Total Pageviews

May 30, 2010

10,027 bird species - 1240 facing extinction

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has just published its 2010 Red List update which shows that 1,240 of the world's 10,027 species are on the brink of extinction. That's 1/8 of the world's bird species that are now facing the imminent extinction possibility. The IUCN Red List is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. The most recent bird species to be declared extinct is the Alaotra Grebe from Madagascar. It's hard enough bringing these dire facts to the attention of the world, but it's especially so with disasters like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And which is more important? They are equally important, of course, optics notwithstanding. Instead of embracing biodiversity, perhaps we need to take a holistic approach and embrace bio-unity. A good start, if you're interested (and you should be), is the IUCN website:

May 28, 2010

BP - O' the woes

Here's a 1999 advertisement from British Petroleum, the irony of which speaks for itself. Thanks to my friend, Susan Beharriell, for passing along this omen from the past.

May 27, 2010

If not a bird, a dragonfly

"Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky..."
--Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I went out this afternoon to take some photographs of birds, but it was in the heat of the day and none wanted to pose for me. I took this dragonfly's picture instead. My Oxford dictionary describes the dragonfly as: "...having a long slender body, two large transparent wings that are spread while resting...". This seems an understatement for such a strikingly, exotic-looking creature, don't you think? The Common Whitetail dragonfly is a common North American species and the one above is an adult male. He loves to eat mosquitos. Bless him.


May 25, 2010

Bathtime in the backyard

Now the summer came to pass
And flowers through the grass
Joyously sprang,
While all the tribes of birds sang.

~~Walther von der Vogelweide

May 21, 2010

First hummingbird picture with new camera

Here it is: my first picture of a hummingbird, with my new camera. Come to think of it, it's probably my first picture of a hummingbird with any camera. It's a male, although I didn't get it at the right angle to show his iridescent red throat (next time). It's not a very interesting picture. About all I can say is that this little guy is showing perfect posture. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

May 16, 2010

Cygnets take to the water

Don Flucker of Ladner, B.C. has been keeping me supplied with pictures of the swans at his place on the Fraser River. This photo shows mom with her six cygnets getting their feet wet. Great photo, eh?

May 15, 2010

May 15 ~ hummingbirds return

It was exactly one month and one day ago, in this space, that I announced I had put up, and filled up, my eight hummingbird feeders. I suggested that what with global warming, several lovely days in early April, and some flowers already blooming, that the hummers might come back early this year. Last year they returned on May 9. This year I saw my first hummingbird at 2.45 p.m. on May 15. So much for my witless speculation. The birds obviously know better than me. They must have heard the reports of snow in King City, on Mother's Day. Anway, it's great to have them back. Now, to get some great pictures.

May 10, 2010

No story - just a photo

I was checking out a local abandoned heronry yesterday (hope springs eternal) and shot this photo of the hardwood swamp that once held as many as 40 Great Blue Heron nests. I thought it made a nice picture. Imagine floating in a canoe...listening to spring bird songs...soaking up a few rays...

May 9, 2010

More Don Flucker photos

Here are two more swan photos from Don Flucker, in Ladner, B.C. Don's resident Mute Swan pair has laid eight eggs and six have hatched so far. The bottom photo shows two of the cygnets fresh from shell.

May 8, 2010

Blue Heron from B.C.

My friend, Don Flucker, from Ladner, British Columbia, photographed this Great Blue Heron near his floating home recently, in the Fraser River delta. It's a remarkable picture in that it shows almost every primary, sercondary and tertial feather in its spectacular wingspan. Some people describe the Great Blue Heron as having a prehistoric look and there's certainly a hint of that here. I suspect Don caught this GBH at the moment of lift-off, but there's also a suggestion that milady has been caught at her bath or during a fan dance: presuming of course that this lovely creature is a female. It's as if Don had asked this bird to "Show us your feathers" and it responded with a perfectly-posed plumage portrait. Thanks for passing this shot along, Don, and well done.

May 7, 2010

Super sturgeon not an hoax

I posted this fish photo and blogged about it on April 28. It was supposed to have been caught in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, but I wondered if it was an hoax, because of it huge size. My friend Don Flucker, of Ladner, B.C., in the Fraser River Delta, has emailed me to say this 11' sturgeon is the real deal, but it's not from Ontario. It was hooked upstream from Don, in the Fraser River, by a guy, named Cyril Paquin, who was fishing for sturgeon for the very first time! Talk about beginner's luck. This is the 2nd biggest fish on record for the Fraser. Thanks, Don.

May 1, 2010

Usual suspects showing up

Last week it was White-throated Sparrows. This week it's White-crowned Sparrows in the backyard (see photo above). I also have Chipping Sparrows and a tan-coloured version of the White-throated sparrow. A few streets away, in the centre of the village, my friend Gerry Binsfeld has a Carolina Wren in his backyard. That bird is not one of the usual suspects. It is a rare, year-round resident in Ontario, just barely making it to the north shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario during the spring migration.