For bird lovers, here is a blast from the past remembering warm sunny days in August on the beach at Kingsport, Nova Scotia, watching the shorebirds going about their business.
We love walking on the beach, watching many small flocks of these little shorebirds forage for food or swooping and dipping over the water. When in the air they keep a tight formation, wheeling and banking so that at times the flash of the underside of their wings makes them invisible against the water behind them. They are approachable, not being frightened particularly, except when the ball or dog lands in their midst.
This was the photograph I got in August 2014. I owe it, in part, to my friend, Linda who walked with me and Joni (and waded with us through the incoming tide that caught us unawares) as, when I hesitated as to whether to bring my camera or not, she said “you always take your camera everywhere”, so I did. And I had chosen the right lens, for once.
This sandpiper was enjoying the summer mud at Miner’s Marsh in Kentville and apparently finding lots of eat. This was taken a few years ago in my early years of photography, so I was really pleased to catch it so well. I can’t wait until we can have a bit of summer, to be able to see the ground, mud or grass! Meanwhile, we can enjoy memories from past photos like this.
Winter’s coming and it’s getting colder for us and for all the wildlife around, including birds like this one. Here’s a challenge for all birders: what do we think this is? At first I thought ‘owl’ but on looking at it more closely I don’t think it is. I asked a local birder by email, with no response, but there were a few suggestions as to possibilities. This was taken through my living room window a few winters ago. The answer as to the identity is given below the next section if you want to see if you guessed correctly.
It is a Red Tailed Hawk, fluffed up from the cold. It was difficult to be sure, as mostly these birds migrate south for the winter. In Nova Scotia, however, they stay year round. If you guessed that, then well done!!
Today is a good day for a barred owl photo. When we had bird feeders in our front garden, we used to see hawks waiting in the branches to pounce on unsuspecting goldfinches and the like which I didn’t appreciate. Owls, though, come out later and so they watch for mice that are probably making nests in our car brakes and the like. They’re welcome to them.
On one occasion (maybe this one), that owl was sitting on that branch when a squirrel ran almost up to him! It stopped in surprise and beat a hasty retreat. The owl didn’t move. It just watched it go. It happened too fast for me to catch it in a picture.
I have to say, one of my favourite moments, walking in the woods was when an owl flew right over my head, going ahead of me and landing on a branch a few yards away. The amazing thing was that it was absolutely silent. But I thought I felt the air from its wings as it flew over me, so close. What marvellous creatures they are.
I love this face. Here’s looking at you! Happy Owl Day.