Tag Archives: bird photography

Pileated Woodpecker

Last weekend I was coming in from filling up the bird feeders when I noticed a beautiful Pileated Woodpecker on a tree in the woods beside our house. It was madly ‘drilling’ holes in the tree, in search of juicy insects to eat. I didn’t think I’d get back into the house without disturbing him so instead I just enjoyed watching it for a few minutes and soaking up the beautiful sight. I went inside and was amazed that it was still there, busily excavating the tree trunk. So I grabbed my camera, my 600 mm lens and crept out the door. I was sure it would fly away before I could get my camera set up. Nope. So I took a few shots and then moved closer. It still seemed oblivious to me. So I took a few steps closer. Still ok. At one point the bird looked at me, but it certainly didn’t seem very concerned. It just went back to busily excavating in search of dinner.

Here’s one of the images that I made that day. I’m thankful for such a tolerant woodpecker. 🙂

Pileated Woodpecker excavating for insects

Pileated Woodpecker excavating for insects

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Ending soon – my bird photography exhibit at Gilligallou in Almonte, Ontario

Hi Folks! It’s been a busy, busy time and things have kept me away from my blog posts, but I’ve re-surfaced and so you can expect more posts from me from now on.

Just wanted to let those of you in the Ottawa, Ontario area know, that the exhibit of my bird images at the Gilligallou Bird Shop in Almonte, Ontario will be ending this weekend. So while the weather is cool, the humidity is down, and you want to get out for a nice drive in the country, do it now. The exhibit will be coming down at the end of July.

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They'll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They’ll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

A big thank you to Bob and Louise at Gilligallou for their kindness in letting me show some of my images in their store. Be sure to check out their store. It’s packed full of great things – anything to do with birds. They sell very high quality bird seed for birds of all kinds.

Gilligallou_bird seed

And check out this new bird bath. I have my eye on this… ;o)

Bird bath

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Birds, Birds, Birds!

With early mornings filled with the melodic sound of bird song, it’s a great time of year to enjoy hearing and seeing  our local birds. Thanks to Bob and Louise at Gilligallou Bird Inc shop in Almonte, Ontario, yesterday I was able to help people see what some of our local birds look like close up.

Bob and Louise have a fabulous shop that is all about birds – feeders, houses, seed, books, binos, and a ton more! It’s one of my favourite shops in Almonte and my visits there usually take a while as I look at all the fantastic things they have in their store. I have my eye on a gorgeous glass bird bath they sell, so I know I’ll be back soon.

Bob, outside the Gilligallou Bird Shop in Almonte. It's a fabulous shop for all things bird..... :o)

Bob, outside the Gilligallou Bird Shop in Almonte. It’s a fabulous shop for all things bird….. 🙂

Bob and Louise very kindly provided me with the opportunity to exhibit 14 of my bird images in their shop. So as of today, I am Miss July – my photos will be up in their shop for the month. 🙂

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They'll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

Me, in front of my display of bird photos. They’ll be on display for the month of July, so drop on by to have a look.

I have 14 photos on display in the store. All the birds in my exhibit are species that occur in the Ottawa area.

I have 14 photos on display in the store. All the birds in my exhibit are species that occur in the Ottawa area.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, I hope you’ll pop down to Gilligallou to check out my images. While you’re there, you will have to take some time to look around the shop at all the amazing bird feeders, houses and other incredible things. I guarantee you that you can’t just pop in for a quick look. There are too many neat things to see. If you’re needing a new bird feeder or have run out of seed, this is the place to shop. And if you have questions about your feathered friends – what to feed them, what kind of feeder you need for them – Bob and Louise are incredibly knowledgeable and will be able to help you.

Gilligallou Bird Store in Almonte - for everything you need for your birds

Gilligallou Bird Store in Almonte – for everything you need for your birds


Thanks Bob and Louise, for such a great opportunity!

Visit Gilligallou at:


14 Mill Street, Unit #3, Almonte (Almonte, ON)



Filed under Birds, Exhibits, Featured Wildlife Photographer, photography, Wildlife Photography

On Display – Photo of the Week

Finally a chance to post some images from my bird photography outing a few weekends ago. We came across this really cooperative and response male Red-winged Blackbird. He had a female on a nest nearby and came to let us know. We were at the side of the road at a marsh and he clearly wanted to make sure we got the message. It was a windy day, but luckily he was down low, in the cattails, which made it far easier to focus on him.

Click on the thumbnail below to see 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week.

22 June 2013

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Black-throated Green Warbler – Photo of the Week

This weekend I finally got out for some bird photography – way behind schedule, but life’s been a bit crazy lately and well, as they say, better late than never.

I ended up photographing one of my favourite birds – a Black-throated Green Warbler. This little guy has set up shop on the same territory for 2 years. It’s nice to have him back.

Read about and view 44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week by clicking on the thumbnail below.

26 May 2013


Filed under Digital Photography, Migration, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography, Wildlife Photography

All I Want For Christmas Is…. Bird Photography


As we count down to Christmas, some of us who haven’t yet started our Christmas shopping may have a slight feeling of panic building. Time is ticking…..

The way I figure it, there are two challenges with Christmas shopping. Challenge #1 – what to buy. Challenge #2 – actually getting out to buy it and in particular, getting out before it’s too late and the stores are picked over, looking much like the way the Grinch left the Who’s houses after his Christmas pillage. But even with the Grinch, there was a happy ending….. 🙂


If you’re shopping for friends and family who are photographers, don’t panic. I’ve already posted a list of 12 great photography gift ideas. And the great part is that most of these things can be purchased online. So if you can’t get out and about to buy them, don’t worry. However, I will say that if you can buy locally, why not support your local camera store?

