Friday, July 17, 2009

Queens, Kings & Wings (Summer Shorts 5)

Once outside my front door, a left turn and about one hundred steps will take me into a lovely park complete with pathways, a pond and an interesting variety of animal life. If the weather is pleasant, and I don't have a very persistent Jack Russell Terror urging me along, I can spend a fair bit of time looking around and shooting photos. On one such day, I spent a hour or so doing just that. Below are some of those images. Please remember to click on each of them to enlarge.

A close-up look at this Queen Anne's Lace revealed about a dozen of these little red insects roaming all over the head of the flowers. I don't know what they are but there sure were a lot of them. (please click to enlarge)

An even closer look reveals why. (please click to enlarge)

This Mallard and I watched each other for a while. I thought he had a beautiful and intelligent look in his questioning eye. (please click to enlarge)

The elusive Kingfisher. This one patiently waited for me to take its photo from across the pond. Earlier in the week, we saw a family - mature Kingfishers teaching their fledglings how to fish. It was later in the day, and light and distance did not allow for good photos so I was lucky to snap a few shots of this beauty. (please click to enlarge)

Some time later, this Great Blue Heron waded along the shoreline, hoping to find a fish or two for dinner. (please click to enlarge)

Slowly, he inched his way along, ever so silently. He cocked his head, suddenly aware of something moving beneath the surface of the water. (please click to enlarge)

He was very swift to capture his reward. (please click to enlarge)

This fledgling Robin perched on a nearby tree while I sat on a bench across the way. Doesn't it have lovely markings? (please click to enlarge)

Nearby, another Robin was feasting on recently-ripened berries. (please click to enlarge)

Until something spooked it. (please click to enlarge)

At dusk, yet another Robin was singing its goodnight song atop a branch high above me. (please click to enlarge)

I hope you enjoyed my day with Queens (Anne's Lace), Kings (fisher) and other winged critters.


IndyLindy said...

Hillary, I'm a lurker. But I just have to compliment you on your photography. You manage to catch things the rest of us would-be photographers just dream about. You have an eye for what makes a good picture. You don't TAKE pictures; you MAKE pictures. I'm a fan.

the Bag Lady said...

I love the way the heron changes colour with every photo!

Beautiful shots, as always, Hilary!

Susan English Mason said...

How great it must be to live 100 steps away from the entrance of a beautiful park. I live very close to a mountain preserve, and I feel very blessed. I didn't realize that Frank lives so far from you. My favorite one is the ducks sitting on the 'walnut' rock.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Loved your walk and all the sights. The photos are (sigh) lovely, lovely!

ds said...

The look in that mallard's eye as he cocked his head to look at you is priceless. But then, so are all of these. Thank you for sharing another beautiful walk.

Maggie May said...

I just love your photography and am a great fan, as you know. Your robin & heron photos are magnificent and your mallard IS an intelligent creature with beautiful markings.
Your walks are full of interesting things.
I am quite eager to snap some close ups of birds/butterflies with my new digital.

I will just HAVE to lurk in some parks with my camera...... but on reflection that might not be a good thing as the park will be full of children & I will look most suspicious! Too bad that I only ever seem to be available when schools are out.
I figure you live in a lonely place, right? Or do you have this problem too? Maybe England is a bit over zealous with this type of worry but it is there nevertheless. Sigh....

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary! I love your photos!!! That mallard almost looks like a wooden painted sculpture, but yeah, he's giving you some kind of look there, lol! Beautiful photo of the robin singing at dusk!! :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely shots, Hilary. I feel like I was sitting on the bench beside you!

Kerri Farley said...

Magnificent Hillary, once again!
Your shots are fabulous....but that last shot steals my heart. It is Perfect!

Andrea said...

I love going on your walks with you, Hilary!!! Beautiful captures as usual!! :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Excellent captures, Hilary. I loved the bugs on the flower head and the robin taking wing.
All the herons I've seen here are so skittish I can't get a pic. Good for you.

Zuzana said...

I think many birdwatchers would envy you.;)) And pay big money for your photographs. Beautiful and very professional as always.
At all times a joy to stop by here.:)
Hope your weekend is great,

Bogey said...

