Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Petals & Wings

Just a few more images of flowers and birds which I've taken over the past few days.

Flowers for Mother's Day from my younger son, Alex. This along with a hanging basket will help brighten up my front yard. His card to me read "To the most metal Mom out there. Love, Alex" If you're familiar with my boy, you'd know that that was the best compliment he could ever give me. Totally inaccurate, but high praise nonetheless. Thanks, Alex!

The lilacs in my back yard are coming along very slowly, so I wandered over to another location to snap this shot. Lilac is one of my all-time favourite smells.

Dandelions, on the other hand, are growing just fine in my back yard.

Gee, any guesses as to why? Click to enlarge for detail.

Having some fun with my macro setting. Make a wish!

Wandering around my local park, I came upon this wary robin which had just caught a small worm (click to enlarge). A second later it was gone, along with its dinner.

Moving along, I found these three geese standing in line at the top of the dam, at a nearby pond.

Later in the week, I noticed this bird perched upon one of the concrete structures which appeared behind the geese. It was flapping its wings in place, and resting occasionally, but always with its wings outstretched. After checking a few sources, I eventually learned that it was a Double-crested Cormorant - a bird that is quite familiar to many, it seems, but one that I've never seen before.

I learned that its wings will not repel water as with other water birds. Water absorption allows the Cormorant to dive and remain submerged, in order to hunt for fish. It then needs to dry its wings, and does so by flapping and holding them open.

I stood there for so long that the bird eventually turned around and took notice. Please remember to click the photos to enlarge.

A different day, our friend the Great Blue Heron made a return visit. It landed by the shore, but soon waded into the water when it knew I was hoping to get closer. It returns most days around five p.m. so I hope to get more chances to photograph this beautiful bird.


Frank Baron said...

Hate to be the one to tell you Hil but Alex left out the "n."


Great shots...even though cormorants give me the creeps. :)

Kat said...

Alright. That settles it. I need a new camera. The detail on that dandelion is amazing. Just absolutely gorgeous shots. And I love the way the ducks are almost perfectly spaced on that dam. Wow. Great job. AGAIN!

Frank- heh heh

Jo said...

Oh no, I'm channeling Frank...at first I read "mental" & started laughing! But then I realized, that's more like a card I would get :P Being the "most metal" really is high praise...and very sweet coming from your rocker :)

The dandelion shots are so very pretty, Hil. In Wisconsin everyone was obsessed with trying to get rid of them but I could never resist blowing those perfect round puffers.

Tamie said...

Okay... I'm feeling jealous now :(

Not only of your obvious skill and knowledge but of those beautiful bids and water fowl. Can you send some my way?

BTW when I loaded this post the bouquet at the top loaded so slow at first I thought it was a bunch of bananas on a hook.

I absolutely love the white dandilion shot. Is there another name for them when they're in that stage? I forget.

photowannabe said...

Fantastic shots Hilary, especially the corrmorant turning his head. Kind of creepy-fascinating.
Love your punny comments on my blog post. :)

RiverPoet said...

Wow - these are amazing photos! I particularly liked the geese all in a row and the heron. We have a heron who frequents the pond behind our house. He is a sight!

Peace - D

Reb said...

Hilary, what wonderful flowers! Love the macro shot of the dandelion. The geese in a row on the dam is just funny! The cormorant shot with his head turned is really neat, but I think the best is the Heron and his reflection.

There used to be a house a few blocks from where we grew up that had Lilac trees overhanging the sidewalk, alternating purple and white. I used to love walking under them and took any excuse I could to go to the "little store", just so I could walk past them.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Yet again, wonderful photos. The macro shots are great. I've not seen a cormorant in the wild and I have to agree with Frank to some degree; the bird looks a bit like it's straight out of "Jurassic Park."

Anonymous said...

LOVE the last picture! And I had to visit from photowannabe after reading your cute quips!

Hilary said...

• I'm very agry at you Frak! But thaks ayway. ;)

• Well thanks so much Kathryn. I sure am having fun with the macro setting now that flowers have returned. Just one thing.. don't encourage Frak! ;)

• Jo, you're channeling Frak? That would make you the psychic and the psychotic.

If you had to blow on all of my dandelions, you'd be breathless. Thanks for your always-sweet words. :)

• Thanks, TKWI but instead of sending some of our birds your way, can I just ship Frak there? ;)

I can totally see why you thought they were bananas, and I think this post is loading slowly because of the video.

My only other name for the dandelions when they've gone to see is "fluff" or what Jo called them upstream - "puffers"

• Thanks Photowannabe. I don't really see him as creepy.. pre-historic maybe. I think it's a cool bird, despite what Frak thinks. ;)

• Thank you, Momma. You're right.. herons are very cool birds. Even Frak will agree to that. :) Thanks for stopping by.

