Thursday, 25 August 2016

Oxen, Horses, Sunset (20160819) A trip to the New Ross Community Fair

Well a trip to my childhood vacation days was in order today. Mom had told me she wanted to go out to the fair grounds and see a few folks. She had won "Best in Show" two years in a row with a Casa Blanca Lily and her Laveterra. So the flower competition was an also "must see". But when we would make the trek from Ontario to Aalderville when I was a child, it was all about the ox pull!
 There are several weight classes and the winners are determined on a "pound for pound" basis. The teamster weight isn't considered when weighing in the team.
The skid is a 1000 pounds of steel, that is pulled on hopefully dry concrete to ensure everyone has the same conditions for pulling. Each of the concrete weights you see here on the skid are 200 pounds each. The oxen are gentle pulling critters that "load up their yoke and slowly start to walk with the load".
So this team is trying to pull 5600 pounds. They have three attempts to move the skid 3 feet. These boys here are all "loaded" up all they have to do is straighten their backs and load will move.

Over the last 15 years though, it is the horses, both single and pairs teams that have captured the attention of me and brother Len. Just check out the "real" shoes on these beauties!
There were 12 teams "pulling off" in this, the 2700-2999 pound weight class.
On the next round of weights, I decided to focus on capturing some portraits of the stars of the show.
It is always great to see the various hair cuts and tack that the teamsters use. There is no fancy/dancy stuff here, other than a couple of trinkets and some bells the collars and reins are working materials.
The horses approach to pulling is very different than the oxen. As soon as the whiffletree hits the sled they are off and pulling.
The teams at this point are hauling 5200 pounds on the skid, and the gravel is flying.
It was time to see how the ladies were doing at Bingo. All was good so we headed home. We had to get Marg home in time for the start of the Blue Jays game. On the ride down the "mountain" we stopped and I grabbed a couple of images of the sun behind the clouds, getting ready to set.
Ands the final image for this post.
Not my typical post, but who can resist a chance to return to their childhood?
Put some "wild" in your life, it will do you good!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Common Yellowthroat, Gladiolas, Pheasants (201608-mid) Some around the house shots.

Well I was looking today and it has been about two weeks since I put anything up here for folks to look at. Its not that I haven't bveen shooting, but getting new stuff is tough this time so year. Here is a Giant Crane fly shot on our bedroom wall. This guy is pretty big 10-15 cm, was successfully released.
Next up were a couple of young Black-throated Green Warblers which were bopping around in the flower bed after some much needed rain.
It was great to be able to shoot these little fellas from right in the house.
We were hurrying around the house to get out to Mom's place for a ballgame. On the ride out to the highway we found Bob hanging in the neighbourhood.
On the sixteenth we were pleased to see Mom Pheasant return to the yard with her 5 chicks.
Here is a shot of the "ever on alert" Mom, keeping her family safe1
Even Bob put in an appearance to ensure the family was doing okay!
Its not hard to see how this youngster will soon be looking "just like dad!"

This next series is due in part to yet another rescue on the deck. This little Juvenile male Common Yellowthroat was spotted by me in the morning. Thanks to Deb for taking the photo.
After a little time in a quiet shoe box, he was ready to leave.
I thought I would take advantage of the light and the blooming of Deb's Glads to throw a couple of images in here.
This is the first year for these beauties, and they are not your typical Gladiola. Here is a look at most of the "patch".
I promise it won't be so long before I put more images up. Take care and try to put a little "wild" in your life, until next time:

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Yellow Legs, Common Yellowthroat (20160808) A first trip to Hartlen Point.

