Hey all... so, I've not been up to much lately for various reasons but thought I would share my best pics of the last couple weeks, with a bit on where, what, who, why, whatever. Enjoy! If you are coming in from the Facebook link, you may have seen some of these on my wall... sorry.
We are well into Spring now and so many Red Winged Blackbirds have returned the last 6 weeks. It's mostly males who arrive first, setting up nesting territories, preparing for the arrival of the females. The males are incredibly vocal right now so this is a very familiar sight (male calling) and it was my challenge this Spring to get some "call shots".
This has to be one of my best Downy woodpecker shots ever! I am so happy with it that it is most likely going to make our 2011 wall calendar. He was hanging around me in Lambton Woods one afternoon.
This Blue Jay was also keeping an eye on me in Lambton. I had a bag full of sunflower seeds and peanuts... and the birds were all very well aware!
A few Saturdays ago, Angie and I took off to check a "Heronry" not too far out of the city in the north/east section. It was a remarkable sight, seeing at least 2 dozen pairs of Herons nesting in the trees together. The next time we decide to check them out, it will be on the other end of the day, near dusk, and the sun well behind us for easier viewing.
At the same location of the "Heronry" I saw my first Killdear in a farm field. Interesting birds. I've heard their calls around the house, since railroad tracks are very near (they hang out by them) and now I've even seen them since I am aware of them now.
I'm sorry, those Red Wings are beautiful birds. I am so happy to see them again... I love Spring! They are my true sign of the season.
Another one I don't get tired of seeing... the Northern Cardinal. The boys get so much recognition so here's to the females!
I'm along one of the paths in Lambton Woods and noticed this female Downy Woodpecker following me, getting nearer, looking at me, almost like making eye contact, to get my attention. I held out my hand full of peanut bits and seeds and in she landed for a feed not once but nine times overall! It probably would have been more if a stupid dog owner with their unleashed rowdy pup hadn't come along and ruined our moment.
Here I am in High Park one afternoon and lucked out by a small flock of very people friendly Black Capped Chickadees buzzing around. I lost count on how many times this happened, over and over, for a good half hour or more. I am bracing the camera on my arm as I snapped the pics, just as above with the Downy. It gives you a good idea on how long they stay on a hand if you don't scare them... enough time to focus and get a great shot. Do you see the 3 Canada Geese way off in the back walking up the hill?
It pays to keep your eyes open. I saw this from the corner of my eye and was quick to re-act. This Sharp Shin was on the hunt in High Park, flew into some low bushes, so I pointed the camera in that direction and started walking, and lucked out to capture this in flight shot.
Another sign of Spring to me is seeing Chipmunks. They are such entertaining little creatures to watch! I can't believe how much they can cram in those cheeks of theirs. I found this guy at High Park as well.
And yet another Red Wing male letting off his call of the wild. If only I could edit this shot better and get some of those plant stems out of the picture. Ah well, it's a one of a kind shot, as is any photo, anybody takes. I am still very happy with this capture and look at it often.
The male American Goldfinches are getting brighter daily (so it seems). I am finding them to be a tad more skittish now than in the winter months. I wonder if they were willing to put up with more of my presence (and camera) in the cold days since food supplies elsewhere were lacking? I am having a difficult time getting close to photograph them lately.
Oh, there's my buddy "Mr. Half-Tail". He runs harder than any other Squirrel in the yard to come get a peanut... actually the run is more like a bounce. His front feet go up together, as do the back feet. He's a funny little guy and is very comfortable with Angie and I. He disappeared most of the winter so I was happy to see him return as the weather started to warm up.
The Northern Mockingbird from up around the corner has made a few appearances to the yard lately. I'm thinking with all the noise half a dozen Red Wing males are making here every afternoon, he's gotten curious about what the fuss is all about. He even got thirsty enough for a drink one day.
Here he is again a couple days later. He's high up in the tree looking over the backyard again. I've thought about bringing in a food he'd like (fruits) but have heard they can be extremely territorial and will terrorize any other bird that comes around. Soon enough there will be a natural food source here for him with a few small berry bushes if the Robins don't beat him to them first.
I found this sighting to be hilarious! A male Hairy Woodpecker was walking along the path in Lambton Woods, the cycle path at that, taking a stroll to get a peanut half I tossed for somebody else. He walked the pavement like he owned the place! Oh them crazy Woodpeckers of Lambton Woods.