Posts tagged “animals

A fawn through the trees

We had a pair of mule deer fawns hanging around our backyard for most of the summer. From wobbly little babies to bouncing youngsters, they entertained us as they learned how to be deer. This was a rare moment where one stood still.


Watching the hunt

I spent a bit of time with a great gray owl last week. It was later in the evening and it seemed to be looking for a last snack before dark.

I watched it crisscross a meadow of tall grass and make several dives out of sight. It came up without a catch on those.

Apparently, it felt like a change of location was required. Crossing the road she landed on a couple of old fenceposts and stared hard into the adjacent little fields but didn’t find a target worth chasing.

Success came when she flew out of a tall tree she had spent a few minutes surveying from. When she launched, it was a drop to just above the grass and then a sudden drop.

She swallowed while low in the grass and then rose out and flew towards me before alighting on a post right beside me. A couple of minutes later she went across another field and out of sight.


Inflight fight

This shot of two bald eagles sparring in midair is one I have waited to capture for a long time. I felt extremely lucky to get this dynamic image with the wings flared, one claw wide open and the emotion in the top one’s face.

I have photographed bald eagles in many places over the years. They are dynamic, powerful, cunning, intelligent and emotional raptors who I never tire of watching at rest, in flight or on the hunt. This is one of my favorites of these incredible birds.


Those eyes…

We had two wonderful encounters with great gray owls yesterday. The highlight for me came when the second owl flew across the field to a tall post about 30′ away. I took some good flight shots there. Then he glided down and landed 2′ away on a fence post beside me. When he was there, it was incredible to share the space. Being that close I was awed by the power and wisdom that I felt from him.

He stayed there for around 10 minutes before I moved further down the fence. The wind picked up as the clouds covered the sun. The owl remained focused on finding dinner in the long grass but after several more minutes, with his feathers whipping around, he flew off into the trees.


Flaring to land

This great gray owl dove at something in the hillside grasses behind this sign. I wasn’t in a good position for that attack but I was when it returned to the sign post it was hunting from.


An owl in the rising sun

I went out onto the Foothills last weekend to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful but this great gray owl stole the honors for the morning to me. I loved having her backlit by the warm sunshine while she flew to hunt in the field.

Amid a number of current challenges, I enjoyed getting out for time to photograph and put energy into this passion of mine.


Hummingbirds in the backyard

Early in the summer, we had a couple of hummingbirds that visited our backyard. We had a feeder out before we went on vacation and I had a couple of great photography sessions sitting on our deck watching them come and go. These are a few photographs from those.

This is either an immature or a female Rufous hummingbird. I don’t know this species near well enough to say which one. Certainly a beautiful bird no matter.


Bohemians in the backyard?

As cool as that visual could have been, self isolation would frown on people congregating in our backyard. Instead, a flock of 60 or more Bohemian waxwings flew into the trees behind our home in the morning. They nibbled at the trees, and the odd chunk of snow hanging in the branches. Flitting around the forest edge, I enjoyed their industry for half an hour as the morning sun shone over the hills.  These are a favourite backyard bird for me.  They don’t come around my home often but it is magic when they do.


Backyard blue jays

The home isolation as the world buckles down is hard.  We are very fortunate to live in a forest so the time at home affords the opportunity to watch the trees and the wildlife that lives in it.  These blue jays come by a couple of times a day.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing more from my backyard for a while to come.  Be safe, be isolated and find hope.

 


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A magpie’s winter dream


A Water Valley trio

Water Valley horse trio - © Christopher Martin-6829.jpg

These horses were walking slowly alongside one of Water Valley’s backroads.  We pulled over and I took a few minutes to compose them and a couple of cows in a few different ways.  This was my favorite.  The animals were languid on a nice afternoon in the Foothills.  This field was beautiful to my eye with green and pale gold sharing space across the uneven ground.  I used a small aperture of f/22 to keep the three horses each in sharp focus while separating them from the forest in the background.  Beautiful country there.  I’ve enjoyed wonderful encounters with great gray owls there.  It was nice to enjoy another aspect.

Water Valley horse trio - © Christopher Martin-6829-3

I liked it in black and white too!

 


Summer with the great grays

It was a great spring to spend lot of time with these majestic owls.  For many years there have been several pairs of great gray owls that I’ve been able to photograph hunting and resting on perches in and around forests near my home.  I’ve never taken it for granted.  Happily the great spring has continued into summer.  Here are a few of my favorites from July so far.