Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wings and Other Things

I'll probably return to my colour-themed posts somewhere down the road - there are still a few shades which I haven't explored but for now, I'm posting a few new photos taken over the last several weeks. All of them were snapped either in my own back yard or around my local park. Please remember to click on each of the photos to enlarge them.

This little guy kept a wary eye on me while I prepared to refill the bird feeder and suet. Taken through glass. (please click to enlarge)

He knew it wouldn't be long before I'd also toss some peanuts out for his snack. (please click to enlarge)

Since the squirrels and back yard birds are taken care of, let's see what we can find around the pond. (please click to enlarge)

A sudden flurry of activity (namely one crazy little Jack Russell Terrier) sent these Mallards flying to the safety of the other side of the pond. (please click to enlarge)

On this day, as has happened other times on my walks, a fluffy little Northern Mockingbird seemed intent upon making sure I noticed him. He sat and watched me while I spoke to him and took some photos. (please click to enlarge)

By the time I moved along, the sun was beginning to descend in the sky, creating that magic hour which I love so much. The Queen Anne's Lace of last summer seemed to enjoy its warmth. (please click to enlarge)

On the other side of the pond, there was a lot of Cardinal activity. A large flock of these red beauties seem to hang out in this one particular area. This male perched on a branch above me. (please click to enlarge)

A lovely female landed on the fence post of a neighbouring back yard. Aren't her colours just incredible? (please click to enlarge)

Approaching the dock, I found this to be an unusual place for a snow angel. It was actually formed on the semi-frozen surface of the pond. This means that someone stepped out on mushy ice to make their wings. It's a good thing the ice wasn't any softer at the time. (please click to enlarge)

Later in the day, the sun was setting by the dam end of the pond. This is just one of the concrete posts and the sun reflecting in the icy surface. (please click to enlarge)

Thanks for joining me.


Sueann said...

Such beautiful photographs! That snow angel was awesome. Some brave soul for sure. And the last photo took my breath away...stunning!

Boozy Tooth said...

Hils... those photos! My favorite is the snow angel. How in the world was that even possible and how lucky were you to find it. It almost looks like a relief sculpture.

And the Mallards in flight. I have visiting Mallards every day {I'm a sucker for feeding them cracked corn}, but they are no way as vibrant as yours.

And the cardinal pair!

And the black squirrel. Never saw a back one in my life before.

You just amaze me... not only with your eye, but the way you capture your subjects. Just breathtaking stuff. Thank you!!

Maggie May said...

Your flora & fauna is so different from ours.
I do LOVE your dark squirrels.
The angel had a narrow escape. Maybe it was a REAL angel!
Superb photos as always.

Nuts in May

Steve Gravano said...

I love the female cardinal photo. I agree with slommler, a brave soul made that snow angel for sure.

Zuzana said...

Your bird pictures are always magnificent. I simply can never get close enough to take good one.
I love the first picture and the text is so right on. What a cute little creature.;)
Stunning photography as always.

DeniseinVA said...

I love all your photos. The ducks in flight, the little squirrel, the birds, all shots just beautiful.

Mental P Mama said...

Just as beautiful as that angel!

ellen abbott said...

I love the black squirrels. We see them only occasionally here. Your cardinal pictures are wonderful. I wish I could get goods one but my camera isn't really good enough to get pictures of birds. Need a better zoom. And I always love the way you photograph the dried remains of last seasons flowers.

Doc said...

Love that squirrel!

Louise said...

Those black squirrels are the cutest. A whole flock of cardinals. Wow! We have none here. When I visit my dad, they only have 4 or 5 at a time.

The snow angel is cool. I would never do that, but the results are wonderful. I hope who made it got a picture as you did!

Frank Baron said...

Lovely pics. Female cardinals are stunning in the right light. And you caught that one in the right light. :) We're lucky that many nifty birds hang around through the winter. I was pleased to see a Cardinal and some chickadees at my feeder this morning, after a semi-prolonged absence.

Whoever made that snow angel was at least partly an idiot. But somehow, one I can admire and maybe even relate to, a tad.

Unknown said...

Oh , I'm in love with these today. Do you know how many times I've tried to get a good picture of the cardinal couple that taunts me in the backyard.

I would have been startled by the slush angel, but it is such a unique image.

I like knowing that I'm not the only one who goes for walks and takes pictures of hawks and ducks and things, beautiful Hilary.

Amy said...

Beautiful photos Hilary! The black squirrel reminds me of the albino squirrel we sometimes see on our trek along the Sacramento River - he's hard to miss!

Tabor said...