One item I had on my list that I’d like to write a bit more about are a pair of e-books, about bird photography, by Alan Murphy. If you’re into bird photography, you’ll know Alan Murphy’s name. He’s one of the top bird photographers out there. I love his images – clean, simple, tack-sharp and well…. stunning!  Check out Alan’s website.


Producing incredible images is certainly the first thing that attracts me to a photographer. But the second thing that seals the deal for me – makes me a loyal follower –  is that person’s attitude toward the rest of the photography world. By this, I mean, their willingness to share. Those who are willing to share their techniques and not keep them closely-held secrets are tops in my books. And Alan is one of those. In fact, I emailed Alan recently to ask him a question about one of his books and got a really pleasant and informative response.


Alan has written two e-books on how to attract birds for the purpose of photography. His first e-book, The Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography, is a 106 page pdf e-book packed full of fantastic information and advice about setting up perches using natural materials (flowers, tree and shrub branches, rocks, etc.). For example, Alan includes a section on setting up flowers for hummingbird photography. He includes a tip on how to ‘bait’ the flowers with a bit of sugar-water to get the birds to the flower. Can’t wait to try this approach next spring! He also includes chapters on how to attract certain species of birds as well as how to attract and photograph certain taxa of birds, such as waterfowl and shorebirds.

One of Alan Murphy's fantastic bird photos

One of Alan Murphy’s fantastic bird photos

Alan’s second book, The Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds, released recently,offers up even more detailed and specific information . For example, Alan has a chapter on blinds and camouflage, which is extremely informative. His book also includes chapters on attracting birds using insects, decoys, and audio playbacks. He also has chapters on attracting specific birds such as flycatchers, songbirds, and shorebirds. This book is as jam-packed with excellent information as the first one.

If you’re interested in bird photography, I very highly recommend both these books. As far as e-books go, they are a tad pricey ($50 each or both for $90), but the way I look at it, Alan has shared information that has taken him years to accumulate. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel and so I think his books are well worth the price. You’re purchasing Alan’s wealth of knowledge and experience, which will allow you to fast-track your bird set-up photography. Personally, I don’t have 20 years to figure it all out myself. I’m not getting any younger! 😉

AlanMurphy e-books

Copies of the book can be purchased directly from Alan’s website. I highly recommend these books as a wonderful gift for the nature or bird Treesphotographer on your Christmas list. You can’t go wrong with these books. And by buying e-books, you’ll see sparing a few more trees.

Good luck with your Christmas shopping. But most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the magic of the season.


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Filed under Birds, Digital Photography, Featured Wildlife Photographer, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, technique, Wildlife Photography

Photo of the Week – On The Verge Of Independence

44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week is back. I missed last week. Not a good week, with having my $1200 tripod, Wimberely gimbal tripod head and flash bracket stolen.

This week’s photo is of a young Osprey taking its first little taste of flying. While we watched, it didn’t manage to leave the nest, but it came close a few times. There were several of us watching and cheering it on. I think we all knew what it was like to try to find the courage to make that first big leap in life. We try not to be anthropomorphic, but at times like this, you just can’t help it.

Click on the image below to see this week’s Photo of the Week.

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The Big Year

A few days ago I was on a flight out here to Edmonton for work. For entertainment on the four hour flight, I watched the movie, The Big Year. I’d seen the ads for it when it came out on video last fall and thought that one day I’d rent the movie, but I hadn’t gotten around to it.

Black-throated Green Warbler. How many species can you identify by sight and sound? Check out my bird gallery on the 44th Parallel Photography website for more bird photos.

The plot is focused around ‘the big year’, a phenomenon in the bird world. Born out of a 30,000 mile road trip in the 1950’s, by birding legend Roger Tory Peterson and his colleague, James Fisher, the duo documented 572 bird species during their trip across North America. Since then, there has been this informal challenge in the birding world, to record the highest number of bird sightings in a single year.

The Big Year was the subject of a 1998 book by  Mark Obmascik. I listened to the audiobook last year and sadly, barely managed to get to the end of it. It’s definitely not on my top ten list. But during my flight to Edmonton, I figured I had nothing better to do and so watched the movie. And given my spring-time addiction to bird photography, I thought it was some light entertainment I might enjoy.The movie features the funny trio of Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. I can’t imagine that they could have put together a more appropriate cast for this movie.

So was the movie any good? All I can say is, what a hoot! [Ok, pardon the really bad birding pun]. Seriously, I loved it! The movie was funny, light-hearted, and yet also dealt with some of the serious issues of life. But all in a light-hearted way. There was some great scenery and well, I could really relate to the passion about birds. No, I’m not about to take a leave of absence from my job and do ‘a big year’. I’m passionate, but not crazy. ;o) But I could relate to the excitement of seeing a rare bird or the thrill of seeing a great diversity of birds. And well, I’d never be in contention for top honours for a big year, because I can’t move fast enough, lugging around a 600mm lens on a tripod. And there’s no way I’d be going on to the next sighting until I got a decent photo of the bird of interest. Not that I would go any lengths to get the photo. I don’t believe we should be trampling nature and harming the environment to get a good photo. But I would camp out until I got the photo. Remember one of my earlier posts – patience really is a virtue in wildlife photography.

For those of you who love birds or bird photography, I highly recommend watching The Big Year. It’s fun. It’s light entertainment that will put a smile on your face. It also made me realize how bird-geeky I truly am. When the movie credits scrolled by, accompanied by photos of a diversity of birds, I challenged myself to name as many species as possible as the photos and credits flew by. Hmmm, maybe one day I will do a A Big Year. ;o)




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