Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mostly Critters - Part Deux

I have a few more shots from last fall, mostly from our last trip to the cottage.

If you spend any appreciable time on a lake or other water body, you'll occasionally come across a fish which is past its best-before date. Usually, they're floating belly up and such was the case with our first subject - a cisco, sometimes called lake herring. We don't see or catch them often, as they spend most of their time in very deep water. In fact, in the 40-some years we've owned the cottage, I've only ever seen two or three.

This one was a little over a foot long and probably weighed a pound or so. He was floating within a few feet of our dock. I'm sure a turtle or opportunistic osprey, or even one of the bald eagles which nest on our lake, did not let it go to waste.

Our next subject is a junco. They're quiet, drab little birds but cute in their fashion. Ground feeders, they seem most comfortable foraging on the fringes when many other birds are around. Along with mourning doves and cardinals, they tend to appear close to dusk. On grey days, such as we had at the cottage most of the time, they almost disappear into their surroundings. But when spooked into flight, they reveal startling flashes of white under their wings.

Next up, one of those adorable, red rascals.

Speaking of rascals - in the avian world, I suspect bluejays have been called that, and much worse. This one has his eye, and very nearly his beak, on a plump sunflower seed.

The next photo is the view from our dock when facing left. It illustrates the weather we had during our stay - occasional glimmers of clear sky peeking through masses of gray cloud. If you look closely, you'll see our neighbour has a jointed dock and elevates the lower end so it is not subject to the wear and tear caused by ice.

Along the shoreline near our dock is the stump from a long-downed tree. A young tree, perhaps not yet worthy of that description - more like a near-sapling - was growing alongside the stump. Its last few leaves clung to the single stalk with quiet determination. It intrigued me but I couldn't get the shot I liked under natural light. So, after dark, I tried it with a flash and was happier with the result.

Back home again, I was tickled to see a yellow warbler considering a plunge into our bird bath. It was the first and only time I saw one last year. I only had time to take two quick shots before it reconsidered and flew off. Neither one is great. But the one below is the better of the two.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned in an earlier post that I love chickadees but have a devil of time getting a good shot of the little beggars. They're so darn busy, even when (theoretically) still. They specialize in zooming to a pile of seed, selecting their favourite (sunflower) and taking off again - all within two seconds. Their heads dart constantly, even when their feet are at rest, and the black caps make it difficult to see their eyes.

Which is a windy intro to the last photo today. After approximately a zillion and a half attempts, I finally got a shot I like of my little buddy.

Well, that'll do it for this go-round. Hope you enjoyed. See you next time.