Tuesday, September 30, 2008

K is for Kingbird and Kingfisher: ABC Wednesday Round #3

The Eastern Kingbird is distinguished from other Kingbirds by a white tip on the end of its black tail. Kingbirds feed on insects.

The Belted Kingfisher is the second bird shown here with a 'KING' in its name. Kingfishers are fish eating birds and these beautiful creatures plunge into the water head first in search of their prey. I always know when a Kingfisher is around for I am alerted to its presence by its harsh clattering sound.
My appreciation and thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for hosting ABC Wednesday Round 3. To view more ABC Wednesday posts via Mr. Linky please click HERE. For viewing the new format of ABC Wednesday Round 3 where all posts can be seen in the same place, please click HERE

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ruby Tuesday .. the Beauty of Autumn Leaves

The first three photos were taken today and yesterday; the last is an old favourite of mine taken several years ago and was scanned from a 35 mm print. The autumn colours are glorious and I cannot resist taking pictures of them each day!
To check out other Ruby Tuesday postings, just click HERE, or click on the Ruby on the side bar. My appreciative thanks to Mary/the teach for hosting this site.

Today's Flowers in My Garden

Thank you to Luiz, of Todays Flowers, for this opportunity to share beautiful flowers with others. For more flower photos please click HERE.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Woodpeckers at My Feeders

After not having seen much of this Woodpecker species all summer, Mr. Hairy Woodpecker is back at our feeder area now feasting daily on peanuts. I refer to this bird shown above as Mr., simply to indicate it is the male of the species. The male Hairy Woodpecker has a red patch on the back of its head as does this one in the first two pictures. Shown below is a Downy Woodpecker and this one is a female, for just like the Hairy Woodpecker species, the red patch on the back of the head denotes that it is a male, but in this case, you can see no indication of red on the Downy pictured so we know it is a female.
The Hairy and Downy Woodpecker appear very similar in markings but there are three things that I look for when deciding which species I am looking at. The first is size as the Hairy is larger than the Downy. Just compare the size of the Hairy shown below in relation to the feeder cylinder, to the photo of the Downy above at the same peanut feeder. The Hairy also has a large long bill whereas the Downy has a small bill, and bill size is the second characteristic that I look
The third thing I always look for are the little black marks that look like 'dashes' on the underside of the Downy's tail. If they are not there then it is a Hairy Wood- pecker for the Hairy does not have these undertail markings. The last photo shown here is of a female Downy Woodpecker.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Camera Critters Still About

This is a wonderful time of year for walking and each day we have been wandering around making note of all the little creatures that are still here. I saw Spotted Sandpipers in the river the other day and a few Wood Ducks off in secluded corners of the river. Also a Great Blue Heron rose from the marsh in such beauty and haste that it surprised me totally. I saw a Monarch butterfly on asters by the railroad tracks and I think it must have been a brand new one, for its colours were so fresh and intense, and its wings looked like they still had fold wrinkles left from its time in the crystalis stage.
While standing on the railroad footbridge, leaning on the railing I noticed that we were sharing it with an Eastern Phoebe which was standing on it further down at the other end. It didn't seem to mind us being there and stood quietly while I was able to take quite a few pictures of it. Each day now I am seeing Common Mergansers in our river. Woodpeckers, both the little Downeys and the larger Hairy have now returned to our feeder area and we continue to note seasonal changes each day.
This is my contribution today to Camera Critters. 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.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Goldfinch and Berries: for Skywatch Friday

The intense blue sky and the strong, morning light highlighted the yellow of the Goldfinch and the ripe reds of the berries of the Mountain Ash tree in our garden; a reminder that it is now autumn. A blur in the background, our white Tree Swallow house, is a reminder of summer past.
My appreciative thanks to Tom, Sandy, Imax and Klaus for hosting Sky Watch Friday .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Male Common Merganser: Watery Wednesday

The photos in this post are not new. Most of them were taken in the springs of other years, but I chose them as they are a visual follow up to the female of the Common Merganser species shown in the previous post, and to show the differences in the appearances of the male and female. Spring is the time when you would most often see the male and female of this species together so I really have no current pictures of this species together at this time of year. Also, as these male Common Mergansers are seen in a watery environment, I thought these photos appropriate for a posting to Watery Wednesday as they fit in well with the theme of Watery Wednesday, a new meme started just last week by 2sweetnsaxy at her Eyes Mind Heart blog.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Water Reflections: for Ruby Tuesday

While out walking this morning I chanced to see two female Common Mergansers in the river. While taking their pictures I was wondering to myself if their reddish heads might qualify as a red for a Ruby Tuesday post, for I didn't have anything else in mind for today's posting. However, the qualifying, or not, issue, flew from my head as I downloaded my photos and saw the beautiful red reflections in the water from the colourful autumn leaves on the trees which lined the shore.

