Up in the Trees

What I find walking in the woods can be redundant and mundane, that goes for my photos too. But looking up into the trees can be therapeutic psychologically, especially these days, not to mention beneficial for the neck muscles.

Mundane or unusual, here are some sightings during my walks in the past weeks.

You see them everywhere, their by-products littering your grounds. But the Canada Geese in my neck of the woods don’t gather at the Pond or on the ground, but high up on trees. I think they nest there too:

Another CG on tree

Here’s one taking the abode of a previous tenant, the owl family. How do their young come down from so high up? They’ll have to learn to fly first, just like other birds, another birder said when I asked. Or, the mother could carry them on their wings, my imagination added.

New Tenant

occupying the nest of the owls

A Robin, never too common for me, especially when I capture a handsome one:

Robin not common

One time, I saw this ball from afar:

Ball on tree

Walked closer and found this. Do porcupines nest on trees too, or just for naps? Or, is it something else? The next day I went back to look for it and it was gone.

Porcupine ball

Mundane or unusual, my curiosity is piqued walking the same paths year after year. This curious Yellow Warbler well represents my feelings:

Curious Yellow Warbler

Here’s another curious one:

Curiosity

In a previous post about the Yellow-rumped Warblers, I’d noted that the white-throated one is called the Myrtle Warbler of the East and far north, and the yellow-throated one the Audubon’s Warbler from the West. Just curious, what do you call this one with both white and yellow on the throat:

Yellow-rumped Hybrid

Curiosity in the mundane. Maybe that could get me out of bed on those days when I get too used to that stay home mandate.

.

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The Colour of Summer

To be technically accurate, here are some photos I took after June 21. Not that I’m partial to the colour yellow, but that’s mostly the colour of our summer woods, greenish yellow.

The Colour of Summer.jpg

 

Sometimes you can see dots of pink, the Alberta wild rose:

Alberta Wild Rose.jpg

or tiny red fruits:

Summer fruits.jpg

Golden cattails by the water before they ripen into brown candlesticks:

Cattail.jpg

The Pond in summer is quiet. In contrast, the woods host a cacophony of songs and calls, like the tuning of strings and woodwinds before a symphony concert, albeit finding the actual sources is difficult, let alone taking photographs of them. The blurry pics just show how hard it is to find them staying still in the clearing for more than 2 seconds.

Migratory songbirds too are mostly yellow here, like this Wilson’s Warbler with his black cap. You might be surprised, but we don’t have any red birds like the Cardinals:

Wilson's Warbler.jpg

The Baltimore Oriole:

The Baltimore Oriole.jpg

The American Goldfinch:

blurry Goldfinch.jpg

In the tree, there’s a tiny spot of silvery blue… the Tree Swallow waiting for lunchtime:

Tree Swallow.jpg

Some can’t wait, like this hungry Robin:

The Hungry Robin.jpg

or this Yellow Warbler. Whatever’s in your mouth, mosquito or fly, I’ve to say, ‘Thank you for eating!’

Hungry Yellow Warbler.jpg

The Hungry Warbler.jpg

What colour is your Summer?

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Spring Baby

They’ve come back, the Great Horned Owl couple.  Their perennial arrival to nest is as predictable as the grass turning green and the leaves bursting out from the bare branches. They even check into the same abode.

After a long wait since April, I finally got to see the new addition last week. This time, an only child.

Here’s baby peeking out to feast on the sights and sounds of spring:

Baby in nest

A close-up of this spring baby:

Baby close-up.jpg

Mom or Dad is always watching close by, here basking in the evening sun:

At dusk

Yesterday, it’s baby’s day out. Where’s Waldo?

Where's Waldo?.jpg

Look up, there he is, at the top of the tree trunk:

Camouflage.jpg

Trying out wings:

Wing.jpg

and showing off a downy coat:

Downy.jpg

As always, Mom is nearby, ever watchful:

Keeping watch.jpg

Posing for all the nature paparazzi below, here it is, the feat of turning your head 180º:

head turned.jpg

Enjoy while you can, soon you’ll be an empty nester, too soon.

