Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

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Birds and Flowers

April 23, 2010

I had a chiropractic appointment this morning, but I was running quite early, so I went down to the bay to see if the swans were near enough to get a few pictures.

There were many swans in the bay, but only one pair that was close enough for decent pictures. I don’t think either one of them was particularly happy about the band around the neck of the one. The one that is banded kept arching its head funny, trying to poke at it, while the other one kept poking at it with its beak. I didn’t think it looked terribly comfortable myself. Everytime the swan would dive for food, the band would slip up near its head, then back down again when it was upright. Seems like there must be a better system. I assume whoever banded it wants to be able to read the band from afar. Personally I think a slightly more invasive, at first, transmitter clipped to a wing would be more comfortable for the swan in the long run, but what do I know!

There was also a very noisy pair of geese. They landed while I was photographing the swans and wouldn’t stop squawking the whole time I was there. One of them kept rolling its head around, up in the air, and honking. Then it chased the other one making a growling noise and biting it. Eventually the one being chased started in with the honking as well. Finally, they flew over near another pair of geese and started honking and hissing and chasing them.  They were decidedly noisy, mouthy, and mean!

I happened to catch this gull looking for food and thought the pictures were pretty cool.

There was also a pair of ducks, but I wasn’t pleased with any of the pictures I took of them. Their coloring against the background and the weird lighting this morning didn’t make for a good combination.

After watching the waterfowl for a bit, I remembered a road through the park that my mother-in-law had told me about. I still had 45 minutes until my appointment, so I decided to wander over there since it was nearby.

I am bad with flower names, and even worse with trees, so I won’t identify any of these…just share the pictures, except to say that I didn’t know there were yellow magnolias, way cool!

This looks like a terrific spot for a picnic!

And here is a nice place to sit and take it all in.

The road these pictures were taken on is a wide, one-way road the forms a large horseshoe off the main road. Fortunately, there were not a lot of people there and no one drove up behind me, so I was able to roll down the windows and shoot to my hearts content. I took a total of 135 pictures, between the lake and the park. I was quite happy, and relaxed, by the time I got to the chiropractor’s office!

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Easter Sunday Dinner

April 4, 2010

After our backyard work this morning, described in my previous post, we went over to Jeff’s parents for dinner. We arrived shortly after 1 PM and ate around 1:30 or 2 PM. The spread was awesome.

There were little potatoes, two variaties of lamb, roasted veggies…

…asparagus…

…and fruit salad.

There were also deviled eggs, green beans, and a variety of toppings and other things that I can’t really remember at the moment. It was a yummy meal! For dessert we had a lemony marscipone brie with raspberries or goat cheese on crackers.

After we ate, the weather was so gorgeous that we sat on the 3 season porch and visited while Erin soaked in the hot tub. She was a bit sore after her hockey adventures of the last few days.

I never would have said that Erin and Sarah look much alike, but I can definitely see the resmeblence in this picture!

This is a really cool wind thingy that is hanging in a tree in the backyard.

My mother-in-law puts bird seed out on the deck railing and in a muffin pan on the glider rocker on the deck. The birds, squirrels, and chipmunks love to come visit.

After eating for a little bit, the squirrel noticed me. He cautiously kept eating, with one eye on me.

Check out the cheek pouches on this chipmunk!

Just before we decided that it was time to go home, the kids started going through Jeff’s old hockey sticks to see if any of them were worth saving. A very small number of them came home, but most of them wound up in the trash. As we were in the Jeep, ready to leave, I mentioned that the garbage can looked funny. Jeff commented that every one of those sticks had a story. He had shared some of those stories as the kids were sorting through them. I suppose in a way it’s a little sad, but I suppose life goes on, and there are lots of other memories, not related to hockey sticks. Those stories related to the sticks will certainly last longer than the sticks did anyway!

We had a lovely relaxing day. The weather was beautiful, with the sun shining and the temperature hovering in the mid 60’s. Perfect for sitting on my in-law’s porch!

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Duck, Duck, Goose, Swan…

March 19, 2010

Actually, it was more like swans, goose, duck. I had a doctor appointment this morning, but I was a little early, so I wandered down to the lake, a short distance from my doctor’s office. I only had a few minutes, but the light was great and the wildlife close to the shore. Here is what I saw.

It was a very brief, but enjoyable visit and a wonderful start to my day!

