Weekend activities - helping a friend & bird-watching

I really should take pictures every single day, otherwise I could not remember what I did each day (unless something really significant happened that day).  For example, I didn't take any photos last weekend and now I couldn't remember most of what I did then.

Well, I did bring my camera with me this weekend to record helping out a friend on Saturday and then bird-watching this morning.

Staircase expanded
Photograph of a staircase.  I really like patterns and lines when looking up/down stairways, such as these inspiration images (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) captured by one of my favorite photographers.  My image was taken inside one of the biology buildings on campus, but it wasn't very interesting so I replicated and flipped the image next to the original image.  Not too bad.  I need to find more interesting staircases in Ottawa.

I was helping a friend testing radio telemetry equipment at Strathcona Park on Saturday afternoon.  It has been almost five years since I last used telemetry equipment... I miss those beeping sounds but don't miss how finicky it is (glad my own research does not involve using radio telemetry).

Rideau River is still mostly frozen, and the park is still covered by snow.


We heard and saw a Merlin [edit: not a Peregrine Falcon as I originally posted] flying around the park.  The last time we saw a bird of prey here was a falcon on top of the tall building during Christmas Bird Count.

Moon in the afternoon.

I originally had plans to do some work today (Sunday), but after seeing the beautiful clear blue sky in the morning, I decided to go bird-watching at Mud Lake instead.  I don't have any exciting species to report, although I did hear my first Red-winged Blackbird calling this year in Ottawa as I was heading to the bus station.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) - a shorter bill relative to the head.

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) - a longer bill relative to the head.

There were many Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) flying over the frozen lake.

Many of the birds here are quite spoiled by humans feeding them by hand, because a few chickadees and nuthatches thought I had food for them and actually flew towards me and almost hit me.  I got a few close-up photos of them as they eyed me hungrily.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

 Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
 Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
 White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), a much larger bird than the Red-breasted Nuthatch, plus it has no black stripe over its eyes.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
 White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
One of my favourite birds because of their unique body shape/behaviour and interesting call.

Came across this chickadee preparing to take a bath.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

A quick bird bath in the muddy and probably cold water.

Fluffing its feathers.

All done.

I was hoping to find and photograph some kind of bird of prey today, but I had no luck until I was heading back to the trail entrance and saw two people on the other side of the lake looking up a very tall tree.

This hawk perching on the branch (with its back towards me and head covered by a branch) was at least 100-m away from me.  This image is almost 100% crop of the original photo, and it is still hard to tell what species it is (either a Cooper's or a Sharp-shinned) but I guess I did get what I came here for after all.

Signs of other animals that I did not get a chance to see/photograph.


Work of a Pileated Woodpecker? I caught a glimpse of one flying through the forest when I first arrived.

Another month almost done.  Can't wait for all of the snow to melt and for the spring ephemeral plants to emerge.

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