Monday, September 28, 2009

Walking in the Sun (and the Dark)

As nice as it would be, we can't spend all of our time up at the cottage. Sometimes I just have to settle for the everyday images of Frank's and my own home surroundings. Truthfully, I'm not settling at all. There's beauty to be found everywhere I look. Please join me on a walk or two, and I'll show some of the sites I've seen over the last month or so. Please remember to click each image to enlarge.

On a morning walk around my pond, I was watching other creatures when a mallard skidded to a stop in front of me. You can tell that he'd been moulting, since the usually-prominent green head feathers are scarcely visible. (please click to enlarge)

A couple of weeks later you can see the emerald touches on his head. It won't be long before their colouring is back to normal. This drake struggles to remove a feather from his beak. (please click to enlarge)

A young robin struts happily across the back of a bench. To him, summer might have seemed never-ending. (please click to enlarge)

One of Frank's neighbours has planted raspberry and blackberry bushes in the field across from his house and they're just coming into season now. We help ourselves to a few of them (with his permission) each afternoon on our way to the cedar grove and creek. (please click to enlarge)

Along the path in the field, there are wild fruit trees. Early in August, we discovered that a nest had been built upon the branches of one of them. On one of our walks, we happened upon this *Eastern Kingbird sitting on her eggs.
*Thank you to Randy Emmit in the comments below for correctly identifying this bird as an Eastern Kingbird and not the Mockingbird which I first believed it to be. (please click to enlarge)

A couple of weeks later, the mother was absent from her nest but perched on a nearby tree. She watched as my camera lens peered up at the nest. If you enlarge this photo, you'll see two downy nestlings peering right back at me, over the edge of the nest. (please click to enlarge)

Shortly afterward, this adult flew to a nearby branch with food in its mouth. It waited until I moved away from the babies before bringing the insect to them for feeding time. This is probably the father, as both parents are responsible for feedings. We watched for a bit them moved on. (please click to enlarge)

Another fruit tree along the edge of the creek. Although somewhat weighted down by apples, the tree is actually growing out from the edge of the shoreline. Considering the rapid erosion rate, I wonder how long it will be until that tree is lost to a windy, rainy day. (please click to enlarge)

Further along the shore, a sandpiper explores a floating log. (please click to enlarge)

We don't visit the cedar grove too often in the summer because of overgrowth and mosquitoes. Mostly the latter. But we did wander around and beneath its magnificent trees on this day. It's a lovely area filled with magic and beauty. Has anyone seen where Benny went? (please click to enlarge)

Oh, here he comes tearing out of the overgrowth like his tail is on fire. (please click to enlarge)

True to his style, he's hoping we'll throw a stick into the creek so he can chase after it. Maybe next time, Ben. (please click to enlarge)

Leaving the grove and creek behind us, the late afternoon sunlight breathes colour and life into the aging wildflowers of the field. If you look closely you'll see Queen Anne's Lace, Chicory, Goldenrod, Asters, Snapdragons and a few leaves changing colour. (please click to enlarge)

One final photo taken at night, at what Frank calls his UFO spot. You can't see them, but people were salmon fishing in the dark. Only the stars up above and the occasional lantern lit their way. (please click to enlarge)

Looks like this day is over. Thanks for joining me on my walk.

This is a scheduled post. Despite my opening line in this post, if all has worked out as planned, we're about to head up to the cottage one more time. The week promises to be wet, cold and unpleasant - not likely to provide photo opportunities. But you never know. Please stay tuned and I'll be back next weekend to reply to comments and try to catch up on your blogs.


Frank Baron said...

We're going tomorrow?!! Which means, later today. Which means I'd better get some sleep I guess! :)

Loverly pics. And I have little doubt you'll find more - even if the weatherman proves right.

Unknown said...

Thanks for taking me on that fantastic walk with you. I could hear the ducks calling, the birds singing and Bennie playing at the water's edge. Sigh!

