Saturday, May 31, 2008

One Single Impression: Freedom

While watching out the window
He shouted with glee!
“I want to catch a bird!”
And at his words a cry came from me

“Oh no, you can’t do that
For birds must be free!”

I spoke almost harshly
And my response surprised even me
But he must learn early
This little boy upon my knee

Of the need to be free
These words were inspired by the word, freedom; which is this week's prompt at the hosting site of One Single Impression .

This photo was taken at Bois-de-L'ile Bizard in Montreal, 2006, and is a combination of two. When downloading the pictures from L'ile Bizard I was taken with the similarities of the path bordered by trees and of an early Vincent VanGogh print which I have. Several years ago I had bought a large sepia print, at a yard sale, of a VanGogh sketch which shows a man walking along a road bordered on both sides by tall, unleaved trees. The VanGogh sketch was the inspiration for placing the figures of the man and boy into the picture on the walking trail. The little boy in the photo was the inspiration for this poem. The photo of the man and boy was also taken at L'ile Bizard the same day.

Northern Parula

Can you see it? Warblers are very difficult to find once the leaves are fully out. The best time for capturing photos of them is just as the leaves are starting to open. I had heard this warbler each morning when I would go for my walk but I couldn't find it! Daily, for the past week I would stand in the meadow looking up into a tall, two storey sized tree at the edge of a huge stand of old Pines and scan the trees for a sight of it. Yesterday I determined to wait it out and finally when I detected movement among the leaves and blossoms I saw it! It was a Northern Parula! This beautiful little woods warbler was easy to identify once I could see it. Its white eye-arcs and the rufous breast band on the yellow throat easily sets it off from other warblers. This might be a male for the colour of the breast band suggests there may be black in it as well and this is a feature of the male of this species. Also characteristic of Northern Parulas is the yellow lower mandible or bottom part of its bill.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: Drama in the Sky:

Drama often follows when conflicting interests arise and such was the case when I watched this Crow harassing a Bald Eagle.
As I watched this aerial conflict begin at a distance; I stopped my vehicle and got out and leaned against it, holding my camera skyward; hoping that the Crow and Eagle would come a bit closer my way, and they did!
The Crow was obviously in pursuit and I could easily see that it was the aggressor. All that the Eagle wanted was to be left alone! This is a second year Bald Eagle and it was not happy about the situation it was in. As I watched the two birds race out of sight the Crow was still following close behind.

My many thanks to Tom Wigley for hosting Sky Watch Friday . For other Sky Watch entries please visit Tom's page.

Within the Pond

The reflections on this small pond often hide what lies below its surface, mirroring what is outward rather than within. But if you take a moment to look you can find myriads of life within. And while taking that second look you might find that perhaps some pond dweller might be taking a look at you too!. This Green Frog chose to ignore my approach, showing a less wary personality than the others. Most often I hear a bleeep, and then a splash, and I know a frog had been there; this one stayed put by the edge of the pond. Other proof that frogs had been there is this tadpole swimming in the yellowish-brown water underneath the pond surface.
However, do not let the tranquil appearance of the pond deceive you; for also within its depths lies danger in the presence of this huge Snapping Turtle sometimes seen there. Plant growth is also beginning to emerge from the bottom of the pond and seen here is a Yellow Pond Lily, still under the water's surface but stretching upward towards the sky, it will soon open its yellow blossom beyond its watery source.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eastern Bluebird

Today, we had in our yard, a bird not often seen: a Beautiful Eastern Bluebird. We have a vacant Bluebird birdhouse, ready for occupancy, and it would be nice if a pair moved in. Once, several years ago, we had seen our first Bluebird pair ever, checking out our garden and yard area one spring afternoon. By the next morning we had built a birdhouse, painted it blue and had it on a post at the edge of our property overlooking a large open lawn area. The pair we had sighted didn't stay that time, but the next year we had a couple move in for a while; but they hadn't stayed long enough for a successful hatching, although there had been obvious nest building activity going on for a while. It has been a couple of years now since we had seen one and so when I returned home from my walk this morning I was very pleasantly surprised to see a male Eastern Bluebird on the overhead power lines. It then moved over to one of our old Maple trees and stayed there just long enough for me to take its picture. Maybe it will be back?

