Friday, February 29, 2008

Portrait of a Herring Gull

Maybe a fluffy white Easter Chick, or a child's plush toy left behind on a pier? Nope, none of the above for this is just a regular, everyday, common Herring Gull. But what you see, from where you sit, or in this case, stand, can often can give a unique viewing. I really have never thought of a Herring Gull as cuddly but this one looks like it could fit into that catagory. For a closer reality check however, the photo to the left, above, gives the more common view that we are used to seeing. The Herring Gull is the most common gull that I see; then running a close second would be a Ring-billed Gull, and third would be the Greater Black-backed Gull.

Breakwater Cat

Can you see it? I didn't right away but my husband did. At first; finding this black and white cat sitting among the black and white and gray rocks of this ocean breakwater was as difficult as finding a white rabbit in the winter on a snowbank!
What a handsome cat this was! Perhaps it is a feral cat, a creature of the wild? It had a bit of an unkempt, wild air about it; or perhaps it was just out for a daily hunt and lived at the house just up around the bend.
editing note: March 1st
I thought this might be a good place to insert this picture below. This is one of my favourites, of two cats looking our window watching a Raccoon at one of our feeders. This picture also ties in well with the (previous), following post on Raccoons.... sort of like a last transitional sentence in a paragraph. :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Raccoons in the Snow

I had driven to this location yesterday, on the wild chance that I might sight a very early Common Goldeneye in the opening river there. However, no Goldeneyes, but Raccoons, yes! Not one, but two, foraging in a large, open field alongside the river adjacent to the highway. They were a distance away but one seemed to notice my parked car and slunk low in the grass as if undecided as to what to do; it's body posture reminded me of a cat. At one point it turned and headed for the woods behind it in the far distance, but then following the lead of the other, changed its mind and climbing the snowbank together they then proceeded to cross the road in front of me.
Once on the other side the shyer of the two immed -iately sought cover by climbing a big, old, spreading tree, while the other was successful in its continued hunt for food. Here it is pictured below; munching on an apple that it had found.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two Crows Joy

There is a lot of joyfullness in the air during this time of year and you can see it in the activities of the Crows with their chasing and tumbling and aerial acrobatics. I stopped by the roadside the other day and took this photo of two Crows high in the treetops within this beautiful blue skyscape, while the childhood recitiation; .... One Crow sorrow, two Crows joy, three Crows a letter.... ran through my head.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Likin' Lichens

Lichens are fungus, and can be found on decaying wood, mossy logs, and in this case, as shown above, on an old tree stump. These very showy British Soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella), having taken their name from the red uniforms worn by British soliders during the American Revolut -ionary War, are by far my favourites. They are very small and when finding them on the ground in patches of moss I have often gotten down on my hands and knees in order to take their pictures. Lichens are also found on tree trunks and branches and come in a wide variety of shapes, textures, sizes and colours. Its really easy to develop a liking for lichens!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Personifications of a River Break-Up

As a child, the time of the 'ice going out' was always an anticipated event.

I can remember my brothers and I lined up by the old fence on the top of the hill; watching and listening to the drama of the powerful ice floes floating by in the river below.

This time of year, when the end of a long, cold, snowy winter is in sight; the changes taking place in the river ice are always strong reminders that there is definitely a seasonal change in the air.

The River Break Up

Pelting rains and furious winds
spurned slothful winter

and woodland streams swelled their banks
with prideful freedom

while disintegrating river ice abandoned its frozen grasp
and stretched its icy fingers towards the shore

geometric ice shapes played
layering and shuffling games

while jockeying for positions
along the swollen river banks

as tranquil mainstream remained in its solidity
reflecting in the strengthening afternoon sun

hillside grasses and dry stalks overlooked the changing scene
while springtime memories stirred in their roots

and jubilant waves and rushing rapids
raced down the river and disappeared around the bend.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

This was an awesome sight and well worth waiting for!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Flock of Pigeons

I often find that when I am looking at a murder of crows, a charm of finches, or perhaps a gaggle of geese, or a host of sparrows, I often dismiss the many to focus on the one; or just a few. And this was exactly the case a few days ago when I was trying to focus on a hawk in a nearby tree. A flock of Pigeons, which regularly roost on the ridgepole of a nearby barn, were in flight circling above the field to the right, while I was watching the hawk in a tree to the left. The hawk having flown off, without me getting any successful pictures, I turned to the right and aimed my camera at the sky and the circling flock of Pigeons for no other reason than to just take a few pictures of something.
After returning home and downloading the photos I found much beauty in the images of this flock of Pigeons in flight. A lesson learned; hesitate less, and take more pictures.

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.