Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bald Eagle portrait 1

Bald Eagle portrait 1 by Jen St. Louis
Bald Eagle portrait 1, a photo by Jen St. Louis on Flickr.
One of the perched shots from Saturday's workshop. As expected, my in-flight shots were horrid. Won't attend that workshop again until I've managed to upgrade my camera. I love my Nikon D90, but it's just too slow for BiF.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grosbeaks, Grosbeaks, everywhere!

Last night we had four male rose-breasted grosbeaks on our feeders at the same time. What a sight that was! The most we'd ever seen together before were two, so needless to say, we were surprised to see so many. They're such beautiful birds... and I can't seem to get a decent picture of one to save my life. **grumbles**

Anyway, heading down to Simcoe this afternoon to a birds-in-flight workshop with some of the birds from the Canadian Raptor Conservancy. I'm a little worried that my camera and lenses won't be up to the task, but I guess we'll see! If I get any decent ones, I'll be sure to post them. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Male Baltimore Oriole portrait 1 (Explored!)

This one's getting a lot of attention on Flickr right now... One of the male Baltimore Orioles who have taken a liking to our yard.

It's funny, this was one of the birds on my "To Find" list last summer when we did our birding trip down to the states, and it's one of the only ones I didn't find. As soon as we got home, they showed up at our feeder. I hoped they'd come back this year, and man, have they ever. We seem to have at least two pair of them, which is awesome. Love these birds!

Monday, May 23, 2011

They're baaaa-aaaack!

They're baaaa-aaaack! by Jen St. Louis
They're baaaa-aaaack!, a photo by Jen St. Louis on Flickr.
I love our hummingbirds. I really, really do. They make such awesome photography subjects... even if they make me crazy by moving so damn fast.

Yard visitors

Some of our more amusing yard birds over the past couple of days: the Indigo Bunting intermingling with some Godlfinches, and a male Baltimore Oriole playing hummingbird at a feeder that's most definitely intended for smaller, hovering-type birds.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Feelin' blue... but in a good way!

Went to the garden centres and spent a small fortune on a nice variety of bird-friendly plants. Going to go start planting shortly.

When we got home, we had a lovely surprise on the feeder - a beautiful male indigo bunting. We saw them a few times last summer, but much later (late July, after they'd harvested the wheat in the one field adjacent to our yard). Totally made my day. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tree swallow

Tree swallow 3 by Jen St. Louis
Tree swallow 3, a photo by Jen St. Louis on Flickr.
Spent some time out at Snyder's Flats a couple of weekends ago with a friend and fellow photographer. We were really hoping for some Osprey shots, but they were very uncooperative. Had to settle for some song birds, and even then I was disappointed in most of my shots. This tree swallow picture is probably my best of the day, I'm afraid.

The more I look at it, the more I like it, though... :)


Spent some time out in the rain last night working on the garden. We kind of let it go towards the end of last summer, so the whole bed of the main was just a mass of giant weeds. Between me and the hubs, we got about 75% of it ready for planting. The small garden won't require much to get it ready, just turning the soil over to get rid of the itty bitty plants sprouting from the birdseed kicked out of the feeder.

I'm a little bit concerned about a few of my perennials, though. I pruned back my butterfly bushes (one of the hummingbirds' favourites) last month, as I was supposed to, and there's absolutely zero signs of life - no new growth, no sprouting leaves, nothing. And the trumpet vines are just... dead-looking branches stuck to the bricks. I don't know if this is normal for these plants in early spring, or if their first winter in our yard took its toll on them and killed them. I guess only time will tell. :(

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardening blues

We've had nothing but rain for the past four or five days, and it's making me very sad. Why? Because I haven't been able to finish getting the gardens ready for planting. Boo. :(  That said, I spent last night scouting out my favorite garden centres and figuring out what plants we need to make the garden appealing to our little hummers (and other birds, of course). It's looking like Thursday the hubby and I will spend getting the beds fully weeded and ready, and then Friday will be our planting day... unless I can get some done on Thursday. A girl can hope!

