Month: March 2020

Back to the Bush

After a full week of being away from the forest, we finally got a chance this past Sunday to drive out to a local Environmentally Sensitive Policy Area (ESPA). The Forested Hills ESPA covers more than 130 hectares, with rolling hardwood hills to the north and trails that seem to have no order to them.

Canon 80D – 10-22mm – 10mm – f6.3 – 1/1250

To the south is the Waterloo GeoTime Trail; the trail is an interpretive walk through the City of Waterloo’s geological past.

We spent our time in the north end, wandering aimlessly and just enjoying the first day back into the forest. Signs of spring were starting to show up, including a single robin.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2000

The highlight of the walk was a family of deer, likely a doe with two of last years’ fawns. It made me very glad to have a good telephoto lens, or else I never would have gotten these shots.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500

The ESPA is mostly public land, but there are private land parcels as well, including a sizeable one that has high wire fences and signs warning of trespasser prosecution. The fence has been forcibly removed in some areas, so hopefully the deer aren’t confined to the area.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500

One sign warns that a future development will take place on the property. In a time when there are already so few urban forests, I hope this will never happen for this tract of old growth.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500

Backyard Wildlife – Grey Squirrel

Another frequent visitor to our backyard (and the bird feeder) is a grey squirrel. According to Hinterland Who’s Who, the eastern grey squirrel does not hibernate and is most active during midday¹.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f8.0 – 1/200 – ISO 2000

This lil’ guy was quite content to hang out on the back fence and give himself a grooming or scrounge around under the bird feeder.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f8.0 – 1/200 – ISO 2000

The sound of the dog whining at the back door made him take notice, and he was off running along the fence and out of sight.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/800 – ISO 2000

Backyard Wildlife – Mourning Dove

Another new visitor came to the bird feeder this morning. This mourning dove spent most of its time on the ground, picking up seeds that had been dropped by other birds and squirrels.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/3200 – ISO 2000

It seems that during the ground feeding it also picked up a piece of the dog’s fur. I’d recognize that wavy white hair anywhere!

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/3200 – ISO 2000

The dove spent a bit of time ruffling its feathers and preening. A second dove had been nearby, and I wonder if it was the mate.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 484mm – f6.3 – 1/3200 – ISO 2000

The final shot just happened to be perfectly timed as the dove pulled the piece of dog hair out of its mouth. I’m pretty sure I make the same face.

Backyard Wildlife – Cardinals

This is the first of a new series focusing on the wildlife I see in my own backyard. I’ll be documenting any new species that visit throughout the year. To kick it off, a pair of cardinals have been frequent visitors during the past few mornings.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 562mm – f6.3 – 1/250 – ISO 500

The female cardinal blended in well with the fallen pine needles and the fence. She hung around cleaning her beak on the wood, and happened to turn my way as the camera shutter clicked.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 562mm – f6.3 – 1/250 – ISO 500

Upon hearing the call of the male cardinal in the bushes, she quickly turned around and flew off.

Canon 80D – 18-135mm – 135mm – f5.6 – 1/1250 – ISO 2000

The male came by the next day, following a decent dumping of snow. He spent quite a bit of time on the bird feeder, and didn’t seem to mind the sound of the camera.

Canon 80D – 18-135mm – 135mm – f5.6 – 1/4000 – ISO 2000

The newly fallen snow and vibrant green of the pine tree provided great contrast for his bright red plumage.

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