Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Older Photos

I was going through some of my old photos and doing some house keeping.  I found a few photos from previous trips to Bayfront Park that I hadn't posted and thought I'd share them.  I haven't done much of getting out to photograph anything of late.  Life is quite busy at the moment!

Mute Swan taking off.
I enjoy watching terns make their hunting circuits over the water.  There is something about how they fly that I like.  Their wing strokes are different from gulls, more definite and crisp with a kind of movement that somehow brings the word "lilt" to mind.  It seems so effortless, and you can see them sure ahead with every stroke.  They like to set up a number of  loops which they patrol a few times, and switching between them periodically.  When a small fish is seen close enough to the surface, they tuck and plummet into the water to pursue the prey.

Common Tern looking for lunch.

Friday, September 16, 2011

August at the Lodge

I seem to have completely forgotten to post of our second summer trip to the Lodge in Bancroft this August...It's been a busy summer. But again we enjoyed great times up with family, this time Holly's sisters and parents and all us married in brother-in-laws along with the nieces and nephews; 35 of us in all if I count right.  We celebrated a 100th birthday combination of Mom and  Mark that week, some good laughs being had during a short program after a great birthday meal.

As for wildlife and photographing thereof, I had some fun with that too.  Here are a few shots of things around the grounds.

Cabbage Butterfly

I couldn't quite confirm what this one was.... It's either a type of skipper or dash butterfly I think.

Long Dash??

One afternoon, I headed out to a little larger lake a little ways from the Lodge where I had often seen an adult and young common loon.  I was rewarded with a bit of patience as they ended up coming to that end of the lake for a short while.  The adult was bringing small fish to the young one.  It appeared that the adult would catch a fish, bring it near the young one, then let it go a short ways away for the young one to chase and catch itself.  Fun to watch.

Common Loon adult and juvenile - Learning to fish

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (Plus 2)

Two Saturdays ago, four of us guys from church went on an trip usually more associated with younger boys, more the likes of the title of this post.  Friends Joe and Nate had built a raft last summer, and I and another friend, Rob, got to join them for the last trip of the summer down the Grand River on an overnight jaunt.  This raft does not resemble anything of what Tom or Huck would have traveled on.  Nate has a business where he gets sheets of styrofoam in bulk, and after glueing together large slabs, they sheathed it in plywood and 2x4's, and then built a counter and upper platform.  It's unsinkable, and to un-experienced rafters not too bad to maneuvre.

It was a great evening, the best spot being seated in a chair up on the "upper deck", peacefully floating down the river. 

Nate's got the best seat on the raft.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Saturday Morning's "Work"

Continuing my narrative starting with sunrise pictures on VanWagner's Beach....

When Dave arrived, we headed over to VanWagner's Ponds, one of the locations I had thought might be a good birding location.  At least the OntBirds email list had said this was a good location.  We unpacked and set up our cameras to head down the path.  While we were getting set, a starling was chasing a cicada straight towards us, and last minute abandoned the pursuit as it came close.  Although it had been flying, the early morning temperatures must not have allowed the cicada to warm up enough yet, as it was somewhat sluggish still.

Well, after scaring out two herons we didn't realize were there, we really saw nothing else. The ponds have higher banks which were mostly filled in with bull rushes, not the greatest for trying photograph through without hipwaders.  We soon decided to head on over to another location I had also seen on OntBirds - Windermere Basin.  However, it was nothing like what the Google satellite view shows, as it is under some very major construction.  Again, we saw a few herons and shore birds, but none within range, and certainly not with an attractive backdrop.  

So, off we went to RBG, hoping the Henrdrie Valley area where we've both been a few times would provide better success.  On the way though, we stopped on Eastport Drive where there is a small strip of land in Hamilton Harbour which is a nationally designated bird sanctuary, mostly for cormorants.  This narrow portion of land has been populated by hundreds, if not thousands of cormorants, their feces completely killing any vegetation along it.  

Cormorant Nesting Tree

Thursday, September 1, 2011

VanWagner's Beach Sunrise

My adventure in photography didn't start last winter, but it got a kick start then.  We had just purchased our new camera, and I met a nice gentleman who was photographing song birds in Niagara Falls (previous post). Well, after a few attempts, we finally met for a Saturday of picture taking.  While arranging a start time, Dave jokingly challenged me that, if I was a real birder, then I'd be on location at 6:30 in the morning to be ready for good light conditions.  After seeing that sunrise coincided with this hour, I decided to try my hand at capturing the sunrise, knowing that the sun would be rising across Lake Ontario on VanWagner's Beach.  The goal for the rest of the morning was to go to a few locations near there which had shown promise, as far as I had understood, from an OntBird email list I get updates from.  The promise of lots of shore birds sounded like a good Saturday morning of photography.

That morning, the moon was in its "just waxing" phase, and the silver crescent sliver greeted me in the dark as I headed out from home at about 5:30am.  Here was the scene that welcomed me as I headed to the beach, a slight warm breeze, and soft waves the surroundings.

A long exposure softens the water to appear as fog.

Again, a longer exposure leaves the dark, hard rock
appear to sink in  mist.

Although the oranges and reds are disappearing as the sun rises, it's interesting how exposure changes affect the colours of the captured photo.

Purples and blues.

Well, that was the start to the rest of the morning.  Sunrise is something you don't have long to "play" with, as it won't pause for you.  I had in fact missed the "magic moment", the sun breaking the surface as I was out scouting our location before Dave arrived, thinking the sun was behind the clouds on the horizon.  Looking back, I saw the molten ball rising above the water, and sprinted back to re-setup and capture only a few shots, past the best moments in time.

Too late...

I'll try and post some of the birds we got to see in the near future.  Life has been rather busy with many obligations.  Posting has not been able to make it easily on to the list with limited time available.  More coming soon.