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PhotoHunter: “Undesirable” Warning! Photos may be disturbing!

Warning! The second photo may be disturbing for some.

undesirable [ˌʌndɪˈzaɪərəbəl]

adj

not desirable or pleasant; objectionable

Nature has a way of reminding us that life is sometimes short and often ends unpleasantly.

I posted the first image in the November 22nd PhotoHunter, “Bird(s)”. This poor bird was trapped in an abandoned building. I found it when I was photographing the town of Claremont, Ontario, which is mostly boarded up and slated for demolition for the Pickering Airport. I cannot imagine how it suffered before finally  succumbing to exhaustion and/or starvation.

"Trapped"

Early one Spring, when I was out taking photos near Wakefield, Quebec, I came across this cat carcass. Whether it had been hit by a car and went into the field to die, froze to death, or what, I don’t know.

What was particularly disturbing to me was that, aside from the black toes and gums, it looked so like my Benjamin.

Still, it is life and death… The way of the World.

"Cat"

"Cat"

PhotoHunter: Bird(s)

A day late and a dollar short… Well, a day late, anyway.

This week’s PhotoHunter theme is Bird(s). So, without further ado:

The reappearance of my sister’s Peach-faced Love Bird, Elvis. Sadly, Elvis isn’t the sexy boy he once was. He has taken to plucking out his feathers on his shoulders and back, leaving them bare.

Elvis

"Rigggghhhht"

"Rigggghhhht...."

These two lovely little fellows are older than I am (so… older than 53).  Once upon a time, there was a mother bird. However, she has long since disappeared. They would have been bought at this Swedish furnishings shop that I remember so well from the Hardy Arcade.

They  sat atop the piano for most of my life.

The one on the left is somewhat handicapped by his bent right leg and both are a bit scuffed but they are happy in their retirement home in the cabinet in my bedroom.

"Swedish Birds"

"Swedish Birds"

This last one is one of a series I took of a bird trapped between the glass and some plywood in the window of an abandoned building. Poor thing.

"Trapped"

"Trapped"

More Ospreys, great videos and a rescued Painted Turtle

I took the Parental Unit out for a drive, today.

This time I had the foresight to bring along my REAL video camera, my Sony Handi-Cam. I wanted to see if I could get better video of the Ospreys than I have been getting on my little Canon digital. AND HOW! I can’t get as close up as I would like with the camera before it gets blurry but I am very pleased with the resolution.

I can’t get any closer to the nests without risking a poo shower (you’ll see why from one of the videos!)

The young are getting much bigger and are really stretching their wings. It won’t be long before they start practicing and exercising their wings for the day when they leave the nests for the first time.

We were adding up the nests that we know of and have figured that we know of 8 nests. Each nest has two adults and two young, which means that there are 32 Ospreys that we visit each time. And every time we go out, we discover another nest (or two, even!).

What I can tell you about Ospreys is that:

  • The female is generally larger than the male
  • It is difficult to tell the sex of an adult unless you see them together
  • They eat mostly fish, caught live.
  • The Osprey has four toes, unlike other raptors
  • They both sit on the nest, the female doing most of the sitting and the male taking over when the female wants to go off and feed
  • When the young come along, they take turns on the nest. When the young get bigger, one sits nearby and watches the nest while the other is off feeding or hunting.

I filmed 5(?) of the nests today. One is too far off the road to see much even with binoculars. You can just barely distinguish the young in that nest. In the other nests, the young are very visible and active. The only problem in seeing much is that the poles on which the nests sit are so tall. If you are too close, you can’t see the action and too far way… well, the action is too small to see.





As mentioned, the trip also involved the rescue of a Painted Turtle.

