A Spring Outing

A Spring Outing

Graeme wanted to get out on the trail to obtain some high speed shots of birds in flight with his Sony NEX-FS700 with SELP18200 lens.The easiest place to do that is on the many trails in the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt where the Chickadees and Nuthatches are quite happy to come in close and personal to obtain a sunflower seed or two from outstretched hands. Graeme was shooting at 1080p and either 240fps or 480fps. I on the other hand was shooting with my Nikon D300 and a 70-300 f2.8 lens. I restricted myself to 1 frame at a time. My finger can’t click at 480fps LOL. I hadn’t been out on the trails much this winter, so was a willing participant and offered him a hand – actually offered to hold out my hand with an offering of sunflower seeds.  The temperature has continued to be rather chilly so winter clothing was a necessity and outstretched hands can become uncomfortably cold rather quickly.

014_9206-Graeme

It was a Sunday, so the birds had already seen plenty of outstretched hands offering all sorts of bird seed. All along the trails, there were small piles of seed left behind by hikers and skiiers sharing the trails with the birds and the squirrels. After leaving a few seeds scattered among the snow-covered branches of the cedars alongside one portion of the trail, so that Graeme would have plenty of winged visitors to photograph, I headed further along the Sarsaparilla Trail to see if there was anything else that might catch my attention.

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There had been reports of a Barred Owl in the area and others had seen a Porcupine sleeping in the higher branches of the trees, but I saw neither. Often, when I walk along this trail, I will be greeted by a Blue Jay or two, but this particular day, the Chickadees were my only companions. There were signs that a Pileated Woodpecker had recently been hard at work, but as this large woodpecker tends to be a bit wary of humans. I suspect that this particular woodpecker had taken a few days off from its labours to avoid the weekend crowds of humans.

014_9211-Chickadee  014_9214-viewing-platform

014_9218-Pileated-holesWhen we arrived back at the parking lot, we found that someone had left a copious supply of seeds and peanuts at that spot, so we stopped again to watch the Chickadees and Red Squirrels return time after time for another bit of food to add to their cache. As we were about to leave, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch joined in and returned a few times.

014_9221-Chickadee 014_9222-Chickadee

014_9224-r-b--nuthatchOur next stop was the Bird Rescue center.  Although the sunshine was sufficient to melt some of the snow on the roof, it was still quite chilly when not in the sunshine.

014_9231Icicles-After that stop, we headed over to the Old Quarry Trail, hoping to see a White-tailed Deer or two. We saw only one doe this time around, and she was a bit skittish and raised her tail in alarm as the X/C skiiers passed by. The Chickadees and Red Squirrels were happy to entertain us, though, and in addition to a few Red-breasted Nuthatches, our more common feathered friends were also joined by one White-breasted Nuthatch. The sky was blue and the sun angle was warming, so I was able to tolerate standing with my hand out for quite a lengthy period of time, as about 20 Chickadees swooped in, one after another, to pick out their favourite seeds. Red Squirrels watched on waiting for their opportunity to run in and get something to eat.

014_9245-w-b-nuthatch  014_9253-red-squirrel 014_9256-Red-SquirrelTwo years earlier, the temperature was significantly warmer and snow had all melted away.  Not this year, though!!!  Nice to be able to interact with the birds and mammals we find along the trails and provide them with a few more seeds to help them get through the winter.

Chickadees, Wild Turkeys and White-tailed Deer – out on the Greenbelt Trails again.

Chickadees, Wild Turkeys and White-tailed Deer – out on the Greenbelt Trails again.

The sun was shining today but the temperature had dropped to about -10C overnight. Although it was a nice day to get dressed warmly and take a walk on the trails, the colder temperatures made the fingers tingle after holding a camera in the bare hands for a while. Still fun to be out in the fresh air with a camera in hand. Today, I decided to walk the Old Quarry Trail and the Beaver Trail for my exercise and fresh air. The White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), the Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) and the Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) were in abundance today and getting lots of food from outstretched hands.

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Night arrives on Beaver Trail

Night arrives on Beaver Trail

The Beaver Trail is one of the interesting National Capital Commission Greenbelt Trails in the western side of the City of Ottawa. I was at the Beaver Trial hoping to get a nice sunset shot near the beaver pond with a few colorful clouds in the photo. As I arrived at the parking lot, an individual was trying hard to get just the right light shining on the milkweed plumes, the chickadees were actively searching around the large rock at the trail entrance hoping to find a few more seeds left behind by earlier trail users and, along the trail, there were colorful signs that I wasn’t the first human on the trail .
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Feeding Chickadees on the Beaver Trail

I hadn’t been on the Beaver Trail in the Stony Swamp section of Ottawa’s Greenbelt for quite awhile so decided to take a look around that trail today carrying my Nikon D300 equipped with my vintage Micro-nikkor 1:3.5 f=55mm nippon kogaku japan lens.

Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor

Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor

It was icier that I expected and I had to revert to a bit of a duck walk in a couple of locations to keep from slipping. The beaver house area was still frozen solid, but a great deal of the snow had already melted.
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