outdoor photography

Backyard Birding Is For Everyone

 

 

Backyard Birding Is For Everyone

 

 

 

 

backyard birds
Coming In For A Landing                                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

backyard birds
Backyard Eagle                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

I can still hear the screaming sirens of the merlins, the clucking of the cormorants and the take-off squawk of the great blue herons. That was backyard birding this summer and it was always entertaining. Often the entertainment was from a particular perch that was favoured by most flying visitors from songbirds to birds of prey.

Backyard birds as entertainment? They can actually compete with any social media feed, preoccupying you mindlessly, if you just take the time to tune them in. Behind a pair of binoculars you will become immersed in colour, song and behaviour, forgetting that to-do list made moments before. All you have to do is hold your position and take it all in. They will fly into your live feed without prediction or warning sometimes. A drop-in visit last Monday will not guarantee the same bird this week but another may be in the same place. Some are more predictable than others but you can always reap rewards with the usual suspects. They will flit and flutter, scratch and twitch, those fickle feathered friends.

Birds are always on the lookout for their many enemies, eagle eyed or four footed, even the two footed ones. As long as they feel safe from their many predators they may fan their feathers and show off their plumage or spurt out a territorial or mating song. So, if you have a happy place where birds feel safe, and it is in the open where you can keep your eye out for them you will have many hours of happy viewing from your own backyard perch.

For more on birds and birding, see also:

All Creatures Great and Small

Great Horned Owls and Owlets

Swainson’s Hawks

Hermit Thrush

Siberian Boys and Pesky Pigeons

 

backyard birds
Great Blue Heron                                                                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

backyard birds
Merlin Backyard Roost                                                                                  ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

backyard birds
Juvenile Robins at Sunset                                                                                      ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

backyard birds
Kingfisher Perch                                                                                                 ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Rajasthan Train Where Can You Go In India

Rajasthan Train

 

Where Can You Go In India?

 

Rajasthan train is the way to go in this part of India. If you drive any distance in rural India you “get it”. A train ride cannot be beat for getting around expediently and without worry of accident. And they are more or less timely, given the part of the world you are in. A Rajasthan tour is probably tops on most “what to do in India” lists. Blue City of Jodphur, Pink City of Jaipur, Ghats of the Ganges. Princely states, harems, ladies palaces, all can be seen easily by Indian train. Most of these sites can be seen in a busy, but not frenetic week of Rajasthan train travel. The largely intact forts and palaces are full of centuries old antiques from elephant palanquins to ornate hookahs. After the tiger safari, riding an elephant up to a palace, marching around a fort and a smattering of local colour side trips to equally fascinating Fort Chittaugarh (Fort Chittor) and erotic Khajuraho temple can be easily arranged by India Rail.

You can get a view of the Indian countryside outside of the teeming cities. In the middle of nowhere you will be surprised to see an Indian Rail employee who looks like a local farmer, and most likely is one. He may be quietly waving a flag with full sense of purpose having fulfilled the days rail duty. Occasionally there will be children playing or locals just gazing at the wonder of the train lumbering through their regular schedule. So take in the big sites but be sure to admire the everyday living in this exotic and colourful land.

For more on Indian railway travel, see also:

Connect With Rajasthan, Northern India

Chittaurgarh Fort, Rajasthan, India – Late Evening

Chittaurgarh Fort – Death Before Submission in Ancient India

How Long Is An Indian Turban?

 

Indian travel photography
Jaipur, Rajastan Reflection

 

Indian travel photography labour
Rajasthan Train

 

travel photography India Indian
Udaipur City Palace, Over Four Hundred Years of History

 

travel photography Rajasthan India
Landscape from Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

 

travel photography Indian Rajasthan northern India
Jaipur Gate, Rajasthan, northern India

 

travel photography India Indian Khajuraho temple
Erotic Figures, Khajuraho temple

 

travel photography India portrait
Portrait of Indian Caretaker on Elephant above Jaipur

 

travel photography Indian landscape photography
Western Hindu Temple at Khajuraho, northern India

 

travel photography night photography India Indian
Chittor Fort, Rajasthan at Night

 

travel photography Chittaurgarh Indian
Indian Fort Chittor

 

Indian train Udaipur Rajasthan
Monkey On Chittorgarh Fort At Sunset

 

 

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

We know who the great creatures are at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Bucks accompanied by does and even fawns, the occasional coyote. And, flying by, the big birds, hawks, owls and osprey. But what about the far more secretive yet abundant small ones? A diverse group of songbirds make their home at the park in the summer. They migrate up from southern climes to breed and feed off insects and other northern hemisphere delicacies.

