Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Buds, Blooms and Beasties

I rummaged around my hard drive today and worked on a few photos taken last spring. Thought I'd toss a few of 'em at the wall and see if any stick. Hope you enjoy.

Some birds have what I call a "cold eye." They look mean. In some instances, like chickens, I think it harkens back to their dinosaur/reptilian ancestry. In others, like hawks and other raptors, it indicates focus and ferocity.

The bright eye of the common Grackle looks cold to me - belying its behaviour which is generally peaceful and gregarious. In the photo below, the grackle appears almost as a silhouette. My intent in showing the pic wasn't to illustrate the cold-eyed aspect of the bird, however. Nope. It shows what happens when a beak full of sticky suet meets a couple of peanuts.

This is a seriously hungry/greedy grackle. I hope he didn't choke.

Although taken from quite a distance and consequently not at all sharp, I thought some of you might enjoy a couple of pictures of Night Herons. They are uncommon in my experience. I've only ever seen them in the large urban pond nearly Hilary's home. Although plunked in the middle of a large, metropolitan area, the pond is an oasis for wildlife. It's the only place where I've seen Green, Night and Great Blue Herons hunting and roosting - occasionally all three on the same day.

The first photo is of a juvenile Night Heron.

The next is of an adult.

Back to the cold-eye thing for a moment. Cardinals are not normally birds I would consider having that look. Then darned if I didn't take a shot of one glaring at me! You'd think a fine male cardinal, resplendent in red, would be above being ticked off by an avian paparazzi. But noooo....

I was fortunate one day to be in the backyard, camera in hand, when a pair of goldfinches and their fledgling came for some brunch. I hadn't seen a young finch before and was pleased to get a couple of decent pics.

"Mom said not to look down but I can't help it."

We'll take a break from critters now and switch to some artsy-fartsy, pretty shots of flowers and such.

Hands-down, my favourite veggie is fresh peas eaten straight from the pod. I was enjoying a few on the back deck one day as the sun was considering heading to bed. The soft light got me thinking - not enough to get into trouble, or develop a headache - just thought I'd put an empty pod on the railing and take a shot. The result put me in mind of a praying mantis. Sorta.

Maybe I DID think too much....

The next pic is of a flower bud. I like the bokeh (blurry background). I think it makes the shot.

Hilary had a beautiful Iris in her front yard last year. It presented some nice photo opportunities.

And a closer look at the blossom after a rain.

There's a walkout from my kitchen to the deck in the backyard. The outer door is old, wooden and warped. A few years ago, the doorknob broke. I bought a new knob assembly and promptly failed to install it. I forget whether it was because I broke something or did something wrong. In any event, I decided to, uh, temporarily stuff a dish cloth in the knob hole to keep out drafts. It worked well enough. It's still there. This is what it looks like from outside.

I'll wrap up this offering with a shot of Ben and a caption.

"Chewing the lawn?...Me?...Nope...nuh-uh."

That's all folks. See you next time.


  1. Excellent as always. All three of your herons are present in abundance at my fishing hole by the M.A.S.H site.

  2. Thanks for the respite from a busy day.

  3. Nice! I especially like the Benny shot. :)

  4. Gorgeous as always Frank, but the last shot is the real winner to me. Benny always makes me smile.

  5. great shots of the beady eyed birds. and I always love flower pics.

  6. All very purdy, dear. But like Linda said, Benny steals the show. The cardinal and greedy grack are close seconds, though.

  7. Happy New Year, Frank (and Hilary). Still enjoying your pictures and comments.

  8. The greedy grackle made me laugh. Great shots of the night herons and the cardinal. I loved the goldfinch and the flower bud with the gorgeous bokeh. And the pea pod praying mantis...well, let's face it...they're all great. Benny, of course, is adorable. And no cold eye there.

  9. The cardinal did it for me, Frank. Excellent.

  10. As long as Benny knows better than to chew the irises!

    Greedy grackles greatly glut their gizzards. Or some such tongue twisting.

  11. When I was a child I had to collect eggs from aggressive hens. Their eyes were so scary. You've nailed it Frank!

  12. Love the pictures, Frank. Especially the birds. Nice to see you posting pics again. :)

  13. oh Benny, that face - I just adore him

    the cardinal looks like a grumpy old man
    herons are magnificent

  14. My oh my, what an eye you have! I hardly know where to start........love the fuzzy bud, Benny, of course, the cardinal, what beauties, ALL. I appreciate your cold eye point of view, and I surely agree. I think there are birds with love-eyes and one of them is the crossbill. Evening grosbeaks can have both! But when at our feeder in Idaho (summers), they give me the love-eye! We have no cardinals in CA and I treasure your photo of that fine looking lad. Benny surely is kissable! :::mmmwaaaah::: to him.

  15. - Thanks, Cay. Nice that you've got other entertainment there when the bass aren't cooperating.

    - My pleasure, Bruce. Thanks for the visit.

    - Thanks, Charlie. He's a great subject.

    - Thank you, Linda. Glad you enjoyed.

    - Thanks, Ellen. :)

    - Thanks, Hil.

    - Thank you, Sally.

    - Glad you liked, Linda. Thanks for your kind words.

    - Thanks, Althea.

    - Thank you, Leaah.

    - Flowers are not on his chew list Mimi, thank goodness.

    - Kerry, they made me nervous as a kid too.

    - Glad you liked, Dawn. More to come, Creator willing. :)

    - He's a charmer all right, Dianne. :)

    - Thanks, Gayle. Feel free to review my pics any time. ;)

    Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy lives to visit and post comments. I appreciate it.

  16. Late again, as usual. Lovely set of shots Frank. I like the greedy Grackle and irises are one of my favourite flowers. I find red eyes on animals freaks me out a bit and that Cardinal surely looks surly.

  17. Way better late than never, Reb. Thanks for your kindness. :)