Friday, May 25, 2007

Balancing act...

We have a pair of racoon's that live in our yard. We refer to them as "the twins." They come visit almost every night and forage for food right outside my office window.

A couple nights ago I was walking from the kitchen to the bedroom and while walking, I saw that the motion lights near my office came on and then I saw what looked like this blob on top of one of our bird feeders.

I couldn't believe it was one of the twins! I've never seen them do this before and was surprised the bird feeder didn't break. It was amazing to see how he'd contort his body to anchor himself on one side of the feeder while swinging his hands around in front to get to the birdseed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cottontails--Oh my!

We have a mother cottontail and her two babies living in our yard. The babies are now about two-weeks old and I've been trying to photograph them for about a week now.

They are so tiny and difficult to photograph and I've tried to photograph them next to the hydrangea plant when they're eating to show a sense of scale, but it's very hard even with a 400mm prime lens.

They babies are so skittish, one more so than the other; their mother is easy to photograph and she's out eating in the yard all hours of the day and night. The little ones are just adorable and incredibly fast.

Today I was able to get closer than I ever have before they ran for cover. If you look at the leaves of the hydrangea plant, it will give you a sense of scale and how tiny they really are--they're not much bigger than a large leaf.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New kids on the block...

Yesterday I noticed a couple new kids on the block! This was the first time I've ever seen these birds. According to my research they are Grosbeaks, "Evening Grosbeaks." Their bill is large and appears quite strong. They make the most curious poses and expressions and have a distinguishable call, a high-pitched chirp.

Monday, May 14, 2007

In Loving Memory...

As I sit down to write this post, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart. Today we had to put our beloved cat, Ally down. He's been ailing for a while now and battling arthritis and chronic upper-respiratory infections. We've been treating him with injectable antibiotics, which have only delayed the inevitable and kept him comfortable.

Paul and I came home from a family gathering for Mother's Day and Ally didn't seem himself. He was lying behind a chair in the living room in an isolated small space. He appeared listless. He didn't want any attention, so we let him be, but I was concerned about him.

It wasn't until I crawled into bed last night that I realized he wasn't up on our bed with us. He always comes to bed when Paul and I go to bed. He enjoys sitting between us for about 20 minutes each night. I moved toward the end of the bed to see if he was on the floor and that is when I noticed the bottom of the bed was wet. Ally had urinated in his usual sleeping spot sometime earlier.

I've always felt "I'd know" when the time was that we'd have to face this day and there is no amount of preparing one can do--yes, you can try to wrap your head around it, it's part of life, but still—very, very sad... I try to see the blessing in everything, as I don't believe in accidents. I believe whatever is to come our way is exactly how it’s supposed to; even though we may not understand it at the time (and rarely do.) It is this attitude and these beliefs which have carried me through some of the most painful moments in life.

For every difficulty or challenge life throws our way, something good happens and I was reminded of this very thing this morning. As I was praying to make it through today with some grace and gratitude for all the years we’ve had Ally, I looked outside my office window and saw the tiniest little rabbit—a new baby. Instinctively, I grabbed my camera and in that moment, I felt it: "This is life--give and take, good and bad, happy and sad, a carefully orchestrated balance that teaches us the lessons in life." Some lessons are repeats, because we’ve yet to learn and others we’ve yet to walk through, but it’s all a gift in the end.

Rest with those that have passed before you my sweet boy. You gave us years of joy and companionship Ally.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Right outside my window

Since our weather has been so nice the past few days, the hummingbirds have been "frequent flyer's" to the feeders and I've setup a remote camera setup trying to capture them in flight. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to photograph hummingbirds. While waiting for the hummingbirds to visit, I've been able to photography the other animals that have passed my window.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

50-seconds of the most gorgeous light...

Last night Paul and I were out looking for the most beautiful light and composition we could find. We found it and I had 50-seconds and then it was gone.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Four Doe's on a Sunday morning stroll...

Yesterday morning as we were leaving for the day, we saw four Doe's walking down our cul-de-sac, so Paul and I decided to follow them across the street and park near a clearing and wait (camera ready) for them to walk by. Our waiting paid off; they walked right into my viewfinder.

We're pretty sure the one below on the right is pregnant...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Black-capped Chickadee update...

Update to my April 16th post...

I'm sorry to report that the black-capped Chickadee has abandoned her nest and four eggs. I was able to established her pattern as to when she would roost and when she would leave for a couple hours and this is when I took my daily photo of the nest. I always made sure to do this after she'd rolled her eggs and only when she took her afternoon leave.

If these eggs would have been "healthy" and progressing as they should, they would have hatched by now and within thirteen days the chicks would have been taking their fledgling flight.

We took the opportunity to photograph the nest and eggs tonight to document the size. The photos just didn't do justice revealing the size of the nest or eggs with any scale. The eggs were 1/8th of a teaspoon. I only had a 1/4 teaspoon on hand and you can see that they are smaller than that (see photos below.) The nest was 2" x 2". I can also confirm that these eggs never materialized to anything more than yolks.

Both Paul and I are bummed, but it's all part of nature. Maybe next year we'll get some photos of live chicks...