Nesting preparations.

Part one of a story that will be ongoing for the next 10 weeks or so.

A brief explanation. In 1987 I documented the entire nesting cycle of a pair of Eurasian Blue Tits. The nestbox was specially designed and constructed. It was installed in a garden shed in place of a normal nestbox used each spring.

The first photo shows a couple of pieces of nesting material in the bottom of the box while one of the birds pecks at the entrance hole. This is often done, I’m not sure if it is a territorial action or if the birds do it to make the hole a better fit.

Adult Blue Tit pecking at nestbox hole, Cheshire, England

A shot of the exterior of the nestbox. Nestbox, Cheshire, England


Splish, splash revisited.

Week 9 of my 52 week photo project was titled Splish, splash and showed icicles being formed by the waves breaking on the shoreline at Colpoy’s Bay, Ontario.

I was originally considering the photo below but went with a tighter view of the icicles and a wave breaking.


This photo shows the tripod set up on the shoreline. By the time I was ready to pack up the equipment the lower legs were icing up and the leg closest to the water was frozen to the stones it was standing on. I only slipped on the stones once, I was more careful after that.


Last Mountain Lake.

The new Weekly Photo Challenge is Favorite Place.

I was considering a few locations until I thought of Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan.

I was never sure why it’s called Last Mountain Lake as it’s on the Canadian prairies with no mountains anywhere close by. It’s also known as Long Lake. The photos were all taken around the north end of the lake which is shallow with wetlands. It’s the location of the Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary, the first federal bird sanctuary in North America.

An American White Pelican in the summer.

American White Pelican, Saskatchewan, Canada

A section of the lake at sunset in the autumn.

Last Mountain Lake at sunset, Saskatchewan, Canada

A flock of Snow Geese on autumn migration.

Snow Geese on autumn migration, Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada

A frozen section of Last Mountain Lake in winter.

Last Mountain Lake at sunset, Saskatchewan, Canada

A hint of spring.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is A Hint of Spring.

I thought I would use one photo from the UK and one from Canada.

In Cheshire, England a pair of Great Crested Grebe performing their courtship display by waving weed at each other.

Great Crested Grebes displaying, Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England

In Ontario, Canada a male Common Merganser swims amongst ice on a thawing Lake Huron.

Male Common Merganser, Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada

Week 11. A jumble of snow and ice.

Parts of Colpoy’s Bay, Ontario are covered with chunks of ice piled up by the wind before freezing again and being covered by fresh snow. Taken about 15 minutes before sunrise which accounts for the small band of pink in the clouds over the bay.


Green baize and a soap bubble.

Today being Saint Patrick’s Day got me thinking about the colour green and things associated with the colour.

Baize is a coarse woollen cloth traditionally dyed green and used on snooker and billiards tables to cover the slate and cushions. The photo below dates back to the late 1970s. The green baize is actually a tablecloth on a photo studio table. The snooker cue is being held in place by a tripod and a friend is blowing bubbles. You can see his reflection in the soap bubble. I am bursting any soap bubbles that land in the wrong place or are the wrong size. I don’t remember how long it took us to get the shot.

Soap bubble snooker ball

What’s in a name?

Most people in Britain call them a Wren, some call them a Jenny Wren. As a bird photographer I captioned the photo below as a Winter Wren when it was taken in the 1990s. The photo was taken in Cheshire, England and at the time the bird was classified as the same species as the Winter Wren found in North America.

However, since researchers started analysing the DNA of species it has been reclassified. In Europe and Asia the bird is now called the Eurasian Wren. The North American Winter Wren has been split into two species, the Winter Wren that can be found in eastern North America and the Pacific Wren found along the Pacific coast of North America. As a result, the North American species also have new scientific names.

So to the photo, a Winter, sorry Eurasian Wren singing to proclaim it’s territory in the spring. Ah, spring, it’s -11°C with a wind chill of -17 as I type this.

Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England