Baby Eastern Spinebills

Something special from Lofty today.

I thought that it’s about time I added some spring cheer into the blog. Attached are pictures of the Eastern Spinebill chicks nearly ready to leave the nest. I first noticed them as I brushed under our snowball tree and they made a thin piping noise. Carefully pulling down the branch to see into the foliage must have made the babies think that a parent with a meal had arrived. The first picture includes the parent that was too quick to catch in a second photo. The next day the chicks were looking much readier and a couple of days later they were gone, leaving only a pile of baby feathers on the ground below.

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

A mysterious woodpecker. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Frog Pond trail is used by a lot of people walking dogs, but it’s actually owned by our local school board. In addition to the pond and mixed forest pathways, there’s a small building on the property that can be used by visiting classes. In the spring and the fall, Jack and I often run into groups of grade-schoolers out for a nature walk. The kids are always boisterous, loud and full of energy and Jack delights in them. He wiggles and waggles and makes little happy, huffing noises that entertain the kids in return.  It’s an active, well-used trail, and there are no signs anywhere to identify it as belonging to our school system

Then, today, Jack and I stumble across this laminated woodpecker held in place by a push pin next to a series of holes that were obviously made by a woodpecker. We found 3 or 4 more of the laminated woodpeckers with holes along the trail, causing me to spend much of our walk imagining the class that placed them there. In my minds-eye, I see a group of youngsters aged 7 -8 with their teacher and a few volunteer parents traipsing down the trail. There is a general happy chatter then an excited voice calls out,

” I found one, Mrs. Smith. I found one!”

And so, Mrs. Smith comes to the child, taking a laminated woodpecker out of her school bag and reaching into her pocket for a push-pin, and she takes the child to the holey stump, and together they pin the cheerful redhead into place. Or not.

We’ll never know just how those woodpeckers go to be there, and so any and all stories are possible. Maybe it was Bigfoot or Aliens or magic gnomes and hobbits.

Well, I did say possible, not probable.

Swan Swam Back Again: An Autumn Walk II

Doubling as a rare “Friday Feathers”

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Some last glimpses of sunlight remained…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The mushrooms made a brave attempt.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Then the setting sun was reflected by clouds and the light became dramatic

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And the mist began to rise…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Say goodbye to the swan for now, I’m sure we’ll meet again.

Swan Swam over the Lake: An Autumn Walk

Then local pond had some pokestops added, making it a much more attractive destination for an afternoon  walk (don’t judge). the fact that the woods are currently 90% mud further increased the attractiveness of the pond and its plastered walks. And it was nice taking the camera to something “new”. Sadly most of the sun was already gone because even sunshine apparently discriminates against working women.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

That fountain goes off once an hour. occasionally it shoots a bird out of the sky (or at least thoroughly confuses it).

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved


Swans are known to mate for life. Unfortunately, this swan’s partner didn’t know that and took off about three weeks ago.

Part two will follow tomorrow, when we find out if the swan swam over the lake (swim, swan, swim!).

Jack’s Walk

The Armada Arrives ©voyager, all rights reserved

The swans stop by to say hello ©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, for once, the universe listened to me. Late yesterday we had a small dusting of snow that decided to stick around. It’s just enough to make things pretty, but not enough to need shovelling or make walking difficult. It’s perfect. I can see Jack at night again, and sure enough, it was easy to find his poop, even in the dark. It’s cold anyway, so there might as well be a bit of the white stuff around.
Jack and I decided to go to the park this morning, and it was reasonably quiet when we arrived, but we hadn’t been there long when we hear a loud, sustained honking overhead and looked up to see an entire Armada of geese flying in. A hundred or more birds were circling the pond. They finally landed in teams, and it took several minutes for them all to get down. Once they were all on the water, they continued to make noise for several more minutes, and boy howdy was it loud. It seemed to upset the swans who managed to get away from the crowd to come and say hi. Jack was quite rude and barked at them, but they didn’t care at all. The geese are permanent residents at our park – they don’t fly south because the living is comfortable here. The swans have an even easier winter ahead – they live in an indoor pond and have a keeper. Once the weather is warmer again in the spring, they’re driven back to the outdoor pond, happy, healthy and ready to have a new family.

September Light

I can’t think of a better way to end the month than with Nightjar’s portraits of the light.

