A Birthday Gift

I know I said that I wasn’t going to make this blog about me, so much, but today is my mother’s birthday. Since I can’t be with her, I thought I’d post for her some gifts from my travels.

Fred the Egret
Fred the Egret

Meet Fred. He lives in the Florida Keys. He was the scrawniest of all the Egrets hanging around my friend’s back terrace and absolutely captured my heart. I swear we used to have conversations; although I cannot claim to speak Egretese. Still, I would say something, and Fred would look into my eyes, cock his head and squawk back at me.

Pelicans - the pigeons of the Keys
Pelicans – the pigeons of the Keys

This is the Pelican Gang. Every time one of the fisherman on the canal came back with fish, these three characters would turn up. Eminently patient, they would wait while the fisherman gutted the fish, preparing them to be cooked or frozen. Finally, finally, finally, he would finish and the Pelican Gang would have its reward.

Which is bigger, the bird or the food?
Which is bigger, the bird or the food?

This photo was taken through the kitchen window of the house I was staying in, in England. The Chaffinch is a shy creature, at least, camera shy, so I was tickled when this little guy sidled up to the suet ball I’d left on the wall.

A Hummingbird in Muskoka
A Hummingbird in Muskoka

This Hummingbird came in to feed at my mother’s house in Muskoka. The file is pretty small, so you’ll have to click on the photo to get a good look, but I was pretty pleased with this shot.

I captured these Ravens soaring over the Grand Canyon.
I captured these Ravens soaring over the Grand Canyon.

We were about a quarter of the way into the Grand Canyon when I looked up and saw these Ravens flying about the rim. Given the reputation of the Raven in First Nations lore (the trickster) I was hoping it wasn`t a sign of impending peril or some other thing the gods might find funny.

A wondrous sight while lying on the beach in Mexico.
A wondrous sight while lying on the beach in Mexico.

Frigate Birds graced us with their presence several times as we lazed about on the beach in Mexico. Mostly, I missed getting a half decent shot, but this time, I was lucky.

I saw this fellow at Toronto Harbour.

I think this bird, shot at Harbourfront in Toronto, was something of an anomaly. It`s some kind of Tern, I`m pretty sure, and I was told but cannot, for the life of me, remember which one. All I do know is that it was a rare sighting for Toronto.

(NB. Later that same day: I now know that this is a Heron – possibly a Black-Crowned Night-Heron. A rare sighting for Toronto, which is not in its usual range.)

This Pheasant was in a lane I was driving down in Derbyshire.
This Pheasant was in a lane I was driving down in Derbyshire.

Dumb as doorposts, Pheasants are not generally known for using their wings when in danger. Usually, they run down the lane, waiting for a gap in the grass to hop onto. Honestly. This guy, however, only ran down the verge for about ten feet before he actually remembered he had wings and flew five feet to the top of the wall.

Jay sitting pretty.
Jay sitting pretty.

Accustomed as I am to Blue Jays, the English Jay quite took me by surprise. They are shy and it`s often difficult to get them to sit still for a picture. This one, I managed to get by not going outside, but shooting through the window!

Mallards over a pond in the Midlands.
Mallards over a pond in the Midlands.

I love this shot, as it makes me wonder what`s outside the frame.

Gull at repose by the English Channel.
Gull at repose by the English Channel.

This Gull was so peacefully at repose in its nest of pebbles in the sun, it was quite lovely.

Kite over Brecon, Wales
Kite over Brecon, Wales

I think it`s a Kite. We were in a parking lot in Brecon, Wales when I saw it gliding silently above us. The miracle was that I managed to capture it with my camera.

Mallard and Mallardling?
Mallard and Mallardling?

From the other side, this Mallard looked like it was sleeping on a stone, it lay so oddly. When I got around her, I realized it wasn`t a stone, but a Duckling. I was amazed that she stayed where she was, given how close I was. So I backed off and used full zoom to get the picture. There`s a series of them that I`ll post another day, but this mother and child were special.

The Mallardling goes a-wandering.
The Mallardling goes a-wandering.

Yes, the Duckling went wandering without his Mama. Mama was nowhere in sight at this moment (she was in the grass not far away), but the little guy seems totally unconcerned. He`s off to see the world.

At the ferry docks in Normandy.
At the ferry docks in Normandy.

I just happened to have a clear spot (meaning no cars driving by) to get this shot in Normandy, near Oustreham. How unconcerned they are.

Found this Mute Swan in a pond in Leicestershire.
Found this Mute Swan in a pond in Leicestershire.

I think I should be glad there`s a fence between us. It`s not often you get to lock eyes with a Swan, Mute or otherwise!

English Robin in a Holly tree.
English Robin in a Holly tree.

Much smaller than the Canadian Robin, the English Robin is red from middle of breast to the back of the head. They are sweet, cheerful songsters, that I never tired of hearing.

Robin singing happily in a walled garden.
Robin singing happily in a walled garden.

This photo isn`t very clear, it was a dark day, but I have to include this photo of another English Robin. He`s singing mightily in a bush in a walled garden I walked by one day. This is the little guy that led Mary to the Secret Garden in one of my mother`s favorite books. If you look closely, you can see the flash of red in all the grey. I just wish I could share his song, too. I wonder what `Happy Birthday` sounds like in Robinese.

Happy Birthday, Mum! I love you.

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