Feathers of Blue

I know I’ve shown the Indigo Bunting just recently, but it is a fave and fits this category. Another favourite:

The Belted Kingfisher

For Our Eyes Open, Bird Weekly challenge: Feathers of blue

Duck, Duck, Goose

I think this merganser is looking for a goose.
This Hooded Merganser is too cool for school.
This Goldeneye is feeling out of place.

Thanks to Our Eyes Open for hosting the Bird Weekly challenge and indulging my obsession. This week’s prompt is ducks and geese. The featured mallard found himself ditched.

Boom, Boom, Bye, Bye

I’m focusing my lens when we both hear it – duck and I – a boom, like from a cannon.

Rattled, Mallard prepares for take off, while I try to shake off the nerves and get the shot.

The boom comes again. A hunter in our midst.

This duck escapes unmarred, as I do I. Luckily.

Flight Day

While fishing with our granddaughter down by the falls, we are joined by an osprey, also looking for a catch. None of us has any luck, and the osprey moves on.

We decide to follow him back to the nest. Mom and babies are in residence when we arrive, and after a bit of observation we realize that one of the young ones is finding his wings preparing for first flight.

After stretching his wings a few times, he practices lift off, then seems to confer with his mother.

Dad arrives just as junior takes first flight, circling the ball diamond and landing on a light post.

Pardon the photo quality. The day is windy and overcast, and in my excitement, I fail to hold the camera steady.

This fishing exhibition turned out to be quite memorable.

New Baseball Fans

Baseball is big in our town. Home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, we have several diamonds, attracting ball fans from far and wide. This year, we have a family of new fans with a view of their own.

When we first spotted the nest, there appeared to be one young osprey peeking over the top. On a subsequent visit, we noted two. This photo clearly shows three, but I’m not sure we’ve seen the whole crew yet.

More entertaining to me than baseball, I confess.

(Linking up to Granny Shot It’s new challenge: Bird of the day.)

Drama in the Woods

A high-pitched chirp caught my attention the moment we entered the park. We’d come to Stratford for a meal out and decided to check up on the swans. Ric found a bench by the river, while I wandered in search of the source of the incessant note.

It seemed to be coming from a clump of trees surrounding a still body of water. Thick foliage blocked much of my view, as did the light of the late day sun. A mallard couple swam in the mucky water and grackles flit in and out of trees.

Low on energy, I didn’t wander far before heading back to the car. Just before the parking lot, I noted movement across the pond, high atop a scrag. As I focused my lens to capture what appeared to be a nest, a bird flitted in front of it.

Hard to tell in this light what I was seeing, but it soon became clear that the bird was the source of the noise that had captured my attention. I shuffled around the pond for a closer look, but the bird became even more agitated, so I backed off, finding refuge behind a tree and waiting. Soon, the culprit re-emerged.

A hairy woodpecker!

It wouldn’t be until later, when we reviewed our photos, that we would piece together the story. Seems a squirrel decided to nap at the top of the scrag. Ric’s photos revealed that just below where the animal was resting was the woodpecker’s nest. Momma was looking out for her babies.

Nature’s drama is so much more interesting than T.V.!

(All photos from personal collection.)

Sparrow Study

As common as these little birds are, did you know there are about thirty-five different sparrow species in North America?

Personally, I love sparrows: their happy chirps, and perky presence always makes me smile. The featured bird and this younger version above nest in a creeping vine on a nearby carwash. Although, I am in no way an expert, they fit the description of House Sparrows.

This Chipping sparrow, with the red crown, nests in a neighbour’s bush, and came out to pose for me in the rock garden.

Look how sweet this Song Sparrow is! Nature’s artistry is masterful.

Lately, I’ve been paying more attention to the more common birds, discovering they really are quite uncommon.

Mom, Mom, Mom…

Spring means babies! This cute little robin didn’t know enough to run away. His mother, on the other side of me, had her mouth full and couldn’t quite call out.

Needless to say they were both okay.

I found this happy grouping at the river’s edge. Just watching this busy Mom made me tired. Can’t you hear all those little duckling voices: “Mom, Mom, Mom!”

The Rookery

There is a small wooded area, really just a patch of Live Oaks, that grows between the main highway out of Rockport, Texas and the waterfront. We’d passed it many times, and hadn’t noticed, until friends pointed it out.

It’s a rookery: the place herons and egrets come to build nests and nurse their young. I’ve never seen anything like it.

A viewing area allows us to watch the comings and goings of Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets, and others, all sporting their full breeding regalia.

We observe birds collecting twigs for nests, and pairs working together to arrange them.

Some birds, no doubt due to the close proximity of their neighbours, protest loudly, and we witness a few scuffles, but the birds soon settle down to the task at hand.

We will return here often in our last days, honoured to share in such a miracle, our cameras loaded with images to process for sometime to come.