Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spring arrivals

Last summer a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of birding. Though not a large variety around Iqaluit, there are a number of small songbirds, waterfowl and raptors around.
I’ve been able to get some cute photos of the wee songbirds and am in awe of their hardiness. They arrive when before the snow has completely melted and depart on a good wind in the arctic autumn.





Hoary Redpoll



Northern Pintail



Snow Geese

Everyone is getting busy with the spring season, mating, eating, training their young during the short summer for the return trip to winter grounds.
Hopefully some of the others will show up soon. I did see the Lapland Larkspur, I’ve yet to spot the American Pipit or the Horned Lark.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Slow spring

The townsfolk are getting antsy for spring. Me included, so to beat the cabin fever I’ve taken up a new hobby. Yes I have now successfully preserved two skulls. Some think it’s morbid, but honestly, it reminds me of our mortality and especially our frailty.

This is a ptarmigan skull, very small and paper thin.


 Seal skull, it’s teeth are surprisingly sharp and serrated.

The seal was for my nephew, I had purchased the seal for dog meat for my pet. It seemed a shame to discard the head for the ravens. So I set about learning how to prepare an animal skeleton.
I’m quite pleased with the results and my nephew loved the unique gift. Seal is a bit trickier if I cut myself during the preparation, the infection could result in seal finger. Seal finger requires medical treatment and is unique from other infections.

The ptarmigan was my second attempt, now there is no risk of getting seal finger with a ptarmigan and the smaller skull was much more delicate to work with.

What is striking about both skulls is the size of their eyeball sockets in relationship to their skull.  Perhaps a biologist would be able to advise on that, I suspect the bird has big eyes to improve it’s night vision, and the seal for it’s life in the water.

Wonder what the next project will bring my way!

*the animals were killed legally by hunters, the ptarmigan hunter gladly provided me the skull upon request.*


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

autumn arrives

We went looking for the White Crowned Sparrow and were surprised to find the Savannah Sparrow. They were very curious and flew just inches off the ground about 18 inches in front of our feet. That apparently didn't provide enough information so a scout landed just behind us and checked us out for a good while!

Who's watching who now?

Savannah Sparrow

Just before dusk, autumn grasses provide just the right colours in the fading light.



This duck got very cagey and slid into the wetland grasses to conceal her ducklings.
She has 8 ducklings and they seem to be in no hurry to move south. Other ducks; American Pintails and American Longtail have dropped in for some food and rest, staying for a very brief visit but this lot isn't quite ready to leave us yet!

Northern Pintail Duck

Too soon autumn has arrived on the tundra. It is spectacular! We had a surprise on the long weekend when we awoke to see snow in the distance.
With the arrival of autumn the fish are gone for the season the birds are also leaving us for the winter. I had a dismal fishing season. However the ones i did catch were healthy fish this year.

Luckily I've found me a hiking buddy and over hill and dale..or at least hill and muskeg we go. We've covered a lot of ground recently in search of migrating birds. This time of year there are stunning vistas and I love the cool wind on my face.
My favourite hiking food is a light-to-carry lunch means boiled eggs, trail mix, a cup for stream water and some type of sweet...fig newtons alleviate the guilt by providing a fruit!

Then I discovered Photomatix photo editing software! Duck country

I'm clearly not a pro at this which is why i love this particular photo editor, easy, fuss free enhancements! I trialed it for quite some time before I committed to the product, I have other free photo editors but don't really want to invest the time and effort into modifying the image pixel by pixel, or layer by layer.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Migration season is upon us....

Redpoll

I have spent the last couple of days birding. I'm new to birding so luckily I met someone who is not and together we hiked the tundra and hot spots for the migrating birds. We did happen upon the American Pipit, Redpoll, Northern Pintail duck!




Fleabane



American Pipit


Unfortunately my pictures of the Northern Pintail didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped. Maybe next time!



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Rush

Flame Lousewort


Summer happens in a big hurry in the north, the plants hurry to bloom and create fruit.


Long Stalked Starwort

The fish rush to the open river mouth down to the bay to feed, and the people rush to take advantage of the warm season.

With the incoming tide, the fishing spots disappear under water.



Waiting for the ice to pass.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flower Season


The usual suspect here on the tundra.

Rain brings out the colour in your florets! Arctic Thrift; my first shot of it in full bloom, usually I get to it when the little pods are emptying out their petals.