24 October 2009
22 October 2009
21 October 2009
18 October 2009
This doesn't quite work; I'll need to go back in a week or two when all the leaves have turned, and I'll pretty clearly need to mess about with focus locking to get the depth of field to do what I want, but at least it's a start.
And yes, the image as a type is somewhere past clichéd and getting into the land of "mercy! not again!", but I like the idea of it.
Most owls look charmingly mad. Snowy owls often don't, I think due to the sheer austerity of their colouration, but sometimes they do, and when they do it can be even more effective as a contrast to the usual look of sullen disdain.
This has been lightly sharpened, cropped a bit, and scaled for web display; everything else is straight off the camera. Having white creatures in dark places with green foregrounds come out pretty close to perfect for white balance and exposure makes me happy.
Merely because they natively inhabit a rocky desolation doesn't mean a polar bear disdains a good roll in the dirt if they can get some dirt. The new polar bear enclosure at the
Metro Toronto Zoo has lots of dirt, and here we can see the resulting contentment.
I overheard several comments about how the polar bears didn't look like proper polar bears and ought to be washed while I was taking various bear pictures. Since I wasn't taking polar bear pictures for very long, this must have been a popular sentiment. While it would create a new high-machismo profession of Polar Bear Bathing Specialist, I can't see the Zoo really wanting to pay for it. Easier to just install a bear jacuzzi and sneak in some soap and a risking shower on the way out, probably. Which gives the much lower machismo profession of Bear Enclosure Drain Cleaner but one can't have everything.
10 October 2009
The forecast for today a week ago was, in effect, cold rain and lots of it, side of wind, optional gloom. By the time today actually rolled around, it was a gorgeous fall day; high of 11 C, and mostly clear and sunny. Since this came after a week of rain and otherwise adverse-for-migration conditions, there were a lot of birds to see, in terms of both numbers and species.
Kevin Seymour ably led the walk. Highlights include the airport fence, where the snipe, kestrels, one of the northern harriers, rusty blackbirds, and a plethora of thrushes, phoebes, and catbirds simply presented themselves for viewing, and the lunch stop that included not only passing raptors but interacting ones—a sharp-shinned hawk and a cooper's hawk had words, and another cooper's hawk made a try for a blue jay. The commentary from the blue jay flock was not polite.
In total, I saw 51 species of birds:
American robin (high flocks!)
black-throated blue warbler
blue jay (group count abandoned when it passed 200...)
Canada goose (group count abandoned when it passed 200...)
cooper's hawk (at least 3! one trying to eat a blue jay!)
gold-crowned kinglet (clouds of kinglets)
great blue heron (2! one immature with an upper bill the blue of hammered iron just out of the fire)
great horned owl (only 1, but it was a complete-with-yikes! experience)
norther flicker (yellow shafted)
northern harrier (five!)
peregrine falcon (three!)
phoebe (almost as many as there were kinglets)
red-tailed hawk (only 2, but one was eating, from a very visible distance)
ruby-crowned kinglet (clouds of kinglets)
rusty blackbird (2! in plain sight!)
sharp-shinned hawk (more than six!)
snipe (sitting in a low damp spot in a mowed field, all by itself. Eventually left when members of the drifting-that-way Canada goose flock started trying to pull its tail feathers.)
teal, probably blue-winged teal
turkey vulture (15+!)
white-crowned sparrow (1st winter white-crowned sparrow can have a very ruddy crown stripe...)
06 October 2009
I see these guys—just red-breasted; the white-breasted don't like where I'm living—all year, but there's a definite uptick in their presence at the peanut feeder when the weather gets cold. I suppose from their point of view the peanut feeder is effectively just pre-wedged nuts that they don't have to work too hard to hammer open.
05 October 2009
That's pretty much Aoife's sole area of concern this time of year. It's not warm any more, the wretched, no-good, big mean monkey won't let her out on the balcony at all hours, and the smell-o-vision gets turned off.
You can see that her expression can reflect this concern even on those days when it's nice enough to let her out on the balcony.
And then a squirrel moves along the fence.
So the poor wee creature isn't doing too badly, despite having to evolve some kind of complex theology to explain why I wait so long to fix the weather after she's clearly—so clearly—indicated that it is broken.