Tag: Woodpecker

Share My Wildlife With Me

A young red squirrel
A young red squirrel photographed in my garden

Although my plan was to photograph flowers when I left Microsoft, my photo library began to fill with more and more wildlife photos instead. 

When we bought a new house upon relocating from Switzerland, it came with a large garden. The garden was, in fact, one of the main reasons we bought the house. I always loved animals, so naturally, I wanted it to be a wildlife-friendly garden. Not so much manicured lawns and formal flower beds but a place where animals, birds, and insects would thrive. A wildlife heaven.

Birds on a bird feeder
A tree sparrow, a great tit, a blue tit and a wood nuthatch at one of the bird feeders in my garden.

Four years on, I can safely say we succeeded. We have identified over fifty species of birds (so far!) coming by to sample the food on offer or drink/bath in one of the many bird baths; insects love the flower beds planted with pollinator-friendly flowers, the tiny insect water holes we set up here and there, and the insect hotels we offer in winter, free of charge; and animals are roaming the grounds day and night.

So far, we’ve got deer (oh, how they love my flower beds!), red squirrels, foxes, rabbits, and badgers (only short visits, none have taken up residence, thank God!). Unfortunately, there are no hedgehog sightings yet. However, I did prepare a corner in the backyard for them, with a huge pile of dry leaves, twigs, and water nearby. I’m still hoping, though.

A deer laying in a garden
Mi casa es tu casa. Or garden 😉.

Naturally, I wanted to document the process. It was so much fun seeing the garden transform and more and more animals and birds coming by! One thing led to another, and I’m now, somehow, a wildlife photographer, too.

Kangaroo Island kangaroos holding hands
Kangaroo Island kangaroos, mother and daughter, one of my favorite photos from my 2023 trip.

I’ve started traveling to photograph wild animals, and it was so exciting! Combining my love for Australia with wildlife photography was the ultimate experience. I’m looking forward to more trips and meeting more animals and birds in their natural habitat.

Snail on a pink cone flower.
A tiny snail on a coneflower

I reflected on my journey to wildlife photography as today, October 4th, is World Animal Day. My love of animals brought this amazing transformation into my life, for which I’m forever grateful.

If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”, Steve Irwin said.

Now, this is my mission, too. Share beautiful photographs of the amazing creatures we share our planet with, share my wildlife, and touch people’s hearts. Because humans want to save things they love.

Woodpecker on an oak tree
A woodpecker on the old oak tree in my back yard

October 4th is Animal Day, but every day should be animal day. We share this Earth with others, and the topic of animal rights isn’t about animals only but about us, too. Let’s build a world where both animals and humans can thrive. Animals also have a right to live free lives unharmed and unexploited.

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Emmanuel Kant. Some food for thought.

Red squirrels on the trunk of an oak tree
Red squirrels playing in the same old oak tree.

If you care about animals, there are a lot of things you can do to help them, for instance:

  • Spread the message, not only on this day but all year. Every day should be animal day.
  • Support an animal charity by raising funds, donating, or volunteering to work for one. 
  • Donate supplies to an animal shelter (towels, toys, medicine, etc.).
  • Become a fan. Like and follow your local animal charity or shelter on social media and share their posts.
  • Adopt a rescue animal or become a foster.
  • Make your garden or balcony a haven for wildlife to find shelter, food, and water.
  • Support companies that don’t test on animals.
  • Support fur-free fashion.
  • Do not support animal attractions.
  • Fight poaching if you can.
  • Draw attention to cruelty.
  • Take a stand against overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and other threats to animals.
  • Educate children to show compassion for animals.
  • Help change the laws by signing petitions, e-mailing your local representatives, and involving your friends (share campaigns and social media posts).

I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Favorite Photos: August 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
  14. Favorite Photos: February 2024
  15. Favorite Photos: March 2024
Close-up of two pink dahlias

Another photo taken with my new Lensbaby Velvet 85 lens, and I’m still in love with it!

All Lensbaby lenses use only manual focus, so it’s best to take lots of photos to make sure you nail the focus – especially when shooting at large apertures, as I do. I love to shoot for the blur, and I normally love F/1.8 to F/2.8, but I noticed that F/2.8 to f/4 works best for me when using a Lensbaby.

And since EXIF data for the lens is not available, it’s best to note what lens and what aperture you were using. Since I only have the Velvet 85, the lens is not an issue, but I tend to forget to note the aperture. I still need to find the best process for this. I think simply going from large to small apertures (F/1.8, which is the largest on this lens, to F/2.8, then F/4, then F/5.6, and so on) would be simplest. Or having cards with the aperture values that you photograph every time you change the value. Oh well, time will tell.

Still-life with pink dahlia, vintage camera and vintage books

I’ve continued experimenting with still-life photos and textures. This is so much fun! I particularly love this photo because it contains the three things I love most: photography, books, and flowers.

I used my macro lens at f/2.8 for this photo and a couple of textures from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio.

Close-up of a pink dahlia

This is another photo taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 85. How gorgeous! Straight out of the camera, hardly any processing needed. Did I mention that I love, love my Lensbaby? I added a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio, since I’m so in love with textures at the moment.

Hackspett, Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) posing in our backyard. This is the old oak tree that both squirrels and birds love.

We call it the Tree of Life. Woodpeckers and squirrels chase each other up and down its trunk, small and not so small birds land on its branches first before jumping down to the bushes closer to food and water, and a lot of insects call it home. It provides a quick getaway for birds and squirrels when they get startled, and even our tabby Minette climbs it every now and then to survey her domain. (I suspect the woodpecker may have something to do with it.)

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa, Pudrad smaragdflickslända

The butterfly and damselfly season is here, at last! I’ve taken loads of photos, but I didn’t have time to process any of them, save for this one 😅. This is an emerald damselfly couple (Lestes sponsa). The top one is the male; females lack the bright blue color of the males. 

I’m looking forward to setting camp by the little lake in the woods and photographing more damselflies and dragonflies again!

I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.

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Did You Know This About Woodpeckers?

Close up of a great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Great spotted woodpecker

The great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) has exceptionally keen hearing and can hear the larva moving under the bark of the trees. This is why you can often see woodpeckers standing still in a tree and turning its head towards the trunk, clearly listening.

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Of Squirrels and Woodpeckers

A red squirrel in the snow. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

The little squirrel, braving the snow and the cold, came visiting again. It was sheer luck that I noticed it because it turned up much earlier than usual. 

A red squirrel in the snow. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

I was about to open the bedroom window when I noticed two dark tufts by the oak tree. I had a closer look, and yes, it was the little cutie. I jumped in my rubber boots, put on my winter jacket directly over my pajamas (my neighbors are used to much), and grabbed the nuts bowl I had prepared. Out in two minutes and taking photos, ISO still high because there wasn’t enough light.

The birds were annoyed by me being there so early in the morning and told me so in no uncertain terms. They made an awful racket trying to drive me away. I did my best to ignore them; I’d be there for a short time.

Red squirrel standing in the snow. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
Frozen. What’s happening?

Suddenly – silence; all birds and the squirrel frozen in their places. Something was happening.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker Male. Photo by Mihaela Limberea
The Great Spotted Woodpecker Male

And then I heard it, the staccato drumming of the woodpecker, just above my head. I tilted my head slowly to avoid being detected, and sure enough, a great spotted woodpecker was working the oak tree. I managed a few photos before it discovered me and flew away. It was a male; you can tell by the red spot on its neck, females don’t have it.

The squirrel went back to her nuts. The racket resumed. I went back in for breakfast.

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