Christmas Day Egret

On Christmas Day, we went for a leisurely walk at Willow Lake and watched a heron and egret fishing for an hour. We are used to seeing the heron slowly wade through the shallows looking for fish- an example of patience and perseverance. The egrets are normally farther away, but this day we were lucky to be able to watch one close to where we were walking. It was less patient (maybe more hungry) than the heron and was constantly moving along the shore, eventually ending up in a little area by the rocks. This photo was taken as he spotted a fish, which he caught a moment later.

 

Little Roughneck

There seems to be a Hummingbird Fight Club going on in our back yard these days. In the last month, we have had more hummingbirds than ever before, and although it has thinned out a bit in the last week, we have constant territorial battles going on- especially in the mornings and early evenings. We have four feeders, but there is always one that is the feeder of choice that must be guarded by whoever seems to be in charge at the time. Often there are six to eight hummers involved in the dispute over the chosen feeder! I like this shot because this little one chose to take a break on a high willow branch, which made a nice composition.

 

Nature Heals

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

                                                             ~John Muir

Kim Klassen, my very first photography mentor and whose video tutorials taught me Photoshop nine years ago, has brought back her Texture Tuesday linkup! When I saw the announcement last night, I leapt at the opportunity to download her free textures and participate! I have gotten away from still life and have ventured into other areas of photography, but am so, so grateful to come back to Kim’s special world, especially NOW! Thank, you Kim!

https://kimklassen.com/texture-tuesday-2-o-is-here/

 

Greeting the Day

Good Morning, Sunshine!

What a joy it was to be back walking on the beach with my new knee! It still doesn’t feel “normal”- but I can walk without pain and without poles. And watching the waves and the birds is the best therapy!

At Newport Beach

Stalking

I thought I could see swans from the road last week, so we went over to Willow Lake late Saturday afternoon to see what we could see. No swans were in the area where we had seen them before, but a heron was slowly wading through the shallows stalking his prey. We watched for a half hour or so- but never saw him catch anything. As the light was fading, we walked back to the car, leaving him still searching for dinner.

Swans!

Friday night, we learned from Facebook that there were swans out at Willow Lake! We are accustomed to seeing ducks, geese, eagles, hawks, herons, egrets etc.- but this is  the first we’ve heard of swans. So on Saturday morning we headed over to see what we could see. This would be my first walk in nature since my knee surgery, so I was pretty excited- so excited, in fact, that when we spotted the swans, I realized I had left my zoom lens on the kitchen counter! And what was on my camera, you ask? My macro lens! So I watched the swans as a hawk perched above them in a tree and a heron stood intently searching the water for his breakfast and tried to content myself with occasional macro shots.

After my genealogy meeting in the afternoon, we drove over again. The swans were starting to tuck their heads under their wings, but eventually all four swam around where we could see them  in the late afternoon light. I haven’t gone through all the photos yet, but here is a shot of three of them.

 

Backyard Bad Boy

I have been home a lot for the last couple weeks and have enjoyed getting out in the yard to watch the hummingbirds. We’ve had more than usual, but the prettier ones (I won’t even attempt to name the species)tend to leave the yard when I go outside. The feeder at the kitchen window attracts several hummers who sometimes (but not often) will feed at the same time. Our larger feeder out on the patio has been dominated by one hummingbird who sits on TOP of the feeder for over an hour at a time, preferring to guard it rather than feed. I have known children with that same personality trait!

OMG Another Bird!

Yes, another bird- and another artsy fartsy bird at that! This is a ptarmigan, perhaps a female or a juvenile (can’t remember), and it is the state bird of Alaska. This info is courtesy of my Park Service son-in-law, so I am breaking with my policy of not identifying birds, because I’m always wrong- or at least I believe everyone who identifies a bird incorrectly for me. Crossing my fingers here. . .

It was our youngest grandson, Henry who spotted it as we were walking a trail at the Nature Center. It was motionless in the grasses and probably scared out of its mind. I said, “Oh, look a grouse!” We all gathered on the trail watching it, as I snapped 4 or 5 shots. Then Justin gave the command to Penny, the golden retriever, who promptly flushed it out and away flew the grouse/ptarmigan/chicken(?) into the woods.

I gave it the clipping mask and stroke treatment, because it’s fun and I just can’t stop doing it. . .

Fall Finch

Some of the leaves are actually starting to turn, even though it still seems like summer here.  I’ve got my Halloween decorations out and am drinking a pumpkin spice latte as I write this- so, according to the calendar and Starbucks, it IS fall!  In the spirit of autumn,  I took this photo of a goldfinch against the backdrop of fall leaves.