31 Dec 2011

Saying good bye to 2011

I just could not say good-by to 2011 without just one more outing.  It has been a great year for me, as I have been introduced to many species of bird, and many decent photos.   I hope 2011 has proved to be the same for you.

Rock Pigeon
Black Billed Magpie
Bohemian Waxwing
Just a pretty picture
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-winged Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill 2
Bohemian Waxing Eating ice
Squirrel with winter apple
Have a Happy New Year

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Wildlife Portrait: January

I loved this particular photo so much that I just had to frame it.


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28 Dec 2011

It's a first

House Sparrows at the feeder
There hasn't been much to see in the way of birds for me lately, despite unseasonably warm weather.  This is a first for me.   I can't begin to tell you how strange it is not to see or hear a single bird for days at a time.  Even the Chickadees, the most reliable of all winter birds, weren't around, nor the Blue Jays or the Magpies.  Although my bird feeders are certainly being emptied rapidly, letting me know that the birds are out there, I was beginning to feel deprived.

The only birds I have spied at the feeders in the past couple of weeks have been House Sparrows.  Don't get me wrong, I like House Sparrows just fine, but I did wonder where all the other birds got to.  I do have a variety of different seed in each feeder and three different feeder types, including a suet feeder.  I should have been seeing a larger variety of birds.

Red Breasted Nuthatch got the prize
So on boxing day I decided to go out in search of them. I didn't go all that far, just to the little forest down the street.  Ironically enough the first bird I saw when my feet touched the path through the little forest was a House Sparrow.  However, this was followed almost immediately by the call of a woodpecker.   Either a Northern Flicker or a Pileated, they sound remarkably alike.  Hearing it's call brightened my day, although I never did see it.  As I followed it's call, I spied a Red Breasted Nuthatch, which was followed by a Blue Jay and then I suddenly had an abundance of birds all around me.

Blue Jay
 A Raven calling from a tree top,  House Finches, Chickadees and a flock of Bohemian Waxings flying overhead. Oh boy, what joy and all the time the woodpecker kept calling as it moved around the forest and I followed.  In and amongst this abundance of birds I discovered a bird that seemed like it should be familiar but was new instead.  It moved and behaved much like a nuthatch, but is in fact the only member of the tree creeper family of birds residing in North America.   A Brown Creeper.  I knew it as soon as I had taken my first photo, because there wasn't a speck of slate gray on the bird.  In fact his feathers blend in so well with the bark of the tree he is on that I would have missed him altogether if he hadn't moved. 

Brown Creeper (click to enlarge)
Brown Creeper going up

Admittedly the photos of the Brown Creeper above aren't very good, but it's a first sighting for me and so they are keepers.  A first sighting is a magic moment after all.  Have you had a first sighting lately?


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21 Dec 2011

Happy Holidays

                            My Christmas message this year for those who do not celebrate:

                                                            For those who do:

I recently viewed a video that seemed like an awesome gift to share:


It is a wonderful world.  Let's keep it that way.

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14 Dec 2011

Mouse under the bird feeder

This past week we have had some really windy weather, so windy that one of my bird feeders got blown down.  I also have a lot of House Sparrows at the feeder, who just happen to be very either very messy or very picky eaters, as they quite often simply drop some seed to the ground.  As a result there is quite a bit of seed on the ground.

As I was taking some photos of the House Sparrows, I caught some motion on the ground below the feeder.  I thought perhaps a ground feeding bird had just flown off.  So naturally I tried to keep and eye on the ground as well.  But it was quite a while before I spotted any sort of motion at ground level again and when I did  I was totally surprised.

Mouse munching seed
There was a tiny little Mouse munching on some of the fallen seed.  However, this is a wary little Mouse.  Every time there was a noise, or the birds took flight, it was gone in a flash.  Then it would take several minutes before it would come out into the open again.

Sneaking out along the flowerbed
It actually took me several days to get some decent photos of this Mouse, mainly because it was so very fast and cautious.

Mouse close up

On the run
When I went out to look, I discovered it had made itself a dug out den beneath the roots of a dead flower in my flower bed.  I had left some of the flowers in place under the window because they had gone to seed.   Some birds do eat flower seed and I was hoping to attract them.  I just hope I don't regret it.  Although I don't mind the Mouse living outside my house, I would prefer not to have it inside.


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6 Dec 2011

Not quite focused

Black and White Warbler

Sometimes total focus isn't necessary.  The beauty of the bird is still visible and stands out, in softened surroundings.

American Redstart


House Finch male


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4 Dec 2011

Delightfully winged: Sparkles

Spread-wing Damselfly
A wink of sun sparking along rainbow wings catches the eye, causing curiosity to watch enraptured.

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1 Dec 2011

Wildlife Portrait: December

The last bird to migrate in the fall is the Dark eyed Junco.  I managed to get this beautiful shot at the end of September.
Dark eyed Junco


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