Quiet day at the Park

Well our boys won the gold medal today!  I headed to the park in Burlington Ontario to celebrate.  First creature to greet me was this adorable chipmunk.

eastern chipmunk (Tamias (Tamias) striatus)

eastern chipmunk (Tamias (Tamias) striatus)

It was quiet in the park today.  Far too many squirrels running to and fro, hijacking the seeds visitors offered to the birds.  At times felt like the squirrel version of the Hitchcock movie, The Birds.  Two red squirrels have been rather active lately.  They remind me of the hobbit. The larger of the two rebuffed me last week when I gently reminded him that the seeds were meant for the birds.

Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

I did the walk through and on my return journey the familiar song of a white breasted nuthatch brought me to a halt.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

The area was wonderfully squirrel-free.  Had a lovely time feeding my new mates.

All was going rather splendidly until the birds suddenly disappeared. I looked up and this was hovering directly over my  head.  I remained stoic as I snapped a couple pictures, heart racing, mind praying that I was not the intended prey.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

The hawk hovered over me for what felt like two minutes. A sigh of relief was exhaled by all as this lovely bird of prey flew on its merry way.

The wind picked up a bit as these white-throated and American tree sparrows supped on sunflower seeds.

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

It was indeed one of those days.  This little cherub stood stationary and almost motionless for five or so minutes while I snapped it from almost every conceivable angle. Initially I thought there was a bird of prey overhead or perhaps it was not well but it was simply taking a break from the vicissitudes of life, as we all should, to regain focus, energy and purpose.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Lastly, I would encourage you never to pack away your camera even after you’ve exited the park.  As I headed for Plains Road a red tailed hawk was soaring overhead.  I left rejuvenated and refocused for the week ahead.

Bits and Bites

In the process of migrating from point and shoot to DSLR cameras  I fell in love with photographing birds.  Am still learning and still enjoying the journey of becoming a birder.  Am trying the self-taught route for now.  To that end, I’ve been purchasing second hand photography books from BMV bookstore on Edward Street.  Hit the jackpot after Christmas when I chanced upon a Ryerson student’s photography books.

I purchased at World’s Biggest Bookstore and highly recommend The Handbook of Bird Photography by Markus Varesvuo, Jari Peltomaki and Bence Mate.

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