A Duckling’s Curiosity

Baby duckling near the Stone House, Nov. 15, 2017

 

With Mama Duck near,

Duckling is curious and

Comes to check me out.

 

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Such a cutie!!

This little duckling….foraging for food and sipping water in the puddles, along with its sibling and mama duck.

At one point it saw me with my camera and decided to come on over to say hi.

MADE MY DAY!! Hahaha! Wish I’d had something to feed it.

Ah well. I said hi.

There were some other water fowl in this nature reserve, which is a park area with a good-sized pond and being part of the grounds of an old historic building – called The Stone House – in this part of New Zealand.

 

 

 

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The Weka – one of New Zealand’s flightless bird species

Weka at Tauranga Bay seal colony area, Nov. 11, 2017

 

Curious weka!

Busily foraging and

Unperturbed by me.

 

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The weka!

This pretty, brown mottled and modest bird.

Roaming freely….in this area of native flora and man-made walkways that leads visitors to the look-out points to observe the seals of this seal colony at Tauranga Bay.

I was looking at the information plaque regarding the penguins and other animals living in this ecosystem, when I suddenly realized that there was this friendly feathered friend walking about. Before it disappeared again into some brush. Saw it again later on the walk back to the car. It seems quite comfortable having people coming through.

My first time seeing one…..especially in its natural habitat! COOL!!¬† ūüôā

 

 

Summer Evening Paddling Trip

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A call of a loon;

Quiet splashing, rhythmic sounds,

Kayak glides along.

 

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Yesterday’s warm temperatures and sunshine beckoned.

So, following the family supper, some of us embarked on an evening’s paddle. ¬†Well, as many as could fit into two canoes and a single-person kayak. ¬†ūüėÄ

We launched our craft onto Taylor Lake and eventually made it to the channel leading to adjacent Clayton Lake….and ultimately the village of Clayton where we finished just as it was getting dark.

It’s a lovely paddling excursion….usually taking about two hours.

There are quite a few cottages along the shores of Taylor Lake, with avid boaters and fishing enthusiasts sharing the water….and everyone respecting the speeds near other boaters. ¬†By contrast, Clayton Lake is quieter.

We were lucky and were treated to multiple loon calls, the sighting of a loon family of three, and a pretty sunset.

Here are some more photos…

 

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A juvenile loon…

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Sunset on Taylor Lake

From the time the sun was just touching the top of the trees to my extracting my iPhone from the protective plastic box tucked inside my life vest and then going for a photo, as you can see the sun went into hiding – moved so fast! Anyway….still looks pretty over the water like that.

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Kayaking is a lot of fun!

(Good time to add in a selfie….) ¬†ūüėÄ

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On Clayton Lake

I took a photo of the view behind me with the pretty clouds and the pinks and purples…..getting darker fast.

 

 

 

 

 

A Young Robin Says Hello

 

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Flurry of feathers;

Then a hip…hippity-hop.

Why, hello, new friend!

 

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On the way to the cherry farm, we parked near one of those farmer booths along a smaller country road….and ended up buying some fresh-picked peaches and apricots for snacking.

Within seconds of our arrival, I caught the landing of this fine young robin out of the corner of my eye and decided to watch.

Robins are such cheerful birds to see going about their business.¬†ūüėä

 

 

 

 

Three Birds and a Chipmunk

Last week’s assignment for my photography group was the theme of “Animals.”

It wasn’t until I had picked the final four and had written captions for each one, that I noticed that the majority were birds. ¬†Haha! ¬†And one solitary chipmunk.

So, here they are:

Animals #1 –¬†¬†A swan looking comfortable and foraging in the grass on the banks of a pond that’s part of the huge expansive property of the Linderhof Palace in Bavaria (formerly one of King Ludwig II’s residences).