Unlike last week, I managed to avoid killing any wildlife and it more or less made up for killing the woodpecker that we were able to rescue a Painted Turtle from the middle of the highway. He was pretty fortunate because he was right in the middle of the oncoming lane when I spotted him and he narrowly missed getting crushed by one car. I managed to get a (very) short video and a couple of photos of him before I took him down to the swampy area near Nicholson’s Locks to release him.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two years ago, we “sort of” rescued a HUGE Snapping Turtle from the middle of another highway. “Sort of” because all we could do was force it off the road by bulldozing it with a large piece of plywood. It was two feet long and about a foot high and by extending it’s neck, it could reach out almost another foot. Snappers have formidable beaks that can sever fingers and even a hand.

Without losing any appendages, we got it into the ditch but there wasn’t any real water about for it to head to on either side of the road. If it went back on the road, it wasn’t as much a danger to itself as any car coming along could have been badly damaged hitting a turtle of that size. It probably wasn’t going to do the turtle any good getting hit but it could also have killed or severely injured an unwary motorist hitting it.

Had I had anyone with me strong enough, I might have tried the old method the Indians used for capturing Snapping Turtles. They would take a sturdy tree branch or axe handle and make it bite it. Once it has it’s jaws clamped shut, it won’t generally let go and they would carry it hanging from the branch. At least that it the theory. It would have been worth a try. Of course, as I say, there wasn’t anyplace nearby to properly release it, I had no one with me to help me carry it, and I had no tree branch or axe handle….

Ospreys

For the last few years, I have been watching the annual nesting activities of a pair (at least I THINK it is the same pair) of Ospreys. The nest is at Nicholson’s Locks, along the historic Rideau Canal system.

The Rideau Canal waterway

The Rideau Canal waterway

There are also a couple of other nests (one outside Merrickville, and one along Donnelly Drive, east of Burritt’s Rapids) the  but this has, so far, been the one that is the easiest to watch.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I located a new nest that I must have passed a number of times and not seen. It is along County Road 19 (River Road), on the east side of the Rideau River, and is about 2/3 of the way between Kemptville and Manotick (closer to Manotick).

The nest is close enough to get a really good look at the male sitting out on a nearby branch and to see the head of the female popping her head up over the edge of the nest. There is also no powerline in the middle of your photos and the view across the river is trees rather than buildings or hydro pylons and things.

The first time we noticed the nest, the pair were actively mating. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so wasn’t able to get photos. Now, they are actively nest-sitting.

I went down last Sunday and tooks some great photos of the nest against the sunset. Unfortunately, my littl digital camera doesn’t have a telephoto lens so I can’t take any real close-ups. I took a couple of sharp but very shaky videos using my binoculars as a make-shift telephoto but it didn’t work at all well for the still shots.

This weekend we found 4 active nests, including this one.

So here are the shots from last weekend.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars as a telephoto.

The male taking over nesting duties.

The male taking over nesting duties.

Sunset

Sunset

Feeding Chickadees

[livevideo id=F2EEA1447EE949B8AF6BDD21D4098E96]

This was filmed the day the exhaust system crapped out in the car. I FINALLY managed to get Windows Movie Maker to spit out the video. The one with the fuzzy butt was affectionately dubbed “Benjamin” as Benjamin’s nickname is “Mr. Fluffypants” (when he was a kitten, he looked as though he was wearing a pair of fuzzy pants).

Things do not always go according to plan….

cartoon-cara

In my previous posting, I mentioned that we (my mother and I) were on our way out for a much deserved jaunt after finally having gotten one of the the wheel bearings fixed in our car.

We headed out and wandered about, vaguely headed East to Lancaster, Ontario where we hoped to see if the Snow Geese were stopped on their annual migration North for the Summer. We hit Highway 2 (The King’s Higway, once the main route from Montreal Lower Canada to Toronto in Upper Canada), which follows the St. Lawrence and headed past Cardinal and Iroquois and the historic Chrysler Farm, where a battle during the War of 1812 took place. We passed Upper Canada Village, as well.

Then I spotted the large sign for the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and turned down the dirt road headed for it. I had opened my window in order to take a photo of a historic marker along that road (see below) an as we pulled into the parking area, I noticed a rather unnerving rumbling sound from beneath my car…. It sounded as though my muffler was suddenly not as quiet as it had been just a few minutes earlier. Since I had just had it at the shop yesterday, I thought perhaps someone hadn’t tightened something and it was rumbling.

