Chickadees


I want to thank my friend, Kathy Marche, for allowing me to share her beautiful shots of chickadees, one of my favorite birds. Their song is so cheerful and so heartwarming. and watching them fly or hop about from limb to limb in the evergreens brings me joy. I think the thing I love most about chickadees is that they never abandon us but sing their little hearts out even in the dead of winter. I really love Kathy’s photos, I hope you enjoy them.

“The chickadee and nuthatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions.” – Henry David Thoreau

“We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it from its territory. But above them all ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.” – Tom Brown Jr

“But hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance seldom reached by the best of guns.”

– John James Audubon

“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.” – Jane Goodall

Let’s get the flock out of here


So, my friend, Kathy Marche has generously granted her nod for me to share more of her stellar photos. Life is rather grim in most parts of the world at the moment so I hope her photos will lift a spirit or two. Unfortunately the area where I live does not offer many opportunities to capture photos of birds. Unless you like ravens, there are tons of ravens around. They especially like to gather round when the trash bins are full to overflowing – does not make for a pretty picture though. Here’ a trio of feathered friends for you to enjoy.

A young male Downey Woodpecker photo credit Kathy Marche
Ruby-crowned Kinglet photo credit Kathy Marche
Chickadee photo credit Kathy Marche

I particularly love the chickadees. They are a constant throughout the year and even the coldest days do not keep them from singing their cheerful tunes.

More to come, stay tuned.

Spring blessings of birds


I took a little walk this morning and captured a few photos around a pond not far from home. I was a little disappointed that were not more variety of ducks and birds but I did enjoy what I did see and hear. I especially love listening to the song of red-winged black birds, although I love them all. Thought I’d share these for your pleasure (at least I hope it is a pleasure for you all).

This little sparrow was very active flitting among the reeds around the pond
So quick and so busy on this windy but warm spring day
I love the sheen of colors and he had lots to sing about too
Grackles were plentiful around the ponds
Red-winged black birds seemed to be in competition with the grackles
Their wings are so vibrant!
Mr. blackbird added his harmonies to the cacophony of song
While a pair of ducks took in the symphony and grabbed a bite to eat now and then

Small disappointments, but hope prevails


I was so excited to catch sight of a pair of Common Goldeneye Ducks down on the pond last evening. It’s a sure sign of spring and I had been looking forward to their return. I snapped off a couple of photographs from our balcony, unfortunately they’re not the best quality as I was soooo excited to see them.

Hearty pair of Common Goldeneye visiting the pond, even with ice still in evidence, one had dived under water, looking for food, perhaps?

I went out for a walk around the pond this morning to see if I could get better shots, alas I was disappointed – they were nowhere to be seen. But they may have been hiding in the long grasses and bulrushes that surround the pond.

Bits of ice and snow on the pond, but the weather is warm today so hopefully it will all be melted by day’s end.

However, I did chance upon a raven having a chat with his friend the magpie:

I think Raven was throwing his head back and laughing at something Magpie had told him

I am hopeful of seeing the ducks return again. Last week I saw a pair of Canada Geese flying overhead so spring is definitely underway and I am grateful. It’s been a long winter!

Sing of spring: More birds


All of the photos featured in this post were taken by my firend, nature enthusiast, Kathy Marche. She takes phenomenal photographs around the Stephenville/Port au Port areas in Newfoundland, Canada. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

“Whatcha looking ay, Willis”
Nuthatches seem to be natural acrobats
This one seems to have earned its stripes (sorry for the bad pun)
Birds are great at hiding in plain sight
An American Bald Eagle on the hunt
Black-capped Chickadee, one of my personal favourites, though very common and found pretty much everywhere, their friendly curiosity and cheerful song is always a delight
an exceptional shot of a Boreal Chickadee
Kathy caught this Canada Jay as it was jumping from branch to branch
Another shot the pretty little Canada Jay a.k.a. Gray Jay
Downy Woodpecker – they sure can make a racket but nice to see
Finches are common as well, but also lovely to hear
Perched and perfectly positioned to have a look around
Naturally, gulls are a common sight around Newfoundland waters. This one is a great black-backed gull
Hairy Woodpecker (female)
Hairy Woodpecker (male)
nice close up of a Hairy Woodpecker
Herring Gull
Herring Gull – though some people consider gulls a nuisance I always enjoyed seeing them circling overhead and squawking to one another
Iceland Gull
Mourning Dove
Pine Grosbeak (male)
Pine Grosbeak (female)
Purple Finch (doesn’t it look like it had its feathers styled punk? haha)
“Here get my good side”
Red and White-winged Crossbills
Red breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch – so pretty
An immature Red Crossbill preening his feathers
White-winged Crossbill
Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting
And back to the Chickadees – just because I love them so 🙂
Since we began with a Nuthatch I guess it makes sense to “end” with one. And now this “tale” is done.