 

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Animals #2 –¬†¬†On a hike along the Weitach river in Augsburg-Inningen, among a variety of water birds, my friend, Toni, showed me the nest of this Eurasian Coot family that he’s been observing on his daily walks there.
It was fun to see the babies poking their heads from beneath mama coot’s warm feathery embrace; one of the babies ended up following dad’s coaxing call into the water.
Also, I love how the colourful heads of the ducklings contrast and “jump out” compared to the more “formal” colouring of grey, black, and white of the parents.

(Note:  I had posted a lengthier story with photos on this coot family; find it here ).

 

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Animals #3 –¬†It seems that I took predominantly bird photos on my recent trip to Germany. Haha! Here’s one of a grey heron that I observed for a good length of time as it hung around the Nagold river by the village of Underreichenbach. ¬†At one point it flew up to the top of the train bridge, and that’s where I captured this one.
When it first flew up there, it had twigs in its beak, so I’m assuming it was working on a nest? I particularly like this pose.

 

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Animals #4 – ¬†And here’s the chipmunk! ¬†Recognize it from this recent¬†post¬†?

This photo was taken up at a cottage near White Lake. There’s a resident chipmunk who decided ¬†that the scent of my fresh untouched apple – MY lunch snack – was too irresistible and fair game for sharing. I had put my purse on the front porch with a slight opening…..not really thinking more about it. And along came Chippy! Poked its upper body into the purse opening….scratched up some fresh apple, sat up on its haunches, munched with gusto, and always kept a keen, curious eye directed at me. Did this several times. Haha!

 

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“Moving Water”

Yay! ¬†An opportunity to¬†participate in¬†this week’s photography assignment with the topic being “Moving Water.”

The following were my four submissions:

Moving Water #1 – (taken over a week ago) Fascinating circular sprinkler action in the garden of a swanky hotel in the Black Forest that my uncle showed me at my recent visit to Germany.

 

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Moving Water #2 – (Archived from May 2016, Copenhagen). I love fountains! Be they whimsical, artistic, or large and commanding. I picked this one out of my fountain collection, because of the solitary frog spurting out an endless supply of water…..and cleverly missing the tiny human tucked just under the water’s arch….. ūüėČ

 

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Moving Water #3 – (Taken over two weeks ago)….in the midst of take-off sitting in a propellored airplane – Bombardier Q400 – and I sat enthralled, watching the wheel outside my window spinning along, through the puddles that had accumulated from all the rainfall that day.

 

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Moving Water #4 – (Taken just over a week ago)…..on a hike along the shores of the Weitach River on the outskirts of Augsburg, Germany. My friend, Toni, pointed out the family of ducks he’s been keeping track of on his daily walks here. And I immediately began taking oodles of photos of this Eurasian Coot family. Here, the Papa is gliding along towards one of the two ducklings who was curious enough to move out of the nest and Mama’s warm, feathery embrace to join in for some swimming and feeding.

 

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NOTE: ¬†Some of you may recognize this last photo from the blog article I posted a couple of days ago, entitled “Eurasian Coot.”

Eurasian Coot

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Looking a bit naked around the head and with pokey pre-feathers sprouting, this little duckling is keen and curious!

About a week ago on a hike along the shores of the Weitach River on the outskirts of Augsburg – during my recent trip to Germany – I had the pleasure of watching this Eurasian Coot family. ¬†Known as “Bl√§sshuhn” in German.

 

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At first Mama coot was nestled snugly on the nest with her two babies’ heads poking through her feathers, seemingly enjoying the warmth of her embrace.

 

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Papa coot was swimming around and close to the nest.  At one point, one of the ducklings decided to follow Papa and splashed into the water.  Swimming about a bit and then it was time for feeding.

 

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Meanwhile, Mama coot and the sibling stayed nestled in warmth.

 

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The Purposeful Turkey

 

I always enjoy animal encounters.

Sometimes they are just a fun rendez-vous; at other times, a gentle lesson for me to ponder.

This past Monday in the late afternoon, I was driving along a country road that I use fairly often.  Coming up to the intersection with another country road, I noticed a wild turkey purposefully walking from the left side shoulder (ie. oncoming lane) straight across the road, heading to my lane.

