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.

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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Feeding those Chickadees and Nuthatches again – Sarsaparilla Trail, Ottawa

My cycling partner was in town today so off we went to the Greenbelt Trails in search of Ottawa’s ferocious chickadees that attack the visitors’ hands in search of nourishment. They don’t really attack, but I always tell visitors that! Adds a bit to the suspense of the moment when the hand is outstretched waiting for something to happen.

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Chickadees and More – Sarsaparilla Trail – Bell’s Corners, Ottawa

Chickadees and More – Sarsaparilla Trail – Bell’s Corners, Ottawa

The Chickadees were hungry today and quickly cleaned out my supply of black sunflower seeds. Didn’t take long before two fellows came along the trail and these two fellows were even nicer than I was – their seeds were already shelled :-).

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Christmas Day, December 25th, 2008

Christmas Day, December 25th, 2008

My family got up early and opened their presents and then I headed over to my father’s place to pick him up for Christmas dinner at our place. Even at 90 y.o. he still likes a present once in a while :-). It was a nice day so I took a short detour to see how the Chickadees were doing on this Christmas Day. As usual they were attracting attention and being well fed form extended hands.


MacGregor Point Provincial Park

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

The night had arrived with a meteor like sunset through a thin slit in the clouds. It didn’t rain overnight though and there were no threatened storms or high winds so sleeping in the tent was rather pleasant and I awoke to the sound of robins and other creatures nearby my tent.

Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Yellow-Shafted Flicker, Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

In the fresh air of the morning, I was able to wander around the more or less deserted campground without disturbing anyone as I got in close to the various flowers and insects.  Prior to the May long weekend, it is great to be camping in the provincial parks.  No line-ups for anything.

Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris) is designated as a Threatened species throughout its range.

Fringed Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Sand cherry blossoms (Prunus pumila)

Star Flower (Trientalis borealis)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Violaceae sp.

Forget-me-nots (myosotis sp.)

At least one person stopped to wonder why I was on my hands and knees photographing the gravel but hopefully when they saw that the camera was pointing at a small butterfly or a dragonfly they worried a little less about my sanity.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)


Great Egret, Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)


Yellow Lady Slipper, Yellow Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium pubescens)

Canada Goose and goslings