of a Tree Swallow, or  shaped much like an arrow head like the tail of the Common Grackle. 
Red Tailed Hawk

Jan 22, 2011

Goshawk: A Surprising Visitation

The universe seems determined to surprise me.  Not that I'm complaining.  I am in fact delighted and very grateful, especially since these surprises bring me such joy, but let me explain.... I  often stop at one of the parks I frequent before work, both of which have ponds.  I do this both to catch sight of wildlife and to relax a little before diving into the day.

Since I have moved, one of these parks has become somewhat inconvenient to visit before work, although not any other time. As a result, I have been spending more time at the other, where just this past summer I spotted an Osprey.  I didn't expect to see anything on this day since the pond had been, well, very quiet and still, with only a couple mallard females and their brood floating on it.  These females had been caught late in the breeding season and were waiting for the brood to mature before migration could take place for them.  So it was a sweet surprise to me when I stopped at this little park and was literally visited by a Goshawk just as I was getting ready to leave.  In fact she flew in behind me, just as I was in the act of turning off my camera to tuck away into it's case.  Needless to say the camera was immediately put back to work.
Missing tail feathers

Jan 13, 2011

Winter's awesome surprises

little forest in winter
I must confess that I am not very fond of winter.  That is the first thing that I learned when I arrived in Canada way back when.  The country that I come from has relatively mild weather, with the temperature never dipping much below the minus mark.  Snowfall was rare.

But I also learned that staying indoors for months at a time is not conducive to my well being and so on those days when it isn't too cold, I do go for walks.  We've had a fairly mild winter compared to most this year.  So I headed out when I heard Owl calls in the neighborhood last week, for the first time ever with the express purpose of doing some birdwatching.  I decided to go to the little forest just down the road from my house, since it was the only place I could think of that the Owl might be roosting.

Jan 6, 2011

Mourning Cloak: a Grand Surprise

Catching some rays
I sincerely hope everyone had happy holidays and that your New Year celebration was both peaceful and filled with joy.

The New Year, for some reason, always has me skipping ahead to spring and summer in my mind.  This year my focus seems to be on butterflies, although typically I do not see them very often.  Perhaps I have simply not been visiting the right locations.  However, usually when I do see them, they are fluttering past me at speed, are high above me, or simply disappear, leaving me with little opportunity to photograph them.  But this past year was actually an exception and I'm hoping that this coming year will be the same.