Category Archives: Sunday Stills

Large birds are easier to identify

The Red Tailed Hawk is probably the most common hawk in North America.  Red-tailed Hawks (also known as a chicken hawk in the USA) soar above open fields, slowly turning circles as they hunt for prey. Other times you’ll see them atop fence posts, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.

Both male and female Red-tailed Hawks build the nest, or simply refurbish one of the nests they’ve used in previous years. Nests are tall piles of dry sticks.  Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees or cliffs  where they have a commanding view of the landscape. They will lay 1-3 eggs in the spring. While the female most often sits on the nest, the male will sit on the nest when the female goes to hunt. The male brings the food once the eggs hatch.

The babies known as eyasses, and stay in the nest for about 45 days. Then they start to learn to fly and hunt. At this stage they are known as  fledglings. It takes about 10 weeks for the fledglings to mature and leave the nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. This large heron has yellow eyes. It has a white head with black stripes and black plumes sticking out of the back of its head. They find a new mate each year.

Great blue herons are waders. They can be seen along the edge of lakes and streams, walking slowly or standing in the water, patiently waiting for a fish to come within range. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.

Great blue herons’ size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.

Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs. The nest can be a meter wide. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.

Osprey and its young

Osprey are a large raptor, found around the world near oceans, rivers and lakes. They each fish which they catch with their large hooked talons. They build their nests on the top of dead trees, on telephone poles or other high structures including manmade nesting platforms.

They return to the same nest year after year. The female will stay close to the nest, while the male will bring food to the young.  They have a wingspan of 1.6 metres.

This post is part of the Sunday Post challenge started by Jakesprinter. You can find out all about it at http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/sunday-post-nature/

Sunday Post: Light

Wild, exciting, sad, lewd, shameless, fun, wicked, immoral and definitely covered in light, The evening I walked down the streets of Vegas, I saw more lights than ever before. There was a carnival atmosphere, a circus feel in the air. Las Vegas is unique.

This post is part of the challenge by Jakesprinter. Please visit http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/    to see how you can take part in this challenge

Traffic waited for the lights to change

Everything is covered in lights. even the palm trees are bathed in light.

Even the McDonald sign is like no other. It flashes and lights up, joining in the circus of lights.

Now I know that Vegas is a fantasy land.

Sunday Post: Colorful

Actually the proper spelling is Colourful. That aside, I will post my entry for the Sunday Challenge. Four of my grandchildren came for a visit this afternoon. Nearby, we have a lovely little park, so we bundled up and went for a bit of play. The park has very colourful equipment and I enjoyed taking photos there this afternoon.

Animal Attack

Sarah playing on the ramp

Emily looks through the giant circles

Snow Alligator

Cyclamen and Ice

Just a few photographs for a Saturday night. I am still thinking of the Photo Challenge topic of Hope. The Cyclamen bud, waiting for its time to flower, to fulfill its purpose. Hoping to provide beauty for our enjoyment. I visited a friend and could not resist taking some shots of her beautiful Cyclamen. The first photo is along the walkway at our home. One of the bushes still has a few red berries, covered in ice. I hope you enjoy.

Some signs make me laugh

I have spent the last few days sick with a cold, so haven’t been taking any new photos.  I thought for my first post of the new year I would share a few signs I have seen recently that made me laugh. I hope you get a chuckle too.

Look up and beware, you might get hit by a hoof..

We pumped some gas at this most unlikely station with its hand scribbled signs, then went inside the store to tell them how many litres. They used a small calculator to figure out the bill. I guess they are trusting and expect honesty. I hope they are rewarded. I also hope they will soon be able to upgrade to perhaps a fancier sign. I find it amusing that the “no sniveling” sign is important enough to get a professional sign, the rest isn’t worth wasting the money on.

Honest customers only and no complaining allowed.

Count to 20? I always thought I had to count to 10 to control my frustrations. This sign is at a gas station in Minnesota.

Sunday Stills- 25 and 50 steps (for Oct 30)

I am a day late but wanted to post my Sunday Stills . The challenge is: “Choose a starting spot, walk 25 steps in any direction and take 3 photos. The 25 steps can be outside your home, inside your home, in your neighborhood or away from your neighborhood.
Once your steps have been counted out, you must anchor one foot, you can pivot on that foot but your anchor foot may not move.

We took the dog for a walk on the nature trails. This is where I started the first 25 steps count.

This land and trail is supported by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, The Nature Conservancy of Canada and York Region. The land was donated by the Arnold C Matthew Family.

After 25 steps, the milkweed was right beside me.

There was a pine tree nearby

Sidney had to come back to get me, she does not like to get too far ahead, even when she is off leash.

The challenge continues with : “Choose a starting spot, walk 50 steps, repeat the instructions above. The 50 steps can be in a different direction, a different location or the same as the 25 steps.” I chose a different place, further along the trail.

I started my fifty steps from this point.

I got down low for a shot of Sidney

one lone leaf was caught on a bare branch, waiting for a wind so it can continue its journey to the forest floor. I noticed a lot of pine needles were caught by this same branch.

a few berries, left uneaten, have shrivelled on the vine.

I was enjoying our walk, crunching the leaves as we walked. I took a lot more photos. I found a lot of mushrooms and strange fungus.

my daughter and the dog went on ahead, I am too slow when I have my camera.

this log was white with a strange fungus growth I have never seen.

Anyone want a sugar-coated cookie?

very colourful for fungus

the trail narrowed and the pine trees were very dense on the sides, like a wall.

an old woodshed along the trail. The property has been donated, this is the only building that remains.

Thank you for joining us on our hike in the Nature Preserve. I hope you enjoyed it. There is not many more opportunities to hike before the snow falls.

Sunday Stills: Rocks and Rock Formations.

Our recent travels took us across North America where we enjoyed the varied landscape and countless beautiful rock formations. My favorite place is Bryce’s National Park in Utah. The colours and beauty of the hoodoos are second to none. I could not stand at the top and look down, I felt compelled to hike down to walk among the stone people. It is a wonderful experience to touch the glory of the canyon.

The hoodoo's formed by the wind and rain are standing in an amphitheatre.

A Paiute Indian myth says “the animal legend people who lived in Bryce Canyon long ago, displeased the coyote. Angered, he turned all the people to rock.”

I was not content to look from above, I had to hike into the canyon. I was dwarfed by the height of the hoodoos

The trail took us through archways and along steep cliffs.

looking through the natural stone arch

The dry canyon floor has trees growing high, reaching up to touch the sun.

looking up in the narrow canyon, the red colour of the rocks glowed in the hot summer sun.

Stairs cut into the steep cliff to helped us climb back up to the top.

The stairway to the top was very long, switching back and forth up the canyon wall. As we trudged higher and higher along with the other travellers, we still marvelled at the beauty of this place through our sweat and panting.