Animals

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Some birds are more ungainly than beautiful, like this pileated woodpecker who is certainly striking (literally and metaphorically). It was demolishing my bird pie the other day, when normally it will be destroying the trunks of half dead trees, looking for insects and other delicious edibles. Below you see one doing just that. Their beaks may be designed to be bashed into trees, but the tip of the beak on this bird looks as if it is rather the worse for wear compared to the one below. I wonder what caused the damage.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

And here you can see the results of steady assault by these voracious birds.

Pileated tree
Pileated tree
+2

Spirea Japonica

Spirea Japonica
Spirea Japonica

Our neighbourhood holds so many hidden delights. This lovely Spirea was hiding behind a rose bush across the road from me (next to the marshmallow). As I was photographing it for A Flower a Day, a tiny visitor climbed over the top of one of the flower heads and went about her business. She seemed to be totally unaware that her colour should have clashed with the pink. But in the end I didn’t mind either. It was so lovely just to see a hint of normality going on in the natural world. I hope this helps to cheer your day, my friends. Clicking on the image below will take you to the Tiny Wildlife Gallery where there are many such little delights if you have time to take a look.

Spirea Japonica with ladybird
Spirea Japonica with ladybird

The Flower a Day Gallery with current content is below. Each day a new photo will be added. With today’s post there are now 31 to view. Click or tap to view full size.

If you wish to you can subscribe here if you have not already, to be sure to get my daily flowers in your inbox!

+7

Jennie’s Cat

Domestic Cat - Ellie Kennard 2016
Domestic Cat – Ellie Kennard 2016

A theme today is “Domestic Cat”. Is any cat ever, really domestic? Almost certainly not, though they might pretend they are, at least while it works to their advantage. The domesticity is rather on the side of the family members they command …

Because everyone needs a photo of a cat now and again in their email or browser, here is “Domestic Cat”. Happy Thursday!

0

Halfway Down the Stairs

Halfway down the stairs - Ellie Kennard 2012
Halfway down the stairs – Ellie Kennard 2012

7 years on from this post we now are without Molly and Rupert is almost 18. This poem seems to have been written for cats. Have a wonderful day everyone, keep warm if the weather is stormy as it is here.

Original Post: January 16, 2012 – “Halfway down the stairs is a stair where i sit.”

“Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
it.
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!” – a.a. milne

We have two Cornish Rex cats – Rupert and Molly who have curly fur. Like all cats, they migrate around the house depending on where the sun is shining. In the morning it shines through onto the stairs. I was struck this morning by the wavy shadows of the stair balusters next to the curly cats, so caught this. Rupert is a golden colour, Molly is black. The image was better in black and white.

0

Highland Mother and Baby

Highland Cattle - Ellie Kennard 2012
Highland Cattle – Ellie Kennard 2012

This is a photo I took 6 years ago and just found again with the original post text. The close protectiveness of the mother to the baby is particularly moving. They are no different from human mothers in caring for their offspring.

Now, I feel differently towards these lovely creatures, from what is written in the post below. I no longer wish to be responsible for any harm or suffering to come to them in any way, as in raising them for food. But that is now and this post below was how I felt then. And it was just as valid, though I have now changed.


Original Post: : October 21, 2012 – 294/366 – *Highland Cattle in the Evening Light

This weekend was one of discovery of our local area. We spent the days out and about taking photographs and basically drinking in the sights. For the first time since we moved here, over 15 years ago, I had the same exhilerated feeling that I got when we first moved to that wonderful place in France: “We LIVE here!” We discovered beaches, coves and roads that we had never seen, all within 15 minutes drive of our house. The colours, of course, were out of this world. It is the best year for leaves that I can remember.

But today’s image is one that has more depth and meaning to me (not to knock the colour, which I just love and I know would be more popular). As we were driving back towards home, we passed a small farm, with a farmer working among his animals. He had pigs outdoors, geese and ducks were honking and quacking in his fields and farmyard. The highland cattle you see here were in a field with a young Jersey heifer. I could have walked up his drive and started doing the farm chores that I used to do in our place in France. It was so much like home in the atmosphere of the place it was unsettling. This is a very unusual sight in Nova Scotia which made it all the more memorable and appealing.

So today I have these cattle in black and white photographed against the evening sunlight which lit their outlines so nicely. Noble beasts, harking back to ancient and not so ancient farmyards from lands across the seas.

