More hawk pictures

The small hawk was back today.  There were well over 50 small birds in sight without searching too hard, getting seeds from weeds and our feeder, mostly juncos, with chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and probably a few others, when suddenly they disappeared.

It didn’t take too long to see why.  The hawk was back.  It stopped to look around from several perches but I was not quick enough on the shutter to catch it in flight from one to the other, with one partial exception.  These are very fast birds.  I’m still thinking this is a sharp-shinned hawk but I’m no expert.

Are you staring at me
Are you staring at me?

Sharp talons! (Even assuming it is a sharp-shinned hawk, I’d be more concerned with the talons than with the shins).

Hawk on head
Hawk on head

Maybe there’s something down there.

Surveying hawk
Surveying hawk

“Better take a look”.  It goes for a quick dive, to the foot of the golden nine-bark.  What always amazes me is that it can fly, weaving, through that thick bush, in pursuit of prey.

Departing
Departing

It just dropped off the head, to the ground.

Hawk on snow
Hawk on snow

In case anyone was wondering about the head, it is called Abraham, carved by the Canadian artist, Peter Van Gils.  I’m in two minds about whether to clean it up in the spring and preserve it with a coat of varnish, or to let it return to nature. It fits in so well with the garden as it is

 

Abraham - by Peter Van Gills
Abraham – by Peter Van Gils

Hummingbirds, Oriole and Finches

I don’t think we’ve ever had so many hummingbirds.  There were five in the garden tonight, chasing each other around and impressing me with their acrobatics. I did get them to pose for a couple of shots, but most had to be taken on the wing.

Hummingbird in flight
Hummingbird in flight
Hummingbird resting
Hummingbird resting

They don’t rest for very long.  With the speed of their metabolism, I suppose a minute is like a nap for an hour or two for us. Here he is again, back in flight.

Male ruby-throated hummingbird
Male ruby-throated hummingbird

For some reason, this one tried to sneak up on an unsuspecting goldfinch:

Hummingbird and finch
Hummingbird and finch

This young oriole was trying to get into the finch food; I’m not sure why as we have oriole feeders and they otherwise seem to prefer grubs.

First fall oriole
First fall oriole

He doesn’t have a black cap like a mature oriole, so this is his first fall colouring.

Finally, the rose-breasted nuthatches are back, after heading north for the summer.  Here’s one, going nuts.

Rose-breasted nuthatch
Rose-breasted nuthatch

Red-winged blackbirds

Redwing blackbird coming in to land

I’m going to get a good shot of one of these landing with the wings full-on, but meanwhile here are a pair of shots of the male coming in to land while the female is feeding. The two shots were about 1/4 second apart.

Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder 2
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder 2

 

Birth and Death in the Spring

I took these pictures on the weekend. Spring is a time for marvelling in new life, like these flowers.

Spring Beauty flowers
Spring Beauty flowers

but it’s not just the flowers that burst into life, it is also the agents of decay.  About 3 years ago, this was a beautiful, 15m tall (50 feet) black cherry.  Now it is feeding grubs which in turn feed woodpeckers.

Rotting Black Cherry tree
Rotting Black Cherry tree

It’s hard to see in this picture, without 3D, but the bubbly-looking mass to the left of the woodpecker hole looks like a river of bubbles pouring from the fork in the tree but is actually a fungus colony.

This is the guy who made the hole:

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Another sign of spring this weekend that is just surviving the recent return of winter with -5ºC lows is this butterfly which found a blown away section of the newspaper a good place to bask in the sun.  After its long journey to get here, it did well to pick the Travel section.

Red Admiral Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly

While we’re on the subject of flying creatures, back to birds.  The thrasher has returned

Thrasher
Thrasher

and the hawk has never left.

Cooper's (?) Hawk
Cooper's (?) Hawk

I think it’s a Cooper’s hawk – please comment if I’m wrong.

Finally, a more abstract picture – the sun was streaming in at an angle that cast a neat shadow on our newly-painted wall from the tropical plants in the window:

Plant shadows
Plant shadows