Delicious Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” –– George Eliot, in her letter of Oct., 1841

Successive autumns, and never will winter come. What a marvellous thought! Just yesterday, we had our first snow, icy reminder for what’s to come. But the forecast is that we’ll get back to some warmer, seasonal autumn air in the coming week.

I like to dwell on those sunny days of fall. We don’t have many red leaves here, but the rusty and golden hue all around the pond is enticing and fresh.

Many birds have migrated south. So, I was surprised and delighted to see this one still lingering …

A Great Blue Heron in this part of the Pond by late October is rare. Like Proust’s madeleine dipped in tea, serendipitous sightings like this can last through many winters as fond memories conjure up during the shut-in, wintry days.

And with this little Proustian teaser, I’m dropping a hint of what’s to come on Ripple Effects in November. Stay tuned.


One Duck at a Time

I went to the Inglewood Bird Scanctuary last weekend. The famous migratory visitors there are the Wood Ducks. They come every spring to breed, stay for the summer, and fly away in the fall. But strangely, you can’t always see them there. So it’s a delight just to catch one or two hanging out.

Last weekend, I was excited to find not just a couple but a flock of Wood Ducks there. That could well be my last glimpse of them before they take leave. How we need something beautiful to look at this fall. Like canning your summer harvest for winter enjoyment, the photos I take will be my winter treats.

See the fallen tree trunks in the centre of the water in the above photo? That’s their hub. See them? Here’s a closer look:

Some might just walk by and not give them a second look, just some ducks they might think. But in my limited birding experience, the Wood Duck is probably the most beautiful ducks I’ve seen.

Beauty in a tangled mess of broken trunks and decaying wood makes me think of the Japanese notion of Wabi-sabi:

They like to gather on the branches, often just sleeping, preening, or sunbathing. So, it’s a real treat to see them swim out so I can take these photos. I can see how Monet would paint the scene if he were here:

Check out this slide show below:

Don’t know if I have the chance to see them again this fall, so I’ll just bid them adieu until next year. Don’t know much about anything these days, but I’ll take one duck at a time, and be glad to count my blessings, bird by bird.


The Colours of Fall

About this time last year, I had a post entitled “Golden Fall”. Yes, the title says it all. We don’t have much reds in our fall, no maples, but we have foliage like gold.

Here are some photos I took after returning from Toronto a few days ago, just in time to witness the changing of the seasons and catch the last remaining songbirds before they fly south. This is ‘my Pond’, home at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.


An Orange-crowned Warbler in the golden foliage. It’s goodbye until next Spring, my avian friend:


Here’s another one. Olive against red.


A ‘Where’s Waldo’ puzzle for you:


The White-breasted Nuthatch against a watercolour backdrop:

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Two-frame capture of a shy subject. See it in both?

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Home is where you know every path and turn, where to shoot with the sun at your back for the best light, and where to look for your friends whatever the season, to wave goodbye as they leave, and then welcome them back for another new lease.


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 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 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.


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




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:


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.


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




Saturday Snapshot Oct. 11: Shades of Yellow

In last week’s Saturday Snapshot I mentioned that yellow was our fall default colour. Sure I’d like to see more spectacular red, but yellow is by no means a uniform colour. Recently I’ve been savouring the various shades of yellow, a sumptuous visual feast.

A lighter shade of yellow:

The Lighter Shade of Yellow

Rusty yellow against solid blue:

Shades of Yellow 8
Wabi-sabi yellow, see the half-fallen tree on top, aftermath of the snow storm:

Wabi-sabi yellowFaraway yellow in the morning mist:

Faraway YellowClose-up yellow back lit:

Close-up Yellow

Yellow against dark green coniferous:

Yellow Against ConiferousLuminous deciduous delight:

Luminous Decidous Delight

Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing yellow… even kayaks and canoes rise to the occasion:

Yellow Kayak

Yellow Kayak 2

Yellow Kayak 3As a birder, I was delighted to spot a yellow rump amidst yellow leaves:

Yellow Rump among Yellow Leaves


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




Saturday Snapshot Oct. 4: Autumn

Living in the Prairies, I don’t get to see the kaleidoscope of Autumn colours as the East or the West coast. The fall plethora of fiery red foliage remains only a longing. Indeed, an Autumn road trip through the New England states has yet to be realized.

The default colour here is golden yellow with a dash of rusty orange. While less dramatic, I do feel a personal connection. I’ve learned to appreciate our Autumn… simple, crisp and clear, minimal glamour, not ostentatious. Above all else, we always have the big blue sky.

