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.

‘Don’t move!’

‘There’s a bug on your Hi Viz.’

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Street Photography.

The shot isn’t really street photography as it was taken at an airport. We visited the Air and Auto Extravaganza at Wiarton Airport on the South Bruce Peninsula a few weeks ago. The thing that struck me was the number of people wearing Hi Viz vests. At times it seemed they out numbered the public at the event. So I was watching out for photo opportunities featuring people in Hi Viz.

This rather amused me but I don’t know if it was the reaction to the bug on the vest or me wondering if it was a colour blind bug.

Naughty bug, get off there.

A dream of time.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is ‘Pieces of a dream…in black and white’

Having been shooting in fog this weekend when most of the shots were monochromatic I was considering a dreamy fog or mist shot. Then I spotted a partially wind blown Dandelion clock and was struck by the symbolism of it.

So a monochrome conversion to which I added some radial blur and a vignette to focus attention on the center of the clock. This isn’t the Dandelion clock that inspired me, that was all clumped together by the rain and fog. This started out as a film shot from Cheshire in the 1980s.

Dandelion clock.

Bodies at rest/bodies in motion.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Bodies at rest/Bodies in motion.

My first thought was a flock of birds taking flight. That should be easy as I have lots of flocks of birds in my files. Well it didn’t quite work out as easy as I thought it would be. For example, every photo of Snow Geese taking flight I checked has all the birds in motion. I checked some of the wader (shorebirds) species I have on file. Most of those photos either had all the birds at rest or all the birds in motion.

Then I remembered some of the photos from when I was part of a small group surveying and recording an inland Gull roost on a reservoir in Cheshire. The photo below shows a section of the Black-headed Gulls moving to a different part of the reservoir with other birds staying in place on the water.

Black-headed Gull roost in winter.

Where the wild things are, in our yard.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Where The Wild Things Are.

As someone who photographs wildlife this should be easy for me. Then I remembered a visitor we had in the yard one afternoon. I was sitting on the deck when a Raccoon came wandering into the yard. I grabbed a camera which happened to have a portrait lens on it for a reason I don’t remember. It turned out to be an ideal lens as the Raccoon ignored me as it checked out what the birds had dropped under the feeders.

After shooting a selection of portraits of the animal I started trying different things. In the shot below I focused on the animals front claws rather than the eyes. I can’t decide if it’s annoyed or amused but it looks wild.

A wild Racoon.