Thursday, June 2, 2011

Feathered Friends

You're just in time to join me for a stroll around the pond. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to be still from time to time. We're going bird watching.

The grackle has beautiful colouring which can appear quite differently...

grackle meal
in different lighting...

watching me
or low lighting.

mallard singing
This mallard finds it all very amusing. He's quacking up.

Here's a rare sight around here. We see lots of them around the more urban parts of the city, but rarely do I see a pigeon in my little suburban neck of the woods. This one has been tagged with a ring on its leg.

small family
It's always a treat to see the young goslings or ducklings appear on the pond. This small family seems to be ailing though. Only one parent and two goslings. I'm thinking coyotes.

Another great treat is when the herons return. We're very lucky to have frequent visits from Night Herons, Green Herons and this beauty, the Great Blue Heron. He was fishing right along the shoreline, just down the slope from the path.

He was successful in catching a fish, but I wasn't successful in catching that with my camera. Mr. Blue glanced up at me, and allowed me to snap one more shot before he took off to hunt elsewhere. He totally made my day.

I hope you enjoyed these encounters with our feathered friends.

I'm still away from home for a couple of days. I hope to get back to my more regular visits shortly after that. I hope so.. I've run out of scheduled posts. ;)


Russell said...

I'm taking a digital photography course this summer and I should show these images to my fellow students!

We are learning about depth of field and F stops and shutter speed and ....! Lots of those features that we are SUPPOSED to be learning I see in your images!

Very nice and I enjoyed the walk!

Take care.

Steve Gravano said...

Beautiful photos, you really show the true beauty of the grackle, many people mistake them for blackbirds.

Tabor said...

Excellent photos. Birds that can be seen in such a new clear light.

Brian Miller said...

very have quite the range in birds...the furry goslings as very cute...

Gary's third pottery blog said...


messymimi said...

A bird of a different color!

Thanks for sharing these.

rommelfernandes said...

The birds look so beautiful. Amazing photography!
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Dianne said...

I love the quacking up mallard, he has one little feather sticking up that adds to his character

all beautiful

Mental P Mama said...

Those grackle shots are wonderful. Wait. They all are!

Anvilcloud said...

I never knew how the lighting affected the colours that we perceive from grackles.

Shammickite said...

You have taken wonderful shots of the birds encountered on your walk by the water.... especially the shots of the heron. You must have a great lens to be ab;e to get so close with so much detail.

Liz Mays said...

How wonderful that you captured that blue heron!

I'm not a fan of grackles because they're aggressive toward my pretty little songbirds, but I have to admit that the coloring is lovely.

TexWisGirl said...

i love the Great Blue glance (or glare?) at you!!! all of your shots are beautiful. grackles are fascinating birds...

Cricket said...

Wow! Is that a mighty zoom, or did you really get very close to the heron? Ours are awfully skittish. I don't know why - no one eats them.

Unlike those cute fuzzy goslings, which, for some reason, always make me think of raspberry sauce ;-)

I'm feeling a bit giddy today, with beautiful weather and dry air. Yay. How about Little Known Facts, from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Pay special attention to the verse about birds :-)

Enjoy your blog breaks and the Spring. Pour a glass of wine and relax to Coltrane's Lush Life, particularly Like Someone In Love. That's my Rx.

ellen abbott said...

grackles are so iridescent but they have the worst voices. the great blue heron is one of my favorite birds.

Unknown said...

Such a nice walk this morning ... very funny "he's quacking up"!
Your photos are remarkable as well as were your subjects!

Suldog said...

I may be in the minority among city dwellers, but I love rock doves (or pigeons, as they're more popularly known.)

Out on the prairie said...

Amazing shot, the 2nd gracle was taking food somewhere.Love the heron, a favorite of mine to chase with a camera.

Bossy Betty said...

Jumping up and down after this field trip! That was great!!! Beautiful!

Daryl said...

duck puppies! someone I know calls all baby animals puppies ..

Dawning Inspiration said...

This tour is great fun...
and I'm in love with that Blue Heron - the markings are so incredible!!!

Gail Dixon said...

Beautiful collection of birds--my favorite thing to shoot! It is so interesting how the grackles' color changes depending on the light. Well done.

Anyes said...

Lovely walk around the pond. I am in awe of your birds photographing skills, I still have to be able to get one that is not totally blurred out of recognition. Thank you for taking us with you , Hilary

Kristina P. said...

So pretty! I've been a bit on a ceramic bird collecting expedition.

Moannie said...

Unbelievably good pictures, and such birds! The only one I have ever seen with my own eyes is the pigeon.

Anonymous said...

Wow these shots are cool, particularly the grackle

Shrinky said...

"Quacking up", eh? Still the punster, I see (grin)! How on earth you manage to not only keep these critters still enough for a wonderful shot, but have them POSE for you as you do, too, is completely beyond me - but I am so glad you can..

Betty Manousos said...

omg, those are absolutely stunning shots, Hilary!!

great, rich colours and angle.

it's really hard to pick a favourite.

hope your day has been good so far.