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

I thought “I will just have to take it in to Terry (my mechanic) on Monday, just in case…”. We visited the sanctuary and, while there weren’t any major flocks of migratory birds to see just yet, there were some lovely little chickadees and I was able to get the photos that I didn’t get during the late winter walk I posted about two weeks ago. The docent at the visitor centre gave me a little bag of seeds to feed to them and I had them eating out of my hand in no time.

img_0060a

img_0084

Mom’s back was hurting so we decided to head back to the main road and go on to Lancaster.

The dirt road, it should be said, was in rather a bad state after the winter. There was a great deal of corduroy-ing over the whole road and pot-holes the full length and I suspect this may have exacerbated the initial problem with the exhaust system. I decided to head immediately in to Cornwall and find a Canadian Tire with a service bay and see if they could have a look at it. I really didn’t want to have it repaired today. If my mechanic does the work, I can pay it off weekly. If I had it done at Canadian Tire, I would have to pay the full shot today… something I can’t afford.

It was already about 20 minutes to 5:00 and the CT service bay closes at 5:00 but one of the great guys there kindly came out and took me for a little test-drive and said he would hoist it and see if he could make it road-worthy, at least.

He did and discovered that the exhaust pipe had rusted apart from the muffler. They didn’t have the parts on hand, so, after splicing in a piece of pipe and two clamps and welding the pieces together, got me (quietly) back on the road again by 5:00 on the dot. I parted gratefully with $62 and change and we headed home, again. They could easily have said “Sorry, you are too late…” and sent me on my way. Instead, they took the time to diagnose the problem and give me at least a temporary remedy. I am forever grateful!

PhotoHunter: Yellow

I’m not a “yellow” person… So, I only have a few photos which are predominantly yellow. Click on the images to see more from the series… and, since I fortgot all about him initially, I have added a photo of Elvis…

Sunflower with friend

Sunflower with friend

photohunter7iq1

Ray's 1954 Framus

Ray's 1954 Framus

Buttercup

Buttercup

Elvis

Elvis

…and a few more Elvis here (click the image above for the first album).

Went for a walk.

I have to start getting more exercise to lower my blood pressure. So, today, I decided to go for a walk on one of the many, many trails, nearby. I decided on the Pinhey Forest Trail (the one off Slack Road), here in Nepean, which is fairly close to home. I was hoping to see some Chickadees so brought along some seed.

I brought Mom along because she is going stir-crazy, now that she has had her license suspended.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of wildlife out and about. We saw a squirrel and a fair number of squirrel tracks. What we DID see was what you see in the photo below. Probably the work of a a Pileated Woodpecker.

Woodpecked tree, Pinhey Forest Trail

Woodpecked tree, Pinhey Forest Trail

Unfortunately, as well, Mom’s hip began to hurt towards the end of our walk. It was just too long for her and she had to rest a number of times, including sitting in the snow in the middle of the trail. She enjoyed it but it was just too long for her. It is so sad for her because not too many years ago, she used to cross country ski along the same trails.

My friend Krys suggested the trails behind the Nepean Sportsplex. They are part of the same trails but north-west of the Slack Road trails. There are lots of Chickadees there, she says.

More about the Pinhey Forest: This forest is named after Mr. Pinhey, who donated the land in 1948 so that it could be used to demonstrate conservation practices.

Pinhey Trails

Pinhey Trails

In regards my blood pressure. I went and had my tests done today.

One thing I have noticed is that I am having hot flashes almost constantly. I can feel the blood rushing up from my chest and to my face and I get a panicked feeling… sort of the kind when you would get when you realize you did something really awful and are going to be in real trouble…. Think of sending a really important document off and realizing that you sent the wrong draft with all the wrong information on it… Multiply that by 3 or 4 hundred times a day. And then I start to sweat.

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