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.

Visiting the Chickadees on Old Quarry Trail, Kanata, Ontario

Visiting the Chickadees on Old Quarry Trail, Kanata, Ontario

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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

A Little Outing – Shirley’s Bay, Dick Bell Park, Andrew Hadyn Park, Mud Lake, Old Quarry Trail

Shirley’s Bay, Dick Bell Park, Andrew Hadyn Park, Mud Lake, Old Quarry Trail

March 25, 2002 – The weather wasn’t as nice and warm as it had been in recent weeks but I decided that I needed some fresh air and exercise so convinced Graeme to come along and off we went on a circuit of some of the local area parks.

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Death on the Old Quarry Trail

Death on the Old Quarry Trail

Usually when I walk along the Old Quarry Trail, it is a time for relaxation and the enjoyment of the wonderful natural surroundings and wildlife around me. Today, sadly, those wonderful moments were marred by the discovery of the death of two of the white-tailed deer that often come out to share the trail with me. It appeared to me that the cause of death was by humans rather than by coyote or other animal and that is what made the scene the more disturbing.

Since it was a weekend, there were plenty of individuals and families out enjoying the trails for the day and, aside from the killing sites, the rest of the woods was like a winter wonderland with plenty of ice-covered branches glistening and sparkling where welcome shafts of sunlight shone down on the trail or penetrated deep into the shadows of the thicker wooded areas.


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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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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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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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Searching for Deer on the Old Quarry Trail, Kanata, Ontario

Searching for Deer on the Old Quarry Trail, Kanata, Ontario

Searching is probably not the best word since finding deer along the Old Quarry Trail is almost a certainty on most days. I’ve seen as many as thirty (30) White-Tailed Deer in the surrounding fields some evenings but still enjoy going along the trail looking for a few more does to photograph or the somewhat more elusive bucks. I had started out with the chickadees at the Sarsparilla Trail and then, as it was getting closer to dusk, I headed over to the Old Quarry Trail.
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Feeding The Deer – Old Quarry Trail

Weather was nice today. Above freezing , sun shining and limited wind. A couple of days ago, I had decided to go out on the Beaver Trail with sunflower seeds in my pockets to feed the many Chickadees that frequent that trail. Today, I decided to head over to the Old Quarry Trail to see if I could find some deer to feed. With both carrots and sunflower seeds in my pockets, I was prepared for both Chickadees and deer. I had expected the trails to be wet and slippery so wore my better, water-resistant, boots. I was glad that I did!
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