Golden Hour

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It was the right time of day, in the late afternoon, so I took photos of what I was attracted to, trying to capture the glow. I like the late afternoon when the sun is going down, leaving a warm cast of light and the shadows are long.

The sun was setting and cast a glow on these shrubs. With the cool back ground I was drawn to the contrast as a composition.
I liked what the light did for these worn railings in a small garden park.
Close-up of a leaf with some artistic warp filter.
Walking along the promenade.
Sunny Hillside

Magpie Hunting a Vole

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If you are squeamish, make your choice about viewing this or not. It is not something I have never seen before, so of course I decided to record it.

This Magpie poking at something and since it was fairly close, I started shooting with my camera. The object was hidden by a bump in the land and some snow, then the magpie was picking up a small creature, poking it, shaking it, dropping it. I was thinking, “What has it got hold of?”

The magpie had caught a vole and was poking the poor critter, maybe taking some bites and I thought I saw movement and even told the magpie, “C’mon, don’t make it suffer, kill it.” The light was strong from the setting sun and I was looking down from the top of the hill so the details are not very clear.

The magpie is picking the vole up and shaking it. Must have learned this from the coyotes.
This was when I could identify the vole, with its short little tail.
A pause.
The vole looks like it is sitting up but no, it is dead and some flesh is missing behind the ear.
The vole is just beneath that little ridge and I guess I was intruding , because the Magpie looked at me, took a couple more jabs, then left. Maybe it will come back later.

It is the first time I have seen a Magpie eating more than grasshoppers but have seen them eating meat out of a bowl at the zoo. I have never seen a Magpie hunting a vole before.

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Geese are Gathering

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I took my friend’s car to my favorite local park and there were lots of geese. There were a few taking off and a few landing, so I had lots of practice at panning the camera to follow the birds. All were in pairs except for small groups landing or taking off. I wondered if they are just doing some practice runs, getting ready for the long flight that is to come.

Incoming!

It was very noisy, everyone honking wildly as they landed or took off, or when they were on the ground and someone else got too close.

Constant coming and going
Some were languishing quietly but looking a little stressed.
Others were less than welcoming.
Another welcoming party. Not a great shot but I liked capturing the behaviour.
No, one does not want to lie on the ground now in this park. Might be slippery.

This scene seemed relatively quiet, but with all the squabbling I wondered how they choose the leaders and get along for the long flight that is ahead of them.

Warblers, Warnings and Rain

It was an interesting walk today. I approached the valley via one of the stairways and could hear the Yellow Warblers calling back and forth, “Sweet, Sweet, I’m so Sweet.” Everything has filled out so much , I had trouble seeing into the trees. I saw a flash of Yellow and waited and watched. This is as close as I could get , but happy to see it.

Male Yellow Warbler
Male Yellow Warbler further up the path. I suspect the females are nesting.
I wonder if this was the coyote that I was taking photos of a few weeks ago?

I walked down the path to look for another Warbler as well as keep my eye out for Coyotes, wishing I had my walking stick with me and planning to put my camera bag above my head to look “bigger”, if I needed to. I didn’t go far because the clouds were getting darker and I heard the distant rumble. I stopped to take some photos of the sky.

A little bit of blue that soon disappeared.
Can definitely hear thunder now.
Rain coming down in the distance

It wasn’t long before I turned around and headed home. I got wet, but found it refreshing and it was very nice to have a warm bath when I got home.

Robin, Coyote and Magpie

Maybe the latter two have more in common, both being tricksters but this is what I saw this day.

American Robin: For a while I didn’t see any, now they are everywhere. I like their singing, even at 3:30 a.m.
Not a great shot, but I learned their underwings are red like their breasts.

In the valley, Magpies are hanging around waiting for a bite to eat as this Coyote hunts.
Above the valley, this Magpie obligingly posed for me, with its fine feathers. They will go through a molt in due time, but usually look this way.

Hungry Huntress

Hundreds of coyotes live in the river valley and I have run across them while walking the dogs and often hear of encounters from others. One of my wishes has been to spot one in the valley and get a shot with the camera. While I was looking for birds, I spotted a shape at the bottom of the hill and thought, “Ah! it’s probably just some garbage.” I took a closer look through the lens and to my delight, it was a coyote. I used a 300 mm lens and cropped some of the images.

Magpies hanging around for scraps.
A mother has to keep herself fed. She will show me how it is done.
The Pounce.
Another leap.
I see a short tail it might be a vole.
A couple of gulps and down the hatch.
One last look before we each continued on our way.

I took lots of photos of her as I watched her hunting in the grass. She caught about 5 small critters. I was blessed to be able to observe her for ten full minutes.

Far Away but My First Robin

I passed a tree last week where I saw a Robin, most likely this one and it flew over to where I was walking. I think they are curious and can’t resist checking us out, maybe because now it is his neighbourhood.

I was close, but it was too dark that night. Tonight he was high up in a tree, but the light was shining nicely on him.

Perched proudly on the lookout.
Preening

Snow and Someone’s Knocking

I cooped myself up in my apartment for two days and needed to get outside to shake the cobwebs out. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the temperature, -14, but the sun shone so brightly, it was irresistible. There was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground which I find so pretty after seeing the slushy filth on the streets the last couple of weeks. I went out in the later afternoon when the shadows were lengthening but there was still plenty of light.

Fresh, white and sparkly, pretty well untouched.
Love the long shadows and the simplicity.
Rush hour on the main street. There was traffic, but not stop-and-go.
The knocking part, after some investigation, turned out to be this female Downy Woodpecker

The colder weather might last a few more days , then it will be more spring-like. Two friends on Flickr have images of the male Mountain Bluebirds in the area. In the past , the cold and snow killed off a large portion of the Bluebird population and they have been recovering nicely. I hope they survive this cold spell.

A Walk on the River Trail

I took a longer walk this particular day, warm but with a slightly chilly breeze. I was hoping to see Canada Geese, but no luck. I did shoot photos along the way, of things that caught my eye.

Someone made a snow person and put it up on a tree branch

I liked the patterns in this patch of broken ice.
Only got a rear view of this skittish squirrel. It has such a bright red coat.
“Just” a common House Sparrow but he is so handsome in his breeding plumage, I could not pass on the shot.
Finally! A chickadee and a very fast one. I usually prefer to leave out the feeders but I will take what I can get.
Patches of snow on the trail, but I do see signs of spring in the colour of those branches.

It was the longest walk I have gone on this year, and I felt chilled and sore afterward, so a hot bath did me good once I got home. No regrets!