Canada Day 2014 – Kanata, Ontario

Canada Day 2014 – Kanata, Ontario

Graeme and I took a short walk around the Kanata Canada Day 2014 activities, met some people whom we have known from past events and activities and met some new people. Lots of things happening during the day and, if the threat of blustery weather passes by (appears to be heading off north of the city), it should be a great night for the fireworks. (Kanata weather)

When we arrived at the base of the toboggan hill, the Holy Trinity Catholic High School Rhythm and Blues Band were setting up on stage under the direction of Neil Bateman, so, while waiting for their performance, we just wandered around.
Of course, our cameras were busy when the band did arrive on stage.



We did consider stopping at the Lemonade stand but Dan Robidoux and his group had a better offer. It was pretty tough to walk past a free draw for a bike and also get a free bottle of cold water and a free carabiner, all from the same booth. So, of course, we stopped; filled in a ballot; got some water; and ended up with a green carabiner and a red carabiner. Now, I’ll have something green for next St. Patrick’s Day (LOL)

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Although I would love to win a bike, it would have been even nicer if the vehicles on the other side of the pathway had been up for grabs. Each Spring, for the past few years, I have traveled hundreds of kilometers of rather rough gravel forestry roads in Northern Ontario while conducting breeding bird surveys and other surveys. For that, a big, high clearance muscle truck would have been awesome (gas economy notwithstanding).

014_0940-Ballot-Box 014_0939-big-truck 014_0938.Prowler-jpgWhen the temperature outside is above 30C who could possibly be thinking about curling but, there, right in the middle of the heat, was the Huntley Curling Club of Carp, Ontario tent complete with brooms and a bit of black ice to show the next generation how to sweep -:).


I wanted to see how the USA would do in the World Cup match on television today so had to head home pretty quickly but not before stopping at the large soccer ball that marked the display promoting the FIFA World Cup Soccer Event which will be coming to Canada (and Ottawa) in June/July 2015. (FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP website)


IMG_66401-EVA2EVA should be ready to compete after another year of practice !!!

(see EVA, the Cockapoo, in training for FIFA)

For those reading this blog on Canada Day who might still have time to get to Kanata for the evening activities, there is plenty scheduled

(see official Canada Day in Kanata website)

If attending fireworks, take a moment to review our on-line fireworks photography tutorial before heading out with camera in hand.


Ron & Graeme Hay.

Returned late in the evening to listen to the stage group “Amos the Transparent” which is a Canadian rock band from Ottawa, Ontario, featuring Jon Chandler, Chris Wilson, Dan Hay, James Nicol, and Olenka Reshitnyk.


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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.


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.

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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.

Ottawa weather – February 11, 2013

Ottawa weather – February 11, 2013


It’s been an all too familiar scene recently.  Snow is falling once again this morning and the temperature is expected to rise to about +1C by the end of day. Of course, when snow is falling in the morning and the temperatures is rising a few degrees during the day, the outcome is often a slippery, messy one and it looks like today will be such a day.  It is 9AM and a freezing rain warning is in effect!

I know that it wasn’t a good thing for me to comment yesterday on how nicely I had shoveled the last vestiges of the last snowfall off of my driveway and onto the piles growing beside the driveway (one now exceeds six feet near the roadway!).

Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit warmer, still.  Certainly hope that it is warm enough to melt whatever falls today.  I am beginning to tire of the act of shoveling snow, regardless of how much exercise it might provide!

South March Highlands Conservation Forest – Brady Trailhead

South March Highlands Conservation Forest – Brady Trailhead

Graeme just moved into his new house at the start of the month and was determined to host Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I knew that they wouldn’t need my help in the process, so my brother and I took the opportunity to go for a walk along the nearby complex of trails in the South March Highlands Conservation Forest. (Location)

The members of the Ottawa Mountain Bikers Association have done a nice job of marking the trails and making improvements to them so that they can benefit both bikes and walkers alike.  Continue reading

August Birthday Party – Forest Hill, Kanata

August Birthday Party – Forest Hill, Kanata

My father turned 94 y.o. this month and we had a family birthday party for him on the patio of Forest Hill Long Term Care Facility. My father enjoyed large piece of ice cream cake!

Then an hour later, he and I went inside off of the patio and he joined with the other residents in celebrating with others who had had birthdays in the month of August. My father enjoyed another piece of cake! Continue reading

Wind! Wildlife! Hockey!

Wind!Lots of Wind! Wildlife! Hockey!
I didn’t have much exciting planned this afternoon when I opened the door and headed out to my car with my camera equipment. I thought that I might like to head to the Experimental Farm and photograph the Magnolias and other flowering trees. Then the wind and heat hit me right in the face. +26C or higher and wind gusts forecast in the 60kph- 90kph range! Continue reading

Wild Turkeys on the Old Quarry Trail

Wild Turkeys on the Old Quarry Trail (Location)

My father continues his stay in the hospital and I was a bit early for visiting hours so I, once again, took the opportunity to walk a short distance up the Old Quarry Trail to see if the Wild Turkeys might be around again. To get to where the turkeys might be, I had to first pass though the gate keepers, 8 white-tailed deer looking for hand outs. I didn’t have my normal pocketful of carrots and apple chunks so they only got a couple of small bags of sunflower seeds this time around.
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Freezing Rain Strikes Kanata!

Freezing Rain Strikes Kanata!

Thought that I might try my hand at photojournalism and sensationalize the reality, hence the title of today’s blog. We are presently experiencing a band of freezing rain which is supposed to last for a few hours more and has probably already added a few breaks and strains to the load at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital’s Emergency ward. I expect that there will be a few fender benders before this little bit of adverse weather has passed.

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WOW! Three bucks for a carrot!

WOW! Three bucks for a carrot!

I was heading over to visit my father when I decided to take a few minutes to stretch my legs on the Old Quarry Trail. Before going to look for deer or turkeys to photograph, I stopped to talk to Catherine and her helper dog Lincoln. Of course, Lincoln and I got along very well once I started scratching his neck (after asking the owner’s permission first).

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It’s Snowing!

I finished off the earlier White Christmas or NO white Christmas blog with the prediction that snow would likely come as soon as I sold my snow scoops. Well I sold the scoops on Friday afternoon and presto, almost right on schedule, the snow began.

No more predictions for today. Stop while ahead!