Herrad said...

Hi Hilary,
Great post, love the photos.
Sorry about my lack of visits.
Spike's, our dog, illness, quick death nov/dec and being so ill myself jan/feb to march meant no visits
Since then I have been spending more time sitting in my wheelchair I have also not been visiting.
Tonight I decided to visit.
I just passed by to say hello.
I hope you are doing well.

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant Hilary, especially the Heron, how did you get so close?

Kelly H-Y said...

As always, your pictures are stunning (you must have an awesome zoom lens ... I need to get one of those!). :-)

Mage said...

So sorry the car is being difficult. Thanks for the walk, and too, you are just about the only one who thought I was funny today. I obviously need to hone my funny bone a bit. Enjoy your stay our there in the real world. :)

Sebab said...

Wow...Beautiful pictures!

Linda Reeder said...

Great photos. The color changes on the grackle are amazing.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

You always amaze me. You'd think I'd be getting used to it by now. That first grackle image is especially nice, but so are the puffed-up pigeon and the quacking-up mallard. But I especially love the first blue heron shot, with the shadows showing on his feathers.

Cheryl Kohan said...

Fabulous shots, Hilary, as usual. I am always amazed at those grackles...they are practically fluorescent, aren't they? The geese are fascinating, too, although I'm never happy to see the "gifts" they leave behind-hah!

Barbara said...

Such wonderful photos - I feel like I could reach up and feel the feathers! I'm especially envious of your blue heron shots!

Rosaria Williams said...

They just love to pose for you, H. Wait, Russell there says it best.

Lisa said...

You have some very beuaitful shot here also. Loved all the blogs I missed. I will be away a few days. So glad you stopped by.

Unknown said...

It is amazing the difference that the lighting makes on the grackle!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Once again,you took me on a lovely walk.The birding was fantastic.Love the Blue Heron shots

yaya said...

I'm always taken back by your beautiful's like being there hiding in the bushes! I had a heron in my back yard a couple of times, but not able to get any great shots like those! Fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed by how you manage to capture birds in the most beautiful way!

Rob-bear said...

I really enjoyed your bird pictures. You've captured the essence of these birds in your various shots. The quacking Mallard, the iridescent Grackle, the calm but watchful Blue Heron.

Growing up in North York, with parents who were birders, I've been to Mississauga often, before it was built up. Great birding place; saw my first Wood Duck there.

photowannabe said...

Glad you are enjoying your time away. I'm sure not sucessful with my little camera in capturing birds. These are terrific. Love the duck yucking it up and the sweet goslings. Sad that their Daddy was probably some critters meal. But such is the Circle of Life. (:0(

Cloudia said...


YOU are an amazing photog!!!!!

(Lucky us :)

Aloha from Honolulu

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Pierre BOYER said...

Lovely pics !
Have a great day...


Claudya Martinez said...

Delightful. Your pictures are always such a pleasure to look at.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

"He's quacking up." Even when I know it's coming, it still makes me smile. :)

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Russell. You always have such nice things to say and I truly appreciate that. :)

• Steve, I think that's an easy mistake to make. Thanks for your kind words. Very much appreciated. :)

• Tabor, thank you kindly. :)

• Brian, we're very lucky to get such feathered diversity here. They're a lot of fun to observe. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Gary, they're cute, aren't they? :)

• That's it, MessyMimi. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, RommelFernandos, and thank you kindly. :)

• Thanks, Dianne. I noticed that too. It reminds me of Dennis the Menace's cowlick. :)

• Thanks very much, MPM. :)

• AC. I have yet another photo of one which I took a few days ago, It show him even differently. He's quite the colourful bird for one which often appears mostly black. :)

• Shammie, thank you kindly. I do have a couple of great lenses but he was also really close by. I lucked out. :)

• Blueviolet, he's one of my favourite birds. :)

• TexWesGirl, thanks so much. I'd say it was more of a glance but who can tell? ;)

• Cricket it was a bit of both. I really wasn't too far from him but there was a fair bit of greenery between us. I had my 70 to 300 lens with me. The bird wasn't too skittish and more intent upon fishing. I'm not lissssssstening to what you're saying about goslings. I will listen to your musical selections later in the morning when other sleepy folks are awake. I also plan to indulge in your wine prescription later today. ;)

• Ellen, I don't mind the grackle's voice. They have one call that I quite like which sounds like a xylophone. And Bluey (he lets me call him that) is one of my favourites, as well. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Missing Moments, thank you so much for such kind words. That means a lot to me. :)

• Suldog, I don't know if you're in the minority or not but if you are, then I can keep you company. I remember one time, a pigeon nested in a flower box on my Dad's balcony. It was cool to see them hatch and ultimately grow into maturity. I've had a special fondness for them ever since. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Steve, thank you kindly. Bird-chasing sure is fun. :)

• Thanks, Betty. I know you teachers LOVE a field trip. ;)

• Daryl, that's adorable. I might have to adopt that. ;)

• Thank you, Stacey. He's an easy fellow to fall in love with. :)

• Louisiana Belle, thank you kindly. I always get a bit of a thrill when I snap a bird, too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Anyes, thanks very much. I'm so glad that you enjoy my photos. I'm lucky to have use of a pretty zoomy lens, oftentimes. And a lot of luck. :)

• Kristina, ceramic birds stay nice and still for the camera. Wise choice! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Moannie. I've seen many fine UK photography blogs and notice that our birds differ quite a bit. There's always a few crossovers but I'm fascinated by what I see in your neck of the woods. Thanks always for the visit :)

Hilary said...

