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.