Very lucky to be able to enjoy such splendour only a few moments from home. A couple of rare photos indeed of the King Fisher and the Blue Heron. They generally don't just sit waiting patiently while they wait for you to snap the shutter. Great job as usual Hilary.

NJ said...

Hilary, your pictures continue to astound me! They are truely fantastic!

Shammickite said...

The recent purchase of your new camera is really paying off! You are getting some great shots of the park's wildlife. I love the sequence showing the heron, such an elegant bird.
I've seen those little red insects on Queen Anne's Lace too, now I know what they were up to!!!

Anonymous said...

The flowers are nice and so is the belted kingfisher. I suppose there are those kinds of birds around here but I never get to see them. I liked all of your photos. I suppose you are lucky to live so close to a kind of sanctuary.

Thanks for your visit.

Pick a Peck of Pixels is my photo blog with a difference -- I am hoping you are the difference. For this blog to be famous and me written about in the Wall Street Journal like I was in the seventies, will require more than a couple of dozen hits a day. If 10,000 visitors leave comments then it is instantly famous and your comments are part of history. Lets Make History.

Swetha said...

wow!! are u a nature lover?? you have taken great shots..

Anonymous said...

You've outdone yourself once again, Hilary. :)

That last shot is just a wee bit spooky in the dusk with the bird. I'm hearing music from Alfred Hitchcock now...

Reb said...

Sigh** I love your photos Hilary. The duck is wonderful (especially with orange sauce) and the baby Robin is so cute.

Tabor said...

Thanks for the walk in the park. Such abundance for you.

Hilary said...

• Welcome, IndyLindy and thanks for delurking to say such kind words. You made my day. I'm glad you're enjoying my photos and hope you'll stay out of lurk mode and come by again soon. Thanks so much for your visit. :)

• Thanks, Baggie. He can look so incredibly blue at times, or he can appear pretty drab gray. I always hope that the blue shows up more but depending on the light, and whether he's standing in sun or shadow, I get this mixed bag of colours. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Pouty. I'm very lucky to have this spot just outside my door, and an even larger, more diverse area across the road from Frank's place. We live about an hour's drive apart (or three by bus/train). Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thank you, Pat. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Thanks for joining me, DS. I'm glad you came along. :)

• Thanks very much for your always-kind words Maggie. I know what you're saying about the kidlets but I don't worry too much about them. I'm not in a secluded spot and I sure do see many kids around from time to time. I just avoid snapping photos of them most times. On the few occasions when I've included them in photos, I've either avoided showing their faces or asked parents' permission to use the photo on my blog. Just carrying my camera around in their presence has not made for awkward situations. More often than not, I'm photographing something on the lake or focusing on plants or animals. I wouldn't give it too much thought. Just enjoy your camera.

• Thanks, Rain. Upon reflection, that Mallard was giving me THE LOOK! ;) Thanks for your kind comments. :)

• Thank you kindly, Sandra. In truth, sometimes you are on that bench beside me. I do think of my favourite bloggie people at times, and you, of course, are most certainly are among them. Thanks for joining me. :)

• Thank you so much, Kerri. Your kind words always mean so much to me as you have such a great eye for photography. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Andrea. Always a pleasure to have you join me. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Leah. I think that because the Heron visits the waters of our parks, they become fairly accustomed to people wandering about. Plus there was still a fair distance between us (my camera's zoom brought him 12 times closer). And the MAIN reason he didn't take off - I didn't have Benny with me. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for your generous and kind comments, Protege. I'm glad you like the photos, and I'm always happy to see you drop by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Bogey. The Kingfisher is always a difficult bird for me to snap. I just realize he's in the area and he's gone before I can raise my camera to my eye. I've been much luckier with the Blue Heron over the years, as well as Night Herons. Mostly, I'm very lucky that they all come to visit as often as they do. Thanks for your visit.. always a pleasure. :)

• Thank you so much, NJ. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Shammie. Pssst don't tell anyone, but all of the photos in this post were taken with my older camera. I can't get close up shots with my new one yet. ;) And now that you know what those red bugs were up to, I'm sure you'll politely avert your eyes next time you see them. ;)