You are wonderful with the camera. Great composition and lovely colors. Thanks for the trip around you back yard!

Anonymous said...

Love these pics... especially the male and female! :)
Never seen a black squirrel. He's a cutie!
The Bach

Laura said...

beautiful photos...the birds are so vibrantly nice to see at a time when most things are grays and white.

Brian Miller said...

wonderful pics...esp the mallards. love the colors on them. and the ice angel...interesting. hope you have a great weekend!

Daryl said...

Love that ice snow angel ... gotta ask how did you get that Queen Anne's lace to focus so perfectly in the middle!

Suldog said...

I think I may have expressed this thought at another time, when you previously posted squirrel photos, but I sure wish we had some black squirrels where I live. And some red ones, too, for that matter. All we have are gray (which are certainly swell, but I'd love the variety.)

abb said...

I LOVE that angel. And glad the idiot that did it didn't fall through!

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh! How gorgeous these photos. They are not in colour? I see color!

Karen said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that walk around with you. I found myself sinking back into my chair and exhaling. Calm and serene. Thanks for the break in my day!

Lorna said...

Wish I could meet a black squirrel someday (and the person brave enough to make that ice angel!). Don't know which photo I liked more, each one made me feel like I was outside with you. Mallards in flight were amazing!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

My favorite are the cardinals. So beautiful. And the idea of someone taking the risk to make the snow angel is crazy! What a great set of photographs.

Kelly H-Y said...

All beautiful ... but the shots of the birds - - wow! And that one of the mallards taking off ... those splashes of color are amazing!

Shammickite said...

Maybe that icy snow angel was made by a REAL angel? Could it be possible? A REAL angel could never fall through the ice, no matter how mushy it is.

Shammickite said...

uhoh I see Maggie May had the same idea......

Joanna Jenkins said...

That snow angel is beautiful and a little scary to think what might have happened with the ice. Yikes.

These are all gorgeous shots Hilary!

Thank you.

tattytiara said...

I was still giggling about the second squirrel photo when I came to the ducks, and it took my breath completely away. Love that shot.

Also very cool that someone braved a back full of slush to make a permanent ice angel.

Unspoken said...

That may be the most amazing snow angel I have ever seen!

Hilary said...

• SueAnn, thank you. I'm not sure if they were brave or crazy but I do like the end result. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Alix. I think the ice was just a tad slushy when the snow angel happened. I'm glad you enjoyed the critters. Thanks so much for such kind words. :)

• Maggie, there sure are differences between your area and mine. Keeps it interesting, eh? About that angel, you never know. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Steve. Brave, maybe. And a little bit nuts. ;)

• Zuzana, thank you. I don't get all that close to most of them either. The mockingbird was an exception. A zoom lens helps with the rest. The squirrel shots were taken through glass. He is a cute little stinker, isn't he? Thanks for the kind words, my friend. :)

• Denise, thanks kindly. I'm glad you enjoyed the creatures. Thanks for the visit. :)

• MPM, thank you. Very much appreciated. :)

• Ellen, black squirrels are very common here in Ontario. They're really just the same as grey squirrels with darker fur. Same species. A zoom does indeed help. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• Doc, he's a cutie, eh? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Louise, the cardinals seem to hang out at one particular spot around the other side of the pond. If I keep still for a moment or two, several are bound to flit about. I also wondered about whether or not the snow angel-maker got a photo. It's been there for about 2 weeks now, so I'm sure they've had plenty of opportunity. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Frank. I got lucky with the light. The time of day worked out for me. I'm glad that the birds are returning to your feeder. Mine has hung full for the last few days. Darn hawks! I'm glad that I have it in writing that you can relate to an idiot. And that I didn't say it. :P :)

• Deb, thanks very much. I can understand your frustration with trying to snap a photo of cardinals. They tend to startle easily. These seemed a little less timid than usual. I'm glad you also enjoy walking and photographing the critters. Thanks for joining me. :)

• Thanks, Amy. I was just exchanging a couple of emails with Suldog about Albino squirrels. He asked me if I'd ever seen one. I haven't. They must be really cool. They'd be a lot harder to spot here in winter though. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you so kindly, Tabor. I'm glad you enjoy my photos. Most were taken in the park. Only the squirrels were in my back yard. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Bach. The cardinals are lovely birds, aren't they? And I'm quite fond of the squirrels which visit my back yard. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Welcome, Laura and thanks for the very kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed these photos. Thanks for the visit. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Brian. Your always encouraging comments are very much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. Sheer luck. And persistence. I took several shots. I liked this one the best. :)

