Posts tagged “backyard

Chickadees in late afternoon sunshine

Through the winter, there are chickadees that hang out in my backyard.  On Sunday afternoon, I found a few of them pecking seeds out of the fresh snow below the feeder.

I took a few minutes to photograph them when the sun had dropped low enough to backlight them and the speckles of snow their pecking threw into the air.

A boreal chickadee came at the last and flitted about for a few seconds before flying off in a spray of glistening snow.


Spring Robins

Spring Robin - © Christopher Martin-3454

Robins are heralds of spring where I live.  Our weather can be 20°C in the middle of winter or have a snowstorm in July so we have a lot of fits and starts between each season.  I know that winter has mostly retreated when the robins return to our backyard.  This one showed up with its partner about a week ago and I photographed him having a drink in the pond over the weekend.  It was a mild winter but I’m still very glad to be enjoying spring now.

Spring Robin - © Christopher Martin-3448-2


A visitor on the deck

Fawn hills fauna - © Christopher Martin-9466

Bobbi and the kids watched a Lynx walk around our house and into the woods behind yesterday.  I wasn’t home so that wasn’t a show meant for me but we do have less elusive wildlife that comes around.  Particularly in the winter, some of the mule deer who live in the community clip clop onto the deck looking for seeds underneath the bird feeder.  This doe was bold enough to visit during the daytime.  She was rewarded with a pretty good snack being the first visitor in a couple of days.

Deckside deer - © Christopher Martin-9445


Stand off with a squirrel

Deck squirrel stand off - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5D III + 300mm f/4 lens: 1/200 seconds at f/4 on ISO 800

This squirrel has been a resident in the trees behind our house for five years.  He’s feisty and acts like the backyard, our deck and everywhere else he travels is under his dominion.  In this encounter I had my feet up on the railing and he squared off staring at me.  It became pretty clear that he was impatiently waiting for me to put my feet down so he could pass.  I obliged, but snapped off a couple of frames before removing the barricade.  He chirped as he ran by and kept up the chatter as he climbed up a tree.  I thought a simple thank you would have sufficed!


Enjoying winter with the chickadees

Black-capped Chickadee in sunlight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

After a nice break over Christmas where I was outside playing with my kids and walking along the river, I’m enjoying winter now.  Following one of the cold snaps, the chickadees that visit our backyard seemed happy to be flying around in the -5°C weather after -30°C the day before.  They were flitting back and forth between the feeder and the tree beside our second floor deck which allowed me to practice capturing their launches off of the evergreen branches.

Chickadee flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin
The mid-flight images were not successful in the least (not shown – nothing worthwhile…) but I’m trying different strategies as me and auto focus are not quick enough to track their small bodies in their darting, quick flight movements.  For now, I was happy to spend some time with these little birds in my backyard while the sun drifted in and out of the clouds.

Wings up - 2013 © Christopher Martin

One-eyed Chickadee - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Flight preparation - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Backyard Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 IS lens: 1/1600 of a second at f/8 on ISO 800

We have several woodpeckers who use our backyard as their home base.  There are a couple of Downy Woodpeckers and up to five Hairy Woodpeckers that hammer the tree trunks throughout the day.  A couple of days ago, this male, denoted by the red stripe, Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) was working away at this jagged tree top and was unconcerned about being photographed.

Tongue flick - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 IS lens: 1/1000 of a second at f/8 on ISO 800

Their tongues are really long but, unlike a dog’s tongue on a hot day, are not long in sight.  It was a nice bit of luck to get a couple of images with the tongue visible.  Above, his tongue was pretty close to full extension.  Well suited to catching insects hiding under the bark and in the crevices.

Looking around - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 IS lens: 1/8000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1250

He worked his way up the tree (though it looks more like a branch) and having exhausted the supply of critters that suited his palate, he flew on to one of the larger aspens across the yard.  I liked this crouching pose I caught just before he launched.