My sincere thanks and deepest gratitude, Kathy, for allowing me to feature some of your stunning photographs on my blog. I hope my readers enjoy them.

Birds in the bush


These are a few photographs I took last June 2019 of cedar waxwings in the crab apple bush out front of the house I was living in at the time. With spring just around the bend I thought you’d like a break from corona-virus posts. Nature always cheers me up and soothes my soul.

Handsome dude, isn’t he (she?)

What is better than watching a bird in the tree?

Two birds (actually it was a flock, but I only managed to capture two

These cheerful fellows can be seen in woodlands pretty much year round according to the Cornell lab. They also visit suburban areas as well, eating fruit and or berries wherever they may find food. These fellows returned to the crab apple tree again and again, even though the apples were last year’s crop they didn’t seem to mind. A feast is a feast I guess.

Birds – notoriously difficult to photograph


I took the following photos in various locales in Newfoundland. On a cold winter day it’s fun to revisit these places in my mind and relive the moments. Mostly I remember how difficult it was to capture images of these very quick little creatures.

A common chick-a-dee, on of my favorite feathered friends – they can be found most everywhere across the country and are such a joy to watch
Foraging for food
This loon was sitting on the beach and seemed to be injured. It took me a good part of the day searching for help for it. Loons are usually seen floating on the ocean waters – not often seen otherwise. It’s wonderful to watch them fishing and, of course, their bird call is definitely distinctive.
Osprey a.k.a. fish hawks are making a come back along the coasts of the island of Newfoundland. In the tiny community of St. George’s a nest was made to help entice them. This one was circling her nest and the photo is heavily cropped as she was way up in the sky and did not want to be photographed!
There was actually a pair of Osprey flying above the nest – not sure if this is the male or female.
This little guy seemed to be scolding me – wanting to be left alone. I obliged, but not before snapping off a few shots…
On the Burgeo highway we chanced to see these beauties – they were quite friendly – I was standing just a couple of feet away from the bush where several birds were perched.
A beautiful sunny day – I loved my visit with these bright and cherry birds
I found it amazing how these little fellows could perch and hold onto a blade of grass and just sit there as it swayed in the breeze
Crows and Ravens are known for their intelligence, and it is amazing to witness their interaction with one another. they may not look or sound pretty, but they are amazing birds.

The Tragedy


On brightest day

Or hours of dreary rain

The robin sits and croons its song

The sweetest trill

Or darkest hue

Adds color to

The common theme

Of life anew

What blessing did I miss?

While trudging through

The days

With head so full

Of what to do

And noticed not

The miracle

Unfolding

With head bent down

I could not see

The wondrous sight

Hidden in plain view

I did not bother

Did not see

Life unfolding

Constantly

The kiss of spring

Before me lay

And bid me witness

the magic scene

a melodrama

Played out again

Yet I did not see

And therein lay

The tragedy

Talking with birds


Recently I shared the story of a robin who built her nest in the flower box that hangs off the railing of the house next door. It has been awesome to watch the parents bringing grubs, worms, etc. to feed their young.  This morning I heard an awful commotion with the pair of robins chirping very excitedly and went outside to look. A cat was stalking the nest. The one robin was perched on the roof of the porch next door and when I looked up and saw it I asked, “what’s going on? Why are you so upset?” The bird literally leaned forward and looked directly at me as it chittered non-stop. Its partner was perched on the eaves trough and was also making a ruckus while looking down at the ground. Finally, a cat came out from under a bush and when I saw it I clapped my hands and shouted at it to go home. After a minute of clapping and shouting the poor animal finally ran off down the street with both parent robins in hot pursuit.

Well, that was an interesting start to the day. I do talk to birds and to animals. I’m not sure if that makes me ‘crazy’, but it is a life-long habit. And that robin really seemed to be trying to enlist my help with the feline intruder. It amazes me how emotionally invested I am in these birds and their young. It has been such a pleasure to watch them raise their chicks. It will be a while before the babies are big enough to fend for themselves. I just hope they make it.

 

link to previous article: https://chopkins2x3.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/the-american-robin-such-a-trusting-little-bird/

 

The American Robin – such a trusting little bird


 

Last spring a friend of mine showed me the nest a robin had built under the corner of the deck in her backyard. This year a neighbor told us about a robin that has made a nest in a flower box hanging off the rail on her front doorstep. How amazing is that? Obviously, they do not have much fear of predators, or perhaps they are just young birds that don’t know better. Having said that I distinctly remember my friend telling me that their robins come back to the nest under their deck every year. I love birds, but I confess I don’t know a lot about the nesting habits of this particular breed – or any other winged creature come to think about it. At any rate I snapped off a few photos of the robin in the flower box. I hope you will enjoy these.