• Suldog, by now you know via email that the black squirrels are really gray squirrels with darker fur. Same species. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• TSannie, I'm glad that didn't happen either. Especially since I wasn't there at the time to photograph it. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Lakeviewer, the colour to which I was referring was my last several colour themed posts. These are newer images and aren't in one particular colour scheme. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Karen, thanks so much. I'm glad you could join me and that it brought you some serenity. :)

• Welcome, Lorna and thanks so much for the kind words. I'm glad that you joined me and that you liked the photos. :)

• Elizabeth, I love cardinals too and that snow angel sure got my attention for that same reason. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, Kelly. I'm glad you like them. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Shammie, you and Maggie are one the same wavelength. Must be a Brit thing. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Joanna, thanks very much. I agree - the angel is a tad scary considering. I'm glad all was OK. Thanks for the visit. :)

• TattyTiara, thanks very kindly. I'm glad you enjoyed that shot. It was the only one of about a dozen that turned out. The rest are of very blurry ducks. :) Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• Amy, I thought that too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

SandyCarlson said...

I so love the squirrel shots. I love these critters. I will back again to enjoy the others. I just love that smart alec too much and want to savor the shots.

Mage said...

Delightful............thanks. :)

Dawning Inspiration said...

I've never seen a black squirrel! Pretty - LOVE the snow angel!!!

LadyFi said...

Fabulous photos as always... I love the way the squirrel's foot is so delicately outlines against the wood in the first photo.

And that frozen snow angel - wow!

Grayquill said...

Just thought I would let you know, your popularity is getting a bit irritating. It is now taking seconds to scroll down just so I can have my turn at a comment and your post is only 17 hours old. GRRR....It is not like I get to sit around all day and wait for you to do a post so I can be in the top 25 or something.
Now I am serious, real serious, no smiles here, all serious…you smiting of those images was fabtabulous. I never knew there were black squirrels. Gee I bet you never heard that before. And just so you know the pressure of writing this comment as fast as I can, so that I will at least be in the top 50 of your comments is really getting to me.
Oh, one last thought – That one little bird, the one that looked like a puffed out sparrow but I think you called it a mockingbird, looked really irritated that you were taking his/her picture. The expression said it all, ‘That lady thinks I trust her, but I am just too cold to fly right now.’

järnebrand said...

The black squirrel was a first for me. And I 've never seen a snow angel made of ice before. Gives me ideas for future projects... ;) Your photos are beautiful and inspiring. Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend! /Johanna

Anonymous said...

I am [almost] speechless, Hilary. Not only for the quality of your work but for the clarity, colour and variety of the birds that come in and around your garden. And the snow angel, that has to be an award winning picture.

I'm consider myself lucky if I see a Sparrow Hawk hovering over the Downs, on my travels.

lime said...

sorry i haven't been around a lot. it's always a treat when i come here. i am utterly amazed and what great shots you get of very skittish creatures and the birds in flight especially.

Dianne said...

good old Benny messing with the stillness of nature :)

the snow angel is amazing

Cheryl Kohan said...

You certainly live in a birders' paradise! These photos are wonderful, as usual. The Queen Anne's Lace caught my eye. It's beautiful. I love dried grasses and wild flowers.

Jeni said...

As always, another great job on photographing the birds -and squirrels -in your neck of the woods. That angel though -really amazing that someone might make on of them on slushy ice/snow over water!

Daniel said...

so by consensis and overwhelming popularity yopu won jinsky's limerick contest, i am the PUTZ AND I CAME IN A CLOSE SECOND WITH RHYMESS A DISTANT THIRD, that was so fun i had to find out who hillary thought was the best, you sure do like pictures...i don't know how to post a picture on my blog, have my dad do it for me

Kat said...

I feel as though I repeat myself everytime I come to your blog, but those are amazing photos! The snow angel on the ice! WOW! And the cardinals. Love them! But I think my favorite must be the squirrel. :)
Well done! AGAIN!

Sandi McBride said...

They're all so wonderful I can not for the life of me say which I (black squirrel) prefer...the birds are so (black squirrel) colorful and full of that joy of life and the snow angel (black squirrel) is, really...I can't choose amongst them (black squirrel) are my Queen of the camera!

photowannabe said...

Goodness, that was a brave soul making the snow angel. I'm glad you were able to get a picture of it.
I love the cardinal. I had never seen one in real life until I visited relatives in Minnesota a few years ago. What a beautiful bird.

solarity said...

They're all wonderful, and I thought the ducks in flight was my favorite--such composition!--until I came to the last one. The light on the ice is just the kind of subtlety that pins me to the page.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

~JarieLyn~ said...

