Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vivid Colours Against A Grey Background At the Vermilon River. A Post to WBW.

I included a few shots of what I call the upper River to show you the heavy grey of the the overcast weather. Boom & I are slaves of the weather, as I have no camera waterproofing gear. So if the weatherman says it's at all fair, we're gone. I think what he really meant was overcast with a hint of sun, if we're lucky.

The first photo looks north and east, and is by far and away the brightest it gets. This grey plays havoc with the Sigma 150-500mm lens, which is a bright sunny day lens.

Again looking south and westerly. You understand, of course, that by upper river I just mean of our little wilderness patch, not the whole river which runs at least 200-300 miles north as the crow flies, and south by many names to Lake Huron. The rock outcroppings are the norm in the Canadian shied.

Making light of the grey skies, a flock of Evening Grosbeaks paid a visit to my feeders to eat Boom & I out of house and home. Opposite is the male, below the female. Evening Grosbeaks were first seen in the west and seen in the evening, and of course grosbeak refers to the the size of their beak. They spread east, and feed primarily on the spruce bud worm, so they are native to northern forests. 

 The female, although not as flamboyant as the male, is a beauty in her own right.
Against a grey background these birds are enough to make you feel good just from their colour.

That's the point of today's post. Grey skies usually make people depressed, but when you're outside seeing these kinds of colour, it's just like a tonic. In all the photos the grosbeak's beak is yellow; it's in the spring that it changes to green

Blue Jays are just as resplendent as the Grosbeaks.

I caught this fellow with his comb up, which gives him an incredibly alert aura.

Even in the grey light the Blue Jay tail is quite the sight. These birds depend on natural light to make their feathers glow as the feathers refract the light,as is the case with most bluebirds. In bright sun light the tail will even blur the camera.

I had already posted some Bohemian Waxwing shots. These photos are from the same series of photos. There, as with the Blue Jay, is no difference between the male and female.

These birds along with their cousins the Cedar Waxwings are the penultimate berry eaters. Berries even play a role in their courtship rituals. We're fortunate here to have both the Cedar and the Bohemian Waxwings.

Redpolls are winter visitors also from the Boreal forest just north of us. They're about the size of a small sparrow, and move in large flocks.

These photos are of a female. The male has red on his upper breast. Strange isn't it that such a small bird is so hardy, and able to survive in such a hostile environment. They'll leave when winter is over.

This little guy seems totally impervious to the wind.

Here the grey totally worked against me. This is a first for me , a Black-backed Woodpecker of the three-toed variety. The species is rare because it inhabits burnt out forest, or forest that has an insect infestation. This little stretch of woods is filled with different birds and wildlife. It is a thick stand of coniferous trees on the river so it's dark, and damp. On top of that it's overcast and damp anyway. In fact damp enough to fog my camera lens. So nothing went right, and it's happened before in this area. But I know where he is and in fact saw several trees that must have an insect infestation that he's been at, so he'll be back.
Well not quite a bird, but against the grey light, he's a bright addition.  My point was that nature creates such vivid colours against her  backgrounds whether it's grey, or the white of snow. How can you not be bright and happy in such an environment. A Post To WBW @ http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Collection of Images of the Vermilon River. A Post to MYT and Scenic Sunday.

I usually hike two or three times a week so I take a lot of photos. I started to catalogue them with titles about four or five months ago. Today, I pulled some of those together. In essence I included them because I like them, or they were a departure for me in photographic terms.  

These photos were taken after a frost, and temperature drop. I was struck by the light hitting the droplets, creating Forest Fairy highlights.

This was a photo left out of another post. On that post I included a scene with frozen red blueberry bushes on the far side of the River, and took this close up of the same. Why I over looked it I don't know.

Going through the files, I found these photos of some male Evening Grosbeaks. I'll post them on WBW this Wednesday, because I just found another flock of them.

These photos were taken in the spring. This is not just evident from the leaves, but the Grosbeak changes his beak to green in the summer.

You don't get much more vivid colours than these. On Wednesday, I'll post some shots of the female too. She is less flamboyant, but equally beautiful. These birds were first seen by Europeans in western Canada in the evening; hence, Evening and of course Grosbeak for large beak.  

 With frequently overcast skies, it's harder to catch photos of the Finches. The Sigma 150-500m performs best in bright light. The bird is in a birch tree. The seed pods provide food for a lot of birds.
The White-throat Sparrows are long gone now. These little guys are everywhere in the summer.

This is the same bird but in profile.

I did a whole post on the sparrows of the Vermilon River, because  the variety of sparrows here is amazing.

I'm always running into Black-capped Chickadees, and as I said before they're difficult to photograph, because they're flighty.

We don't have a lot of European Starlings, because we are not an agricultural area.

These guys are in their non-breeding plumage.

The River and its wetlands is home to large flocks of Canada geese.

Redpolls are winter visitors. But I wasn't sure if they would visit this year.

Yet, here they are. The first two photos are females.

These photos are of a male Redpoll.

Mourning Doves are constant visitors to our feeders.

They're such a peaceful bird.

This is of course Huegy, our Northern Crow. A Post to Scenic Sunday @ http://scenicsunday.blogspot.com/ and MYT @ http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Icy Scenes, Canada Geese, Ravens, Chickadee, and Redpolls of the Vermilon River.A Post to SWF.

All these photos were shot on the west side of the River on Wednesday, a bright cold day, as you can see from the ice build up in the rapids. But the weather is up and down, as the forecast for today is 6C and for tommorow a balmy 9C.

At every turn in the rapids the spray is creating an ice sculpture.

Similarly just above the rapids, ice is forming in the little bays and inlets created by the meandering river.

The wetlands are also freezing over. The reflection is in the ice skim on this wetland.

But the Vermilon never really freezes as these geese seem to realize. I think they're from further North, and are just building up to migrate.

There is too much motion blur in this photo, but I'm always fascinated by the way these guys take off from a floating start. Look at the amount of water displacement.

After disturbing them, I caught the flock flying up river, on my way back.

Catching them in flight was a bit like a naval anti-aircraft gunner must have felt before the invention of electronic equipment.

The crows inhabit the east side, and the Ravens rule the river banks. My home Crows accompany Boomer, and I on our walks but only so far. They avoid Raven territory. You can tell this is a Raven by the wedge shape to his tail

Again, I'm amazed at the wing movement involved in flight.

This Black-capped Chickadee finally stopped horsing around for me to get a close up.

This is the same male Redpoll in both shots. These guys are also hard to get good photos of as they're flighty.

A post to SWF @ http://skyley.blogspot.com/ and Scenic Sunday @ http://scenicsunday.blogspot.com/  Click on the photos for the slide show. Happy Thanksgiving to all American readers.