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.


  1. Well there you are at the end of last cottage season and we're right back at the beginning of this one.

    I love the chickadee pic.. so sharp. I'll bet he took off a split-second later. The others are all lovely, of course (the fish, not so much). Very cool that you snapped a warbler and that night shot.. I thought it was late day sunlight on it. Of course we didn't have much of that, like you said.

    Nicely done, dear. :)

  2. The squirrel takes the prize for me. The photo has such detail, and the lighting is perfect. The yellow warbler is nice, too. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of those. Hope you have more sunshine during the coming cottage season, with still enough overcast for good fishing, of course. :)

  3. The creatures are beautiful; the one that speaks to me most is that tree, struggling to come back from the dead, so determined.

  4. All the shots were gorgeous. Well, except maybe the deceased fish, but that too was educational. The juncos are cute! My Mom always called them snow birds. She was from Maine so maybe they saw them a lot in the snow. I don't know. That's a great shot of our favorite chickadee. You're right they are busy little critters.

  5. Lisa says
    I love the chickadeedeedee!
    The juncos other name is snowbird, as in Anne Murrays "Snowbird" song.

    Can't wait to get to the cottage!

  6. Really great shots Frank. Love the little birdies.

  7. Aw, rest in peace little fish. I love the red rascal. He's my favorite. :)

  8. the view from your dock is amazing, look at the light on the water!!

    I love all the little birds, you always catch them being adorable

    Hugs to Benny

  9. - Thanks, Hil. I think I can make better use of the flash more often. There are situations where it could probably work and I don't think of it at the time. We get spoiled with near-unlimited ISOs these days.

    - I like the squirrel shot too, Linda. He posed very nicely. (Of course, you'll have noted by now that I bribe the little beasts with munchies.)

    - I have a great admiration for trees too, mimi. I like the way some aboriginal people refer to them: The Standing People.

    - They are indeed, Linda. I didn't know juncoes were commonly called snowbirds. (You beat my sister to the punch with that info.)

    - Glad you liked, Sis. :)

    - Thanks, Ellen.

    - He's definitely got the cute-thing down, Elizabeth.

    - They all ARE adorable, Dianne. Ben thanks you for the hug and asks that I lick your face in return. (I'll hug instead. We just won't tell him.)

    Thank you all for taking the time to visit and drop a line. It's appreciated.

  10. You were rewarded with some great pics of fast moving Juncos and Chickadees. Love them!

    I'm not familiar with your Warbler friend, but I suspect it is fast moving too!

    I look forward to reading and viewing your next blog entry.

  11. Truly amazing shots Frank. I like the shot of the sapling and your sunset on the lake is so pretty.

  12. Frank, you pics make me feel like I'm right there with you.

  13. Thanks, Reb. You're very kind.

    Leah, that's always my hope.

    Thanks for the visits. :)

  14. I can sit and watch the bird life outside my window as I read about yours. That's a great chickadee shot!

    If you haven't already seen it, Julie Zickefoose has a new book out called The Bluebird Affect. She talks about, and paints, birds in a fabulous way.

  15. Thanks, Pauline, for the compliment and the book tip. :)