Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Robin Surprise!

I must always remind myself that a sighting that is rather unique at this time of year in my area is not so exciting to others in other regions. But to see four large fat Robins land at the top of our High Bush Cranberry tree was an unexpected and unusual sighting this morning from my window! Wow! However I suppose I should clarify a bit by adding that with the changes in our climate and our days of above freezing temps this winter I guess it is not all that unexpected anymore. But many, many years ago, when I was a kid, that would never have happened!They were beautiful and fat and so colourful among the cranberries. But they were also fleeting and it took them only a moment to realize that the attractive red berries that looked so great at a distance were not all that tasty and not to their liking; and they were off again almost as soon as they arrived. But the glimpse of them was a wonderful moment and this one photo I captured was like a breath of spring on this late December day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

To all celebrating holidays at this time of year I would like to wish you all the best of times!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Welcome Winter

Needles of pine quilt a soft warm blanket using
hushed hues of faded browns and yawning yellows
as Autumn prepares its winter bed

Northern vagabonds of wind and snow
whistle a warning lullaby of winter's approach
and Autumn falls asleep upon a soft white pillow

As a white blanket covers the land

these photos are from my winter archives, taken a previous time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

American Tree Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow

We presently have two sparrow species coming to our feeders and yesterday they were represented by one of each. We still have the one single Chipping Sparrow visiting daily and probably just one, or at the most two American Tree Sparrows.
When seen separately you might get these two a bit confused but when side by side, (which they are here by the magic of photo editing), you can see a difference in colouring and shading although the pattern on each is quite similar. A noticeable difference however, characteristic of the Tree Sparrow, is its bicoloured bill with the bottom part being yellow. And from this latter bit of information you should be able to id the sparrow on the right as the Tree Sparrow. An American Tree Sparrow also has a dark center spot on its breast.During a snowstorm the seed supply often gets covered with snow so I put a container filled with seeds on its side and in this way much of the supply remained dry throughout the day. Seen above is the Chipping Sparrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ruffed Grouse: for Bird Photography Weekly

Another road side find on the weekend was this Ruffed Grouse. I saw it sitting in a driveway when driving by so I stopped further down the road and turned. Before driving back up the road I rolled down my car window and got my camera ready for I know from experience these birds can sometimes take of in a hurry - like a shot! This one looked at me a bit suspiciously but then just ambled along slowly picking up gravel as it went along. Grouse will eat gravel to help them in digesting their food. My most frequent sightings of this bird is often at the beginning of a side road or driveways where gravel can be found.

Interested in viewing other bird photos, check out this Bird Photography Meme here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gray Jays Continued

Yesterday I had posted some pictures of a Gray Jay I had seen along the highway this past weekend. From comments left by some viewers I realize that this is a bird not commonly viewed by many so I have included a couple of previous posts made in February '08 which includes a bit more information about this very interesting forest jay.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Gray Jay, aka: Canada Jay

This gray and white bird, one of the smallest
jays, is a bird found in our coniferous forests all year round. I see it most frequently in the wintertime when I am driving through wooded roads, and often observe it flying from one side of the road to the other. In my research I was surprised to learn that this species will soon be at work nest building. The Gray Jay will build a new nest in February or early March over a three week period. After its completion the female will lay from two to five pale, green, speckled eggs and then sit upon them, sometimes in snow covered surroundings.

A bird of many names, this Gray Jay also is known as the Whiskey Jack, a Canada Jay, and Camp Robber. The name 'Camp Robber', being derived from its habit of hanging around wood's camps and helping itself to any available food it might find there. Here in New Brunswick this jay is commonly referred to as a Gorby or Moosebird.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two Gray Jays Feeding Along the Roadside

This perky looking, not so shy, Gray Jay, looks as delighted to have found this food as I was delighted to have found them. Swooping in from the trees on both sides of the road; these gregarious, boreal forest birds delved into this tasty treat of bread slices that some kind passerby had thrown onto the roadside. And as soon as their beaks were full, they would return to the trees lining the roadside. Gray Jays store large amounts of food by 'gluing' particles to tree branches with the sticky saliva found in their beaks. At this time of year, late February or early March, this species is preparing to begin nesting and large amounts of stored food provide a much needed food source for them during this winter brooding period. Each time I saw one of the jays fly off with food in their mouths I couldn't help but visualize them 'gluing' the bread pieces to the tree branches above, for they were soon back again for more.
A Gray Jay along the roadside.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gray Jay

If those of you who had seen yesterday's posting of a cute, little, fluffy American Goldfinch were ready to give it the 'sweetest looking bird ever' award, you might want to first take a look at today's treasure. This is an adult taiga Gray Jay and if there was a 'teddy bear- like' bird award, I think I would give it to this friendly, inquisitive jay.Yesterday, while driving along a wooded, secondary highway I spied this Gray Jay perched high on a tree branch along the road side. I stopped my car and backed up while it was still in the tree. Trying to quickly roll down the window and get my camera ready it started to fly, but instead of going away it flew directly at me and then perched on a branch just above my car. I was so lucky. I got out of the car and standing beside it I was able to take several very close pictures.

