Birds

Goldfinch

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I saw several of these birds a year ago and they always seemed a bit magical. Moving quickly in and out of sight among the high flowers. In black and white there is spooky quality to the bird appropriate for this time of year!


I woke the Bird (Two Photographs)

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Birds often sleep with one eye open watching out for predators. Its called “unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS).” When I come across a bird sleeping it’s never very long before its awake and checking me out.


Eyes

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Eyes are important in any kind of portrait, and I find it’s sometimes a neglected element when it comes to some animals, like birds. I suspect this is because it is hard to get a catch light in the eye to make the eyes interesting and look normal.


Negative Space (Two Photographs)

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Your subject needs space to sing (talk) into, as one of my photography friends once said to explain negative space. It’s not a rule. If it were, some of Buster Keaton’s better scenes of being hit by a door would not have been allowed.


Shadows (Two Photographs)

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In these photos of what I believe is a female goldfinch, shadows play a role. Shadows can give depth or interest to a photo, complement a portrait. In the first of these shots, the shadow can be seen as somewhat humorous, but in the second it adds to the portrait.


That Owl

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I was not able to see our resident Eastern Screech owl this year, and I miss seeing it. This is the last of my shots of him from 2019. The closest nature reserve to where I live is uncomfortably full of people, and as long as the current situation remains, I intend to stick to less populated locations.


Look a Duck (Two Photographs)

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I can still remember when I first saw wood ducks in full colour. Amazing. I have taken many photographs of them since. They are accustomed to humans throwing them inappropriate food so to it is not uncommon to have a stand-off with one. But when they realize you have nothing to offer their fickle nature emerges.


Geese

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Geese for all their faults make for great photographs. They give off a feeling of calm paddling along in the water. This couple was particularly notable for their apparent intimacy. But I would note that geese can get hostile if you approach them too closely and with other geese in the water, with lots of noise and flapping about.


Osprey in Flight (Two Photographs)

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The osprey I see fly high and fast. In this case I used Lightroom’s scale function to magnify the photos to get the detail you see here. AI programs are coming along that do this much better, I am waiting for the second generation to work with that software.

 


Goldfinch (Two Photographs)

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I was lucky to be able to take photographs of this goldfinch in interesting light against such a good background. It’s the way it’s supposed be done (by the book), but frankly these opportunities do not present themselves as often as one would like.


Sparrow on a Walk

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In a park there is a man-made pond and it attracts a lot of animals. I saw this bird strutting along on the rocks that contain the pond. More than likely on its way for a bath. Given their variety, sparrows make for great birding and photographic opportunities.


A Widgeon Couple (Two Photographs)

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These ducks seemed to be very close and rather intimate but then my view of animals is tainted by anthropomorphism. I subsequently learned they don’t mate for life, but it does seem they enjoy their summers.


A Sparrow and its Shadow (Two Photographs)

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I could have played with these photographs forever in post processing to make the shadows more prominent. Instead, I chose to the leave the photographs pretty much as they came out of the camera.

 


Off Again (Two Photographs)

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I was not terribly successful last year with birds in flight (or BIF as the pros say). I had a lot of misses, birds moving too fast or me not noticing soon enough. If it wasn’t a challenge I don’t think I’d find nature photography quite so much fun.

 


Female Wood Duck (Two Photographs)

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Almost a perfect shot out of camera. One of those opportunities where I could take enough photos to chose the ones I liked best. Of course my primary consideration were the eyes, where they were looking and their brightness.


Suspicious

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I found this on an unsaved SD card in my camera, it’s from late last summer. I am glad I found it. I remember this encounter well. I was walking up to the shoreline with my eye on something out in the lake, neither the wood duck or I noticed how close we got until we were only a foot or so apart. Being a gentleman, and knowing the minimum distance of my lens, I immediately backed off to take this shot. The wood duck, probably protective of its mate, never stopped its stare as I walked off down the path.


Curious (Two Photographs)

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This Mourning Dove was sitting on an unoccupied nesting box taking a gander in every direction. It was a bit funny and after a few shots I walked away. On the way back the bird was still doing its 360 gander. Maybe it was a missed date? I took these photos from a long distance away so as not to frighten the bird off.


A Canadian Sparrow

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It almost looks like the bird is embarrassed by its gaze on the maple leaf. Or do I read too much into a bucolic scene that almost appears staged. Last year sparrows were one of my birds of choice, their speed made for a great challenge in many cases.


Female Goldfinch (Two Photographs)

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I saw a larger than usual number of Goldfinches in 2019, and for the first time several female goldfinches. I doubt this translates into a regional statistic but it speaks to the changing nature of the sites I visit.


Canadian Colour (Two Photographs)

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The waterways in Fall always have wonderful reflections, and Canada Geese are usually well represented too. Although the geese are often considered pests, that’s not always the case.


A Couple (Two Photographs)

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It’s always nice to see a wood duck pair close together, especially in good light and colour. We are very fortunate where I live to have so many of these colourful ducks. But before I get too romantic, wood ducks like most ducks form seasonal bonds and do not mate for life.

 


Bored (Two Photographs)

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Up until now I have never seen an animal that looked bored. I strongly suspect that like many people, the wood duck got a bit fed up with the constant snapping of photographs. Or was it the people throwing bread?


Cantankerous (Three Photographs)

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The word cantankerous is one of the wonderful Irish-english gifts to our language. It also catches the mood of a disgruntled Cardinal caught over lunch. I am always surprised when animals clearly see you and start a stare off, rather than fly away.

 


Majestic (Two Photographs)

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One thing that can be said for raptors like the Osprey is that they have a certain majesty. That far out in the distance adds a slight bit of humour to its look. The photo is much more ominous in black and white.