The onset of autumn.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is The Onset of Autumn.

For me, the onset of autumn doesn’t just mean the leaves changing colour. It also means a change of bird species in the area. As I type this it’s been a week since I last saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, they’re heading south for the winter. Today I had a Pine Siskin in the yard, normally a winter species for the area.

So rather go with a somewhat predictable photo of leaves I decided to go with a bird species that passes through the area in the spring and autumn. This White-crowned Sparrow is a passage migrant in this part of Ontario. Having bred in the far north it’s now heading south to spend the winter the southern U.S. or Mexico. It has stopped off in the area to feed up for a day or two.

White-crowned Sparrow.

Wings across the sky.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Wings Across The Skies.

There was some obvious choices for me. At the same time, a bit of a challenge because of the range of choices.

I picked this shot of Sandhill Cranes flying to roost at sunset because they cross the frame, from one side to the other. In other words, wings across the frame. The photo was taken at Little Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada in the autumn. The Quill Lakes area is a staging area for Sandhill Cranes on their way south for the winter.

Flying to roost at sunset.

Creepy crawlies.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Creepy Crawlies.

First, let me say that I don’t regard these Common Rough Woodlice (Porcellio scaber) as creepy crawlies. The Woodlouse family is quite interesting, they’re Crustaceans, like Lobsters and Crabs, although most species live on land. They congregate in damp places to avoid drying out.

These Common Rough Woodlice were photographed in Cheshire, England in the 1980s. Rather bizarrely I remembered the scientific name for them, presumably from captioning the photos all those years ago. A couple of days ago I met someone I used to work with and I can’t remember their name.

Common Rough Woodlouse.

Deux chevaux.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is “Get your motors running: cool cars that caught your eye.

I had photo picked for the challenge but changed my mind and went in a completely different direction. I went from a high tech rally car competing in a World Championship Rally to a much older and simpler design of vehicle.

The photo shows a Citroen 2CV taken this summer at the Wiarton Air and Auto Extravaganza at Wiarton Airport, Ontario, Canada. It was one of only three European cars at the show. The 2CV was built by Citroen from 1948 until 1990. This one is from the 1980s I’m guessing. Deux chevaux is the French for two horses, 2CV means two steam horses.

I was living in the U.K. when these were popular with some but a source of amusement for more people. Looking back maybe the owners of the 2CV had a point. It’s a basic vehicle with minimal electrical systems, a simple engine and long travel suspension. A vehicle that probably only require a basic toolkit for most repairs.

I wonder how many French cars from the 1980s are in Canada.

Deux chevaux.

Hidden behaviour in plain sight.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Hidden In Plain Sight: Photo Elements You Might Have Missed.

This is a photo of a pair of American Avocets in Saskatchewan, Canada. They’re in breeding plumage having arrived for the summer. You may wonder what I missed? The photo was taken in the mid 1990s but until I copied the slide a couple of years ago I hadn’t noticed the behaviour of the two birds.

The bird on the left seems to be ready to mate while the other bird appears to be preening as if getting ready to go on a date. By the curve of their bills it’s a female ready to mate and a male preening.

Two American Avocets.

A feather for lunch.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is The Food of Love.

I gave this some thought and then remembered this photo. It shows a fairly common piece of behavior for various species of Grebes that researchers and scientists have yet to fully explain.

The photo shows an adult Great Crested Grebe feeding one of its breast feathers to two of its young. One theory suggests this behavior is an aid to digesting their food by protecting their stomach from sharp fish bones. Another theory is that the feathers help the birds form pellets of undigested fish bones allowing them to regurgitate the pellets.

Adult Great Crested Grebe with young.