0

Winter Feathers

Feather - Ellie Kennard 2012
Feather – Ellie Kennard 2012

It is winter again and the birds are looking for feeders and for seeds and leftover harvest to glean. We have fed the birds for 20 years but now no longer do so. We had a warning about a disease spreading via birdfeeders among the finches in our Province of Nova Scotia. Although winter was apparently not considered a high risk period for this disease and many people began to put their feeders out again, we decided against it. We had too many fatal instances of bird strike and we just couldn’t bear it each time it happened.

We still see the birds, but in the trees and bushes around us, we just have to keep watching for them. 

This photo was originally taken in a snow storm in 2012, of a chickadee flying toward a feeder and about to land. I submitted it for a Scavenger hunt entry in that year for the theme “Feather”. It got awarded 1st prize from one of the judges, which I was delighted with, especially so early in my photographic journey. I have rescued the photo to 

0

Ducks in a Row

Ducks in a Row - Ellie Kennard 2012
Ducks in a Row – Ellie Kennard 2012

To wish everyone a lovely weekend, remembering the promise and young joys of Spring, to follow the winter we are now heading into!

May 27, 2012 – 148/366 – My Ducks Are All In a Row
Original post:

Not far from us a special habitat that is protected and has been preserved and improved by Ducks Unlimited, is called “Miner’s Marsh”. It is absolutely rich with abundant wetland and marsh wildlife – birds, frogs, plants etc. We first went there this evening. It was unbelievably noisy with the loud booms of bullfrogs, beautiful song of red-winged blackbirds and other birds and ducks. The smells of marsh and ponds and wild blossoms in the surrounding woods were heady in the air this evening. This is one of the photographs of our first visit.
This is image #148 for my participation in the Creative 366 project on Google+

0

Silent Miaow – Molly 2002-2018

The Silent Miaow* - Ellie Kennard 2015
The Silent Miaow* – Ellie Kennard 2015

It’s always so hard to say goodbye. In this case we didn’t even get a chance to do that. We lost Molly last night, when we were thousands of miles away.

Molly was such a different cat. She took 16 years to really come out of her shell and learn to play and show affection. Her last years got better and better as she gained confidence and began to enjoy her life. She discovered the fun of chasing her tail this summer, at almost 16 yrs old. It’s so sad that, having got to that stage, her life ended so suddenly.

Molly had a special fashion sense. This photo demonstrates it best…

Molly's manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015
Molly’s manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015

Molly was very serious almost all her life, with an intense way of looking at you – almost right through you. We sometimes called her The Looking Cat. We never knew why she was like that as Cornish Rex cats normally are very playful and not at all timid. Her life long companion, Rupert is totally different. He is gregarious, fun loving, affectionate and full of confidence. The first 2 weeks we had her she spent lying flat between the mattress and the box spring of a bed, almost too frightened to come out to eat. Once she began to trust us, after about 10 years, she would sometimes just sit and stare at us unblinkingly, making everyone feel slightly uncomfortable. She looked right into our souls.

Molly's intense stare - 2015
Molly’s intense stare – 2015

Molly knew how to be elegant. Like all cats, she loved the sun and would always seek it out, whether indoors as here, or outdoors as in the opening image, wearing her harness which kept her from straying.

Molly Silhouette - Ellie Kennard 2013
Molly Silhouette – Ellie Kennard 2013

Goodbye Molly. Rupert will miss you. And so will we.
*Molly was here sitting in front of the book “The Silent Miaow” by Paul Gallico

0

Joni is Four

Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!
Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!

Joni turned 4 years old a week or so ago, though it’s hard to believe it’s been that long since she joined our household! She still has the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a puppy, a characteristic of border collies. Born in the winter, she loves the cold and finds the snowy, blustery days invigorating, where we have to bundle ourselves up against the elements. Soon the snow will be deep on the ground covering the frozen treacherous icy ruts on the road and fields and the walking will be easier as we don our snowshoes (and Joni her boots) to head out across the landscape. The freedom of being able to go cross country on skis or snowshoes in the winter is hard to imagine if you haven’t tried it. The interesting thing is that once you are out in it, the cold doesn’t feel as bad. There’s a saying that it’s not that the weather is too cold, you’re just not wearing warm enough clothes!

Enjoy the winter, those of us who have it, Spring will come eventually and the cycle will begin anew.

0