Cinco de Mayo…..So Many Bird Sightings!

The first week of May, especially the 5th (Cinco de Mayo), was an amazing time for bird sightings here on the farm. Following a light rain the night before and welcome summer-like temperatures, I was able to see and to take some photos of “new” birds that I associate with summer.

Looking through the front window around 8:00 a.m., I noticed an orange, black and white bird on the ground of one of my front yard bird enclosures. It was an Eastern Towhee. I will include the photo in the group below as many people have never seen one even though it is only a “record shot”, certainly not a prize-winner. I saw one last fall but only once.the Towhee in the photo must have been passing through and dropped in for a quick bite of bird seed and a drink after a long journey.

Later the same morning I saw 2 male Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and numerous White Crowned Sparrows. It seemed that all of these birds had arrived here the same day! Later that morning, I was amazed to see a male Baltimore Oriole trying unsuccessfully to drink from one of the hummingbird feeders! I had put them out about 2 weeks ago  although the weather was very cool at the time.  I had decided to wait until the weather warmed up to put out the oriole feeder which has the necessary perches for orioles to drink the water/sugar “nectar”.  I guess it is better to be too early rather than too late. I saw the oriole again yesterday feasting on the half oranges that I had set out for him. Last year there was a pair so perhaps a female will arrive in the next few days. I hope so!

I have included photos of a few other birds that arrived in the past 3 weeks. The most beautiful to me was the Purple Finch!

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Niagara Falls – The Big Melt

The photos in this post were taken just one month ago when I made a special trip to Niagara Falls to see them in their winter beauty. I had heard that the ice was beginning to melt so I joined a small group of my friends from the Oshawa Camera Club and made the 2 and a half hour trip on the Fun Bus. For a very reasonable rate, we made a day of it with the ride, a wonderful buffet lunch and opportunity to try our luck at the slots.

The weather on the 12th of march was absolutely beautiful! It was very sunny and warm enough to spend all of the afternoon outdoors. I wanted to share a few of the pictures which I took. Due to the time of day, the Canadian Falls were backlit and with the spray, I had very little luck in getting any decent shots but the American Falls were spectacular.

This was a wonderful sight. I encourage everyone to see Niagara Falls in the winter at least once. For me, it was well worth the trip!

IMG_5035 Niagara Falls Signed for Blog IMG_5033 Niagara Falls Signed for Blog IMG_5027 Niagara Falls Signed for Blog IMG_4988 Niagara Signed for blog IMG_4972 Falls Signed for Blog IMG_4941 signed for Blog

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BIRDS VISITING MY WINTER FEEDERS

This winter has been very busy at my feeders. I believe that February 2015 was the coldest February ever recorded and at our farm, we had more snow than in most past years. We also attracted a lot of hungry birds visiting the 3 areas that I have created for them. Red and black squirrels also enjoy the sunflower seeds and peanuts that are available. 3 varieties of woodpeckers have been consistent visitors to the suet and peanuts.
We’ve had a pair of “downie”s, “hairies” and “red bellies” all winter.

This past week, with milder air, I’ve noticed that the feathers of the American goldfinches seem to be turning a brighter yellow and the mating calls of the cardinals are also evident in the wooded area behind our house.

Although I have enjoyed seeing so many birds this winter, I can hardly wait for spring and the changes it brings.

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An Amazing Encounter with Nature – A Red Tailed Hawk

It has been a number of months since I’ve shared photos on my blog. I have still been visiting local nature areas during the fall and early winter and have taken dozens of photos. Somehow, they just never made it to my blog. Life has been getting in the way!

Recently, I had an amazing experience at Lynde Shores in Whitby. I noticed a red-tailed hawk perched on a 3 foot high stump about 10 feet away. With my 100 – 400 mm lens, I actually had to back off to fit this magnificent creature into the frame. The hawk sat there, intent on some small prey in the grass and leaves, for at least 10 minutes. Snap, snap, snap……It was a grey day so the images are a bit “flat” but that was the closest that I have ever been to a hawk and it is unlikely that I will again.  I hope you enjoy these shots of this hawk in his natural surroundings.  Your comments would be appreciated….

Perched for Portraits

Perched for Portraits

A real "poser"!

A real “poser”!

Red Tailed Hawk at Lynde Shores, Whitby.

Red Tailed Hawk at Lynde Shores, Whitby.

Is he looking at me as prey?

Is he looking at me as prey?

I can now delete about 200 previous hawk photographs from my computer!

 

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Exhibit Reception a Great Success!

