BELINDA GROVER PHOTOGRAPHY

STOPS ALONG THE WAY


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CHIPMUNK (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

I think this was a young chipmunk as it stayed quite close and watched me as I took some photographs of him. Young animals seem quite curious, this one was. I hope it grows up quickly because there’s a lot of danger lurking nearby.


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ALL EYES

Squirrel

While walking through the woods if you feel eyes on you, chances are one of these characters is watching you approach. Sometimes the squirrel will run off but often it will remain and and fix you with a look, like this one did.


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RED SQUIRREL

Red SquirrelI’ve featured quite a few photos of red squirrels. I find them very attractive, for their looks and lively temperament. This one was enjoying a snack by a well stocked feeder. The birds often scatter a lot of seeds on the ground, leaving tasty leftovers for the taking.


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EASY LIVING

Red SquirrelIn mid summer, the living is easy for animals in our local reserve. At least it’s easier for this red squirrel than it is now with the approach of winter. The squirrels were busy in the fall hiding their winter provisions. This along with people feeding them, will help them make do until spring.


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RED SQUIRREL

Red SquirrelIt’s nearly fall and time to get busy collecting food for the approaching winter. This squirrel was taking time out for a quick snack. Under the feeder the ground is littered with spent sunflower seeds. Occasionally though an intact seed falls to the ground for the lucky few.


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RED SQUIRREL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Red Squirrel

The area under the feeder was carpeted with empty shells but there must have been a few seeds remaining for the red squirrel to eat. He was sharing the space with a few  sparrows also looking for seeds dropped by the bigger birds.

Red Squirrel-2


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GROUNDHOG (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Groundhog-2This groundhog was taken from a distance which might explain his confidant stare. Normally they run away or stand motionless hoping to blend in to their surroundings. This is a city groundhog, I found his burrow close to a water treatment plant. A lucky find indeed.

Groundhog


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VOLE (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Vole-2Field mice or voles, there is something pretty endearing about these little rodents. I’ve only seen the one and have featured it before though in different poses. They have a tough time of it as they’re prey to raptors and other mammals.

Vole


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EASTERN GREY

SquirrelAlthough this photo was taken in November, the trees were bare and the sky overcast. It looks more like mid winter than late fall. Of all the squirrels in our woods this variety of eastern grey is the most watchful.


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GROUNDHOG

GroundhogA bit late for a Groundhog Day post and too early to spot one out of its den. Groundhogs hibernate until March or April in our climate. No friend to farmers or gardeners as their burrowing can do serious damage and they like to feed off crops. They are cute rodents though and are funny when they freeze in plain sight as this one did.


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IT’S ALL RELATIVE (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Vole

This cute little rodent is a relative of the mouse and is commonly called a vole or field mouse. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen and I was able to take a number of photographs as he was unaware of or unconcerned by my presence.  He might have been a young animal that had not yet developed a sense of fear. I watched him for a while and then left him to his ramble.

Vole 2


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RED SQUIRREL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Red Squirrel

We saw more red squirrels last year than usual. They’re feisty, will often stand their ground with people and tend to chase the larger grey squirrels out of their territory.  What they lack in size they make up for in temperament. We’ve had a prolonged period of extreme cold lately and you have to marvel at the toughness of these little creatures.

Red Squirrel-2


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EASTERN COTTONTAIL

Cottontails are known to come out at twilight or once it’s dark when it’s safer for them to feed, although I spot them during the day from time to time. Cottontails are solitary and territorial and I’ve never seen more than one at any one time. I  approached this rabbit slowly. He was curious but didn’t seem wary of me. I took a quick photo and left him to the spring grass.


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EASTERN GREY SQUIRREL

Before the snow arrived in mid-December there were still pine cones and seeds for the taking. Between storing food for the winter ahead, this eastern grey squirrel stopped for a bite. The trees were bare and provided little colour to warm the scene. I liked the way the black and white treatment brought out the detail and texture.


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RED SQUIRRELS (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

The first photo was taken in the fall and the second barely a month later; the landscape changes rapidly with the seasons. Red squirrels can be found all year long and seem to shadow you in the winter when food is scarce. In the photo below the squirrel found the seeds that someone had left and stayed put as I approached. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I took this photo and then left him to his meal.

 


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RED SQUIRREL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

They are our smallest squirrels and yet the most assertive of the lot. It’s funny to see red squirrels chase the larger greys around the park. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re territorial or they just enjoy it. Maybe it’s a bit of both. This little guy was giving me the eye, I blinked first and moved along.


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DOG AND CAT TALE (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

When I get out early enough I often catch the passing parade of people walking their pets. Usually dogs, sometimes a cat or two , and even the occasional ferret. When they’re not being walked you often see them waiting for their owners to return as is the case in these photographs. Dogs tend to look alert and baleful, while cats look rather cool and collected.


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CHIPMUNK

We’ve seen more chipmunks than usual this summer. Two reasons for this I imagine – their food sources are plentiful and we’ve seen fewer of their natural enemies in the woods, hawks and owls. This little guy was enjoying a snack and judging from his full cheeks hadn’t finished consuming an earlier one.