• Thanks very much, Reb. That sounds like such a lovely, fragrant memory of the lilacs of your youth. I can picture the alternating colours.

Thanks for your kind words, and I agree that the geese looked quite funny all lined up. :)

• Thank you, Pat. And true, I can see what you mean about his pre-historic appearance... oh the cormorant.. not Frak. Never mind.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, Meredith. I just spent some time looking over some lovely photos at your site too. That daughter of yours is a doll!

Please come back again. I'll be doing likewise. :)

Tink said...

Your pictures are always so beautiful! Why don't you participate in the WWC? Join our cult Hilary. The punch is goooood.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hilary, the dandelion shots are wonderful, especially your macro shot.
Love the cormorant photo story.
All beautiful.

Russell said...

You are the first person who, in my opinion, can make a dandelion look so good!!! But I confess, I like the lilac the best. Out here in Iowa lilacs are just beginning to bloom - very far behind normal.

I really liked the image of the three geese on that dam. The position of the geese in front of the concrete supports (not exactly sure what they are but sure they are important!) is perfect!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

had to say your cranky soup comment made me LAUGH (and have flashbacks :))


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Every one is more beautiful than the one before.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Tink. I may just surprise you one time and do it! Save me a glass.. ;)

• Thanks muchly, Leah. :)

• Thanks for all your kind words, Russell. I was inspired by Moi's dandelion photo, which I think is a beauty. I'm sure you'll agree if you check it out. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, MizFit.. it's deep-rooted, eh? ;)

• Thanks so much, Jenn. :)

Country Girl said...

Oh, my God, Hillary! These are gorgeous. If I was to choose a favorite, I'd have to say it was the macro of the spent dandelion. Just beautiful!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I tried to open this post up last night at home, but my new high-speed internet was running slow. (gah!)

Daryl said...

Hilary .. you are getting sooo good .. those ducks/geese on the waterfall is frame-able!

And isnt having a macro the best?


mrsnesbitt said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhh lilac...so beautifully perfumed. Our tree is also in bloom....white!

Clowncar said...

What nice pictures. That macro dandy lion is astounding.

My wife and I try to get to the sandhill crane festival every year or so. Thousands of them, clouds of them. Lotsa herons there too, which is what reminded me. Anyway, I enjoyed your bloggings greatly.

david mcmahon said...

Beautiful shots. Love the dandelion macro and the last heron shot.

steviewren said...

I have been trying to get a good picture of a robin, but never can get close enough. I love his expression..."you don't think I am going to share my breakfast with you do you!"

Cath said...

Excellent shots Hilary! I don't know about double crested cormorant, but that neck is double jointed! lol

I do think our brains are connected somehow. Guess what I photographed tonight? Dandelions. And played with macro on dandelion seeds - I have virtually the exact same shots. Amazing.

Another thing - I have dandelions growing in the back too!

Daisy said...

Someday I'm going to plant a lilac bush in my yard - I love them too.

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...

I came from David's blog. I just wanted to say I loved your photo. I checked a few more back. Love the swan head.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'm running out of superlatives. These photos are just amazing. The detail! The composition! The colors!

Just wow.

Kerri Farley said...

WOW Hilary! These are fabulous!

Suldog said...

You take such lovely photos. I think I've told you that before, but it doesn't hurt to repeat a compliment.

This weekend, I fully intend to do a pictorial concerning a plant of mine. If it doesn't rain ...

Anonymous said...

Oh man...that macro dandylion is awesome! Of course all your photos are great, but that's the one that gives me chills. You are just so metal!

Hilary said...

* Thank you CG. I appreciate your kind comments. I've been finding that Blogger was running slowly for me for a few days now... hopefully it's just a glitch and not your high-speed. :)

* Thanks muchly, Daryl. Yes, I'm enjoying the macro setting immensely. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Welcome, Mrs. Nesbitt. Your comment almost had a haiku-like quality to it! White lilacs are beautiful too. I just don't see to many around here. Thanks for the visit.. please come back soon. :)

* And welcome to you too, Clowncar. That festival sounds like it would be a photographer's dream. I'd love to see that. Thanks so much for your kind comments and I hope you'll be back soon. :)

* Thanks, David.. and thanks always for your wonderful shout outs. :)

* Welcome, Steviewren. I thought pretty much the same thing about its expression. I'm glad you stopped by and hope you'll return soon. :)

* Thanks, Cath. I'm not at all surprised that we've gravitated toward the same subject and I doubt it will be the last time. I don't know about you, but dandelions are what I grow best. I have an amazing yellow thumb! Thanks for stopping by. :)

* DaisyJo, you absolutely should. When I bought my house, it was very late winter/early spring and I had no idea there was a lilac bush in the yard. We moved in late May and looking out back took my breath away. I had always wanted lilacs and never knew I had them. Do it! ;)

* Welcome, Ishat's Fire and thanks so much for your kind words. I hope you'll be back again soon. :)

* Thank you, Crabby.. you always know how to boost an ego. :)

* Thanks so much, Kerri. :)

* Thank you, Suldog. I'll take that compliment and.. blush with it. ;) I'll look forward to seeing your pictorial and I sure hope it doesn't rain. Thanks for stopping by with your kind words. :)

* Thanks so much, Susan.. and I know you never drop your N's. ;)

carmilevy said...

