And just like that, they’ve arrived: strutting in the treetops, filling the air with song, dazzling us with their beauty; behold, the warblers are here, in all their glory!
Blackburnian warbler at Britannia Park on Mother’s Day, 2014
It took it’s sweet time, but it appears as if spring has finally arrived. While I could show you pictures of the melting snow, the singing robins, or the kids on bikes, what really stood out for me today was the colour of the sky after the sun went down. It had this incredible quality to it – something tangible, something that gave pause to the busyness of the day. In shades of mint and teal, indigo and turquoise, the sunny spring day turned to night, and there was hope that winter was putting herself to rest.
A long time ago, I went backpacking for 3 months through Africa. The morning of our long voyage home, knowing that a once in a lifetime trip was wrapping up, I woke at dawn to walk on the beaches of Nungwi, Zanzibar. A storm was passing on the horizon, and the fishermen were waiting in their boats for the tides, to begin their day’s work.
This image brings back a flood of memories – the emotions of saying good-bye to this amazing continent, the electricity in the air from the storm, and the friendliness of the fishermen, who bade me join them for breakfast on their boat (which I did). Travel is in my blood; pictures are what keep the memories alive. I can’t imagine my life without travel and photography.
We just got back from a walk in the woods at Baxter Conservation Area, which has some great trails in the forests along the Rideau River. What an incredible day! It’s gorgeous out there – if you’re experiencing a hit of spring weather like we are in the Ottawa Valley, oh my goodness get outside and enjoy the sun, the melting snow, the porcupines in the trees and the purple finches singing.
So. I have these friends. And they’re biologists, as well as nature photographers. (Those two careers seem to go hand-in-hand a lot, y’know?). Anyway, they are gooooood. Their portfolio includes gorgeous scenery, wildlife portraits, and travel chronicles. Starry nights, majestic mountains, northern lights, misty mornings, wintry fields, fall splendour; moose, owls, bears, wolves, fox; Nepal, Italy, Thailand… I am awed by their landscapes, impressed by their wildlife captures, and inspired by their travel experiences.
I think what impresses me the most is the commitment it takes to take these kinds of pictures. It’s one thing to take photos of an alpine wildflower meadow; it’s an entirely different thing to take photos of a bear in that meadow. Or to be up with the northern lights on a ridge top in the middle of the night. Or to capture a lightning strike in the prairies. All of this takes patience, as well as fortitude – get up when you’d rather be sleeping, get cold and wet when you’d rather be warm and dry, be eaten alive by mosquitoes when you’re waiting by the stream for a perfect shot of that moose. Kudos, gentlemen, kudos – keep up the good work!
ILEP is currently having a sale, with 30% off their images until the end of the month. So if you’re looking for some incredible nature images, as a fine art print, or some photo merchandise (mouse pads, tshirts, magnets, etc), look no further – ilep has you covered.
Considering the damage the ice storm left behind, it’s nice to have spent the week admiring the beauty in it’s embrace. Now I’m off to have a bath – after 2 wipeouts on the ice today, my right butt cheek needs to embrace some hot water and epsom salts.
To finish off my Ice Storm series, here is an ice-covered tree, gilded by the light from a fading sunset.
A sunny Friday, a day off school for the kids, and an air of spontaneity – who’s up for a day trip to Amherst Island?! The kids were gung-ho (there’s a ferry involved), my husband was all keen (there are migrating birds involved) and I had a new lens to play with – et on y va! Amherst Island is just west of Kingston, in Lake Ontario. A short trip in the car, and we arrive just in time to make the ferry – only a 20 min jaunt across the water.
There’s not much to the Island, which is what makes it so special. Some gravel roads, cows and sheep, an old cemetery (with dates from the 1800s), lovely views across the lake, and Owl Woods. We tried our darndest to find some owls, searching up and down the trunks of the cedars, but it’s the wrong season – we’ll have to try again over the winter. (Maybe next time we won’t have to bushwhack through the willows on our way out.) But the island didn’t disappoint with regards to avian diversity. Highlights included northern harriers circling overhead, a merlin perched above us, a mixed flock of warblers in the cemetery that included a northern parula, great blue herons hunting out in the fields (for grasshoppers?) and huge flocks of starlings hanging with the sheep. The starlings didn’t do their crazy dance in the sky (that’s on my bucket list to see), but they were entertaining nonetheless.
All in all, a great day out. We ended up in Kingston for dinner, and managed to do some stargazing out the window on the way home. Soul-satifying, it was.
This thanksgiving weekend we spent a lot of time out in the woods – the weather screamed at us to enjoy it, so we listened, willingly.
A hike in our favourite haunt – Jack Pine Trail – was just what we needed. Surrounded by sunshine, colourful leaves, and spirited children, I can’t help but love this season. Of course, turkey with all the fixings, and (homemade!) pumpkin pie doesn’t hurt, either.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and took the time to stop and be grateful for the simple things – for me, I’m starting with Fall.