Nope. Not interested in that potential kind of turkey encounter.

I honked my horn….also purposefully.

Had to chuckle when I saw the turkey take immediate note of said sound. Turned right around to head back to safety of the other shoulder. Watched me as I passed by. And when I glanced back via my rearview mirror, the turkey once again and with confidence purposefully started crossing the road again.

There were no other cars.

Yep. One smart turkey.

 

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“Photographer’s Choice”

With busy Christmas time happening, I just now squeaked in to submit four photos for this week’s photography assignment, entitled “Photographer’s Choice.” ¬†It’s a nice change. ¬†A bit like picking a flower bouquet…..an open-ended mix.

The following were my submissions:

Photographer’s Choice #1 – Archived, Feb. 2014 – Walking towards the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau (formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization in what was formerly Hull).
This street seems to have this lonesome feel to it; I just like the afternoon sun’s shine on the street.

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Photographer’s Choice #2 – Archived, Nov. 2015 – Well, music is an important part of my life, and it seems that when I plunged back into playing music at a later age of my life, I also made up for my younger years by going to more rock concerts than I did back then.
You can imagine my excitement, when a girlfriend wrote to me and said that she had two tickets to see Santana!! I had missed seeing him the previous year, when he had come to Ottawa to perform at Bluesfest…..so I was bound and determined not to miss this second opportunity.
Yep…we were willing to drive two hours to Kingston, Ontario, in order to see one of his last concerts on this most recent tour.
He and his renowned band delivered to the audience with incredible energy, lots of enthusiasm, great verve….and included a song as a little tribute to Prince (who had just passed away a few days before). ‚̧
We all were such a happy, pumped, appreciative audience!

I picked this photo from the bunch that I took, because you can see Carlos Santana as he is…..with his larger image behind him…..with the warm yellow lights shining brightly and casting that same warm yellow glow on all the heads in front of me.

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Photographer’s Choice #3 – Archived, July 2007 – This time I’m picking one from another area of huge interest to me…..travelling. For this one I picked a photo of a smaller Air New Zealand jet that was going to fly from Auckland Airport on the North Island to Blenheim Airport on the South Island, which included seeing some picturesque views of the water between the two islands and some snow-covered mountains on the South Island.

In this photo all of the passengers have boarded, and the flight crew of two (pilot captain and navigator) are getting us ready for take off.
To note that we are ONLY 16 passengers on this plane! There are eight single seats on both sides of the plane. I was in the fifth row. Outside of once being a passenger in a four-seater Cessna, this was the smallest jet plane I’d ever flown in. SO COOL!!
And it was a double propeller plane…..quite noisy. Haha!

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Photographer’s Choice #4 – Archived, July 2007 – On a hike in the Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island, New Zealand,
I spotted these two black swans foraging and swimming together in the lake that my friends and I passed as we headed for the Brunner Peninsula Nature Walk.

These two seemed to be in their own little world…..and I thought of how swans mate for life What a lovely intimate moment! ‚̧

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NOTE: ¬†Some of you may remember this swan photo from my Nov. 30th post¬†– you can see it here¬†– ¬†in which I had written a haiku along with this photo. ¬†It’s one of my favourites; hence, why I included it again in this assignment.

Gentleness

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Quietly calm.  Trust.

The youngling cradled in warmth,

A tender moment.

 

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In June of this year, when my co-worker, Ryan, and I were busy weeding in the garden, we met a wee little, feathered friend.

During a brief break, Ryan happened to look in the direction of a nearby tree and noticed something had fallen. ¬†He disappeared for a few moments and then returned with this little one gently cupped in his hands, and both he and I spent a few moments just appreciating one of nature’s creatures – I’m thinking perhaps a robin fledgling? – We guessed that perhaps it had fallen from the tree in an effort to learn flying from the nest and trying out the new feather growth.

It seemed not to mind us; quite content to just rest.

Ryan then went back to the tree and let it go.

That lovely encounter completely made our day!