Leah J. Utas said...

A beautiful walk. Thanks. Love the baby birds.

Mental P Mama said...

I just love our walks.

Zuzana said...

We too have black berries in our common garden, they grow against a fence and they are so big and beautiful (and sweet) this year.
Love the next last picture. Love all your pictures though as always.;))
Funny, I also used Dark in my title today...

Gary's third pottery blog said...

wow. wowowowow! Nice bird pics and I wuv Benny.....

Teri and her Stylish Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, FurryDance Brighton, and Disco NoFurNo said...

Lovely walk...I especially liked the cedar grove and the wildflowers.

Andrea said...

I love going on your walks with you, Hilary, through your amazing photos! I would love to spend all my time at the cottage too...hope you enjoy the week and that the weather turns for you. :)

Tabor said...

Your photos prove that paradise can be in your own backyard. What a nice trip!

Cheffie-Mom said...

What a wonderful walk!! I'm looking forward to our next one. Thank you soo much for the comment you left on my latest post. Hugs and blessings!!

Swetha said...

wow!! amazing pictures!! lovely birds! The raspberry looks yummy!!

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm back. Just want you to know I saw your comment on David's blog and I think you doing a Post of the Day is a great idea. You would be super!!

Anonymous said...

Cold and rainy time at the cottage means a warm fire and belly-warmers, right? Sounds like a plan to me!

I love the first picture with the duck and his landing gear, and the robin strutting makes me feeling like singing an old song.

I'm feeling the call of the wild and the need for a trip to the mountains, but there is none of that in my near future. I'll just have to enjoy these little mini-vacations that you share with us instead.

Maggie May said...

Lovely pictures, as usual.
Enjoyed the baby birds and Benny by the water.

Clowncar said...

Benny look so lonely.

Reb said...

Lovely as always Hilary. The baby birds are really cute.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary!!! I love that night photo, omg, it's so amazing! And the ducks! I hope the weather turns out really nice for you! Great photo of the trees! :)

Louise said...

Beauty IS everywhere, and I'd like a handful of those berries!

Dianne said...

Benny looks downright lion like coming out of the brush LOL

I love the baby birds

SandyCarlson said...

I WANT those berries. These are great shots. For me, Benny completes a post. Thanks for that. I feel like I'm there.

MaggieGem said...

Wonderful walk, as usual! I really liked the nestlings and Loved Benny Pix! He so reminds of my Maddox, not that they're the same breed but I think the same ball of energy :-)

Randy Emmitt said...

My first visit here! Enjoyed the photo show, the berries look so real! One thing your nesting mockingbird is an Eastern Kingbird much cooler than an ordinary mockingbird.

ellen abbott said...

You've outdone yourself Hilary, with the baby birds and their little tufts of feathers, the cedars and the wildflower shot.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Linky love at my blog today. :)

Phyllis E said...

Hi Cuz.

We've been enjoying our own wild raspberries this summer, along with blueberries from the bushes we moved to a more congenial location this spring. Our wild blackberries look good enough to eat, but never seem to sweeten. Not enough sun this year and last, I guess.

Looking forward to comparing notes face-to-face in November.

Cuzzie P

Daryl said...

I think you are mastering that camera .. fabulous pix ..

I have fasted for us all, so go forth and sin, you have a clean slate!

Suldog said...

Lovely, always lovely. You are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place!

Hilary said...

Hi, folks. We're getting started one day later than expected due to really lousy weather yesterday. At least this way, I can reply to your wonderful comments.