 

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Golden Fall

Two years ago around this time, I drove across four New England states searching for fall foliage. Red was the colour I was looking for. It may surprise you, we don’t have red here in Alberta, no real Maples here. We might have some red from certain trees or shrubs, but not on a large scale as in Eastern Canada.

But what we have is gold, different shades of gold. Red can make the landscape more adorable, but gold is purity. Here’s the scenery in the past two days by the Bow River in my usual birding sites:

The Bow

Trees by the Bow

Trees 2

The scenes of a golden fall near the Pond, where layers of autumn foliage and evergreens make up the ripples of a boreal forest:

Golden fall

Golden.jpg

Golden 1

Golden 6.jpg

Golden 7.jpg

Even the path under my feet is golden:

Golden Path.jpg

I know, nothing gold can stay. Even as I type, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect. We’ll have snow overnight, and “Hazardous winter conditions are expected”.  So when this post is up on Monday, all the gold will likely be white, which makes these photos all the more precious. They could be the last of the fall memories of 2017.

But then again, if we can have winter in the fall, we can have summer in December. At least, that’s what I’m dreaming of…

***

Related Posts on Ripple:

My New England Road Trip Starts Here

 

Saturday Snapshot Dec. 3: Late Autumn

After I came back from London in mid October, the Pond already looked deserted. Suddenly in the last few days my Air (Avian) B&B was buzzing with activities again. The Pond had become the meeting place of waterfowls making their last stop before heading south.

Here are some of them on a sunny, cheery afternoon. So glad to see signs of life before the big chill. Forecast for next week’s lowest temperature: -24C (-11F).

late-autumn

riverview

Pardon me for not showing my regulars the Mallards, but it’s the infrequent guests that I treasure more; although still ‘common’, there are just less of them than Mallards. Here are the Buffleheads. Like they’re right out of a Monet painting. No colour alteration here:

buffleheads

 

bufflehead-couple

My favourite has to be Mrs. Merganser. No matter what time of day, she looks like Lucille Ball just out of bed. Her uncombed, red hair stands out particularly:

lucille-ball

 

lucille

Up in the sky, more Canada Geese getting ready to land on the Pond, joining the late Autumn sendoff party:

canada-geese

Less convivial on land, I’m afraid. Why, it’s all brown and barren. The white-tailed deer filling up in the evening sun. Yes, it looks desolate. Dry shrubs are all that’s left for food.

autumn-brown

 

deer

And -20’s C. next week? Good time to tackle the piles of books on my bedside table.

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

Saturday Snapshot Aug. 27: Synchronized Swimming, Team Pelican

I don’t have to wait four years for another Olympics. A couple of days ago I caught sight of these Nature’s Athletes. From afar I could tell they were members of Team Pelican.

The Pelicans are a gregarious lot, their talents innate, every move graceful. They display their elegant team work in Nature’s open arena, effortless, in sync with each other. Here they are, full of bubbly camaraderie:

Comaraderie (2)

Remember a previous post where I saw them in the air, like squadrons of fighter jets; in the water, they form a tight-knit configuration as well. With that formation, they cooperate to surround fish in the water, scooping them into their pouches:

Inate talents (1)

What a beautiful idea: communal feeding. What you see here are snapshots. What I remember is a long video. I must have been there watching and snapping away for over a half hour:

Let's eat together (1)

Elegant synchronized swimmers in perfect harmony. Kudos to their Coach.

Synchronized Swimming (2)

Look at their sheer size in comparison to the gull behind them.

Sync Swim (1)

Sometimes you can get tangled up with minor mishaps. Wait up, guys, I’m a little stuck here:

Wait up 2

No worries. We’re Team Pelican. All for one and one for all; our bills as swords to pledge.

Bills as swords

 

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

 

Saturday Snapshot July 23: Traffic Jam

I know my Air B&B (note the purposely altered name) is popular, with free meals, a pool, and all the natural amenities, but I’d never expected an aerial traffic jam with everyone arriving at the same time.