Image Journal

I had heard this handsome little warbler before I saw him. I say, him, for it is a male Common Yellow -throat. Notice its yellow throat; for that is the source of its name. I was quite sure I would find this species sooner or later for it was in the same location where I find them each year. My patience was rewarded and almost before I could con- gratulate myself on my first warbler sighting of the spring; I saw another. A Chestnut-sided Warbler was flying right at me through the nearby foliage and I clicked on the chance of a successful photo on the wing! I had definitely chanced upon a warbling trio for suddenly I glimpsed a bright spot of yellow amongst the leaves, wearing a black top and sporting a yellow eye ring, and I knew it was a Wilson`s Warbler.
Continuing on with my morning walk I stood on a rocky point overlooking the river and saw three White-tailed Deer crossing to an island there. This is a location in the river where just upstream are rapids and falls and this is a favourite fishing spot for Osprey and Gulls. Glancing upward I was not surprised to see an Osprey circling overhead.
Returning homeward I stopped in a lane to search for more warblers. I saw no warblers but while standing there two beautiful, grey Catbirds flew in and silently perched in a nearby tree. When I had left home I had noticed our pair of resident Tree Swallows were busy collecting materials for their nest building within our swallow bird house that they have claimed. Thinking of these swallows prompted me to glance upward at an old Cliff Swallow nest in the eave of a nearby building and I was happily surprised to see one sitting in the opening of the old mud nest. Wow... what a treasure trove of so many wonderful birds sightings and the day was just starting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reflections Upon a Cat

through a pane of glass
reflections upon a cat
showing out within
This haiku was inspired by the word 'reflection'; which is this week's prompt at the hosting site of One Single Impression .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

American Bittern

He saw it first and said, "Look" I glanced toward the shore of the pond and seeing the tall, vase-shaped bird standing there, said, "Heron". Then, while he was searching under the truck seat for his binoculars, I found it again through the lens of my camera and said, "Bittern".

It must have been aware of us too for it stood motionless, with its bill pointed upward, as Bitterns do, when they sense they are being watched. We were lucky to see this large wading bird so fully out in the open, for often Bitterns are more hidden among tall grasses around marshes and ponds; as is this one shown above, in an older photo from my picture archives.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snow Geese - Sky Watch Friday

This week I went back in time, to my photo archives, and found these Snow Geese flying over St. Jean Port Joli, along the St. Lawrence River in the province of Quebec. I am always a sky watcher when I travel through that region as that location is within one of the main flyways for Snow Geese.
Thanks to Tom Wigley for hosting Sky Watch Friday .

Pileated Woodpecker Over the River

Usually difficult to track while in motion, I spied this large woodpecker crossing the river, flying towards me as I sat on the opposite shore.The Pileated Woodpecker is a strong flyer and unaware that he had an audience I was able to watch its 'rowing' motion as it flew over the open water.

Row, row, row..... glide.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

It is not at all difficult to understand where the name for this handsome little humming -bird came from for the ruby-throat on this male is outstanding! The female, as is the case in most
bird species, takes on a lesser beauty and lacks the ruby-throat. The ruby-throat of the male is not always observed as sometimes the iridescence of the red is not seen, due to the lighting or the angle from which it is viewed, and only a dark patch at its throat is shown; as is illustrated in the photo the left.
We had missed the arrival of the first hummingbirds this year as we had been away for a week and actually had forgotten that they were due to return; but upon arriving home it was not long before we saw one hovering outside our window. Within just a short period of time I had made up a batch of food and had it hanging in its usual location in our feeder area. It was only a couple of minutes after, that we were rewarded with the sight of a male enjoying the feast.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird species common in this region.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

R is for Rainbow.... ABC Wednesday

R is for Rainbow
awesome sky overhead
showering optimism
dampened spirits vanish

and also for Roy G. Biv:
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
and for *Richard of York, on the other side of the big water:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
* thanks Mo for your informative comment

Thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for hosting ABC Wednesday.

Spotted Sandpiper

This photo above serves to illustrates well the family that Spotted Sandpipers belong to: Shorebirds. Found in open view along the rocky shore this Spotted Sandpiper, while foraging for food, had found a worm. This 'spotted' sandpiper takes it name from the spots displayed on its breast during its adult breeding stage. The spots will disappear during its non-breeding stage and by the end of the summer this Spotted Sandpiper will display a clear white breast.