Here I am to share the last chapter in the Light series. I started it October last year, so the only month missing was September. And what better way to end the series than with birds! For me September is the month of birds, especially because of the arrival of willow warblers and flycatchers and because it always seems like there are birds everywhere. All of these photos were taken on the same day, September 10. The light was lovely and I was very lucky with the waxbills, flycatchers, willow warblers, greenfinches and goldfinches. Thank you all and I hope you enjoyed the series. :)

©Nightjar,all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Can You Spot the Parakeet?

A bit of fun from Avalus,

In my parents garden, we had a visitor recently: this young parakeet (I guess it is a rose-ringed one, Psittacula krameri). It was a bit roughed up by the neighbour’s cat, but it stood its ground and was not injured. The cat on the other hand has a new appreciation of sharp beaks, I guess. The bird did not mind us too much and tried to climb everything. We later had to save it from drowning in our rainwater barrel and it then for a while did not want leave the net on a stick we used on him. Still determined to climb something, it finally scaled our toolshed walls and a few hours later flapped away. The photos are a bit of a searching puzzle. 

©Avalus, all rights reserved. (Click for full-size)

©Avalus, all rights reserved. (click for full size)

©Avalus, all rights reserved. (click for full-size)

The Art of Book Design: Who Killed Cock Robin

Our book today was sent in by Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. I am greatly amused that our resident Cat Lady is sharing a book about the killing of a bird.

Who Killed Cock Robin & Other Stories. New York, A.L. Burt Co., 1916. Photo courtesy of ©Anne, Cranky Cat Lady

Who Killed Cock Robin & Other Stories. New York, A.L. Burt Co., 1916. Photo Courtesy of ©Anne, Cranky Cat Lady


Jack’s Walk

Contemplating his next move ©voyager, all rights reserved

When Jack jumps into the water at the park or the river he’s accustomed to the ducks scattering away from him. Today this small flock of ducks didn’t scatter. Instead, they swam towards him and then dared him to come in. Now,  Jack isn’t one to go looking for trouble, but I’ve seen him stand his ground around dogs that are a lot bigger than him. He once took on a huge German Shepherd and was holding his own until we broke it up. “Take that,” Jack snorfed,  kicking up dirt with his back feet as walked away. He had swagger that day.

He did not have swagger today. Jack actually let those ducks keep him out of the water. Every time he went forward the ducks came forward. If he turned to the left so did the ducks. If he turned to the right so did the ducks. Those ducks patrolled that shore like warships in formation and Jack finally walked away. I think he made the right decision. They might be small, but those ducks meant business and at a ratio of seven to one they had the upper hand wing.


Jack’s Walk

Unflappable ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been my experience that herons are notoriously hard to get close to. They seem to see you coming a mile away and either long-leg it in the other direction or take flight. Not this guy. He’s at the park every morning in about the same spot and people just don’t seem to faze him. In that photo up there I’m about 10 meters away on the other side of the creek with Jack at my feet. Now, Jack is a calm sort of guy so he’s being quiet, but he’s already been in the creek splashing around a bit upstream and the heron looked at him once or twice and shrugged. Jack seems a bit in awe of the bird and always watches him closely. He’s either a bit intimidated or he’s trying to figure out his fishing technique. My bet is on the latter.

Jack’s Walk

Early morning at the park ©voyager, all rights reserved

Our virtual vacation is over and Jack and I are ready to get back into our usual routines… sort of. My mother is approaching the end of her life and I’ve been spending my days at her nursing home which doesn’t leave me much time to take Jack out to his favourite trails. We’ve been managing by taking shorter walks around the neighbourhood in the early morning and late evening and Jack is just so happy to spend time with me that he hasn’t even complained. Poor Bubba is used to hanging out with me all day and he is not happy about me being gone so much. When I’m home he sticks to me like a lollipop on a cat, afraid that I’ll sneak out when his isn’t looking. This morning I made a point of taking some extra time to take him to our local park and it was such a joy to watch him splash and frolic that I’m going to try to do that every day. It’s good for both of us to have a small bit of normal in the form of fresh air and exercise. The blog is a good bit of normal for me, too.

There’s no wifi in my mom’s care home so that’s a bit of a challenge, but we’ll try to be here every day as usual.