• Thrviewfinder, thank you. :)

• Shrinky, thank you kindly. I bribe them. Or beg. Or threaten them with the wrath of Benny... ;) I'm glad you like the images. :)

• Betty, thank you so much. Your kind words are very much appreciated. :)

• Herrad, thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your dog, Spike's passing. It's always so difficult to lose a pet. I'm glad that you decided to visit and that you enjoyed the photos. :)

• Thank you, Bob. It was sheer luck. I was simply walking the path along my pond's shoreline. He was fishing on the edge just a few feet below me.. through a lot of brush. I caught him between branches (with a 70-300 lens). He's such a beauty and his visits are quite the treat. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Kelly, thank you so much. Some of those photos were taken with a 70- 300 and some with a 100-400. It's fun! ;)

• Maggie, thank you. The car woes turned out to be more inconvenience than anything. Everything but the towing charge was covered under the warranty. Your sense of humour comes through loud and clear to me. :)

• Thank you, Sailor. :)

• Linda Reeder, thank you kindly. He's a magical creature that way! :)

• Linda, thank you kindly, my friend. Birds really are among my favourite subjects and I'm glad you enjoy seeing my photos. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Cheryl, thank you. Yes, the grackles are fluorescent, iridescent and just about any other "escent" when it comes to their beautiful feathers. Those goose gifts can be quite a problem but easily forgotten when you see those darling goslings. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Barbara. He's one of my favourite birds so I was quite thrilled with that visit. It was a bonus that he held still long enough for a couple of decent shots. :)

• Rosaria, thank you so kindly. :)

• Lisa, thanks very much. Enjoy your time away. :)

• Susan, yes. They practically colour-shift before your eyes. I hope you and your Bison are doing well. :)

• Ruth, thank you. I'm always happy to have you along on my walks. :)

• Yaya, thank you for the kind words. It's disappointing when you can't get a good shot, but it doesn't dim the thrill of seeing these beauties. Thanks for joining me. Now that I know you hide in the bushes, I'll brew more coffee and hand you a cup, next time. ;)

• Lady Fi, thank you so much for that kind compliment. :)

• Rob-bear, thank you so much for such kind words. I like that you know the area, here. This is the only place I've ever seen a Wood Duck.. a beautiful male who stops by for a few weeks each autumn, and pairs up with a Mallard. Mississauga may be built up, but they had the foresight to maintain a lot of green space and that works out well for nature and photographers alike. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment. :)

• Sue, thanks very much. I get kind of used to seeing duckling and gosling populations decline around here. One year a pair of ducks started out with 14 young and within a week they were fully diminished. It must be so distressing for the mothers to witness coyotes and raccoons making off with their young. But yes.. the circle of life is like that. They all have to find food somewhere. Our pond offers them this buffet. Thanks for stopping by. Your kind words always mean so much to me. :)

• Claudia, thank you so much. You make me smile. :)

• Welcome, Pierre and thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Mami. Much appreciated. :)

• KC, you're easy to please but I thank you for that. :)

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Your photos are stunning! Would you be interested in doing a guest post on my photo blog? My blog is aimed at beginning to advanced hobbyist photographers. They love seeing photos from other sites and getting tips.

Karen said...

I never knew that bird could look so different in the changing light! Oh, and I was quiet, I promise. :P

lime said...

that really is amazing how the grackle's colors change appearance in different lights and you capture it so well.

beth said...

you live in such a magical place !!

Hilary said...

• Welcome, Mari and thank you for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. I also thank you so much for the thoughtful offer to do a guest post on your blog but my problem is that I'm struggling to keep up with my own regular posts (and comment responses and blog visits) these days and to put aside time to do a guest post, no matter how tempting would be too difficult at this time. I took a good look around your blog and it looks like a fine site with much to offer. I'll return to visit from time to time, and I hope you'll do likewise. And maybe sometime down the road, I can reconsider, if that's okay with you. :)

• Karen, they're quite amazing.. that combination of oiled feathers and sunlight creates a wonderful palette. I have taken yet another grackle image recently, which is the most colourful yet. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Lime. See my comment above (to Karen) about the colours. I'll be posting that one at some point down the blog road. Thanks always for your visit. :)

• Thanks Beth. Some of the magic is in Nature.. some in the camera, as you well know. ;)

SandyCarlson said...

ALL of these are utterly amazing. I am glad you are a sister to these birds who let you in....