At first they looked like confetti in the sky from afar. Without a wide-angle lens I could only capture a section. Just imagine multiples of these:

confetti

confetti2

With no reservations, I wasn’t expecting them or knew who they were. But I could tell they weren’t gulls. As they came closer, they turned into squadrons of fighter planes:

Pelicans 2

By now, I could see clearly – American White Pelicans, interestingly, converging from opposite directions:

Closer still

No reservations? No problem. Welcome you all!

Welcome

Just make sure you leave a good review. And please make reservation next time.

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

 

Saturday Snapshot July 2: Summer Visitors

Here at the pond, summer visitors arrive to my natural Air B&B in June from near and far. I admit up here above the 49th parallel, I don’t get as many varieties as I’d like to see, nor as colourful as many of you have down in the south. Still it gives me great pleasure to host them.

Here are some of the avian visitors in the past month. Glad they find my Air B&B suitable for their stay, taking advantage of the pool and the amenities, free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are usually shy to be photographed, so I got them in my Air Guestbook unobtrusively.

Some new guests, for me anyway, like Mr. and Mrs. Ruddy Ducks. Hard to get them to come closer for photos, so here’s a blurry snapshot from afar. How do I identify them? The light blue bill of Mr. Ruddy:

Male & Female Ruddy Ducks

A repeat visitor, although not always easy to find, so I’m delighted to host, the Greater Yellowlegs:

Greater Yellowlegs

Families are most welcome. Here are my regular visitors, the CG Family:

The CG Family

Always glad to see them make themselves at home. I got this pic as they took their morning stroll:

A morning stroll

The quiet Spotted Sandpiper soaking in the sun and the sight:

Spotted Sandpiper

And of course, who can beat the free meals while they’re staying here. That’s why they keep coming back, look at this Great Blue Heron helping himself to the buffet:

Buffet meal

 

Is that a big fish that Mrs. Pelican just gulped in?

Pelican.jpg

And finally, I’ve waited for them for so long, the Yellow Warblers. I know they like their stay. Just listen to their calls as they share on their social platform:

Yellow Warbler

Well, if you’ve got food in your mouth, you can’t call back. No instant messaging here at the buffet table:

No msg

More from my Air Guestbook next time.

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

 

 

The hardest part is getting out of the car

In chilly -5C (23F), snow a foot deep in some areas, the hardest thing is to get out of a warm car. I drove around, actually left the natural park and then, a couple of blocks later, thought about turning back, all because of the flocks of dark spots by the river I saw from afar.

Glad I finally mustered the will to make a U-turn, find a spot to park and part with the story I’ve been listening from the audiobook CD.  I layered up, attached the ice grippers on my shoes (discovered this secret only a year ago), put on toque and gloves, and with my camera gear in tow, stepped out of the car.

Here’s my reward.

From afar, just some tiny black dots on the water…

From afar

 

 

that turned out to be a party of ducks and geese, basking in the afternoon sun on the icy river:

DSC_0406

 

Basking

And from behind tall grass, a buck watching me watching the ducks:

Buck behind grass

Suddenly from the corner of my viewfinder, a pheasant flew into frame. Here’s the serendipitous sequence:

Pheasant 1Pheasant 2Pheasant 3

At another spot, more Mallards gathering, over a hundred of them:

More ducks

These pigeons could only watch.

Pigeon A: Don’t you wish you could swim?

Pigeon B: And get all wet in the icy water? I’m thankful that I can’t swim.

Your guess: which is A? and B?

If only we could swim

 

 

 

In the sky Canada Geese flew by:

DSC_0565

On the ground, remnants of fall:

DSC_0549

 

and some positive human footprints left behind.

DSC_0489

 

And so I learned: Any worthwhile journey began with a step out of a warm car.

Oh, and one more thing… 

Wisdom from the pigeon: Be thankful for what you can’t do. I’ve got lots to be thankful for.

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This is my post for Saturday Snapshot: Nov. 28. Thanks to West Metro Mommy Reads for hosting. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST TAKEN BY 

ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

 

Saturday Snapshot November 22: The Woods are Lovely Still

How a couple of weeks have changed the whole landscape. The Boreal forest that’s my neck of the woods has turned into a winter wonderland.