Oh that black squirrel is so delightful. You always find and photograph the most amazing critters. The mallards in flight are fabulous and so is the snow angel but my very favorite photo is the last one. It's just so simple and elegant and romantic. I'm never disappointed in your photos or your words.

Lulda Casadaga said...

Love the black squirrel...don't see them down here in VA...I remember the ones in England and they had more red in their coats. Speaking of the color red...
That red cardinal was amazing. But, as always, you do not disappoint us with your nature shots and color. Fantastic!

Enjoy the weekend and keep warm my northern friend...

Sarah Anne said...

I've never seen a black squirrel before!! Plus that red cardinal picture and the one of the ducks are amazing. You're just so awesome!!

Dave said...

As I also like birds Hilary I enjoyed seeing the variety of lovely coloured birds you have around you. We sadly don't have these here, but do have different types, but our wild birds don't very often come into the city. We get mainly sparrows, minahs, thrushes and blackbirds, all introduced. - Dave

ethelmaepotter! said...

Birds, by their very being, are graceful, photographic creatures, and many people have taken beautiful photos of them, but yours are...spectacular.
Weeds, however, are generally overlooked or viewed as ugly, even hideous, mars upon the landscape. The beauty is there, but it takes a true artist to bring it out. YOU, Hilary, are that artist.

the Bag Lady said...

Excellent, as always, Hilary! I enjoyed our walk.
The cardinals are gorgeous, and the snow angel was a hoot!

coolboy said...

beautiful post cool images

colbymarshall said...

AGH! The black swuirrel! I thought I saw one once and then convinced myself it couldn't have been real! And there it is! AGH!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: Beautiful capture of all the critters along with some special photos. I love our Black Squirrels that were imported from Canada, so mine and yours may be related.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Hilary!!! Okay, I know we hosers are nuts about our snow angels, but that MUST have been beer-induced, yeah? :) "I dare you to...." but yes, good thing the ice didn't give way!!! I love the sneaky squirrel peanut photo!!!

Kerri Farley said...

These are lovely Hilary - but that Queen Anne's just takes my breath away. WOW! You find the most lovely images.....and it's always a pleasure to visit!

Cricket said...

Great shot of Mrs. Cardinal. you don't usually see one so clearly.

Your snow angel reminds me of a story I heard a man tell on PBS, I'm not sure where, but I think it's true: He was playing with some friends and went out onto the ice to get something, the ice broke and he fell in. He was thrashing around in the water, convinced he was doomed. All the while his friends were yelling to him. He finally realized what they were saying. "STAND UP!"

The water was only a couple of feet deep.

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Sandy. He's a cute little guy, isn't he? I'm glad you're enjoying him. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank, Maggie. :)

• SD, they're quite common here. Just a darker gray squirrel really. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• LadyFi, thanks very much. I like his little feet too. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Grayquill, I'm SO sorry for causing strain to your scrolling finger. How inconsiderate of me. I hope you can forgive and forget.. and return again soon. :) Thank so much for the seriously kind words. The squirrels are quite abundant here.. though really they're just gray squirrels with darker jackets. And are you suggesting that the Mockingbird was.. well.. mocking me? Yeah, maybe. ;) Thank so much for stopping by. :)

• Johanna, the snow angel on ice was certainly a first for me. If you're planning on making one of your own, be safe! Thanks so much for your wonderfully supportive words. Very much appreciated. :)

• Moannie, I also consider myself lucky to spot a hawk. They're not easy to find and are often too quick to photograph - for me, anyway. Thank you very much for your incredibly kind words. They mean so much to me. :)

• Lime, no problem with the limited visits. I know you do what you can. :) Thanks so much for your kindness. very much appreciated. :)

• Dianne, yeah. That's Benny's mission in life, I think. And yet I miss him when he's not around... Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Cheryl, thanks very kindly. I am indeed quite fortunate to have a wonderful variety of birds and other creatures in my small oasis of a park. It's just a few steps from home, so many of them do visit my backyard too. thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Jeni. Yes, amazing and a bit crazy. But I'm glad I saw it. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Daniel, I didn't think Jinsky was holding a contest - just a fun and silly free for all. Thanks for stopping by to visit. :)

• Kat, thanks so much. You can repeat yourself like that any old time you like. ;) Much appreciated. :)

• Sandi, thank you very kindly. It's a shame though that you managed to overlook the black squirrel in this post. He really was a cutie and I was hoping you might have noticed him.. but alas it was not meant to be. Thanks, friend - for stopping by. :)

Hilary said...