Angela G has been wanting me to pop over to her backyard to do a little birding for the past couple of months. With several recent sightings of a bird I have never had the privilige I made arrangements to head over in the morning. With warnings of water and muck I decided that the puppy would be sitting this one out. Angela also arranged for "B" to join us, and she too was a pleasure to spend some time with.  Lots of Song Sparrows accompanied us along the early part of the trial. We walked under this Osprey nest, Mom and the family were sticking around the area.
As always, even if we are birding should anything else show up I am more than happy to take their picture. This pair of Whitetail bucks were curious of us for a a minute or two. Love the reddish coats this time of year, along with a little velvet.
Thanks to Barb (B) for identifying this Alder Flycatcher for us. It was quite a distance off.
I can't resist the chance to capture Dad Osprey bringing home something for the family to eat.
Another bird that didn't provide us a close encounter was this Cedar Waxwing, I took the shot anyway.
Then as we decended down towards the "bay" we started finding young warblers. I am uncertain as to this specific bird, I do love the little green lunch it is about to enjoy.
This young Common Yellowthroat is a little easier to ID. It too provided us a lovely viewing.
I believe this is quite a pale Clouded Sulphur. I don't see any spots on the wing though.
Then we were able to spend a little time with the whole reason for my visit to this beautiful little spot. The Yellow Crowned Night Heron put in an appearance.
We spent some time watching it preen and soak in the sun. This is probably my best portrait image that I shot today.
While we were watching this fella, this Least Sandpiper put in an appearance. So it got its portrait taken as well!
The Ycnh "popped" over to start feeding. Here it is grabbing a small crab from the water.
As we finished up the stroll along the beach this Lesser Yellowlegs posed nicely for us.
We also found this beautiful Willet. It did not stick around long so I only have a "going away" shot.
Our final bird at the "Point" was this male Goldfinch.
Anglea and I extended our stroll a little and went looking for a couple of local Wimbrels. On the walk into the area we found this White Admiral.
While we found the Wimbrels, I was unable to capture a dsecent shot. These skittish birds are difficult to capture, but here an "evidence" only shot. Complete with a little meal.
I'll wrap this post up here, its been a long one due to the great subjects we were able to find. Thanks to Angela G and "B" for super opportunity to put a little "wild" in my life!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black Tern, Yellowlegs (20160728) A run to New Brunswick for some shorebirds

Well it has been quite a while since a road trip was the order of the day. I have been interested in seeing the famed Semipalmated Sandpipers of the Bay of Fundy. So I loaded up the truck with some lady friends and headed over to Johnson Mills NB. Our first good sighting was this rooster Pheasant in Au Lac. When we first saw him he was on the top of a dirt mound with his breast showing off the copper colouring. By the time I got situated for a shot he had started to walked off.
Next opportunity was my first ever Indian Pipe. It is a parasitic plant that produces no chlorophyll so it does not turn green. It was pointed out to us by one of the NCC staffers at the bird Interpretaion centre.
At the shore we were greeted with the sight of a couple of hundred 'Pipers flying quite a distance down the beach. The birds seemed to be travelling east this morning, gathering for the falling tide feast to come. Here is a shot of some Semi Pipers along with three Semipalmated Plovers thrown in for good measure.
The birds were gathering at the head of the bay, so we jumped into the truck and headed over to see if we could get a look at a few more birds. It turns out we made the right decision. Here is a shot that doesn't do the mass of birds justice.
I have been told that in order to truly appreciate/represent a large flock of birds or animals it is better to switch to video. so HERE is a short 90 second video. Please turn your sound down as the wind was blowing quite hard. I estimate that there were between 20-30,000 birds in this single flock.
We headed back to Nova Scotia to see if we could spot the vagrant Ruff that had been spotted in Amherst. The sewage lagoons were full of Yellow-legs. We were also able to spot a number of Short-billed Dowitchers.
So I need to pop a couple of shots of the Lesser Yellows into the blog.
Apparently there was one Northern Shoveler in the crew and I managed to find her.
Here is another LYL. While there were quite a few around the always kept distance.
We then took a swing to another area in the hopes of finding a lifer for Angela, Sylvia, and Diane, a Black Tern. As we began our search we put up this Great Blue Heron, one of three we spotted here. This bird was waaaaay off.
Then Diane and I spotted the Terns and I guess the other girls did too as they worked their way over to where we were.
Here is another shot with the bird in a slightly different pose. I was surprised at just how grey this bird looked.
It was a super day with some super company. I am certain we will get together again sometime to search out more subjects. Take some time and put some "wild" in your life!