* Thanks, Frank. It's a good thing we had that extra day. You stayed up way too late! I hope you're right about photo opportunities.. keep your fingers crossed - except when fishing. ;)

* Thanks so much for joining me on the walk, GS. I'm always happy to have you along. Your always-kind words are very much appreciated. :)

* They're pretty darned cute, aren't they Leah? Thanks for joining me. :)

* Thanks, MPM. I love the company. :)

* Thanks, Protege. Sometimes... often, you and I are on the same wavelength with posts.. and life in general, so I'm not surprised to hear that we both mentioned the dark in our post titles. Aren't the berries just wonderful. I keep thinking about how the raccoons would love them. ;) Thanks always for your visit and for your warm comments, my friend. :)

* Thanks, Gary. You got Benny's attention with that comment but he was confused - you forgot the "bow" in front of all those "wow wow"s. ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

* Welcome, Teri and thanks for your very kind words. I hope you'll be back again soon. :)

* Thanks, Andrea. You are the one person in the blogosphere (aside from Frank) who could literally come walking with me - being in the same city and all. Maybe one day, Sophie and Benny will meet up. :) Thanks for the very kind words. We're going to head up today after all. :)

* Thanks for those very kind words, Tabor. You always have the nicest things to say. Much appreciated. :)

* Thank you, Cheffie. Much appreciated. Your post was incredibly touching. And if I ever get my act together and actually stay home for a bit, I might do something similar to the POTD.. but probably not (definitely not) daily. I'm still mulling the process. Thanks for your support. :)

* Thanks, Pranksy. They are amazing.. and still producing daily. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much, KC. I'm glad my photos can offer up a mini vacation for you. I don't know about a fire on the rainy days.. since there's no fireplace in the cottage. ;) But the belly warmer sounds like a perfect plan. Thanks for your always kind words. You never fail to make my day. :)

* Thanks very much, Maggie. I'm glad you like the photos. Much appreciated. :)

* Clowncar, the only time Benny looks lonely is when we're on opposite sides of a window - like if we dare drive off somewhere without him.. especially in a boat! He was just disappointed because we didn't throw a stick and we didn't do that because folks were salmon fishing and we didn't want him snagging a hook. He forgave us in a hurry though. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Reb. I thought they were pretty cute too. Thanks for the visit. :)

Rosaria Williams said...

I loved the pictures and the scenes. You have captured our furry/feathered friends up-close and personal. Delightful.

Hilary said...

* Thanks very much, Rain. We're giving that weather another shot today. Yesterday was rainy, stormy and windy for the morning and early afternoon. It cleared up nicely later in the day, but by then it was too late to head out. But today... wish us luck. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Louise, help yourself to as many as you can eat.. there are lots! Thanks for the visit. :)

* Dianne - yes, fierce, lion-like Benny. Something spooked him in there and he was running for his life! ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thank you, Sandy. I feel like you and other bloggie people are with me sometimes too - and we always enjoy those walks. I want those berries too. Perhaps I'll learn how to cultivate those seeds.. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Maggie Gem. You got that right about Benny being a ball of energy. I'm sure they're much alike in that way. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated. :)

* Welcome, Randy and thank you very much for correcting me about the birds in the photos. I am going to have to read up and learn about them now. I didn't think I'd ever seen one before.. and here I didn't even recognize one when I did. You're sure it's not a very clever mockingbird who can mimic not only sounds but appearance? ;) Nah, I didn't think so. Thanks so much for pointing me in the right direction. I hope you'll stop by again soon. :)

* Thanks so kindly, Ellen. Much appreciated. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks so much for the linkage, Angie.. and for the kind words which accompanied it. Very much appreciated. :)

* Hiya Cuzzie Phyl.. good to see you drop by. I'll be looking forward to seeing you in person at Leah's wedding. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Daryl. So very stoic of you to do that fasting for all of us. Thanks! You're a real pal. ;)

* Thank you, Suldog. I agree about how lucky I am. Thanks always for stopping by.

- Internet woes: Comments after Sully's will be replied to when I return.

Karen said...

Hilary, stopped by from Angie's blog. Beautiful photos! Great close ups of the birds. My fav is the one strutting on the fence. :)


Elizabeth Bradley said...

Birds and berries. What a grand tour. Enjoy you trip. I used to have a cabin up at the lake. I sure do miss it. Have fun.

