ICE IS OUT!

As of Wednesday, April 13, 2011 the ice is out on Porter Lake, Bala, Ontario. Lots of changes but not much opportunity for photography.

Tuesday I spent a couple of hours down by the shore and in my blind. I saw beavers, Canada Geese, Bufflehead, Wood Ducks and diminishing ice. You know when the ice looks blue that it is going to disappear quickly. A pair of Wood Ducks came in before I got into place so only one image I decided to save as the light isn’t right except from the blind. I did like the back-lighting on this one. Interesting to me to see the pair go to the place where I used to put corn for them. I haven’t put any out for three years now.

Loons flew over calling a couple of times last week. Canada Geese have taken up residence again but not where they nested in recent years. That was on an old beaver lodge but it looks like the beavers are rebuilding that one. It is right in front of my blind so might give me some good opportunities in the days ahead.

I watched about six Bufflehead at the other end of the lake on Tuesday but they didn’t come within camera range. Today one did. It did a quick turn in front of me. Nothing spectacular about any of these images. Photographing Bufflehead on my own patch of lake is new for me so that is another species to add to my home lake list.

The phoebes are back and were mating this morning. Pine Siskins, Tree Sparrows and lots of juncos came in overnight.

Just before giving up for any further blind photography yesterday a male Wood Duck swam by. More than ten years ago a well-known naturalist, Jim Wilson, told me that the Wood Duck’s latin name, Aix sponsa, meant “dressed like a bride-groom”. He is certainly in his best colours and very handsome at this time of year.

On the weekend I was fortunate to be shown some photographs taken with a Tasco trail camera from Canadian Tire. The people had a bear denning on their property and managed to get some images of the bear emerging for the first time and even a huge yawn covering 98% of the image. Impossible to get those shots any other way! Very exciting to see what can be done with such an inexpensive piece of gear. There was one of the tail of a raccoon and one of a mottled Snowshoe Hare going across the top of the den. So, sometime last week the bear emerged and then returned to the den. I am sure they all must be out by now.

Some of you must have seen the EagleCam that is being shown from Iowa. The eaglets are growing quickly and eating lots. The last to hatch is not doing so well and difficult knowing that it likely won’t survive.

Tuesday morning another live videocam showed twenty-eight Wood Duck ducklings out of thirty eggs quickly leaving a nest box. It was a dump nest and unusual for so many to hatch successfully. I would love to have been watching from the outside.

Spring has been cool and mostly rain-free so far but my road is a mess as it always is at this time of year. My dock ladder and kayak launching pad are to go in on Saturday so I’ll see if I can still get in and out of my kayak! Every year I have to come up with a few adjustments but so far, so good!

Although it will take quite awhile for any of my spring flowers to bloom I have enough new chives for a super spring omelette on the weekend! Love it!

All images in this blog are the sole property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any purpose without the written permission of the photographer. All images take with a Canon 7D with 500 f4 IS lens and 1.4 II converter.