Windy day and Eurasian Wigeon

This morning, it was raining cats and dogs for awhile, and then this was what the afternoon looked like.

Strange weather. The clear day was thanks to the strong wind that blew from the west, and when I mean strong, I am talking about walking at a angle to avoid being pushed over by the wind strong.

Strong enough to blow branches down.

And strong enough to cause ripples in a still pond.

Even the birds were having difficulties getting from Point A to Point B. I saw several times when the smaller birds were at the mercy of the wing flying backwards and sideways.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

When this Bald Eagle eventually landed on a branch, it was facing into the wind and had to take off soon after.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Take-off pose!

After reading Rock Paper Lizard's post, I had been searching for this Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) since then. And let me tell you, it's not easy, especially with these shy birds and only one European Wigeon hiding in a large flock of American Wigeons. Well, I saw it today.

Can you see it? It's the red-headed male.

There it is! What a handsome bird (no offense to the birds beside it).

Duck and Geese
I'll bet you need no help finding who's different from the other here.

Have a good day (or evening), everybody.

PS - I passed my road test today! Hooray!


Making a daytrip out of Richmond City

Today's weather was so gorgeous that I borrowed my parent's car again to do some practice driving along the tested routes. Coincidentally, I ended up at places I usually can't get to without taking a bus. I spent this whole morning and afternoon driving to these areas, walking around, and taking photographs. In the end, I think I left my footprints all over Richmond today. Here are the photographs that I took at each location.

Richmond Nature Park

I arrived at the park early in the morning and there was already a group of photographers pointing their humongous lens towards the feeders. The birds were mostly Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, sparrows, and several Downy Woodpeckers. Since the others were quite common to see around where I live, I mainly focused on the Downy Woodpeckers.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Afterwards, I left the photographers and the birds alone and walked the trails within the park.

Singing Sparrow
One of the many singing Song Sparrows at the park. Springtime is indeed here even though the weather may not feel like it.

I saw a few Bald Eagles flying in the sky, as well as these three accipiters. I think they may be Cooper's Hawks, but I can't be certain.

Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii)

The Nature Park is one of the areas where there are more Douglas Squirrels than Gray Squirrels. Love these cute native creatures.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
I returned back to the feeders afterwards and saw this Downy in the process of pecking. Neat.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
An image of a Cooper's Hawk through branches.

Before I leave, I went to check out the pond and through the fences I saw these turtles out enjoying the sun. But are they real or no?

Finn Slough

Finn Slough is located at southern Richmond, and it is a small fishing community with wooden houses and boats. I never been here before so I was mainly there just to look around, but you can definitely feel it's an area with an interesting history.

Wanderin' Weeta have checked out this area more extensively than I have, and posted more interesting posts about it. Feel free to check them out.

Given the mood it creates, I thought it would be interesting to remove the colors and feelings from these photographs and let the black and white images to speak for themselves.

Wooden walkways

Cat heading home
Cat heading back home

South Dyke Trail

A few steps away from Finn Slough is the South Dyke Trail, a trail that eventually connects to the West Dyke Trail that I usually go on.

Arboreal reflection
What a gorgeous view.

West Dyke Trail

When I got home early afternoon, the sun was still shining and the blue sky was still uncovered by clouds. So I decided to grab my bike and headed to the dyke again.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
I came across this guarding Bald Eagle with its mate inside the nest. Are they incubating already?

I also saw this Great Blue Herons and got this image of it catching a very small meal.

What a day! What a day!


Gray Sky-watch Friday

This photo was taken on my short bike ride out in a cloudy-turned-drizzling afternoon. Don't expect a post tomorrow because the weather is suppose to be the same as today. And I'll be turning everything off to enjoy Earth Hour. Do your part, people!


Always expect the unexpected!

The bike ride to the dyke today was quite mundane. I think I am getting spoiled seeing Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, etc everyday. Here are some shots that I took.

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbird (female). The males are certainly loud and attractive with their "shoulder badges", but I thought this female looks pretty good too.

More Snow Geese-in-flight pictures.

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
You get a sense of how chaotic it was having tens and hundreds of Snow Geese flying at the same time. Nothing was in sharp focus, but nothing was in poor focus either.

Then came the bike ride away from the dyke. First up, a Red-tailed Hawk, and it took off soon after. The hawk was looking at something. But what?

Then I felt someone was looking at me. Turning around, it was a lone Coyote staring at me. It was a beauty. Probably the healthy one that I saw earlier this month, but it was much closer this time, about ten, fifteen metres away.

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Ignoring me transforming into a shutterbug, the Coyote went into hunting mode. That was when it suddenly leaped up!

What an athlete! But it caught nothing.

Coyote (Canis latrans)
It tried again from a dead tree, giving it a better attacking angle than just from the ground. Boom!

A vole was caught. Yummy!

Then it went away from me, still in hunting mode, but it didn't catch anything for the next little while.

Coyote (Canis latrans)
What a pose!

Heading back, another biker and I saw this Muskrat feeding on grasses along the ditch. What a great day!!!

Muskrat (Odontra zibethicus)

Lesson learned: Never expect too much, but always expect the unexpected.


Wordless Wednesday: Birds observed today

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Killdeers (Charadrius vociferus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

A rather unimpressive day with photos to share

It wasn't rainy today but the gray sky really dampened my mood. Still, a bike ride out really clears one's mind because you focus on your surroundings rather than your thoughts. Nevertheless, I got some pretty interesting photos to share with everybody.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Caught this Great Blue Heron in a rather awkward posture.

Another Great Blue Heron. This time in a strange location.

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Af first, I found this Northern Pintail napping. But me looking at it for too long caused it to wake up and walk back to the pond. Sorry. But I like this photo because I caught its right leg in mid-air.

Some signs of Spring.

I can't believe how difficult it was to photograph a crow close-up. The camera seems to have trouble focusing on a dark object. I ended up focusing on the branch and that worked.

A Double-crested Cormorant about to enter the breeding stage as seen by the white tufts behind the eyes.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
This Black-capped Chickadee sat patiently an arm's length away from me - allowing me to take these rather good pictures.

Saw the adult Bald Eagle again today as I biked back home. However, no eagle was observed inside the nest.
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