My pileated friend came back!

21 09 2009

This morning, I was checking on the feeder and I noticed my pileated friend from last week was back.  She was hopping along my fence and pecking away (Great – if this keeps up I’ll need a new fence  😉 ) I managed to get the balcony door open so that the glass wouldn’t be in the way of my shot this time.  She hopped up onto the railing and then we proceeded to have a staring contest.  She looked at me, I looked at her.  Neither of us daring to move in the hope that the other wouldn’t do anything rash.   After what felt like an eternity (actually probably about 30 seconds) she decided that the feeder was just too tempting and that I wasn’t the big threat to her…  I slowly lifted the camera and then it happened… the indicator flashed and flashed… too dark!  What???  I was shooting using Auto ISO.  Apparently I needed more than 1600 for the morning light with the 100-400.  Urghh… cursed F/5.6  Why could I not afford a 400 f/2.8???  Oh yeah. This is why. Sigh.  I carefully moved my fingers and ramped up the ISO to 3200 and managed a few shots before she had had enough of the glamour life. Here’s the best of today’s shoot (click on it for the big version – birghter – nicer…):
pileated woodpecker feeder Burnaby BC Canada

Also, sitting quietly in the fir tree to the back was a lovely Northern Flicker who was more or less patiently waiting for his turn at the feeder.

It’s one of the few times I’ve managed to shoot the flicker in the tree!  Unfortunately the tree was even darker than the feeder.  I got this guy at ISO 6400.  A little Noise Ninja cleaned him right up nicely though:
NorthernFlicker Flicker Bird redshafted Burnaby BC Canada

I think they’re starting to like hanging around.  I also think I saw the first Junco of the winter today. I KNOW the pine siskins and the towhees are back already.  Winter in this area really brings a lot of interesting birds around.





The woodpecker and the birdfeeder…

18 09 2009

I need to convince this guy gal to come in the afternoons -it’s getting WAY too dark to shoot in the mornings… ISO 1600 and 3200.  Nice to see a new visitor to the feeder.

The pileated woodpecker is the largest of the woodpeckers that live in our area. This gal (just learned – black stripe at mouth = female) comes swooping in and with that angular look and long black back it looks a bit like a vampire… to me at least it does.
1. Landing for food

2. When you’re this heavy the little cage on the feeder closes on you. She tried a few pecks at the plastic… not so successful.

3. After some careful studying she realized that there was a small opening still available.

4. Success – sometimes it’s not so easy being big… hard work for some small seeds.

I hope that as the winter goes on she’ll become more tolerant of my photography. I had to shoot through the door for these… Once I opened it – she was GONE





Reifel Bird Sanctuary

12 09 2009

I went out to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary today. 

Wow – SLOW day for birds.  I wandered about for 4.5 hours today and hardly shot anything.

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Today’s set can be seen at Flickr

Northern Harrier Northern Harrier Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs and a Mallard Canada Geese
Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs
Adult Cedar Waxwing Cedar Waxwing Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs Thistle
Sunlit flower Read to go! Moon Time for fall Levitation Levitation
Flower Fall Apples Berries Fall Apples Last Flower

Fall Apples

All shot with the 50D  and 100-400L

I can’t wait for all the cool winter ducks to arrive!

 





Dramatic Sky in the Northern Serengeti

4 09 2009

View from Lobo Wildlife Lodge in the Seregeti National Park
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Pano from 6 frames merged in PS CS4 – photo courtesy of Mrs. Dragonspeed

The dramatic sky was wonderful… thankfully we were back at our lodge happily since the heavens opened up shortly afterwards
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The tale of the goldfinch and the chickadee

3 09 2009

She came in looking for a quick bite.

but upon landing on the feeder, she was unhappy to see someone already at the feed:

This litte guy would have none of her chattering or bullying.
His main problem was to figure out which of the thousands of seeds in front of him he was going to eat.
The goldfinch kept looking and chattering and trying to convince the chickadee to leave.

She was hungry and was really looking to get down and eat…

Apparently she is more "bark than bite"
She resigned herself to sitting and waiting her turn while a very finicky chickadee indeed chose which seed to take away and chew on.

I think while I watched this, that it was the longest I’ve seen a chickadee think about which seed to eat. I’m not sure if he was doing it to spite the goldfinch. Despite the fact that there were 3 other feeder ports, she apparently really wanted this one.
And that is the tale of the chickadee and the goldfinch.
Captured at ISO 1250 in the evening light (F5.6 1/320 @400mm)





Manning Park – Columbian Ground Squirrels

1 09 2009

Columbian Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus columbianus)
Manning Park Resort Lodge
Manning Provinical Park, BC, Canada

The area around Manning Park resort Lodge has a healthy colony of Columbian Ground Squirrels.  These little critters are quite acclimatized to people and I saw a few come right up and take food from a tourist (BAD tourist!).  These guys live in little complexes of burrows in the higher alpine areas.  They are quite the sight to watch as they scurry from one hole to the other, prairie dogging periodically.

From wikipedia:
The Columbian Ground Squirrel is found in the North-western United States and South Western Canada (Eliot 1991). Specifically, they are found in parts of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in the United States. In Canada, they are found largely in British Columbia and on the western edges of Alberta.

The images below were all shot with the Canon 50D and 100-400L (mostly at 400mm)

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Aren’t they just the cutest thing? Basically LARGE rats with good PR 😉

 








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