In Alberta, Clay-coloured Sparrows’ most common occurrence is in the prairies and parklands, not treed areas. A walk along a park trail can have them flitting out of the grasses every hundred feet. Listen for the insect-like buzzy calls of the male Clay-colored Sparrows from May through July. They can be distinguished from some other sparrows commonly found at Glenbow, the Vesper and Savannah, by their relatively unstriped buff breast. They search out insects in the shrubbery and seeds in the grass. Nesting habitat is typically a shrubby area with wild grass, situating the nest on the ground or in a low shrub above ground. They build open cup nests out of grass, weeds and twigs, lining it with rootlets, fine grass, and hair. This is another reason to keep dogs on leash in the park to avoid disturbing these or any wildlife shelter.

Spring after spring, Mountain Bluebirds return to nest boxes placed at strategic locations in the park. They can arrive in Alberta as early as March while fall migration for many migratory birds is an extended affair from mid-August to late October. Bluebirds can’t resist the open country with occasional trees for shelter offered at the park.

As members of the Thrush Family (such as American Robins) they feed mainly on insects, spiders or other invertebrates, which they glean from short ground vegetation. Nest boxes are paired, with Tree Swallows often taking one box, and the bluebird occupying the other. The former seeks out insects flying high and the Bluebird will not compete with its ground watch. Unlike other Bluebirds, they often hunt by hovering, obviously inspecting the ground below for any potential food item. The striking turquoise blue is unmatched against the prairie setting.

The next time you see an insect at the park think of the food source and protection it is offering our beloved small avian creatures.

For these and other nature sightings at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, see also:

 

Glenbow July Floral Show

Glenbow Kaleidoscope of Summer

Summer Colour at Glenbow

Mother Nature Human Nature

 

songbird wildlife photography
Hermit Thrush, Beloved Singer                                                                           © heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird outdoors Glenbow
Bird Photography at Glenbow Ranch                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

prairie photography wildlife
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Late Spring Fenceline                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird wildlife Glenbow
Sparrow with Insect                                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Female Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                              ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Waxwings Love Berries                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Male Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Canadian wetlands dragonflies nature
Dragonflies are Tasty to Avian Creatures                                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Photographer Haven Havana, Cuba

Photographer Haven

Havana, Cuba Wins

 

Hanging out in Havana, Cuba is getting easier every year.

Rustic, historic, charming and crumbling, Havana is a city of contrast. Take architecture, ranging from every era since Columbus landed over 500 years ago. Streets marching out European colonial, Art Deco and mid-Century modern, deteriorating gracefully as locals eke out a living in a world caught in the past. And then, there is transportation for every speed from horse pulled buggies to “American cars” and variations in between. Vestiges of the flight of owners who did not agree with leftist rhetoric of the mid century coup. And the people, except for the odd hustlers who usually take the first “no” as a definitive answer, Cubans are “mind your business” and “make do” kind of people.

And here lies the contrast. When Cubans have access to colour they apply it with a heavy brush…youth meandering down the Prado (a wide boulevard built in the late 18th C) in sexy, current, bright attire- chatting vigorously, they dress as well as they can. Where paint is desperately lacking in the architecture vivid colour is applied liberally in the recycled cars, the street costume/attire and the street art. And the rest have been making do as best they can. Cubans are the ultimate recyclers. Most travellers expect interesting sites, activities that miles of sandy beaches will satisfy, friendly people, good food (well, 3 out of four isn’t bad). Cuba offers what a lot of developing countries offer but they don’t have …, well, almost all, the cuisine is sketchy. Havana deserves more than a daytrip for those willing to slip down a few side streets, take in live Cuban music at the Café Paris.

The traveler to Havana has something to learn resourceful.

For more on Havana and Cuba, see also:

Eye On The Ball In Havana, Cuba Streets

Cuban Faces

Cuba Street Photography – Who Says Tropical Must Be Colorful?

Everyone Is Playing Games In The Cuba Streets

 

 

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Cubans Dancing In The Streets Happens Anytime          ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana travel photography
Cuban Art Displayed on El Prado                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana street travel photography
Where Did It Go?                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Cuba street photography
This Havana Man Can Fix Any American Car                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Cuba street photography
Not Everyone In Havana Drives An American Car ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Cuban Children Preparing For A Street Show ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Evening Performances Of Cuban Music And Dancing ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana travel photography
Smiling Cuban Girl Dancing In The Street                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com