• Sue, I agree with you about how beautiful cardinals are. I never saw them in my native Montreal either so they're a real treat for me ever since I moved to Ontario (26 years ago). Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Mary Anne, thank you so much. What a lovely compliment. Very much appreciated. :)

• JarieLyn, thanks very kindly. I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos. Your encouraging comments sure mean a lot to me. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Lulda, thanks very much for your always kind words. They're very much appreciated. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. :)

• Georgie, thank you so much and I'm glad you liked the photos. :)

• Dave, thanks very much. I'm very fortunate to see the birds that I do here in the city. I'm lucky to live right near a park with a pond, so many of them venture over from there - which is where most of the photos were taken. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Awww EthelMae, thank you so very much. What a kind and lovely compliment. That means so much to me. :)

• Baggie, thank you. I'm always glad when you can join me. I thought you'd get a kick out of the angel. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Naveen, thank you. :)

• Colby, oh they're real. And they're spectacular! ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Fishing Guy, thanks so much for the kind words. All of the black and grays could be related - same species. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Rain, thank you. Yeah, a Molson or several must have been behind that snow angel. I'm glad you like the images. Thanks always for stopping by, my friend and fellow Canuck. :)

• Kerri, thank you. I can't resist the dried out Queen Anne's lace. I just like the way it photographs in winter. I'm glad that you do too. Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words. :)

• Cricket, thank you. That story is hilarious. I'm glad this snow angel didn't turn out that way because the water is quite a bit deeper in this pond. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

That daddy cardinal is breathtaking -- and I've never seen a black squirrel before!

Beautiful photos.

SandyCarlson said...

Just taking in that ice angel. Someone around there is a dedicated believer!

Indrani said...

Lovely shots again Hilary.
The second shot, in B&W is such a lovely capture. :)

Wendy said...

Beautiful pics! I loved the mallards in flight. And your cardinals are lovely - some nice shots. I can't believe someone made that snow angel in slushy, mushy, ice. Yuk! I hope they didn't get icewater down their neck. LOL!

I see one my squirrels defected to your back yard! Ha! It's those peanuts you keep feeding them. Well, they can just stay with you and leave my bird feeders alone. LOL!

Woman in a Window said...

The mallards! The mallards! You're not all that far away from me but yet a world away from me.

And that angel! Someone was nuts but after the fact, what an opportunity!


Land of shimp said...

Oh holy imperilment, that snow angel picture actually made me nervous. Likely some mother somewhere has no clue that's what her kid (no matter what age) decided seemed like a good idea at the time. Yikes. Great picture, but not try this at home, that's for sure.

It's a funny thing, Hilary, your pictures are always so wonderful, and so beautiful that I've come to expect it. Then I couldn't help thinking, what a marvelous association to have with a human being.

"Hilary? Oh yes, Hilary presents images of almost heartbreaking beauty, on a regular basis."

Neat way to be known, Hilary, and that Mockingbird has a positively human expression in his/her eyes.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Black squirrels. I forget how the colors change with the locations. In Wisconsin, they're brown. At my house, grey.

Loved the angel photo. All of them, as usual.

Hilary said...

• Laura, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Sandy, you always come back for a second look and that always makes me smile. Thanks for that. :)

• Indrani, thanks so much for the kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

• Wendy, thanks. Your comment about a slushy, wet neck made me laugh. I hadn't thought about that. I don't mind feeding your squirrels if you put out an extra suet for my birds. Deal? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Erin, yes, there's quite a difference in wildlife between your neck of the woods and mind. I think we're probably both pretty lucky in that regard. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Shimp, thank you so very much for your incredibly kind words. You made me smile big time to read them. You have no idea how much that means to me. Truly. Thank you, my friend. :)

• MJ, we have grey and black ones here (same species) and a couple of them have reddish tails. Thanks so much for the kind comments. :)

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Wonderful photos! The bird photos are so sharp and captured in perfect golden light. The squirrel shots are nice, too. Is that an Ebert squirrel? I like the Queen Anne's Lace and the slush angel as well. :)

G said...

All wonderful shots, but I particularly love the first squirrel, his soft fur dusted with snowflakes.

Hilary said...

• MP, thanks so much for the kind words. I'm glad you like the photos. The squirrel is an Eastern Grey.. even though he's got black fur. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• MPG, thank you kindly. He's a real cutie, eh? :)

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Oh right. The ears should have been a dead give away. LOL!

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

I missed your photography while I was away, Hilary! Hope to not repeat it!!! that snow-angel must have been such a "serendipity"... :)

Hilary said...

• MP, I'm not sure I'd know the difference. :)

• Thank you so much, Moi. I've missed you and yours too, my friend. :)