• Thank you, Abe. I am indeed very lucky to live near a fish pond or I wouldn't be seeing these fine birds as often as I do. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I'll pinch a peek at your Pick a Peck of Pixels presently. ;)

• Thanks very much, Pranksy. Much appreciated. :)

• Goood Eeeeevening, KC and thank you for your very kind comment. Surely my harmless robin doesn't put you in mind of those classic killer birds? I mean there aren't that many of them. Just a few gathering on the branches, and wires and roof tops and cars, fences, lawns, doorsteps... quick close the door! ;)

• You made me laugh, Reb - but don't mention duck as a food source to Frank. He'll bring a net on his next visit! Thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, Tabor. I'm glad you joined me. :)

Kat said...

WOW! That is quite the park and quite the variaty of birds! Very cool. :)

Dianne said...

so those bugs are having a party!!

how wonderful to have such a lovely place so close to home

Anne C. Watkins said...

These are breathtaking! Such lovely feathered creatures in awesome settings. Thank you, thank you. :)

And you don't have to call me Queen Anne. *blush*


Mental P Mama said...

Life would not be worth anything without our birds. By the way, we missed you at Blogfest;)

Indrani said...

Great shots! Those with reflections completely in frame, too good.

Brian Miller said...

ha. wonderful walk you took us on. so many easy distractions among the insects and birds. great shots aa well. ty for taking us with you.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Oh, these are wonderful! I love the reflections in the water photos. And thank you so much for the sweet comments on my blog. enJOY your day!

JC said...

Beautiful pictures as always. Love the robin with its lunch.

Nancy said...

These were amazing pictures, Hilary! I loved the kingfisher and the shot of the heron and it's prize - amazing! Each one is just wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing.

Daryl said...

What fabulous photos.. having been away at a blogfest which ironically had no wireless connectivity .. I have a lot to catch up on ..

Bubblewench said...

I love these photos of the birds! The one taking flight is very beautiful.

Suldog said...

Ooh, bug sex. Just the thing to brighten up your lunch hour. You know I love your photos, but that one caught me a bit by surprise :-)

Frank Baron said...

You sure were blessed by birdies on that outing! And good on ya' for getting so many nice shots of a couple of my faves.

That mallard though. I'm thinking mebbe he slept wrong and woke up with a stiff neck. ;)

david mcmahon said...

Love that last shot especially, Hilary.

robert said...

Alfred Brehm, a German zoologist said that birds are the 'beloved of light' - you surely know how to use such light to paint such beautiful images.

Jinksy said...

Wow - you caught the love bug - literally!

Michele said...

I enjoyed your day... I loved the robin photos and also the little red critters... it's a neat perspective.

Russell said...

As always, a most interesting walk where you have brought some of nature's finest right into my home! And a most interesting walk at that.

I especially noticed the robin's wings as it was starting to fly away -- a very unusual shot and a most well timed one at that.

I agree with the first commenter, IndyLindy -- you do MAKE pictures and, yes, I am a fan, too!

Take care.

April said...

Hi ~ Beautiful shots and I am glad that I don't have to choose my favorite one because that would be difficult ~ I LOVE them all. I just wrote a whole post about my recent encounters with birds - including robins and great blue herons. I love the kingfisher - I have never seen one in real life ~ truly majestic. As always, I enjoyed my visit. Take care!

DeniseinVA said...

Such a wonderful series of nature photos. Thanks for taking us on that lovely walk.

CiCi said...

The mallard was surely checking you out, haven't seen that kind of contemplative look on a mallard. Very good photos. The blue heron shot is superb. You are so blessed to live so near a beautiful area.

introspection said...

Hi Hilary, Over from David's POTD. What fantastic fotos. Your narative is so engrossing that it felt as if I was with you while you shot each photo. Great great shots. Congrats on being able to take such historical (or should I say geographical) pictures.
my favourite is the heron with it's reward. The Mallard was defying you taking it's shot. that's the look.

Jay said...

Gorgeous photos! I particularly like the startled robin taking off - the feathers are so crisp and clear!