Your photos are exquisite. I first became serious about photography after I realized that flowers made great subjects: they didn't move, so you could putter around them for ages, trying different settings and perspectives.

You have an amazing way of looking at them. I'm so glad I found your blog!

the Bag Lady said...

Wow, Hilary. Just....wow!
Love the lilacs - everyone says they grow like weeds, etc., but my little lilac bush is struggling along, only about an inch higher than it was when I planted it (3 years ago!), so I'm beginning to doubt I'll ever live long enough to see it bloom. Sigh.

CC said...

It's starting to get hot here in Houston. That means all the pretty birds go dormant during part of the day and the only nature shots I'll get is of the giant pine tree roaches around here. Did I mention that they fly? Yes, they do. They're flying cockroaches.

Shammickite said...

Your previous commenters have said it all. Great photos, and s super closeup if the dandelion seeds. I've just spent a couple of days digging the darn things out of my grass.
My lilac bush at the side of the house is loaded with blooms this year... last year I think it had 3 flowers... or was it 4????

Shammickite said...

I'm also impressed about the way you find time and inspiration to answer everyone's comments. I never seem to have the time to do that, perhaps it's very rude of me. But I do try to go to everyone's blogs and leave a comment of my own so perhaps that makes up for my lack of answers.

Latin Lupe Lu said...

I love the smell of lilacs too. You have some gorgeous wildlife/nature photos. What kind of camera do you have? I love to take those kinds of photos too but I don't think my camera is the best at it. (of course it isn't me :))
I think I need to move to Ontario, it looks beautiful and peaceful.

Hilary said...

• Welcome, Carmi. My absolute best subjects are inanimate too! ;) Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you stopped by. Please come back soon. :)

• Thanks, Baggie. I can't say that I've noticed much growth in our lilac bush over the years, and I've never actually noticed one grow from a small plant, so I couldn't say. But I hope it grows up and flowers for you soon. That smell is heavenly. :)

• Yikes, EWBL.. I'd be pretty dormant myself if I had to duck flying roaches! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Ex-S. My dandelions are winning this battle. The lilacs seem to come in cycles.. seemingly three years. Every third year I have a poor year, a mediocre year and a great year. I can see that this year is so-so. Next year ought to be good! Enjoy your blooms.

Everyone has their own way of responding (or not) to comments. I treat it like dialogue - and respond to what's been said to me. I know that I often return to blogs (or subscribe to follow-up comments) after I make a comment to see if there has been a response. To me, that ongoing back-and-forth conversation is a part of the blogging experience. To each his/her own though. It's all good. :)

• Thank you, LLL. Most of the photos that I post are from a park just a few steps from my home or from a field and wooded area just across the street from Frank's place (and occasional road trips) so maybe Ontario is the place for you! :) The camera is a Canon PowerShot S3 IS. I've had it for just about a year and am learning new things daily. It's the retaining part that I have trouble with! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

david mcmahon said...

It's FINALLY raining here! Way-hay!!

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

the macro shot of the old fading dandelion is beautiful...it sure "makes me wish" for photography skill as yours....and yeah "punning" skills too!!! :DDD

Shrinky said...

Wonderful photography, as always. Personally, I think dandilions are highly under rated, out of all of the blooms in our garden, they are the ones that give our children the most pleasure.

As for your mother's day flowers.. sometimes there are huge rewards to being a parent, aren't there? (Smile)

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Stunning photos!
That Cormorant looks like his head is on backwards. :-)

Anonymous said...

Charming, eclectic, evocative

Hilary said...

• Yay for you, David. :)

• Look who's talking, Moi! You've got a great photo blog.. but thanks for the kind words. ;)

• Thanks, Shrinky. I have to agree with you about the flowers.. on all counts. ;) Thanks for stopping by.

• Thank you Cathy, and welcome! I agree.. it's an odd looking pose. Thanks for the visit.. please come back soon. :)

• Thanks for the kind words. Rikk. :)

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous shots! I think the one of the 3 geese is my favorite ... or the macro of the dandelion, maybe.

Hilary said...

Welcom, Sally! And thanks for your kind words. :)