Winter sparrow

sparrow in the snow

Here on British Columbia’s south coast we’re still experiencing a very mild streak of weather, today and yesterday even include virtually cloudless skies and no wind! I’m sure we must be lining up for a record mild January.

This image of a little sparrow in the snow wasn’t captured this winter – I was hoping for an opportunity to grab some good snow images this year, but now I’m feeling we should have had that by now, so I’m rather hoping instead for an early spring… It really feels like spring – but we still have February to negotiate first!

 

King of the beach

bald eagle landing on beach

Last May I posted a few images of bald eagles foraging along White Rock’s beach. We have a resident pair that nests in a tall evergreen overlooking the whole beach, but that day there were two additional adult eagles on the beach, one of whom was much bolder than the resident birds. It was the closest I’ve been to wild eagles and I was able to capture several nice photos. This is one that I passed over when I processed the other images, probably because I didn’t want a back view and the background exposure needed a lot of help. After finally playing with it today I think it was worth the wait.

 

Christmas leftovers

orange cat sleeping on wicker chair

While we are still only a month past Christmas, here’s a an image to warm a cold – or for us here, a grey – winter day. Once again featuring Ricky, from my Cats in the Sun series. Yes, I’m playing with my software again. Or maybe I should say still playing?

 

January color

miniature iris close-up, artistic treatment

Here in southwestern British Columbia for the most part we’ve been experiencing a super-mild winter. January has been wet and abnormally mild. And grey. Would I trade this for what eastern Canada is getting? Absolutely not! However, I’m one of those people who needs sunlight (preferably without extreme cold) so I’m really feeling the grey right now. A couple of weeks ago I bought a little pot of forced miniature iris rhizomes just coming into bud and it’s been warm enough to leave them outside on my front step. I prefer to leave them outside if possible so the flowers last longer, but I do keep an eye on what temps are forecast for overnight. This week they are in full bloom and are a welcome shot of beautiful, vibrant color that helps relieve the prevailing grey and reminds me that spring will be here soon…

 

Daddy Longlegs

 

Harvestman on begonia

It wasn’t until relatively recently that I learned that what I’ve always called daddy longlegs spiders others know as Harvestmen, and in fact they aren’t spiders at all, altho they are related to spiders in the same way as scorpions, ticks and centipedes. Physically while spiders’ bodies have a head part and an abdomen, a harvestman’s head is incorporated into the body and they only have two eyes vs a spider’s eight. They are also harmless, lacking venom glands.

Harvestmen may eat aphids, caterpillars, beetles, flies, small slugs, snails, earthworms, spiders, even other Harvestmen. Most of them also eat decaying plant and animal matter, bird droppings and fungi. Sounds like a useful little critter to have around! Apparently if you watch them after a meal, they draw their legs one at a time through their jaws to clean them.

If you try to handle a Harvestman one or more of its eight legs may fall off, a possible adaptation to help it escape from a predator (they will also release a strong odor as a defense against predators, which include birds). However, the legs don’t grow back and loss of legs can slow the Harvestman down. They are also important sensory organs, loaded with nerves and thousands of tiny sense organs inside the microscopic slits in the legs. They also serve as ears, nose, tongue and possibly even as supplementary ‘eyes.’ Every ten days or so a Harvestman will split open and shed its exoskeleton, taking about 20 minutes to drag its long legs from their old casings.

The things you learn as a photographer/blogger!

Text based on info from http://www.backyardnature.net

 

Gathering place

Click on image for larger view.Canada geese and mallards preening

I missed the Monochrome Madness Challenge this week but since I have this black and white image sitting on my hard drive I thought I would post it now.

This half-submerged stump in one of the outer ponds is a favorite gathering place for the Canada geese and ducks at the bird sanctuary to primp and preen.

 

Landing gear down

It’s been several weeks since I last visited the beach and its pier and I decided today might be a good day to change that. We’re expecting a pineapple express (heavy rain and mild temps coming out of the southwest) to come through in a day or so, so I wanted to see if there was anything worth photographing there before the rains hit.

The mountains on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state were really visible today, which is fairly unusual…normally they are barely visible in the haze, but there really wasn’t much action. A couple of rafts of ducks way offshore, the water like a millpond, even the gulls were just standing around most of the time. So I contented myself with capturing a few gulls coming in for landings, also a bald eagle landing on a structure located off the end of the breakwater with the Olympic Peninsula in the background.

Click on the images for larger view.