After attending TIFF in Toronto, I came home to the aftermath of a debilitating snowstorm. Power down, trails closed, thousands of trees destroyed. That was only the first week of September.



and bent. A Wabi-sabi moment:


Autumn eventually shows its beautiful side… golden leaves spread like wild fire:

Wild fire

Blue and yellow go well together:

Blue & Yellow 1

Blue & Yellow

Canada Geese take their leave:

Canada Geese

This young buck feels right at home:

Young Buck

But a most delightful find for me is spotting a host of Yellow-rumped Warblers still lingering at the pond, albeit the next day when I went back there, they were gone:

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Here’s one munching on a bug:

Warbler munching on bug

This one a little camera shy:

Shy one

How do I know they are Yellow-rumped Warbler? Here it is… the yellow rump:

Yellow rump

With this my first sighting of the Yellow-rumped Warblers—albeit hard to capture in photos—I’ve had a fruitful harvest.


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

ALL PHOTOS on this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects.



Related Posts:

The Yellow Warbler

The Mountain Blue Bird

The Western Tanager

Saturday Snapshot Nov. 16: Magical Realism

At first, what drew my attention were the birds on top of the distant trees, sillouetted against the predawn sky. What were they?

Before SunriseBefore Sunrise 1Must be the hardy European Starlings, I thought. My birding instinct prodded me to get out of the house to find out, at 7:30 am, in -13C temperature.

As I got closer, their buzzing sound reminded me that I’d heard them before, in flocks, making sounds almost like cicadas, but lighter, more metallic and electric. By then, morning had broken. Indeed, they were not Starlings but Waxwings.

Morning has brokenThe sun shed its glorious light and I was much gratified to see that all those plump bellies were not Cedar Waxwings which I’d seen in the summer. From their grey pot belly, I could tell they were Bohemian Waxwings. Of course, they will be spending their winter here. The Cedar Waxwings had all gone south.

Bohemian WaxwingsWhat attracted them to our neighborhood? My stalking skill led me to find out. Ah… berries:

Frozen berriesIt was a delight watching them feast on these frozen fruits for breakfast:

Bohemian WaxwingsGot it!

Got itAnother oneSoon, washed by the glowing sunrise, their greyish plumage began to change into a magnificent color. No CGI (computer-generated images) here:

No CGIJust pure magical realism:

Washed by the morning sun

Magical Realism

Bohemian Sunrise


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



Saturday Snapshot Nov. 9: Fall or Winter?

This is what our neck of the woods looks like. Autumn still.

Snowy SunsetSnow or no snow, a gal’s gotta eat.

Snow or no snow, a gal's gonna eatEvening meal

Deer at evening mealAnd at the creek…

The Creek

Snow covered logWho’s afraid of a little snow?

Who's afraid of a lil' snowThis Chickadee flew right to me, ‘Welcome to my hood!’

Chickadee“Fall or winter, what does it matter?”

Would you like a tour?


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


Saturday Snapshot Nov. 2: Cool Blue

Blue is the most cool color for a photo background. Note: not the ‘coolest’ like in temperature, but just real cool as in awesome. We in southern Alberta are blessed with a clear, blue sky most of the time. Here are some photos I’ve taken in the past weeks. No color alteration have been done on them.

On a clear day, you can see the Rockies… like a mirage:

On a clear day you can see...Different shades of blue:

ShorebirdsThe sparrows on the roof enjoy the cloudless blue too:Sparrows nesting on roofCrab apples look more colorful:

CrabapplesSo’s the Northern Flicker:

Northern Flickerand the Pelican, more startling white:

Pelican overheadWe can even live with the snow when the sky is so blue:

God Is LoveWords on the frame of front door: “gud er kaerlighed” (Danish)… “God is Love”.

Which blue is most cool for you?


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

All photos on this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, 2013. Please do not copy or reblog.


Saturday Snapshot Oct. 26: The Woods in the Fall

We don’t have the colorful foliage which many of you are privileged to behold, but Beauty dwells within our woods too:

The Woods

Especially in the evening sun:

Trees in the duskTrees reaching for the evening skyTrees in the setting sunThe woods are lovely, dark and deep:

Dark and deepBut for these inhabitants, it’s time to eat:


WoodpeckerDinner timeAnd for some others, miles to go before they sleep:

Canada Geeseand miles to go before they sleep:

Miles to go*

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


All photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, Fall 2013.
Please do not copy or reblog