Saturday, April 29, 2017

Chipmunks and Chickadees

Chickadee

Last week when I was out running I stopped to look at the buds on a tree. I jumped when something moved right in front of me. It was a chipmunk. Then something else moved and I realized there was also a chickadee within arms reach. Then I noticed that there were several bird feeders. A few days later I returned with my camera.

At first, I thought I was going to be out of luck. There were no birds or chipmunks in sight. But I had brought some sunflower seeds and I filled up the empty feeder on the log. I hung out for a while, thankful that I had dressed warmly since it was barely above freezing. While I waited I took a few shots of the trees flowering.

trees flowering

My patience was rewarded when some of the "local" showed up.

chipmunk

chipmunk

and proceeded to "stuff their faces", in this case literally!

chipmunk

chipmunk

The chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches also visited the feeder although not at the same time as the chipmunks. The chickadees were entertaining when they would hold a sunflower seed between their feet and hammer it with their beak to get the seed out.

Red-breasted nuthatch


This nuthatch seems to be missing an eye, although it seemed to still be managing.

There was also a hanging feeder that the chipmunks couldn't reach.

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch

Chickadee

Chickadee

See all 26 photos

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Catch 22

Why did they cut down the trees on the riverbank?

To build a retaining wall.

Why did they need a retaining wall?

Because they cut down the trees. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tulips

We got tulips from the farmers market for Easter. I thought about taking photos of them, but didn't get inspired. But about the time Shelley wanted to throw them out, I decided they were looking quite interesting. I shot them backlit by the early morning sun coming through my home office window. I have a white cloth blind that made a good backdrop.

over the hill tulips

over the hill tulips

over the hill tulips

over the hill tulips

Since it was my birthday, and I'm getting past my own Best Before date, it seemed a fitting subject. Just goes to show things can still be interesting even when they're not shiny and new.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Here Comes the Rhubarb

It may still be trying to snow, but when I see these I can almost taste the rhubarb crisp.

rhubarb

These were growing behind someone's fence beside the back alley. I'm sure my neighbors were wondering what the heck that person was doing squatting back there!

rhubarb

Interesting how the leaves grow inside the shoot all folded up. So that's how you fit a giant leaf inside a tiny shoot!

rhubarb

And while I was at it, a few more of the trees flowering.

trees flowering

These are from the same tree, the second one is a little more advanced.

trees flowering

These were handheld with the Nikon 7200 and 85mm macro lens. For both of them, I picked the two best shots (out of many) and focus stacked them. Still didn't get everything in focus, but better than any one shot.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Leaves

The grass is starting to turn green and soon the trees will too. These are some of the first leaves I've noticed. It's interesting how some trees and bushes get flowers before leaves (those ones are usually more noticeable since they're otherwise bare), while others get leaves first, and yet others produce both together (like these).

new leaves

new leaves

new leaves

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Larch Flowers

There aren't a lot of larches around Saskatoon, but I've become a fan after watching the ones at Innovation Place. The tiny flowers in the spring are my favorite and I eagerly watch the trees for their appearance. (Check out the earlier stage) So far they are quite sparse, only a few per tree. Maybe more will come later.

larch flower

These are still quite tiny, maybe 1/4 inch. They'll get a bit bigger as they open up. I took these shots with my iPhone 7 plus with the Kamerar macro lens using the Lightroom app to shoot Raw. It does a great job, but between the high magnification and the very shallow depth of focus it's tricky to get a good shot. I just kept clicking as I tried to hold steady and move slightly closer or farther to get in focus. Most of the shots were no good (too fuzzy) but a few came out pretty well. (I'm not sure where the "rays" in the background of this one came from.)

larch flower

I'm sure most people walk right by these trees without noticing the exquisite flowers. The pink color stands out, but they're so small, and the trees are otherwise so bare, that they're not very noticeable.

larch flower

I like how the needles emerge around the flowers. Other buds produce groups of needles, but no flowers. Eventually, the flowers turn into cones.

larch flower

These aren't anything to do with larches, but I took them on the same walk home. They don't look like much yet, but they're another flower that I look forward to - lilacs. The house I grew up in (in Saskatoon) had a big lilac bush near the front door. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, but the smell still reminds me of summer and home.

lilac buds

See all 12 photos

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Walking to Work

More photos from walking to work. The crocuses continue to bloom gorgeously. This morning there was still some frost on them when I first got there, but it melted rapidly in the sun.

Prairie Crocus

Prairie Crocus

Prairie Crocus

There was almost no wind that day and the dugout was like a mirror.

reflections

reflections

Some of the old cattails end up quite bizarre looking.

cattail

I continue to monitor the buds on the trees as they slowly open. It's amazing how they can survive nights well below freezing (-10c).

tree buds

tree buds

The pond at Innovation Place has been freezing over at night, making some interesting patterns.

ice

ice

The little (artificial) stream splashes the grass and freezes into weird and wonderful shapes.

ice

ice

While I was crouched down by the water several birds came to visit.

American Robin

This house finch was too shy for a good photograph.

shy house finch

See all 37 photos