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Season’s Greetings

Christmas Card: 2020
Christmas Card: 2020
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Keeping the nest clean

This is a follow-up of sorts to my Throwback Thursday post yesterday. That showed how cramped it was getting inside this nestbox.

After posting it occurred to me that I should post a photo showing how the adults keep the nest clean. While in the nest the young produce fecal sacs. These are droppings encased in a gelatinous sac allowing the adults to carry it out of the nestbox and drop it some distance away.

The young stick their bottoms in the air as a sign to an adult that they’re about to produce one.

Interestingly, when I captioned the slides in 1987 the reference books I used spelled it as faecal sac but the accepted spelling nowadays is fecal.

Keeping the nest clean

 

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Juvenile Purple Finch

A juvenile Purple Finch in the yard.

At the moment most of the adult birds are looking scruffy after the breeding season while the juveniles are looking quite smart.

Purple Finch juvenile in late summer.

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Feeding Recently Hatched Young

One from the archives taken in Cheshire in the late 1980s.

Having documented the complete nesting cycle of a pair of Eurasian Blue Tits in 1987 I went on to photograph other species in different nestboxes over the next couple of years.

Here an adult Great Tit (Parus major) is about to feed some recently hatched young with a small yellow green caterpillar. While it looks as if the bird is looking at the camera it was just the timing of the shot. It was dark inside the nestbox, I was releasing the shutter a second or two after hearing an adult land at the entrance hole.

Feeding Recently Hatched Young.

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On the tip of the Bruce Peninsula

A longer and very different post from what my regular readers are used to. I want to talk about my experiences at the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility and The Meeting Place in Tobermory, Ontario.

As I may have hinted at in some earlier posts from 2019 I have had an ongoing health issue that started late in 2018. I had a sore on my right calf that I couldn’t get to heal and that became infected. As a result, between Christmas and the new year I found myself in the local emergency room being put on intravenous antibiotics.

Six weeks later a succession of doctors and a surgeon had managed to almost double the size of the sore and it was also deeper into the leg. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever heal and was getting very frustrated with the medical treatment I was receiving.

One of the nurses dressing what was by now a wound realised how frustrated I was and arranged for me to see Dr. George Harpur who runs the hyperbaric chamber in Tobermory on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Dr. Harpur took over my treatment and after a few visits I was ready to go into the hyperbaric chamber.

After 22 sessions (11 days) in the hyperbaric chamber the wound had shrunk from over an inch in diameter to the size of a small pea. I’m still surprised at the speed the wound healed.

Having two sessions in the hyperbaric chamber each day I went over to The Meeting Place between sessions. There’s a lounge area, various rooms and a kitchen where you can use the microwave to warm something up for your lunch. It’s open to anyone and has Wi-Fi. Some of my blog activity over the past couple of weeks has been from there.

A very useful facility with a nice atmosphere. With a wide variety of activities held there I would describe it as a hub for the local community. It’s a popular place and a great concept, other communities in the area could take note.

To the photo and its connection to this post. I first visited Tobermory in the summer of 1985. I took a glass bottomed boat tour out to Flowerpot Island and took this photo from the back of the boat as it was leaving Tobermory.

Canadian flag on a tour boat.

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Bank of cloud at sunset

One from the archives taken in Ontario, Canada 11 years ago. It shows Chantry Island and its lighthouse on the horizon with the sun setting behind a bank of cloud over Lake Huron.

Taken from the Lake Huron shoreline at the bottom of the High Street in Southampton. I  waded through knee high snow to get into the location I wanted for the sunset. This section of Lake Huron is frozen over and partially snow covered. I lived in the area at the time and was fairly confident that I was still standing on the shoreline when taking the photo.

Bank of cloud at sunset.

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White-tailed Deer at dusk

One from the archives, taken in Saskatchewan, Canada in the late 1990s. This group of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) appeared while I was stood on a ridge waiting for the moon to rise over some snow and hoarfrost covered prairie.

Luckily I had chosen the location so that I could use a telephoto lens to make the moon as big as possible in the planned shot. As a result, I had my telephoto set up on the tripod when the deer appeared. They’re in a hay field on the other side of a gravel road.

There was in the teens of deer, split into various groups. I was trying to select the most interesting group while waiting for the moon to appear.

Winter White-tailed Deer at dusk.