My first Exhibition entitled “Spirits in Nature” closed on August 2nd. Anja and I had a wonderful response to our work. Exhibit Newspaper Article IMG_7092 IMG_7094

There was an excellent turn-out of old and new friends and family for both Anja and me at the opening reception. I was overwhelmed to see so many people and many drove 3 or 4 hours to attend. Seeing everyone, hearing their positive comments and having an opportunity to share 30 framed and canvas-wrapped photos rather than digital images beautifully hung at the Scugog Council for the Arts gallery was very exciting. Anja’s unique sculptures were absolutely loved by those visiting the gallery in Port Perry.

In case you were unable to attend, I will share some of the photos taken at the reception of the display and me with friends and family.  To see larger versions, just click on any one of the photos and arrow along. That should do it!

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“Spirits in Nature” an Exhibition of My Framed Nature Photographs

This gallery contains 7 photos.

  On Saturday, July 5th. , I will be having a reception from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. to celebrate the opening of an exhibit entitled “SPIRITS in NATURE”.  This exhibition of 25 of my framed photographs and vibrant photos on canvas, will be … Continue reading

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Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens: Peonies in Bloom

This gallery contains 6 photos.

A week ago, I made a visit to the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens a few days before the Peony Festival.  It is so much easier to photograph those beautiful blooms without the crowds milling about and tripping over my tripod! … Continue reading

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Oshawa Camera Club Annual Salon

Later this week on May 8th and 9th there is an event held each year by the Oshawa Camera Club. We call it “The Salon” and for the small sum of $7.00 per person, you can view fantastic printed photographs and watch great slide shows of the digital entries submitted by club members throughout the past year. Here is the link for information regarding the exact times and location:

Many of our club’s members have 35 years experience and others only a few years like I do. What we all have in common is our love of photography and an interest in improving our skills through ongoing presentations and workshops by some of the area’s best.  Four times each year, our members have the option of submitting photos  in various categories for judging by 3 accredited judges. Then, in April, up to 18  photos can be judged in our Annual Competition which has 9 categories.  Entries are scored and comments made to provide feedback to those who submitted some of their favourites. The Salon will showcase many of the winning entries and team photo essays for the enjoyment of members, their friends and families as well as the public.  If you live in or near Oshawa, please consider coming out for this  2 hour event.

Here is a gallery of my photos which I submitted for judging in our annual competition. You may have seen some of them on earlier posts. I’m looking forward to finding out if any of these entries were winners or if they received honourable mention. This gallery of my pictures actually showcases some pictures other than flowers and birds! I tried to enter most of the Annual categories this Thursday or Friday.

If you click on any one of my photos below, you will see an enlargement and can arrow across for a large view of each. Hope you like them!

 

 

 

 

 

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How “Casper the Cat” Spent the Winter of 2013/2014

Casper on the prowl last fallMeet Casper. He is the oldest of my 2 cats. At 14, he is still surprisingly active and seems to have all of his abilities. He is very small for a male but has always been a little guy. I found him as a tiny kitten “living in the streets” of Stouffville. He was pretty lucky to find me and I have to say his gentle nature has brought me a lot of happiness. When we moved to the farm 10 years ago, Casper adjusted quite well to country living. He has always loved the outdoors, however, this past winter was just way too cold and snowy for him to venture out very often. The photos above and below are of Casper last fall.Casper last fall. Happy outdoors.

Winter came early this year limiting the time spent outdoors for both humans and pets.  One snowy winter evening, while Joe and I were watching a P.B.S. show on the intelligence of ravens, we noticed that Casper was responding to the sound of the birds. He was also watching intently and began to approach the television for a closer look. I will attach the photos I took of his increasing interest and curiosity. This old cat obviously doesn’t have any sight or hearing problems. He may, however, believe that the people and wildlife which he sees on the screen live somewhere behind or inside it!

We can't distract Casper Now, is this for my benefit? Very interesting Watching the ravens If I were just a little taller...

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Bird’s Eye Views at Lynde Shores …… End of Winter 2013/2014

With the snowbanks from the coldest, snowiest winter that I remember almost gone, I want to share the last winter photographs that I took with my telephoto lens at Lynde Shore birds.   I’m hoping that my next short excursion to the trails in this protected area will be of  migrating warblers and nesting songbirds! Here is the gallery of photos taken in March. I hope you enjoy them!

NOTE: If you missed the photos that were inadvertently missed on the recent post entitled “Ducks in Dire Straights”,  please revisit it. This has been corrected.

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