Categories
CFFC Photo Challenges

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

 

Categories
Archives

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.

Categories
2018

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.

Categories
2018

A Pine Siskin from week 23

Just another Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) you may think but this one is a bit special, at least to me.

Pine Siskins are an irruptive species meaning numbers vary from winter to winter as the birds follow food sources. Some winters we may only see one or two, last winter we had a flock of over 40 birds at times. They must have found enough food because some of them stayed around in the spring and at least one pair must have bred as this is a youngster.

When we first spotted them some of the young were seen begging a male Purple Finch and a female American Goldfinch to be fed.

Juvenile Pine Siskin.

Categories
2018

Some birds from week 21

First, a Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus). Normally an occasional winter species for us but we had large numbers last winter and we’ve still got a dozen or so around this spring. They’re an irruptive species meaning numbers vary from year to year as the birds follow food sources.

A spring Pine Siskin.

Next, a Turkey Vulture soars overhead while I waited for an uncooperative Baltimore Oriole.

Looking for something to eat.

Finally a female Common Grackle searching for a meal in the yard. An often overlooked species, a lot of people regard them as a nuisance around their bird feeders. I rather like them although I don’t have a lot of shots of the species.

A spring Common Grackle.

Categories
2018

Week 18, two different birds

I had a few photos under consideration for week 18 of my 52 week photo project. I spent some time one morning out in the yard photographing some of the birds. A mix of winter visitors still with us and some recently arrived summer visitors. All while being swarmed by Black Flies that are now out. I only got one Black Fly bite which is good as I am allergic to them.

First, a recently arrived summer species, a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I say young male because it’s still showing traces of its juvenile plumage.

A young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Second, a winter species that is still with us. A Pine Siskin, one of a dozen or more still hanging around.

A posing Pine Siskin.

Categories
2018

A sign of spring?

There’s been a few summer birds arriving in the area in the past few days but we’ve also still got winter visitors around.

Last winter we had quite a few Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus) and there’s still a few around.

A spring Pine Siskin