Having decided I had taken enough pictures, I left while this jay was still in the Birch Tree.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Experiencing Snow : for Camera Critters

I wonder if this might be the first winter for this little American Goldfinch to experience snow. I believe it is a male for it retains a bit of its strong yellow colour around its throat although it is not in full breeding colours. The female at this time of year wears a dull, grayish - brownish colour overall.
My appreciative thanks to Misty for hosting this site. To see other participant's photo contributions just click HERE or on the Camera Critters logo on the side panel.

Friday, December 12, 2008

One Lone Chipping Sparrow

I have had one lone Chipping Sparrow feeding at my feeders every day for the past few weeks now. Why is it still here? I watch for it each day and my haste in refilling the feeders each morning is with it in mind. I watched a Tree Sparrow yesterday and as I glanced away, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dark shadow swoop in and around, then it was gone. The shadow was probably a hawk, and just one lone feather drifted down upon the snow leaving an emptiness where the Tree Sparrow had been. A bird's life is very precarious.
Our weather has been varying from one extreme to another. Some nights it has been -18 º Celsius (about 0 º Fahrenheit), or more, and the ground has been snow covered. Then the next day we have experienced temperatures in the plus teens. Our ground has been snow covered three times, then the high temperatures have melted the snow away and I see the green grass of my lawn once more. This morning it is snow covered again, but there is a freezing rain warning out and a +12º Celsius (or 53 º Fahrenheit) is predicted for later in the day. By tomorrow our snow will be gone once more.

How is this little songbird managing to survive these weather extremes and dangers of such a season ? I watch for it each day out my window. And here is my most recent photo of the Chipping Sparrow below, taken this morning. Its still here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three American Goldfinch : for Thursday's Challenge

Three of anything, is this week's photographic theme for Thursday's Challenge. To view more photos posted on this theme, or to join in on the fun yourself, just 'click' on the highlighted name.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Starling on the Snow

In Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Pied Beauty, he wrote;
"Glory be to God for dappled things".

I found pied beauty in this Starling on the stippled snow .

A Watery Landing: for Watery Wednesday

I thought these photos of this gull coming in for a landing fit in well with the theme of Watery Wednesday. Although this might look warm, it was in reality a cold, blustery day at Saints Rest Marsh, along the Bay of Fundy in Saint John. My appreciative thanks to 2sweetnsaxy for hosting this meme.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blue Jays

Blue Jays! They're everywhere, looking for food! At -18 C this morning, with temperature rising slowly, we have birds everywhere. Tomorrow the forecast is calling for +11C and rain. Its seems to be that kind of pre-winter. This has been our third snowfall, the previous two have melted away. We shall see tomorrow if this white ground cover we presently have will disappear also.
I enjoy photo editing. Above three Blue Jays from three different photos, merged into one.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

White-throated Sparrow ::: for Camera Critters

The strong, late afternoon light which I love at this time of year, highlighted the colour and pattern on this small, unexpected sparrow visitor, making its distinctive yellow lores and white bib easily recognizable as that of belonging to a White-throated Sparrow. I was surprised to see it at Bird Alley for I had expected that most all of this species had left for more southern climes a few weeks ago.
My appreciative thanks to Misty for hosting this site. To see other participant's photo contributions just click HERE or on the Camera Critters logo on the side panel.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Incoming Tide: for Watery Wednesday

We arrived at Saints Rest Beach today at just the right time to see the magnificence of the incoming tides of the Bay of Fundy. The wind played havoc with both the spray and the gulls flying above, creating a most powerful scene when waves and beach met.

Saints Rest Beach is adjacent to Saint Rest Marsh and is part of the Irving Nature Park located in Saint John, NB
I thought these photos of the incoming Fundy tide fit in well with the theme of Watery Wednesday. My appreciative thanks to 2sweetnsaxy for hosting this meme.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Squirrel Thoughts

How do they do it ???

There's something missing from this puzzle!