I haven’t seen too many Baltimore Orioles so it was a pleasure to photograph this bird, feeding on the nectar of these flowers. They are among the many migrants to our area each spring.
I took a break from aiming at warblers high in the pine trees when I saw the wood duck. I don’t often see these birds on land and thought the background made for an interesting photo. (I don’t think anyone with me noticed the wood duck, as they had their eyes trained on the quick darting warblers.)
Tall buildings and architectural features aren’t my usual photo subjects. But it’s nice to try new things with my photography which are as much a part of my environment as the woods I love to walk. The sky peering through the towers is still a nod to nature.
The powerful base of The Old Union Station, (now the Senate of Canada), a building I walk by often is impressive for its form and detail.
Following a trail down to the lake one year, I spotted an Iris growing right off the water. I was standing close to the water’s edge, looking for ducks and almost missed the flower tucked to the side. Every June, I follow the same trail down to the lake and continue to see the Iris return each year.
These photos were taken in October at different locations. The first by the river’s edge with low lying vegetation, the second photo of the mallard and his American black duck friend in a forest setting. In the first there is no mistaking the subject, in the second I believe the ducks share the stage with the brilliant fall reflections.
The goldfinch was moving between the late Fall sunflowers, feeding as it went. It seemed to have the field to itself as I saw no other birds around. It was quite acrobatic, most times balancing upside down. I was pleased to get this shot right-side up in perfect natural light.
Nuthatches are flighty birds but this one stayed still for a while so I was able to take several photographs. He wasn’t foraging for insects when I photographed him so he remained upright instead of striking the usual sideways or upside down pose. Although considered quite common I rarely see a red-breasted nuthatch and was very pleased to see this one.
Like many large cities, it’s the small neighbourhoods that make the city feel like home. At street level, past the glass and steel and high-rises. One such neighbourhood is a short distance from where I live. I like the mix of residential and commercial properties, often side by side. A little gritty, a little eclectic. A pleasure to walk in and always something to photograph.
Nothing announces spring like tulips. With their scent, colour and perseverance, they appear soon after the last snow has melted. These photos were taken at Ottawa’s annual Tulip Festival. Given the late spring we’ve had, the tulips are a bit slower to open this year and there are still tulip beds that haven’t completely bloomed. Still though, a beautiful sight.
The first time I photographed a female red winged blackbird I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. The female is so unlike the male in appearance. They are quieter too, often in the underbrush gathering nesting material as this bird was. They do blend in quite well so I was pleased to have taken this shot.
While exploring an unfamiliar neighbourhood we turned into a nearby laneway. I had seen this church from a distance but was unaware that it was in a perfect line of sight. For a moment I imagined myself in the warm mediterranean and not a chilly laneway in a city that has yet to see Spring.
Canada Geese get a lot of mixed reviews. They’re often loud, messy and aggressive, not one of our more popular exports! But when you capture them, with a beautiful fall reflection as background, no complaints here. I hope the geese haven’t moved on yet given the cold snap we’ve had. We’re off to check on them this afternoon and hope to find a few holdouts.
Our favourite reserve was damaged in a destructive windstorm storm last week and is closed to the public for the foreseeable future. We’ll miss the beauty of the place and the animals that call it home. In the meantime we’ve been exploring new trails and spotted this white-throated sparrow along one of them.
I featured this butterfly last month and at the time I thought it was a Fritillary. Someone commenting on the post suggested it might be a a Pearl Crescent and I believe they were right. Identifying butterflies is a talent I am working on. I usually like to capture more of the eye of my subject but in this case I will settle for the butterfly’s beautiful wings. You might notice in these two photos that a bee is collecting pollen on the very same flower the butterfly is on. Perhaps a gentle sign from nature that we should all just get along.
These photos were taken late in the summer when the bees were really stepping up production. They were everywhere you looked and though I had set out to take some bird photographs, I tend to try for whatever is at hand. The light was perfect that morning, and when I saw the bee against the flower. I took some shots. Taken with my 300mm lens and teleconverter, a bit of a challenge at such close range. I was able to get more insect photos well into September because the early fall was nice and mild.
Frogs make excellent subjects, on land or in the water. Sometimes they blend in so well that you might only notice one if it jumps and catches your eye. The Leopard Frog in the first photo, didn’t make any sudden moves, I only noticed it when I was trying to track the flight of an insect. The second photo was taken before a recent rain, when these green frogs were easier to spot because the water was so shallow. I like the spider “tattoo” on its cheek.
At first I thought this was a sparrow but after a bit of research I believe it’s a female red-winged blackbird. Both the male and female blackbirds are striking, although quite dissimilar looking. It’s nice to find something in a photograph that sets it apart, in this case the bird’s head crest adds some interest. The bird was well into the woods when I spotted it so the photograph was quite dark. A few adjustments to the contrast and exposure brightened things up.
The common grackle is another bird I look forward to seeing in the spring. If the lighting is right their colouring is pretty dramatic and their brilliant yellow eyes give them a determined look. It’s always nice to catch a bird doing something, in these shots it appears to be gathering nesting material. Although they cause a lot of crop damage, in the wild they are fun to watch and photograph.
Two weeks ago Yellow-rumped warblers began appearing in large numbers. These photographs were taken over a period of a few days. These birds are another welcome sign of warmer weather and are one of the many birds that pass through on the spring migration. They are colourful and easy to spot but never stay still for long enough. I like the different poses of these three, they seem to be trying to say something.
One of my first blog posts featured a male mallard on the same lake just as the ice was beginning to form. This is another of the shots I took that day. The lighting was particularly nice as the duck gingerly made her way along the ice. I thought the shot would lend itself to black and white and I used Tonality Pro in Photoshop to create the monochrome version. This is one of my first photos in black and white and I will do more in the future as I find it can make for a more detailed and nuanced image.
I took this photograph last summer at the edge of the river. The bird kept flying in and out of the light but I kept my eye on it and this is the result. I love spotting a new bird and hope to see more of this variety over the course of the summer as flycatchers breed here in the warmer months before they migrate south.