The Woods are Lovely, Still

Snow-covered creek

Cattails in the late afternoon light:

Pussywillow Cattails

Snow may cover the ground, the woods are lovely still, teeming with life.

Official greeter, The Red Squirrel:

Red Squirrel

Winter’s friendly ambassador. Take a bow:

Official Greeter 2

But this baby deer doesn’t look too happy… of course, where’s mama?

Deer

A Red-breasted Nuthatch, beautiful against the evening sun:
Red-breasted Nuthatch

A seed in the beak is better than two in the snow:

Happy Downy

Seed or no seed, this Pileated Woodpecker is busy pecking up the right tree:

Pileated Woodpecker

Pecking up

But the most fascinating of all is my discovery of a Snowy Koala, a rare sighting indeed:

Snowy Koala

I’d rather be Down Under taking photos of his cousins, but this little tree hugger just made my wintry day more bearable.

The woods are lovely, still.

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

All Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

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Saturday Snapshot Nov. 8: Those that stay

Not everyone loves hot weather. Sure there are many who migrate to warmer climates, but there are also those who stay here above the 49th Parallel, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

A walk through the woods in the last couple of days allowed me to check out who my winter friends are. I say friends because, for some of them, they would fly straight to me, greeting and calling. Yes, I know, they all want treats. But hey, not many choose to stay. So, for those that do, they deserve a free lunch.

Here are some of my winter pals. We’re in it together, come snow and storm in the coming weeks and months. The Black-capped Chickadee:

Black-capped Chickadee

The White-breasted Nuthatch, like the Chickadees, official greeters whenever I visit:

White-breasted Nuthatch

So, a treat for you all:

Free lunch

Female Downy Woodpecker:

Female Downy Woodpecker

The Red Squirrel:

Red Squirel Breakfast time

Of course, there are those who’d want to strike out on their own:

Male Downy

The elusive Blue Jay. Yes I hear their calls all the time, but very hard to actually get a photo:

The Blue Jay

Here’s a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the evening light:

Red-breasted Nuthatch

But my greatest catch is this. From afar, a gigantic furry ball high on a tree:

Huge Furry Ball

I thot I thaw a pussy cat, but when he turned his head 180 degrees, almost, then I knew what I thaw was a Great Horned Owl! I’ve followed an Owl Family for a few years now, always thought they fly to warmer places in the winter.

Great Horned Owl

Of course, he didn’t care for my free lunch of sunflower seeds. Looks like he’s captured his prey, keeping it close by his side, uh… looks like a squirrel. His look speaks volumes. I know, I should have brought a bigger lunch:

Looking straight ahead

I can see there are lots of winter birding adventures ahead.

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

***

Here are posts on the Great Horned Owl Family I’ve been stalking every Spring:

The Parents

The Babies

Saturday Snapshot November 1: One Fine Day

Yes, it’s still fall. Other than the snow storm we had in early September, we have been getting relatively fine weather, considering it’s November already.

Just two days ago, it was one fine, fall day. The temperature reached 13C (55F) when I took these photos, which is very warm for us, especially with the sun bursting in full force. Joggers were wearing shorts and T-shirts.

The glorious golden yellow has changed to brown now, and tree branches are bare…

Fall but not fadingbut the sun remains the unwavering source of light and warmth:

Sunburst

and the river as blue as ever, matching the clear, open sky:

Beautiful Blue Bow River

Gulls linger, who’d want to fly south with weather like this?

GullsAt the pond, these Canada Geese agree. Just hanging out for a while longer:

Canada Geese

Too comfy here, this Bonaparte’s Gull is not flying away any time soon:

Bonaparte's Gull preening

Bonaparte's Gull

Nor the Lesser Scaup:

Lesser Scaup

Mrs. Mallard is having so much fun here… I don’t want to go, she yelps:

Female Mallard skimming over the water

And I add my voice, don’t leave just yet.

We’re not going anywhere, Dear, Mr. Mallard assures her.

MrCool. Let’s get cold together.

*Note: The Mallards are some of the birds I still see in the colder months. With others who stay, they make winter a bit more enjoyable.

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

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ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG