Circle of Life

We just got back from a day trip to Riverhead, our second this week. One thing you can be sure of: If we are driving any great distance I usually fall asleep in no time. Mom or dad will ask me what the roads were like on the drive out and I always leave it to John to answer since I usually don’t see much past Paddy’s Pond…zzzzzzzz! But the trips were a little different this time. You see, in the last week, six days apart to be exact, Riverhead had lost two pillars of the community; two great family men that were loved and cherished by their respective families and well respected by their friends and neighbors. So, our drives entailed  lots of quiet reflection and an occasional funny story told about life in the River through the years. It got me thinking about my life and what kind of legacy will I leave behind. We all try to be the best people we can be and live a happy life. My belief is that you should treat others the way you want to be treated, the golden rule. I hope that’s what I’ll be remembered for, along with my cracking photos, LOL!

Sometimes when things are getting too much for me I grab my camera and go out and start snapping. It could be a beautiful sunset, raindrops on a leaf or birds hanging out on a nearby branch. It’s like therapy. My point being “Do whatever makes you happy”.  Here are a few snaps that make me happy.

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Over the last few weeks we’ve been fortunate enough to have a nest of robins in our backyard. I tried not to disturb them too much. I had a little tripod wrapped around several branches and every couple of days I’d go out and put an old iPhone on it and record for about 10-15 minutes. Some of the following pictures are snapshots I captured from the video. It was amazing to watch.

 

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The nest is empty now. The birds are gone.

All the events of the last few days puts into perspective how precious life is and how we need to cherish every single minute of it, for who knows how long we are given on this earth. In the rush of our everyday lives we really need to stop and look at all that is around us and be thankful. Those last two sentences are so cliche I feel embarrassed to write them. Yet truer words were never spoken…another cliche.

**My final thought on this Father’s Day weekend: If you’re lucky enough to have a dad or father figure in your life give him an extra kiss, hug, handshake, pat on the back, whatever works for you. Be thankful he’s in your life.**

Until Next Time,

Andrea

Winter Turns to Spring…Eventually

What’s up with the weather lately? It seems like the last few weeks Mother Nature can’t make up her mind about what season we should be in: Winter or Spring! There have been a few great days where it’s warm, by Newfoundland’s standards, sunny and just an overall feeling that Winter is finally behind us. Then Mudder throws us a curve ball and I’m digging around the closet for winter boots and gloves. We are getting a forecast where it’s snow, freezing rain and rain in that order all in a 24 hour period. And it’s not over yet! Maybe we should have a new season and call it “Sprinter”. Although, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Taking a trot around the yard over the last few weeks leaves me feeling optimistic. Much of the snow is gone, some trees are starting to bud and my Bleeding Heart is poking it’s way up through the frosty ground. Overall, I’d say we’ve fared well this past winter, let’s hope the trend continues and it leads us into a magnificent spring and summer. A girl can dream can’t she? In the meantime here are a few snaps I took during the last few months.

 

The Battery, taken on a frosty night a few months ago…

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…and the buzzing metropolis, St. John’s

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I know I’ve posted many pictures of snowflakes in previous blogs but I never get tired of photographing them. So much beauty in every one.

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Earlier this year I saw a video on Facebook where people were shoving their faces in the snow and leaving imprints. So, like a fool, I had to try it too. We just had a big dump of snow and it was piled nice and high on the hood of the car. I got dressed, went out and started randomly face-planting in the snow on the car. Here’s the result, sort of like a 3D image and boy was it cold on the face! Hope the neighbors weren’t watching, lol.

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I took this one around Valentine’s Day. Kind of reminded me of a heart.

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Of course, St. Patrick’s Day was a blast as usual. Food, fun and foolishness! A few randoms taken with my phone.

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Again with the Blue Jays! No matter the weather, you’ll always find a few of these scavenging.

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For most of the winter Whiskers lazes about napping and eating all day long, what a life! The last few weeks, though, she’s getting the itch to go outside again. She knows it’s starting to warm up. I’m always wary of letting her out these days because she’s quite old. How old you ask? We aren’t really sure. We found her hanging around our door in the Goulds about 2000 or 2001 and she wasn’t a kitten then. So I guess she’s about 18 or so. She’s lived a long and happy life so far with many more years to come, hopefully.

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Clouds and the sky are some of my favorite things to photograph. Here are a few I took recently.

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I’m especially proud of this one! It was recently shown on the Weather Network and CBC News Morning during a weather segment, I guess because of the unusual cloud formation after a rainstorm we had recently. They are known as mammatus clouds. Many people have had their pictures shown on those programs but it’s extra special when it’s your own.

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You’re never too old to decorate Easter eggs. Easter was always a special time growing up. Once Ash Wednesday came it seemed like it took forever for Easter to arrive. 40 days is a long time to a little kid. Dad would always tell the story about if you get up on Easter Sunday morning you’d see the sun “dancing” in the sky at sunrise. I always had this image in my mind of what that would look like. Unfortunately I never saw it dancing for several reasons. One being the fact that it rose too early for me to get up and see.  Secondly, it was usually overcast anyway. Thankfully, I still have that picture in my mind that I can revisit any time!

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There are signs of spring everywhere. We just have to know where to look!

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Dreaming of warm summer days!

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I hope you enjoyed my snaps! And, over the next little while when you’re listening to Snodden or Sheerr give out the forecast, don’t fret for it won’t be long until we are sitting on our decks and patios sipping on a cool beverage, enjoying the sunset and swatting away the mosquitoes. We just need a little patience.

 

Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

It’s Been A Year…

 

Well here it is, 2018! I’ve been in absolute shock these last few weeks because I just can’t figure out where the last year has gone. It seems like it was only yesterday we were taking down the Christmas decorations and putting them away…oh wait, that really did happen yesterday, my bad.  I was referring to 2016’s decorations, or was it 2017’s decorations…I’m so confused.  Anyhoo, I’m sure you get my drift. The last 365 days went by in the blink of an eye. When you’re a little kid time seems endless, summers lasted forever and it felt like we had to wait an eternity for Christmas to come. But, as we get older time somehow magically goes into warp speed. When I was younger I’d say things like “I wish it was summer” or “I can’t wait til I’m 17” and Mom would always say “Don’t wish your time away.” Now as an adult, I completely understand what she meant by that. Too bad there wasn’t some way to slow it down, especially since I turned 44 yesterday.  *shakes head total disbelief and maybe a little denial*

It’s been almost 1 year to the day since I wrote my first photo blog. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to post it. I had it written for days before I finally got up the courage to hit the “PUBLISH” button. I wondered who would be interested in what I had to say or look at pictures I’d taken.  Well, it turns out quite a few people! Who knew? This will be my 11th blog and I’m so glad I decided to take the plunge last year and start sharing.

Here are a few snaps I have taken over the last couple of months. I know Christmas has come and gone but I thought I’d share them with you anyway. Hope you enjoy!

 

This first photo was taken at the end of November. I cannot resist a crescent moon…

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…and Blue Jays. There’s no shortage of these guys this time of year. I could spend my day putting out seeds and nuts for them and they’d never tire of it, neither would I.

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When Charlotte was born she spent her first Christmas in hospital so we got a little tree for her. It’s tradition now, every year she decorates the tree herself. A nice little reminder to show us how far she’s come.

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This is one of my favorite pictures I took this Christmas. When I see the animal prints I imagine little woodland creatures gathering around to look at the lights. Corny, I know!

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I got one of these crystal balls just before Christmas. It’s pretty neat. I had a chance to do a little experimenting with it. Makes for some pretty interesting scenes, I’m still trying to get the hang of it.

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No Christmas blog is complete without a picture of Mom’s cookies and cakes. This is only a small portion of her homemade deliciousness!

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One of my favorite things to do is photograph Christmas tree ornaments. I like going to people’s houses and looking at their ornament collection. Every tree tells a story.

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Gary and Sharmane’s pup, Jake!

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This is Mindy, Margie and Tony’s cat. Quite the pretty kitty. This picture reminds me of that old Saturday Night live skit – Daily Affirmation with Stewart Smalley “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

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January 1st, 2018 – Middle Cove at Sunset

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January 1st, 2018 – Wolf Moon, 1st full moon of the year

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My only chance to see the Port de Grave boat lights was on the last day of Christmas, January 6th. It was cold, snowing and extremely windy. Unfortunately, not the best conditions for doing any type of photography. These two were the best of the lot I took that night.

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The backyard, from an upstairs window.

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So, that’s it for another while. Hope you enjoyed looking at my snaps as much as I have enjoyed taking them. Let’s pray that the next 365 don’t fly by like the last. I’d like to have some recovery time before I have to put up the decorations again! Happy New Year.

 

Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

 

Fall In Love

Is there a more spectacular time of year than Fall? I don’t think so. As much as I enjoy warm summer days nothing compares to a cool, crisp autumn morning. There’s something magical about Fall that no other season can compare. The leaves changing colour, birds flocking together to prepare for migration, even the skies seem clearer in the cooler weather! Fall brings us Thanksgiving, Christmas at the Glacier, Halloween and flu shots. That’s in addition to all the other important events that take place like birthdays and anniversaries; no shortage of them in our family this time of year. Charlotte turned 15 (yes you read that right 15!!!!) & John and I celebrated 20 years of marital bliss back in October. Mom and Dad celebrated their 59th anniversary in October as well. 59 years, that’s a tough act to follow. Anyhoo, here are a few snaps I took over the last few months since summer ended. So take a few minutes to curl up with your favorite blankie and a pumpkin spice something or other and take a peek at my pics. Hope you enjoy them!

 

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Hillsides of Beautiful Torbay

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Backyard Stargazing

 

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The Big Dipper

 

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The Moon and Aldebaran

 

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See those two dots near the top of the picture? That’s not a spot on your screen. It’s Venus and Jupiter from a few mornings ago.

 

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I’ve never seen so many dogberries in my entire life! Does this mean a good or bad winter?

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Birthday Girl

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Crescent Moon and Venus

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Spent a few days in Port Rexton. Of course we had to check out the brewery! We ate, we drank, we played Crib, we laughed; a fabulous time with great people.

 

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John patiently waiting for me to take a picture of the beer…either that or he’s trying to decide which one to try first!

 

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Hope you enjoyed my pics. Now get up, go outside, take a deep breath and feel the leaves crunching beneath your feet…unless it’s raining or wet snow falling, then I’d suggest staying put. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Until Next Time,

Andrea

Beauty among the Chaos

Life is good or so it seems. I have a loving husband and daughter who are my world, an amazing family consisting of parents, siblings, in laws, cousins, aunts, uncles and a few close friends. I have a great job and fantastic co-workers; we laugh a lot! Then there are the material things like a house, cars and the latest gadgetry. Anyone get a load of that new iPhone X? Sweet!!! I like to watch the news, scroll through my Twitter feed and read online articles on just about any topic under the sun. But something’s changed. Sometimes life is not always rainbows and unicorns. These days the TV is on but muted and after a minute or two of scrolling through Twitter I switch over to play a mindless game of Candy Crush. (I’m on level 898 in case you’re wondering. I know right!?!) I find that lately we are constantly being bombarded with so much negativity, feels like the worst it has ever been. Whether it’s “news” about what Donald Trump did/said, North Korea’s latest ditty fit, the destruction left behind after the hurricanes or the mass shooting in Las Vegas its hard to let go of all that stuff and just be. We all need to find that little place to escape to when things get chaotic. For me, the escape is photography. I grab my gear and start snapping.

 

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This past summer has been an especially difficult one for our family. We lost someone who was certainly one of a kind. She was a strong and very determined woman who loved her family dearly. Nearly every day the phone would ring and it would be her wondering what we were at or keeping us up to date about latest  goings on in the River. And she never forgot a birthday or anniversary! I loved sending her my pictures through email. I’d always get a reply that was a few simple words and she’d always sign it JMP. I was the daughter-in-law but she always made me feel like I was one of her own.

 

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It is hard to believe she’s not with us anymore. Not a single day goes by that I don’t  think of her. In her memory we planted a tree in our backyard. It’s a Chestnut tree, like the ones that grew in her family’s yard. To me they are a symbol of strength, like her. Now, every time we look out our kitchen window we see the tree and are reminded of her and how important it is to always look for the beauty among the chaos.

 

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Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

 

In Bloom…and Other Stuff

Well, summer is in full swing and I have about a million fly bites already. It’s the end of July and the St. John’s Regatta is just around the corner. Dad always says that once the Regatta is over then that signals the end of summer. I was around the bay a few weeks ago and the subject of the Regatta came up and he was just about to open his mouth and say…that’s when I stuck my fingers in my ears and shouted “lalalalalalala” until I saw his lips stop moving. Can’t even listen to that kind of crazy talk! It’s so good to be able go around with short sleeves and cut offs in summer. Actually, strike that last statement. In Newfoundland, during winter if the temperature goes above 10 degrees and the sun is out, guaranteed you’ll see someone whipping around town in t-shirts and shorts. I was at Costco once and it was spring-ish, about 12-13 degrees. Young fella weaving in and out of the crowds wearing his “TAPOUT” shirt and track pants, sunglasses perched on his baseball hat to complete the ensemble. Missus next to him wearing her Canada Goose and seal skin boots. I was so confused. No doubt about the weather these days, however. Which brings me to my latest blog: I LOVE summer! Whether it’s watching the birds at the feeder, checking out the glorious sunsets, or going for a custard cone and watching the gulls pitch on the hood of the car waiting for you to throw out a french fry. (Because we all know if you’re having a custard cone you gotta get a plate of chips to go with it!) Much to John’s dismay, I don’t mow lawns. However, I will watch lovingly from the front porch, sipping on a Blue Star while he gets his mow on. And he does some job! Here are a few snaps of some of the beautiful things summer has to offer.

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This is one of my all time favorites. Charlotte was just getting ready to blow on the dandelion!IMG_8428-2

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my snaps. Maybe it will provide some inspiration to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts because the next thing you know the cold stone will be going back in the water!

 

Until Next Time,

Andrea

 

 

 

Roots

I was out with a friend of mine one day and we were chatting with some acquaintances of hers. We were talking back and forth about various things and making jokes. My friend says, referring to me,  “Don’t mind her b’y she’s from Torbay.” Well, let’s just say that those people got a lesson in where I’m from and I also threw in a little geography for good measure. I was quick to say “I LIVE in Torbay, but I’m FROM Riverhead”, emphasis on those two words. I’ve spent so much time over the years saying that exact phrase that I should have it printed on a t-shirt. Now, here’s where the geography comes in. If you’re not familiar with the “Riverhead” where I come from, you might ask “Riverhead, St. Mary’s?” I’m like “No Riverhead, Hr. Grace. You know the one, the little town up by the Kyle”…because EVERYONE knows the Kyle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I dearly love Torbay and I’m sure I’ll be planted here until my end of days. But everyone knows, there’s no place like home.

Anyhoo, I decided to put together a few snaps about my hometown as well as the surrounding communities. It’s all home to me.

 

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As I was scrolling through my pictures just now I realized something was missing. There are pictures of Riverhead and the surrounding communities but not a single one of Upper Island Cove! How did I miss that? I spent my days and nights there during the summer when I was younger; it was a second home to me for many years. Lots of wonderful memories, that’s for sure. Yet, I don’t think I have taken a single photo there.  Well, I guess I know where I’ll be going the next time I head out over the highway!

On that note, I hope you enjoyed my snaps.

 

Until Next Time!

Andrea

The Sky Above

Every single night before I go to bed I look out my window. Every single morning I get up, turn off the alarm and look out my window. What am I looking for? Nothing in particular. I just want to look at the sky and see what beauty awaits! Some nights it’s a sky full of stars or the moon. Oftentimes its fast moving clouds or fog, in which case I can’t see a thing! Same goes for the morning. There are times that the sunrise is so amazing that I just stand there in awe, frozen at the window. Then I start racing around the house like a lunatic looking for my camera and tripod so I can capture it. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to snap a few pictures. One of my favorite things to photograph is the sky: light or dark. It helps that John is an avid sky watcher as well. On nice calm nights you can find us in the backyard; he with his telescope or binoculars and me with the camera. It’s pretty cool because he will list off the stars and constellations that I have the camera pointed at.  Thankfully he’s willing to get up with me at 5 am and head to Signal Hill to watch the sunrise.

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This was one of the benefits of working at 6am. Driving to work I’d often pull over to the side of the road and look at a scene like the one below. It never got old.IMG_7744

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How many times did I have my head stuck out the bedroom window trying to get a picture of the moon or a wicked sunset? Hopefully the neighbors didn’t think I was trying to peek in their windows. IMG_8054

 

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A boat heading out to fish as the sun comes up. This was taken on Signal Hill.IMG_7691

 

The next few pictures are ones taken in Florida a few years ago. We stayed in Tampa for a night and the sunset there was out of this world. We drove to Clearwater, a short distance away. Nothing like watching the sun sink into the gulf of Mexico.IMG_6461

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As we were leaving the beach driving back to our hotel that evening we could see lightning in the distance. It was non stop for the rest of the night and not a single drop of rain. It’s not hard to tell where the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team got their name!IMG_6650

That’s a ball of lightning behind the cloud. We sat in the window of our hotel room and watched the show. It went on forever!IMG_6729

An early rise the next morning to catch our flight. This is what greeted us when we looked out the window!IMG_6812

 

Signal Hill has always been a go-to place of mine to take pictures. It rarely disappoints!IMG_7421

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This is one of my favorites. It was taken from my back deck one morning about 6 or 7am. The sun was rising just as the moon was about to set. The sun was shining on the helicopter. Every time I see this one I wonder what the crew aboard thought about the sunrise or moonset.IMG_6893

 

This sunset was from Fogo Island a few years ago. There were some forest fires at the time and the haze made for some pretty spectacular sunsets!IMG_6343

 

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Star gazing in the backyard!IMG_4225

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This is Lady Lake, Hr. Grace from a few summer’s ago. There were so many flies that night that I only got a few shots in. Thankfully this was one of them. Venus, Jupiter and the Moon.IMG_4770

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We went to Cape Spear one evening. I saw this couple watching the sunset. I took a snap. I have no idea who they are, I just thought they looked cool!IMG_5684-2

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Down in Bauline, watching the sun set.IMG_3308

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We camped in Terra Nova last summer. (Don’t get me started on the Otentiks, they were fantastic!) I couldn’t believe how calm the winds were there. The following two pictures are long exposure photos and there is hardly any blur in the trees. As they say “there wasn’t a draft of wind.”IMG_3024

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So, I’m pretty excited for the warm weather that’s coming our way, sooner rather than later (finger’s crossed). It’ll give me lots of opportunities to get out and take a few more snaps.

So, any chance you get, whether it’s 3 a.m. and you’re getting up to go to the bathroom or you’re on the early/late shift at work, take a minute or two, look out the window and tilt your head towards the sky. I promise you won’t regret it!

 

Until next time,

Andrea

 

 

Bird Is The Word

I stepped outside the other day and noticed something I hadn’t heard in quite a while, the sweet sound of chirping birds! Most birds fly south for the winter, at the least the ones that have any sense. But there are the few that stick around and brave the harsh winters here in Newfoundland. We usually try to put out some food for them as it can be quite difficult to find food. I’m sure they manage though. I’m looking forward to spring when they return and start looking for homes and building their nests. Our house is surrounded by trees so its the perfect place for them to come home to and me, as a bird lover, to photograph them! So, as we anxiously wait for their arrival I thought I’d post a few pictures of some birds I’ve taken over the years.

 

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These birds are not your backyard variety, but are birds all the same!img_4986img_1760img_0122img_8394-2img_3918

 

Of all the birds I’ve photographed, Blue Jays are my favorite! Their colours are amazing.img_4347

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Last summer we had the pleasure of visiting the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. That was amazing. When we left Torbay it was a beautiful sunny day. By the time we got to Placentia, the fog was thick as pea soup. We kept on driving to St. Mary’s and there were times we could barely see our hands before us. The tour guide at the sanctuary told us that the fog bank was pretty thick so the views weren’t the best. It was still pretty awesome, all the same!  My advice to you, if you ever visit, is to wear a hood. Those birds flying overhead have pretty good aim!

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Another couple of visitors to our backyard over the last few years are swallows. I didn’t even know they lived around here until one day I noticed them checking out the area. They have been appearing the last three years around the same time. They hang out around the bird house for a few days and then they’re gone. I can’t wait for May to see if they’ll turn up again.

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Last summer, we went for a little hike around Signal Hill. We managed to find the eagle’s nest that everyone was talking about. The picture quality isn’t that great since I had to zoom in a lot and it was hard to keep the camera steady without a tripod. I’m still happy that I got to see them in person. That nest is massive!

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Okay, so I’m saving the best for last!!! A few summers ago John discovered a bird’s nest on the side of our house. We have vines growing on the lattice and hiding among the branches was a nest of robins. John noticed that every time he passed by a certain spot near the vines a robin would fly out in front of him. Upon further investigation he found the nest.

This is where the nest was built!img_1921

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You can actually walk behind the lattice. There’s a little covered area where we keep a few gardening tools in the summer, so it was a perfect viewing spot. Unfortunately, the mom and dad didn’t think so and every time I went back there to take a look they’d fly off the nest. I didn’t want to risk them abandoning the nest so I did a little research and found an app that allows you to use an iPhone like a security camera which I duct taped to the lattice and placed the camera lens over one of the openings. Using the app I was able to view the birds from inside the house on the iPad. I was able to take pictures and video as well. It worked perfectly! This is what I was able to capture, talk about a bird’s eye view.

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This was one of the parents.img_5301

No blog is complete without a bird watching selfie.img_2117

 

Hope you enjoyed my bird pictures! I’m looking forward to getting out again this spring and snapping a few more of our fine feathered friends.

 

Until next time,

Andrea