Friday, May 24, 2013

From Firewood to Birds

A few Saturdays ago I was cutting up a dead tree along a busy road, and a driver did a u-turn, stopped, and got out.  He approached asked if the place was mine?  Uh oh! No, but it was in the ditch so I figured it was fair game, was my reply, wondering if I was going to be challenged on my ability to claim it. Turns out he wanted me to cut up a tree where he lives, and I could have the majority of it for my favour to him in cutting it up.

I did both of us the favour and got a good trailer load of nice dry Elm.  They live on a large tree farm, with a 2 acre, fish stocked irrigation pond, and immediately I started noticing all the birds around.  I had to make a run back for lunch with my original load of wood, and with the gentleman's permission and encouragement, returned with my camera as well.  After the "work" (cutting firewood is the fun part!) of cutting the tree down, chasing a Yellow-rumped Warbler around some big willow trees.

male Yellow-rumped Warbler

male Yellow-rumped Warbler

male Yellow-rumped Warbler (here you can see the yellow rump)

male Yellow-rumped Warbler

Next I headed to the pond where a group of probably about a hundred mixed swallows were hunting.  On the way, a Chipping Sparrow stopped to preen allowed me to approach quite closely for a nice picture.

Chipping Sparrow

On to the Swallows... you'd think with that many flying about, I'd have captured at least one or two good flight pictures.  Harder than it seems - though I did start learning some tricks by the end.  Zoom out and let the bird come into view, rather than trying to zoom to extents and show them farther away.  My first intuition was that it would be easier for the latter, to follow and capture, but it wasn't in my experience.

female Tree Swallow

male Barn Swallow

I was trying so hard to capture the white tail feathers on the barn swallow.  When it fans its tail out, there is a band of white that shows, and almost looks translucent.  You can see it in the picture above, but it's more displayed (maybe not more visible here) in the picture below.

male Tree Swallow (l) male Barn Swallow (r)

three Swallow species: male Barn Swallow (background), Bank Swallow? (mid),
male Tree Swallow (foreground)

male Tree Swallow

male Barn Swallow

As I headed up past the farm house, the lady of the house pointed out a nesting bird in a hanging basket she had left when she noticed the eggs in it.  A House Finch pair has set up home there.  I'm a little perplexed though... the closeup shows what I'm guessing are little larvae of some sort, but the eggs would not have hatched yet, and so I'm not sure why the male would be there with a delivery of food.  Could it be that its infected somehow with a parasite? Anyone know anything about this at all?

House Finch on hanging basket nest.
(note the tiny larvae on the closeup on the left)

After thanking the kind homeowners, I spotted the Chipping Sparrow again.  It was searching for bugs in the grass lawn, and passed behind a large tree.  Anticipating it moving in the same direction, I took the opportunity to quickly sneak up close with the tree blocking my approach.  It came into view just as I thought and gave some nice full frame pictures and didn't seem to mind my presence.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

On my way out the lane way, I had to stop once more for a male Brown-headed Cowbirds that was posing on the tipsy fence of the neighbouring farmer, and then it joined it's mate in the corn stubbled field.

male Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird pair

I saw a few other birds that I have now forgotten with the passage of time.  I hope to get a chance to pop out there again some time as I'm sure there are more to discover.

Thanks very much Brant or the opportunity to wander around your place.  I'll be sure to "warn" you first if/when I come again, if not only to keep your "killer" Jack Russells off of me. :)

Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!


  1. great shots Brian. I like the Chipping Sparrow the best

  2. :) next time, i'll be sure to arm you with dog-cookies so that you can bribe the slavering beast!!

    thank you again for sharing this...i've learned enormous amounts about our feathered neighbours from these photos...i can call them by name, now!

    1. Glad I could help! ;) See you some time again hopefully.

  3. Nice shots! Love th Yellow-rumped Warbler... I was searching Google for the Yellow-rumped Warbler and found your site. I appreciate you sharing your pictures.

    I got one shot of the Yellow-rumped Warbler at our house yesterday hidding under the rose bush, check it out.

    Caught On Camera


Sorry about the annoying word verification... I've been deluged with Spam comments lately and some have been offensive.