The little red 'bugs' look like one of the soldier beetles - no idea which one, I'm afraid. I'm in England, so I can look our own insects up but don't have reference books which cover Canada!

Came over from Post of the Day! Fun way to meet new people, isn't it?

indicaspecies said...

Here from Authorblog..
Superb shots and I like your narration. Excellent title too.

MaggieGem said...

Another wonderful walk Hilary. Looks like you're really getting that camera all figured out, these are fantastics shots. I LOVE the capture of the "Spooked Robin". Bravo!

Snowbrush said...

Yes, I very much enjoyed your day. Thank you for sharing.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Kat. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing my area with its critters. :)

• Yes, Dianne.. a party! ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Queen Anne, you made me laugh! Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed our birds. :)

• I agree, MPM.. and I know that Queen Anne, up above you in the comments feels that way about our feathered friends too. I would have loved to have joined you at Blogfest. I'm hearing from everyone that it was such a good time. :)

• Thanks kindly, Indrani. I'm glad you liked them. :)

• Thanks so much for joining me, Brian. I was glad to have you along.

• Thanks very much, Cheffie. I'm always glad to have you drop by. :)

• Thanks so much, JC. I'm glad you enjoyed the pic. :)

• Thanks kindly, Nancy. I'm glad you could join me and that you enjoyed the photos. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks Daryl. I'm glad you took the time to stop by. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Bubblewench. Much appreciated. :)

• Yes, Suldog, bug sex. Isabella Rossellini eat your heart out. ;) Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Frank you could well be right about that Mallard. Perhaps he'd do better with your feather pillow. No wait.. ;)

• Thank you, David for including me with your Post of the Day mentions. Always very much appreciated. :)

• Robert, thank you so much for such a kind comment. That means so much to me. Thanks for your visit. :)

• Indeed I did, Jinsky. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Michele. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks so much, Russell. You always have the kindest things to say. I miss your own blog posts and hope you'll get back to blogging soon. Thanks so much for visiting. :)

• Thanks so much for the kind words, April. I've been to your blog today but couldn't find the post about the herons but I sure found a lot which kept me laughing. You have a wonderful sense of humour. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much for joining me, Denise. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks kindly, Technobabe. I'm noticing more and more, that some birds have such curious, intelligent expressions. Thanks so much for your kind words. :)

• Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Introspection. I'm so glad you enjoyed my photos. You've described that Mallard's expression aptly. Thanks kindly for the visit. :)

• Welcome, Jay, and thanks so much for your very kind comments. They may well be soldier beetles. I'm not all that familiar with most bugs. Well, I guess I'm far more familiar these two after photographing them in the act. ;) Thanks very much for your visit. I totally agree with you about how David's blog helps us to find other bloggers. I'm glad you found mine, and I yours, and I hope you'll be back again soon. :)

• Thanks very much, Indicaspecies - for your very kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks so much, Maggie Gem. I'm glad you like that robin pic.. I was surprised to catch it. I rarely hit that shutter in time to capture movement like that. I lucked out. These shots were all taken with my older camera, by the way.. just to mix it up a little. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much Snowbrush. I'm glad you joined me. :)

Merisi said...

Observing the Kingfisher family must have been quite an experience!
They are such beautiful birds.
The last image of a Robin at dusk is magical!

SandyCarlson said...

Your bird shots have me stopped in my tracks. These lovely creatures are beautifully captured here. Thanks for the magic.

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much, Merisi. They were indeed like magic to watch. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thank you so much for such kind words, Sandy. They mean a great deal to me. :)

Louise said...

Queen Anne's Lace is another favorite of mine. We don't have any here. Your first photo is so good.

Louise said...

And I have to say that I love the heron photos that I'm convinced you couldn't have gotten (at least all of them) with a persistent Jack Russell Terrier following you.

Hilary said...

Thanks very much, Louise. You're so right. I get very few decent shots with Benny tugging me along. But he's worth the sacrifice. Thanks for the visit. :)

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

:) i did!!!! :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

LOL!!!! The bugs on the Queen Anne's Lace. What a hoot.

Hilary said...

• I'm glad, Moi. :)

• Joanna, I'm glad you got a kick out that. ;)