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ONE FOR DINNER (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Raccoons will eat practically anything, in this case the raccoon was eating some feed that had been left for the birds and squirrels. He was having a fine time of it as we approached along the trail. I have never encountered a raccoon this close up before or one so well fed and relaxed. He ate happily and only left when someone else came along.


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CHIPMUNK (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

We don’t see too many chipmunks anymore. They’re outnumbered by red and grey squirrels. I was happy to see this little fellow enjoying his cracker with no competition from the bigger guys. It looks like his snack just fell out of a picnic basket, his for the asking.


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SPRING COTTONTAIL

I came across this rabbit as he was feeding on winter grass that was slowly coming back to life. We spotted each other at about the same time. As I was moving quietly and gave him plenty of space he watched me for a few moments and then went back to his meal. I took a few photos and then left him to it.


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WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

It was mid March last year when I took this photo. A long winter was drawing to a close and more people were out in the woods enjoying the milder weather and bearing gifts for the locals. This squirrel was enjoying the bounty and neither this photographer nor any competition was going to move him along.


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RED AND GREY (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Both of these squirrels are well represented in our woods. The red squirrel looked like a young one, relaxed as he ate his snack. Maybe he thought I couldn’t see him with the branches providing a bit of cover. The black eastern grey squirrels are more common here than the grey variety and he was more on the alert than the red.


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MEADOW VOLE (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Like many kids growing up, I loved The “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. This gentle looking meadow vole reminded me of this childhood favourite. We stood and watched as it munched its way along the lakefront, not giving us a second look. We were lucky to see one as they’re mainly active at night.


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WINTER WOODS

Red squirrels are shyer than grey squirrels except in winter when food is scarce. They watch you closely as you walk along hoping for a snack. I had nothing with me that day and felt kind of badly as I did my rounds. Someone ahead of me had left a trail of seeds and nuts though and it wasn’t long before the squirrel was eating his fill.


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SPRING COTTONTAIL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

We came upon this cottontail in a less travelled area of the park. They usually freeze in place when they see us (which this one did) or run away. The rabbit must have been pretty pleased with this patch of grass because he held his ground. We took a few photographs and then left him to his lunch.


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RED SQUIRRELS (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

The calendar indicates it’s still fall but it sure looks like winter in the first photo. The second shot was taken in the same location in mid-Spring. It’s tough going for these little guys right now. I hope their stockpiles of food hold out, augmented by kindly passersby.


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YOUNG RED SQUIRREL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

By this time in May we usually see a lot of young birds in the woods and on the water. Given the below normal temperatures in our area and heavy spring flooding the natural cycle has been delayed by a few weeks. Squirrels don’t seem to have been effected though as we’ve some young about. This young squirrel wasn’t scared off by my presence. He kept an eye on me but held his ground (and his nut) while I photographed him. I took a few shots and then I left him to it.


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RASCALLY RABBIT

The path we were on led to a field bordered by some underbrush. While looking around, this Cottontail appeared. At first it froze in place and then not bothered by our presence continued feeding; glancing in our direction from time to time. I thought it must have been rather young and trusting to react this way. I took a few shots before he decided to move along.


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SNACK TIME (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

I’ve featured black eastern grey squirrels before. They’re particularly attractive subjects in the fall with the autumn leaves as backdrop. These squirrels are usually skittish. Although he kept a watchful eye on me, nothing was going to disturb him from his snack. As winter was fast approaching and food was harder to come by every bite counted.


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BASHFUL (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

Occasionally we come across eastern cottontails on our walks. The first photo was taken in a wildlife garden. I startled the rabbit as he was eating, it looks like he was trying to hide behind the flower, not too successfully though. I managed to take a shot before he ran off. The rabbit in the second photo looks like a young one. He’s up early, the morning dew is still on the grass. When the sunlight hits their ears they light up like beacons. I just love that!


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RED SQUIRRELS (TWO PHOTOGRAPHS)

red-squirrel-2

The red squirrels had a good year at the reserve and we saw more of them than in the past. They are smaller than the eastern greys but what they lack in size they make up for in temperament. They often chase the larger squirrels around; are known to be feisty and very territorial. These squirrels make for fine subjects particularly in the fall when the woods wear a similar colour to their own.

red-squirrel-1


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PERSPECTIVE

ground-hog-2

I think this groundhog noticed me before I saw him. He was half in his burrow and kept a wary eye on me as I walked along. I see them quite often within the city limits, in open fields and in public gardens. Groundhogs dig deep burrows and one misplaced step can land you on their doorstep. I can well understand that farmers and gardeners consider them pests as they graze on vegetables and crops and can leave the ground weak where they tunnel. However, not being either, I rather like them. It all depends on your perspective I guess. They are also one of Canada’s true hibernators, fattening up in the fall and hibernating when the temperatures dip.


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TIME OUT

raccoon

There’s a large tree in the reserve which the local raccoons have claimed as their own. On hot summer days we’ve seen them stretched out on the limbs of the tree, waiting for the hint of a breeze. Clever animals, as we push our way through the humid air… The light on the raccoon and tree trunk were very harsh. A few adjustments in Lightroom to the exposure, highlights, contrast and shadows corrected this.