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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Apr 22, 2013

2013 It's Eath Day once again

Today is Earth Day. Every day I read some bad news concerning the destruction of yet another forest, of a species that is going extinct and of new mining/oil developments around the world that are very destructive. The climate around the world is changing, the oceans are too acidic and our fresh water polluted.   Scientist warn that we need to act in order to prevent disaster and I agree whole heartedly.  We are all connected and dependent on the earth after all.

Earth Day is one day in the year when I really think about what I can do personally to help preserve the earth and the wildlife, and implement a strategy to do so.  For instance I avoid buying plastics, chemical cleaners, insecticides and herbicides. 

So what can you do to help save the Earth and the wildlife?

Plant a Tree or a bed of wildflowers to help the butterflies and bees.  Take your kids out in nature to explore and teach about wildlife.  Take someone or a child out bird watching.  Make a concerted effort to clean up after yourself with each visit to nature, whether you are hiking, camping, fishing or hunting. Set up compost to provide nutrients to your garden instead of using chemical fertilizers.  Recycle and recycle some more.  If possible contribute to wildlife and nature conservation funds.  Above all, let your local political leaders know that preserving the Earth is of utmost importance.

These are just a few of the things you can do personally, but there is much more.  I encourage you to get on the internet and do some research and then take action.  Together we can help preserve the planet and the multitude of species that we share it with.



Apr 21, 2013

Spring is seriously late

Snow and more snow coming
I have never seen spring arriving this late and I have a serious case of cabin fever.  It isn't helping that I have been very busy with work and other projects, that prevented me from going out. Now, as I'm writing this, there is more snow coming down from the skies. With more of the same forecast for tomorrow, and here we are nearing the end of April.

At one time, years ago, it used to be that spring arrived in March and in odd years we would get a freak snowfall late in April,but the snow would be gone as fast as it arrived.   People are not dealing well with the changing weather patterns either. Many are cranky or seriously depressed, with some getting downright rude.

The butterflies that had emerged a little more than a week ago, have gone back into hiding.  The migrating birds, with the exception of Robins, seem to be arriving late as well.   Dark-eyed Juncos, for example returned late in March instead of February.  Resident birds, such as Blue Jays and Magpies however are acting as if nothing unusual is occuring and are going ahead with courtship and nesting.

With the cabin fever making me seriously restless, I had to get out of the house and make contact with nature.

The first thing I noticed was that the wind was picking up, but as I walked throught he forest with the icy crust of snow crunching loudly under my feet, I noticed more signs that spring is most definitely on its way. There were not many birds to see, but I could hear them loudly and cheerfully all around me.

Nuthatch, Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy woodpeckers and Northern Flicker all well hidden in the tree tops. The Bohemian waxwings are still around and flocking all over the neighborhood and the Crows are everywhere.  The fact that the Crows have stayed encourages me, as they would not stay in the city if the weather was to turn seriously nasty.

The highlights of my outing were the sighting of a gorgeous, and ever cheerful, Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Golden Eagle flying by high above the forest.  I am feeling somewhat more cheerful,even though the cold weather wore me out.  There is nothing like birdwatching and a long walk in the forest to make me feel better.

Golden Crowned Kinglet
Golden Crowned Kinglet hiding

Golden Eagle
Gold Eagle
I just hope the weather warms up in the next couple of weeks before the the migrating birds arrive in significant numbers, most especially the Hummingbirds, if they arrive at the usual time.


Apr 13, 2013

Once second with nature: April

 I don't have a whole lot to say today.  Only one word "Snow"  I think that says it all.

So I thought I would share a photo from my trip to Alaska a few years ago, a fond memory for me, and a piece of nature's beauty for you.


Apr 5, 2013

Highlight of the day

I have not been able to go out much. I have been so busy, although for the most part the weather has been just lovely. This morning I got up to a nasty surprise though. Winter is back, again. Arrrg.  Nevertheless, I'm encouraged by the birds I have seen when I did venture out just recently for a brief time.

Although I saw a pair of Geese last week, I spotted the Canada Goose arriving in flight formation.  These were followed closely by another skein of their fellows.  A great sign that migration has begun.

When I reached the path to the forest, I was greeted by this gorgeous fat Robin, who was very cooperative about having his picture taken.  There were several others, more shy, foraging in the bushes, while the nuthatch called and the House Finches sang their courting songs.

Then I heard another sound, that of a bill striking the underside of a leaf or branch.  I turned and briefly caught sight of a flash of black.  As I focused my camera on a nearby bush, I caught sight of this.  A Dark-eyed Junco playing peek-a-boo with me.

Then a another voice, so low, that if I hadn't been standing very quietly and very still, I would have missed it.  I took a few steps under the trees, along the forest floor and waited.  It was warm enough, that there were trailing webs from inch worms and spiders.  It always amazed me that insects emerge so early in spring.  But I'm getting off track, sure enough before long, there it was again, a voice so sweet.  It was a Golden Crowned Kinglet, flitting from branch to branch, and tree to tree.

It wont be long now, before I see his cousin, the Ruby Crowned Kinglet and I can't wait.

It was a peaceful and delightful outing.  But it wasn't over until I got to within sight of my own front door.  On the way home I briefly watched a Magpie as he collected nesting materials.  I moved on, somewhat sad that I had no more time to spend outdoors and that's when the real action took place.

I spotted a Prairie Falcon on the hunt.  I missed the other bird entirely, although I think it might have been a Kestrel.  However, the Falcon missed his target and was screaming, as you can see and turned towards me, to fly up to a light post, where it perched briefly.

I shoot handheld and the bird was moving very fast, so these photos aren't the best.  However, I was pleased to get several shots of the falcon in flight as well as in the process of landing.  I would have liked to have gotten several more, but a passing pedestrian caused the Prairie Falcon to take off again.  This time directly down and straight at me, before veering off  very low to the ground, just above the street.

As you can see by this last photo, I couldn't keep a focus, the bird was moving that fast.  Nevertheless, I was thrilled.  It isn't often that I get action shots of Raptors, so although I had a wonderful outing, this was definitely the highlight of my day.