Tag Archives: wildlife

Caterpillars on the Branches

I was walking along the street in Nanaimo and noticed a bush with branches that had what looked like spider webs on them.  I stopped to take a look and realized that it wasn’t spiders, it was caterpillars.  (I should note at this point, that there are people who read this blog that will already be turning off because they do not enjoy my posts that involve bugs!)  I don’t know much about caterpillars, but I am assuming that this was a nest of some sort for the next generation of caterpillars.  However, there were plenty of them on the outside crawling around.  It was quite a strange looking sight.  I couldn’t resist getting some shots of them before heading on.

River Test at a High Level

The River Test really should be considered multiple rivers because it splits and rejoins as it moves across the Hampshire countryside.  You can cross all sorts of minor streams, but you do also get some larger crossings where the river is well defined.  One of these is the road to Longstock.  There is a weir across the river just upstream of the bridge and it seemed to be flowing pretty well when we were there.  We had experienced lovely weather, but I guess quite a bit of rain had preceded our arrival.  There was a single swan on the river, and it seemed to be making some effort to move upstream.

Another Robin Comes Out to Play

We had the robins visiting the garden when we stayed in Stockbridge, but they were rather reticent about being around when we were there.  They tended to disappear whenever they realized we were watching them.  During our visit to Hinton Ampner, we came across a rather more bold member of the family.  This one was sitting in a hedge right next to us when I realized it was there.  I got a shot before it moved but it only repositioned to a perch close to us.  A brave little fella and very cute.

Family of Blackbirds Out for a Meal

A family of blackbirds was a regular sight in the front garden of the place we rented in Stockbridge.  They were happily finding whatever they could eat in the grass.  There appeared to be two parents with some youngsters in tow.  The chicks were now pretty fully grown and seemed to have their feathers, but they were less interested in finding food than they were in having their parents do the work.  I will let those of you with children make your own comments.  The chicks actually looked a little larger than their parents, so they are probably eating well.

A Shield Bug – Looks Like a Stinkbug

I was out in the garden of our place in Stockbridge and was surprised by how many ladybirds and flies I saw on the leaves.  Then I saw something a bit different.  I reminded me of the stink bugs we see in Washington.  According to Ian, who was in the yard shortly afterwards, it is a shield bug.  In all my years in the UK, I had never heard of or seen one of these.  Now I have.

Cormorants Aplenty on a Ferry Trip

Time for another cormorant related post today.  When taking the ferries on the various routes around Puget Sound, the infrastructure at the terminals is often popular with the cormorants.  This can mean that you can get quite close to them while on the ferry without them getting spooked.  They are also coming and going with some frequency so takeoffs and landings are common, and they will often fly quite close to the ferry.

On this trip, the angle of the light to the terminal was in my favor and I was able to get a few close-up views of the birds.  There was still some ironwork in the way of a totally clean shot, but not enough to ruin the images.  They also obliged by flying around at convenient times when I was ready to get an image and I got some of the better shots that I have taken of cormorants in recent years.

Crow and Gull Combat

When in the wild, you have two options for food.  First, you can find and catch your own.  Second, you can find someone else that has already found and caught some food, and you can steal it from them.  The latter is way easier than the former, provided you have the ability to relieve the owner of their meal.  I was walking alongside the water at the locks in Ballard one weekend and a crow was attempting to help a gull lose weight by taking its meal.  What followed was quite some aerial ballet and they twisted and turned with the gull trying to make sure it kept a good hold on its food while maneuvering hard to prevent the crow from taking anything.  The gull was ultimately successful in this case.

How Low Will the Light Be for My Robin?

The Airbnb that we rented in Stockbridge had a grass area out front that had a steady stream of birds in and out.  That included some robins that would show up under the bushes and find themselves some food.  They clearly liked the shade because they would either be under the bush or come on to the grass in the areas shaded by the bushes.  Never in the sunlight on the grass.

The evening improved things a lot.  The shade was now over the whole of the lawn and they would hop about finding their latest meal.  However, if I wasn’t already by the window, moving into position would spook them and they would be gone.  I consequently spent a bit of time sitting by the window with the camera in position waiting for another one to appear.  When they did, it was getting pretty dim.  However, high ISO is worth a go these days and there are going to be good options in post so why not?  I used the tilt screen to frame the shot to avoid moving the camera much and scaring them off.  It also provided a lower angle which helps.  Much hopping around and then eventually it was right in front of me.  How cute European robins are!

My Nemesis Returns

When we first moved to our current house, we used to get lots of rabbits in the back yard.  For a while, it was nice seeing them around.  However, they did have a habit of “leaving” seeds for other plants in our grass and the weeds became an issue.  We went about blocking up the various access points for them to keep them from coming in.  This was broadly successful, but it is a continuous process as they find ways to breach the perimeter.

Recently I looked outside to see a rabbit not eating but stretched out and sunbathing in the back.  Now that is taking the Michael.  I went outside and he bolted so I saw where he had punched a new way in and closed it off.  Later in the day, I saw him out front – where I have no issue with him being.  Instead, I decided to get some images of my latest intruder.  Now I’ll have proof if he ever denies being the one to break in previously!!

Afternoon Sun on the Ducks at Juanita

It has been a long time since I was at Juanita Bay.  A combination of lack of time and lack of nice weather has stopped me going down there.  One afternoon after work, the sun was out, and the time was not too late, so I dropped down there for a walk around to see what was going on.  The answer was not a great deal.  It was a lovely afternoon but none of the more crowd friendly visitors were around.  The ducks were, though.  A merganser stayed too far away to be photographed by there were plenty of wood ducks and green winged teals, so I made do with them.  The low sun angle picked up the colors really nicely.