Departing now - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 IS lens: 1/2500 of a second at f/5 on ISO 800


Robins in the bath

One eye open - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The American robins (Turdus migratorius) which have lived in the trees behind our house for through the warm months have a habit of bathing in our little pond regularly.

Prepping for bath time - 2013 © Christopher Martin

In the summer, they seem to prefer washing up in the morning whereas in the cooler days of spring and now in autumn, they visit in closer to noon.  The other day the pond seemed more like an airport as there were eight Robins along with several Black-capped chickadees and a Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) flying around.

A Northern Flicker resting in the backyard - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I find Flickers to be particularly handsome birds so I’ve included one here (a bit against the grain of the post).

Waiting in turn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It was great fun and I felt like they were wringing the most out of one of the remaining relatively warm days.

Bath time - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Their enthusiasm when splashing water around with their wings is a great photography subject and high shutter speeds can freeze the action at interesting moments.

Flying drops - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I expect they will be leaving soon and will return next year as the harbingers of spring in late May a couple of weeks before spring has subdued winter.


Chickadee at its feeder

Chickadee landing - © Christopher Martin-2191

One of the backyard’s Black-capped chickadees as it landed on their feeder.  I liked the motion in the wings and the grip on the post by its feet.

Work on the parallel bars - © Christopher Martin-2196


Backyard Chickadees

Successful ground foraging - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It was a sunny morning today so I spent some time photographing the Black-capped chickadees that live in our backyard.  There are several of them that share the bird seed we put out with a large flock of Common redpolls and a few Red-breasted nuthatch through the winter.

Perched but looking away - 2013 © Christopher Martin

As from a couple of weeks ago with their redpoll cousins, the chickadees were elusive to capture nicely in flight.  But it was a very nice time with my backyard neighbours.

Dive bomber - 2013 © Christopher Martin

A couple from the morning.

Chickadee in flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I like my backyard, it’s a cool place.

A feast - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Common redpolls in the backyard

Common redpoll flight - © Christopher Martin-2105

The common redpolls (Carduelis flammea) are, as the name implies, common across Canada’s lower latitudes in the winter.  However, they are new to my backyard.  We have had scores of Black-capped chickadees since we put out a winter bird feeder several years ago but not redpolls.  This year, there is a flock of about ten that spend much of the day in the trees behind our house flitting back and forth to the feeder.  They are joined now and then by a larger mob of about thirty more redpolls.  All of them seem to play nice with the incumbent chickadees so they have been a great, and colourful, addition to the forest that edges my backyard.

Common redpoll perched on cold morning - © Christopher Martin-2011

The morning I spent with them this weekend was cold so all of the birds were eating a lot and flying around.  My fingers didn’t like the -20˚C but it was a lot of fun standing in the middle of activity.

Common redpoll in profile - © Christopher Martin-2057

I set up early so the light was decidedly bluish.  When it came up, the sun went in and out of the clouds so I had a lot of different moods to work with.  It was a very fun morning at home.

In the brambles - © Christopher Martin-2153

Redpoll flight - © Christopher Martin-2419


Of Chipmunks and Squirrels

With the temperature rocketing up to 23°C on Sunday, everything seemed lively throughout the day.  The animals in my backyard were no exception and they were rather frisky while I photographed around my deck.  The squirrel who has lived near us for five years was chirping away like he’d never seen us before.  That was fun and I like this image of him poling out amongst the branches.

One of the chipmunks came down from the rocks looking for a snack.  The blue jays were slow to arrive for their peanuts on the deck and this fellow wasted no time scooping up one near the edge.

After a short retreat to a scrap pile beside the fire pit, the shell was cracked and the feast was on.  I’m really enjoying photographing the animals around my house at this point in the early spring.  The drives into the mountains and out onto the prairies are fantastic but it’s nice to have the backyard as another great option that is so close at hand.

 


Backyard Wildlife

A quiet morning in Bragg Creek with a bit of snow falling.  I had some fun photographing the animals who came by for a few peanuts.