Humming sparrows — 4 images

Last winter while I was visiting my sister in the Haute Savoie, I had been looking forward to watching a gathering of European birds dining at her feeders. Instead I was disappointed to find she was feeding an army of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) who were keeping all the finches and tits from sharing the supplies. Towards the end of my stay I happened on a bit of a solution.  It appeared that hanging wires from the top of the feeders discouraged the house sparrows from alighting, while not affecting other birds. We outfitted the feeders with wires and sure enough, most of the house sparrows lined up on the nearby branches while making occasional fly-bys at the feeders. Talk about some frustrated and confused sparrows! It only took about a day for the Great Tits and Blue Tits and a couple of nuthatches to start dropping by, and when I left to return home other birds were starting to show up. A couple of the sparrows had figured things out and were getting to the feeders, but didn’t stay on them as long.

House sparrow hovering to feed at seed feeder

Cut to last week when I arrived for a second visit…now there were Greenfinches and Goldfinches pigging out on the feeders, but more of the sparrows had also learned how to fly under the wires — a little adjustment to the wire positioning reduced their numbers once again. The biggest change however was in the sparrows who had mastered the trick of feeding from the solid column of seed — by hovering like hummingbirds and grabbing seeds on the wing. We’ve dubbed them “humming sparrows”! 😊 No wonder they’re so successful wherever they are in the world!

Sparrow hovering at feederHouse sparrow hovering to feed at seed feederHouse sparrow hovering to feed at seed feeder

 

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Rainy day rose

So it took me a little longer than I’d anticipated to get back to posting on my blog…lots of family comings and goings, but things have settled down a bit now…

It’s been raining most of the time since I arrived, except for the days when we’ve wanted to go somewhere and the  rain has held off just long enough.  😊

I captured this rose between showers in my sister’s garden in the Haute Savoie and originally had planned to do something with it that would enhance the velvety texture of the petals, but I got to playing along the way and came up with this instead. Another of my hand painted watercolour textures. I like it.

Red rose, painted effectClick on image for larger view.

 

Heading out

And that’s what I’m doing. I’m off to Europe (the French Alps) this weekend for an extended stay with family and I doubt if I’ll have time to post again before I leave. I’m taking my computer so I’ll be back posting in a few days and after I get settled in I’ll have an opportunity to get caught up and visit the blogs of those of you who are following mine, and of everyone who has so kindly liked my posts. I’m new to social media and this is the first time my images have been seen by anyone other than friends and family — I very much appreciate your support. 🙂

I’m not sure what the next weeks hold for my blog. I’ll still be posting nature images, but it’s possible it’ll become a bit of a travelblog too while I’m away. So stay with me and I’ll be posting again in a couple of days.

yacht under power moving towards horizonClick on image for larger view.

This image is looking more or less southwest down the Haro Strait towards Victoria, BC, the yacht has just exited Boundary Pass — as viewed from aboard a BC Ferry.

 

Cats in the Sun

orange cat lying in half shadeClick on image for larger view.

I have a series of photos of cats in interesting light, and of this cat in particular. He likes to sit in the sun on this desk just inside a building where the light only reaches part of the corner and I have a number of images of him in this location. But this is the only one I’ve processed so far, so I will post more at a later date. I like some of the others quite a bit, but this one is one of my favorites.

 

Knee nipper

My late heart horse, Oporto, adored ponies and mini horses. He had been a very intense stallion and was gelded late. But when he was turned out with the little guys, he turned into a model “mother mare,” being very solicitous and tolerating all kinds of abuse from them while displaying extreme restraint when teaching them manners. It was particularly entertaining watching him teach this brash little mini to be a well-mannered gelding, even while he himself was still adjusting. The mini regularly sank his teeth into Oporto, who would carefully extricate himself with a very gentle rebuff. Here the little devil is about to latch on to the back of Oporto’s knee in an effort to get a little action happening…

mini horse biting back of large horse's kneeClick on image for larger view.

 

Coot — Monochrome Madness

coot standing on half-submerged anchor chainClick on the image for larger view.

Here’s my selection for this week’s Monochrome Madness, Week 20 on Leanne Cole’s blog. Check out the link to see some great black and white shots.

This coot was standing on the submerged anchor chain while he spruced himself up. I waited a while before he finally turned his head in a way that I could capture his face. I loved the converging lines created by the chain and its reflection.

 

 

After the rain — 2 images

I shot these two images after our last recent rain. In  the image size posted, you may not be able to see in the petal image that the two silhouetted raindrops have daisies “floating” in them.

close-up of shasta daisy with raindrops

close-up of shasta with raindrops and hoverflyClick on the images for larger view.