Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mostly Critters

Here's a few shots that were taken in the early autumn.

I noticed a lot of birds last summer/fall looking quite bedraggled. Molting is rarely pretty I reckon, but some of these poor beasties really looked awful, especially normally-handsome birds like Cardinals.

No wonder this poor fellow was trying to hide when I spotted him.

Even with a crop and beak full of nuts, this Blue Jay maintains his good looks and dignity.

But have you ever seen a Jay battle a strong wind?

Pretty goofy, eh?

While walking around the pond near Hil's place, looking for birds, I found I wasn't alone in that pursuit. There, on a fence, was a competitor.

I believe he was a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, or possibly a Cooper's. He noticed me immediately but remained supremely unconcerned until I took one too many steps in his direction.

I love ducks as subjects. (And as food - but let's not talk about that right now.) Female Mallards, in particular, are favourites. They often seem to make eye contact and exude grace and wisdom.

This one was resting but peeked at me shyly.

A couple of moments later, she began to preen. In the following shot, you'll see she has closed the nictitating membrane over her eye. Although opaque-looking in the photo, it has a transparent center, allowing ducks (and many other birds) to see while underwater or diving at high speeds (like falcons).

Here she is one more time, seconds after the previous shot. This time, I have a caption for her.

"I've got a what stuck to my what?"

If any animal deserves the title Rascal of the Woods, it's our next subject. Yeah, he's cute, but he's also trouble. He'll chase away squirrels three times his size and chatter angrily at any human that interferes with his antics. And if a window screen is all that separates him from food - well, bye-bye screen.

Speaking of trouble, here's Ben looking for some.

For the most part, the weather at the cottage during our last visit was cold and dreary, with lots of rain. But even drab days can offer splashes of colour.

And if you're lucky, as we were near the end of our stay, the sun might pop out and favour folks with a rainbow.

Hope you enjoyed. See you next time.