I really want to try to get out for some warblers this weekend. We've got a ton migrating through the area right now, and I know I've missed the best of it already, but hopefully there will still be some around Saturday and Sunday. **fingers crossed**

Friday, May 13, 2011

Male ruby-throated hummer

I haven't gotten any good hummingbird shots yet this year, so here's one of my faves from last summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I got to see my first hummingbirds of the year this evening. First, a little female visited our feeders and the blossoming golden currant bush (only thing blooming in our yard, just yet). A few minutes later, a male showed up, flashing his red throat at me. Totally made my night. :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Osprey 13

Osprey 13 by Jen St. Louis
Osprey 13, a photo by Jen St. Louis on Flickr.
This is the elusive bird we were hoping for yesterday morning. Unfortunately, the pair were feeling a bit camera-shy.

This shot was taken the weekend prior, in Cambridge, Ontario.

Busy weekend

Spent both Saturday and Sunday mornings out taking pictures. Saturday morning was spent at a photography workshop at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre and Sunday I met up with a fellow photographer to explore Snyder's Flats. We went specifically for Osprey, but had little luck there. Saw a nice variety of birds, though, including a lovely Oriole who sat singing for us for a while, and a handful of yellow warblers. I'm still going through the pictures from both days, but hope to have something postable within the next few days.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

First hummer of the year!

Just got a report from the hubby that our first ruby-throated hummingbird of the year has made its way into our yard. This is a good thing, since we're playing host to a series of hummingbird photography workshops this summer.

Goldfinch eating lilac buds

Our yard is overrun by these little guys, right now. We maintain a healthy population of them all year 'round, but over the past month, their numbers have increased fairly dramatically. We've been watching the males challenge each other, chasing each other around the yard, spinning together and falling towards the ground, only to part and fly upward at the last minute. They're so pretty, and so entertaining... I just wish they wouldn't eat the lilac buds.

Yard birds

For the second time this spring, we had a lovely male rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeder last night. This bird was one of my nemeses last year, as it never posed anywhere pretty enough for pictures - always just flew onto a feeder and then flew away without perching in, say, the lilac tree or anything else photogenic. Hopefully he'll be a little more cooperative this year.

We had a flock of 50 - 60 Blue Jays fly through the yard last night, too. I had no clue they flocked in those kinds of numbers. It was pretty cool to see.

The Baltimore Oriole was back on the feeder this morning. :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Spring arrivals

We've had two new migrant arrivals in our yard so far this week - a white-crowned sparrow and gorgeous male Baltimore Oriole. (Chipping sparrows have increased in number, too.) I hadn't thought the Orioles came back this early, but I'd read about some sightings close by, so we decided to put out the feeder Monday evening. This morning, bright and early, one showed up. :)

Eastern screech owls 1

Eastern screech owls 1 by Jen St. Louis
Eastern screech owls 1, a photo by Jen St. Louis on Flickr.
For my first photo post, I thought I should go with one of my personal favorites. These two eastern screech owls were featured at a photography workshop I attended last Fall at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

Welcome to my bird nerd-dom

So the hubby suggested I start a blog to talk about birds and showcase my bird photography... I figured it wasn't a completely crappy idea, so here I am! :)

I guess I could start with a bit about me, in case you don't want to read my profile.

My name's Jen, and, as my darling husband has informed me, I'm a bird nerd. A relatively new bird nerd, but one nonetheless. If you'd told me even a year and a half ago that I'd soon become an avid bird enthusiast and obsessive bird photographer, I would've laughed in your face. And then I would've ended up eating crow.

God. Bird puns. So lame.

The hubs and I live with our four-legged, barking child on a farm in the heart of Mennonite country in Ontario. We're surrounded by farm fields and wooded areas, and our yard entertains a lot of wildlife. In the 17 months we've lived there, we've recorded 48 different species of birds, and a decent variety of animals, including coyote, fox, and deer.

Because of the variety of birds we attract, I have to admit, I do a good chunk of my bird photography in our yard - and a surprising amount from shooting out our living room window. There are a lot of great birding spots around us, though, and we try - and fail, lately - to get out regularly to find new and interesting species (to us, at least). Last year, when we planned a road trip to Washington, DC, to visit friends, we mapped out birding stops along the way. It was an awesome trip, despite craptastic weather for Assateague Island and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

So that's me in a nutshell. This blog, as mentioned above, will be someplace for me to talk about birding/birds, post some of my photos, and, hopefully, allow me to meet some other bird enthusiasts with whom I can nerd out.

You can find me a few other places, too, using my Jen St. Louis Photography handle, so please feel free to add me as a contact, follow me, or Like me, etc., at any of the following:

My Flickr account
Jen St. Louis Photography website