Barbara Martin said...

There is beauty all around us, if only we look. Thanks for sharing your photos of the walk, Hilary.

ds said...

As always, I totally loved taking this walk with you. Has anyone told you that you seem to have a knack for finding baby creatures? I swear I could taste those berries! Hope the weatherfolk are wrong again about the weekend, and you have beautiful days at the cottage.

steviewren said...

You have a beautiful eye for photographing things in nature. I always enjoy our walks

Unseen India Tours said...

Some really beautiful and lovely shots !! I must say ..You are a wonderful photographer !!Great Post !!Unseen Rajasthan

Russell said...

Enjoyed the young robin on the park bench! But I like the wildflowers the best. Frank's UFO spot does look a bit ... scary!

Take care.

photowannabe said...

I love going on these walks with you. You make the simple things of life so exciting and interesting. I hope your last trip to the cottage will still be or not...take pictures anyway.

imbeingheldhostage said...

gorgeous again. The UFO place looks intriguing :-)
Have fun at the cottage!

lime said...

so pretty. that first one od the skidding duck...capturing a moment like that impresses me no end. and those berries, well i just want to reach out and pick a handful.

Anonymous said...

Hilary, lucky you! I was enjoying the duck picts, but then the berries were so yummy looking. Then the bird picts in the wild fruit trees, loved them. You take the best walks!

kazia said...

wow, nice :)

Hilary said...

* Thanks very kindly, Lakeviewer. Much appreciated. Good to see you stop by. :)

* Welcome, Karen and thanks for visiting from Angie's blog.. and with such kind words. Please return again soon and often. :)

* Thank you, Elizabeth. Your kind comments mean a lot to me. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the good wishes. :)

* Thanks for stopping by, Barbara. I'm discovering just how much beauty there is in my every day surroundings, thanks to my camera. I'm grateful for your visits. :)

* Thanks so much for the good wishes, DS. Alas, the weather gods were correct but we managed to enjoy our time up there anyway. Thanks very much for your always kind words. And I don't find baby critters.. they find me! ;)

* Thanks so kindly, Steviewren. Coming from someone with such an artist's eye, that means a great deal to me. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks ever so kindly, Unseen Raj. Your kind compliment is very much appreciated. :)

* Thanks, Russell. I'm glad you liked the photos. The only thing scary about the UFO spot on that particular night was the urgency with which people wanted to catch salmon.. in the dark. Thanks always for stopping by, my friend. :)

* Thanks kindly, Sue. I'm always happy to have you along with me on my walks. The weather was unpleasant and there weren't too many photo opportunities but we enjoyed our time at the cottage in spite of that. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks so much IBHH. It was indeed a good time.. just wet and cold. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks kindly, Lime. There were just so many ducks coming in for a landing - I had to capture at least one touching down. You would love those berries and I wish I could share them with you. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, MT. I have the best company on my walks.. in reality and virtually. Thanks always for joining me. :)

* Thank you, Kazia. :)

Tes said...

Oh wow, glad to have found your site, you take very good photos! Amazing! I love the skipping bird -so cute!

Oman said...

i keep on thinking. where is she situated when she took those pics. you are really talented. the pics are great.

Merisi said...

Thank you for inviting us on your walks -
I enjoy them immensely each and every time: Your talent to capture birds is amazing!

~JarieLyn~ said...

I just love seeing photos of Benny. He always entertains and delights me. I am SMITTEN with your postings. :)

Hilary said...

•  Welcome, Tes and thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Please return soon. :)

• Thanks kindly, Lawstude. As usual, I was situated right behind my camera. ;) Your kind comments are always so appreciated. :)

• Thanks so much, Merisi. I'm glad you join me on my walks. I find birds irresistible as subjects. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, JarieLyn. I'm glad that you're smitten with my images of Benny. ;) He sure has become a smile-evoker for many and I'm glad you're among them. Thanks for the visit. :)