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Birds and Such

February 15, 2010

After seeing my pictures from our outing to Mendon, Jeff commented that he wished he could have gone with us. Yesterday seemed like a nice enough day, so I suggested that we go feed the birds. We set out in the early afternoon and were a little disappointed by the number of cars in the parking lot when we arrived. But we set out anyway, searching for little winged creatures to feed. There was a bit of a breeze which, when combined with 29 degree (F) temperatures, made for an uncomfortable walk. We went to the location that I normally go and there were no birds. We stopped and listened and didn’t even hear any! Eventually, we found a spot with several people posing as human bird feeders. Jeff and the kids put out their hands and waited. Apparently the birds liked Jeff, as he had ten little chickadees and one titmouse visit his hand. I’ve been playing with the settings on my camera and as a result I got some iffy results. Here is what I got and deemed share-worthy…

After we had finished feeding the birds, we began walking back to the Jeep, when this creature poked it’s head out to retrieve some seeds that someone had left. I stopped abruptly when I saw it, but as we stood there, it would only poke it’s head out far enough to retrieve a few seeds, then it would retreat out of sight into the hole in the snow. I really have no idea what it was. It seemed too long and lacking in external ear parts to be a mouse. The only distinguishing feature I could see was a tiny pink nose. This picture is awful, but like I said, it didn’t come out far and we didn’t dare try to get any closer…

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Silly Squirrels

February 4, 2010

As I mentioned yesterday, the squirrels had me laughing pretty hard at their silly antics.  Apparently these squirrels are not afraid of people, but they are cautious of them. As we walked along the trail, the squirrels were in the middle of it, along with some cardinals, searching for seeds that had fallen. There was a bit of snow, so they had to search a little to find the hidden treasures.

When we got close, the squirrels scampered off to the sides of the trail. They really wanted those seeds though, so they would cautiously sneak toward the trail.

This little guy had me laughing so hard, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to take his picture. He’d scamper toward me, stop, and put his left paw across his chest and look. Then he’d move forward and repeat his actions.

He must have decided I wasn’t too much of a threat and he got within about 2 feet of me. Mr. Squirrel was after a small pile of bird seed that Kyle had left on the edge of the trail when he decided his fingers were too cold to hold it out for the birds any longer.

After several seconds of obvious debate over his own safety, he went for it, much to my delight!

If I had reached out, I could have bent over and patted his head. Not that I am quite crazy enough to do such a thing…

I thought this one looked like he was praying. Perhaps praying that he wouldn’t become prey, or maybe he was just thanking God for such a bounty! In actuality, he was eating a sunflower seed.

I think these next two squirrels read one to many Where’s Waldo books…

He looked very much like he was trying to, “be the tree.”

Very trusting of that really dead branch!

Normally I find squirrels annoying, especially when they are dangling upside-down from my squirrel-proof bird feeder trying to figure out why they can’t get to the seeds. However, when I encounter them in a park or somewhere more natural than my city backyard, I usually find their curiosity comical. My humor does not, however, extend to the very evil black Canadian squirrels! But that is an altogether different story, best forgotten!

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Feed the Birds

February 3, 2010

We have a terrific park nearby that has lots of trails, lots of relief, and lots of wildlife. The relief is the result of glacial activity…a geologist dream, but I was there today for the wildlife, not the geology. On the way there we stopped and picked up some wild bird seed so we could feed the birds…and squirrels! I’ll let the pictures do the majority of the talking…

The look on Erin’s face in the pictures above is incredible. Just pure delight at such a simple thing. It gave me the chills when I first went through the pictures. She loved it! Afterwards she described how it felt to have the little birds on her fingers. In fact, all three kids commented on how it felt, and they all described it differently…talk about a teachable moment!

As we moved a bit further up the trail, I got directly behind Erin and got the next two shots. I was giddy as I pulled them up to edit. I only adjusted the brightness and contrast a touch.

I think the chickadees particularly liked Kyle, since they and his gloves are colored similarly…

I have been trying for years to get an excellent picture of a cardinal. They are very shy and flightly. As I was photographing other birds my family informed me there was a cardinal directly behind me. I turned and captured this.

Not bad, but still not great. Then I found this female, which baffled me because she looks nothing like the three females that live in my yard.

Then, the amazing happened…a clear, unobstructed, nearby view of a male. I don’t know how I didn’t shake and make the picture blurry, but here it is!

By FAR, the best shot I have ever gotten of a male redbird!!! Yeah, I’m still giddy about it!

I’ll end this post with my favorite picture from the day. All I can say is, “Are you talkin’ to me?”

The squirrels had me laughing at their silly antics. However, this post has many pictures, and I took many more of the silly squirrels, so I will post them tomorrow…soemething to entice you back, hahaha!

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Prime Outlets Grove City

November 11, 2009

After visiting the campus of Slippery Rock University, we went to check out the outlet mall nearby. Kyle, Sarah, and I are going to head back over to the campus this morning to get a tour, which they apparently do every morning and afternoon.

Even though this picture is lousy, with a nasty glare, I found the message amusing for a beautiful, unusually warm autumn day.

bad weather sign

Okay, I realize the weather is odd and unseasonally warm, but a lit Christmas tree?

lit tree

Sarah was pouting at me about something…

pouty sarah

Kyle, annoyed with my picture taking, suddenly stopped on the sidewalk, while my camera was neatly tucked away inside my bag, and said demanded that I take a picture of the little birds.

little bird

After the mall, we went to a great restaurant for dinner. I took pictures of the outside because the kids said it is too embarrassing when I take pictures inside restaurants and things, but it was quite dark and they did NOT turn out well. I will snap a couple this morning as we go by and hopefully they will be better.

The big kids and I are off for a campus tour now. Then down to Pittsburgh!