Monthly Squares

Eye Level with a Pine Siskin

This is my day 3 contribution to Becky’s July Squares on the theme of Perspective. It’s also the first of my eye level posts.

I like getting to eye level with some of my nature subjects. It gives a more intimate view and allows the viewer to see the subject from the bird or mammals perspective.

This is a Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) photographed as it fed in some grass on the South Bruce Peninsula. I was lying in the grass to get down to eye level with the bird.

July Squares: Eye Level with a Pine Siskin


One Word Sunday


I had 3/4 of an idea for the One Word Sunday: Fraction prompt so went with 4/3 ratio photos.


One Word Sunday: Fraction

6/10 of a Pine cone photographed with a 25mm CCTV lens adapted to a mirrorless camera.


Close up of a Sunflower.

9/20 of a Sunflower.


One Word Sunday: Fraction

13/20 of a cup of coffee. This version was photographed with a 25mm CCTV lens adapted to a mirrorless camera.


Pine Siskin juvenile.

11/20 of a juvenile Pine Siskin. I thought of this fraction when I was captioning the Pine cone fraction.


Weekly Photo Challenge

On the Hunt for Joy: Say Cheese

This is my contribution to the second On the Hunt for Joy Challenge: Say Cheese.

A Pine Siskin saying “cheese” in the spring.

A spring Pine Siskin


A Mourning Dove says “cheese” as it walks through the yard.

Portrait of a Mourning Dove.

Weekly Prompts

Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Rear

A selection of birds photographed from the rear. My contribution to the Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Rear.

A resting male Common Pochard from the rear. Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England.

Common Pochard napping.

A male Purple Finch from the rear. South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

A male Purple Finch checking what the photographer is up to

A sunbathing Dunnock from the rear. Hatherton, Cheshire, England.

Sunbathing Dunnock.

A young Pine Siskin from the rear. South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

Juvenile Pine Siskin.

A Fieldfare from the rear. Faddiley, Cheshire, England.

Wintering Fieldfare in an orchard.

A male Yellow-headed Blackbird from the rear. Punnichy, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Yellow-headed Blackbird surveying his territory.

A Photo a Week Challenge Cee's Fun Foto Challenge

Smiles, grins, laughs

My contribution to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Smiles and the A Photo a Week Challenge: Smile.

I know that I’m not supposed to anthropomorphize wildlife but I thought this could be a light hearted post with a bit of anthropomorphizing.

An American Red Squirrel with a hint of a smile. Ontario, Canada.

Eyeing up the photographer.

A relaxed Dunnock grinning while sunbathing. Cheshire, England.

Sunbathing Dunnock.

A wet Racoon grins as it surveys the bird feeders, Ontario, Canada.

Raccoon with spiky wet fur.

A Common Frog grins in a garden pond, Cheshire, England.

Eye of the frog.

A portrait of a Mourning Dove that gives the impression of smiling. Ontario, Canada.

Portrait of a Mourning Dove.

A hidden Great Blue Heron laughing at a No Fishing Sign, Ontario, Canada.

No Fishing Sign.

A Pine Siskin that appears to be laughing. Ontario, Canada.

A spring Pine Siskin



An autumn Pine Siskin.

One from the archives, taken in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1990s. The Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) looks fluffed up against the cold but it will get a lot colder in the winter.

Pine Siskins can survive very low temperatures. Their metabolic rate is 40% higher than typical for songbirds of their size. In extreme cold they can increase their metabolic rate up to five times normal.

This is my favourite Pine Siskin shot from Saskatchewan although I can’t explain why. The bird isn’t doing anything and is partially obscured by a branch. Maybe it’s the colour combination of the bird and the autumn leaves.

An autumn Pine Siskin.


A juvenile Pine Siskin.

Sunday morning saw me lying in the yard behind the camera. I had set up my ground pod to try for some shots of the Squirrels, Chipmunks and whatever bird species decided to feed on the ground. I was expecting Common Grackles, Blue Jays and other larger species. I wanted to get as close as possible to eye level with the subjects.

A few weeks ago I got a low profile ball head for the ground pod. It would allow the lens to be about 3/4 inch lower than the ball head I had been using. Coupled with a couple of other changes I could now get the lens more than an inch lower to the ground.

So my initial set up was as low to the ground as possible. I then remembered a lesson learned in the 1980s. You can get to low, it’s hard to see through the viewfinder and you can’t see smaller species for vegetation sometimes.

So I swapped the 3/4 inch bolts that act as legs on the ground pod for the 3 inch bolts. This allowed me to see the juvenile Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) as it fed in the grass.

Pine Siskin juvenile.