To check out other Ruby Tuesday postings, just click HERE, or click on the Ruby on the side bar. My appreciative thanks to Mary/the teach for hosting this site.

Cabbage Whites

The woods and roadsides are scattered with Asters
beautiful blues accenting the late summer Goldenrod
and fluttering Cabbage Whites and Common Yellows
flit about in the afternoon sun with programmed purpose

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eastern Phoebe

Its not often that I have an opportunity to get very close to an Eastern Phoebe but yesterday, while looking out at our feeder area, I saw a butterfly flutter by and I grabbed my camera and went out into our garden to see if I could find it. I didn't see the butterfly again but I did see a bird fly and land on the roof of my neighbour's storage shed. Right away I was sure it was some sort of flycatcher but thought it was too large to be a Phoebe for it seemed larger than what my perception of this species' size was. However when looking in my field guides, both Sibley and Peterson's, I could easily identified it as an Eastern Phoebe and I found that this bird is about 7 inches in length, larger than I had originally thought.The totally black bill, the dark head and the weak wing bars all led me to its identification. Also the dark smudges on the sides of its light breast indicated to me that this was an adult.One of my favourite Phoebe photos is shown below. Taken on September 22, 2006 this distant view picks up the yellowish belly of a juvenille Eastern Phoebe. The blur and distortion of the background highlights some of the colourful autumn leaves at this time of year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Road: for Photo Hunters

the shadow of my car
created by the early evening light
led me home
For more photos on this weeks theme of 'road' just click on Photo Hunter or you many click on the icon in the side bar. My thanks to tnchick for hosting this site. Happy Photo Hunting to all!
This photo was taken in October, 2007

Pine Siskin

I find that I often think of the Pine Siskin as a rather nondescript little bird, but that perhaps is a mistaken assumption on my part. They most often seem to be among a flock of American Goldfinch, or later in the season, with Common Redpolls; and both the Goldfinch and Redpolls have a flashier, more attractive presence I think. Although the male and female Pine Siskin look very much alike the male has overall, more yellow on its body. I am assuming that the Siskin pictured above, with it obvious yellow, is a male. The female has more of an overall, streaked brown appear -ance. We haven't had many Pine Siskins at our feeders over the past year but a week or so ago two or three have shown up at our feeders with a flock of American Goldfinch. Its characteristic slender, pointed bill can be easily seen in the photo below.This Pine Siskin shown above is perhaps a female.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Cloudy Day: Sky Watch Friday

My appreciative thanks to Tom, Sandy, Imax and Klaus for hosting Sky Watch Friday .

Can a Chipmunk Swim?

I think probably most people in North American are familiar with Chipmunks, or at least have heard of them. Let's see, what do we know about them? Well, first of all I think they're cute, and the one pictured here is what we call our resident Chipmunk, for we figure it lives under our garden shed. Chipmunks are members of the Squirrel family but while squirrels make their nests in hollow trees or among tree branches, Chipmunks live in underground burrows. This small mammal, of about 9 1/2 inches long, is easily identified by the seven stripes on its back, five dark and two light.

But back to my title question and why do I ask? And why do I answer my own question of, "Can Chipmunks swim?," by saying, "Yes".Well if you saw a Chipmunk on a rock in the middle of the river you would wonder too. How did it get there? It looks quite spry and healthy so I don't think it was prey of a large bird that might have dropped it there. And if dropped could it have been so lucky as to land on a small rock in the middle of a fair sized stream of water? I think it must have swam there.
I stumbled upon this Chipmunk on a rock, in the middle of a river just by chance. While standing beside the river the other day I noticed that the water was breaking in a V shape around a small object, and I had wondered if it might be a duck swimming in the water upstream. I never carry binoculars so I took a look, and a picture, through my telephoto lens to bring it closer in sight and concluded that it was only a rock. Only after I was back home downloading pictures did I see that on another rock, closer to the lower left in the photo above, was a Chipmunk!

What a fun and surprising discovery this was!