Friday, December 30, 2011

20.12% Off Sale!

My Zazzle shop is having a 20.12% off sale today in honor of the coming new year. Just type in the code "2012NEWYEARS" at checkout to get your discount!

Here's a picture that I recently added to my shop. My friend calls them "moon snail" shells. She collected them from the remote beach of the island where she used to live. I love their spiral designs.

Coombs on Vancouver Island

This past summer we took a couple of camping trips over to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. That's on the west coast of Canada, in case you didn't know!

Eventually we ended up in Coombs, which is famous for some goats who live on the grass roof of a marketplace/restaurant. They have a shed up there where they can hang out, get fed up there, and generally seem perfectly content to be there.

Why put goats on the roof? Good question! Apparently a man named Kristian Graaten, who emigrated from Norway in the 1950's, got the idea of  incorporating a sod roof in the design of the marketplace. These sorts of roofs were common in the small community where Kristian grew up. Legend has it that some goats were put on the roof to mow the lawn on the weekend of the Coombs Fall. The goats were a hit and successive generations have been up there ever since.

Not all the goats in Coombs are on rooftops, however. I found one or two that were earthbound...

Goats aren't the only wildlife around Coombs though. We spotted a few wild rabbits around too. They let you get pretty close to them. 

Vancouver Island in general is overrun with wild rabbits. I'm pretty sure these generations of rabbits started off as pets that were set free. The rabbit you see pictured above looks very much like a Dutch Dwarf, which is a kind of rabbit that you can buy in a pet store. Over the years I've had a couple of bunnies as pets and they were great. You can litter-train rabbits easily and they're easy to care for in general. They're affectionate too! But please, if you're considering getting a rabbit for a pet, give it careful thought. They live about eight years on average, so make sure you're willing to put in the time and give it the attention it deserves.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Photo Gifts on Sale

If you're looking for photo gifts after Christmas, my Zazzle shop is having terrific sales on this week. Today's sale is 50% off cards and shirts. A great price for quality products! Just type in the code "SHIRTSNCARDS" at checkout and you'll get 50% off.

Here are just a few of the products that I've added to my Zazzle shop recently. The photos are available on all kinds of products and anything can be personalized (with added text, for example).

Don't forget...I have dozens of photos in my shop and they're available on many different products, but today's deal is for 50% off of shirts and cards only.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Squirrel Goes and Another Arrives

People are starting to call me the Squirrel Lady, and with good reason. I've gone kind of nutty about squirrels (if you'll excuse the expression). Squirrel pictures take up a good part of my table at the art fairs and farmer's markets where I sell my photographs most of the year.

We get the cute Douglas squirrels here on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. They aren't as aggressive as their bigger grey brothers and sisters. Despite the occasional battle, I usually have only one squirrel that comes around for the nuts and seeds that I put out. And I always get very attached to that one squirrel.

My first squirrel was Squiggy, who visited me for over three years. Squiggy got me started in my career as a squirrel photographer...

Tipsy came next. I introduced you to Tipsy in a previous post. Tipsy was an amazing model and would do anything for a peanut.

Unfortunately Tipsy was only around for about six months. I still miss her terribly.

I was without any squirrel friends for a couple of months until finally a new one started showing up. She's very nervous so I call her Nellie (as in Nervous Nellie). I've been courting her with peanuts stashed behind a broom on my back deck. I have to hide the peanuts because if I don't, the ever-watchful and greedy jays will gobble them up. I know it's Nellie who's getting the peanuts because she usually leaves little pee puddles behind. Please don't think less of her because of this habit though. As you can see, she's really quite adorable.

I'm slowly but surely getting Nellie used to me and only have a few pictures of her so far. Here's another shot of her soon after she discovered that I carry a mug full of peanuts around for the chickadees.

A few years ago I decided to make a calendar of some of my squirrel pictures. At that time all of my photos were of Squiggy, my first squirrel. But now I've had the pleasure of being entertained by quite a few different squirrels and so of course I have many more squirrel pictures to show for it. I hope that Nellie eventually loses her shyness and becomes a regular model!

Here are my 2012 squirrel calendars...
Please click on the calendars to get a closer look. You can flip through their pages online and you can even rearrange the pages any way you like to personalize your calendar.

Happy 2012, from the Squirrel Lady!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feeding the Chickadees

Wow, has it really been since July that I posted anything to my blog? I don't know where the time went but I promise to do better!

I've been having a blast lately feeding the Chestnut-Backed Chickadees that visit my feeders. Could anything be more perfect that a chickadee?

One thing that's always sure to lighten my mood is to feed the chickadees peanuts by hand. I've got quite the crew this year and they land one after the other, often taking their time choosing the perfect peanut. Sometimes they toss nuts onto the ground because they're not quite right in their eyes. Sometimes they even have the nerve to peck my hand. And yes, the final indignity happened just the other of them left me a tiny Christmas gift. But I'd forgive a chickadee anything...I mean, look at them!

Well, I just wanted to drop in and wish you Happy Holidays this Christmas season and all the very best in 2012. I hope that the coming year is as magical as feeding chickadees peanuts from your hands!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh Deer!

I came across a family of four deer when I drove into town the other day. There was a young spotted fawn and what looked like a mother and two adolescents. All of them allowed me to get quite close to them, which isn't unusual around here. I guess people feed them all the time so they're pretty laid back.

The fawn was impossibly cute. Wouldn't you agree?

 And what a little poser!

One of the young males (you can see his horns just starting to form) came right up to me by the side of the road as if begging to have his picture taken. Actually, he was probably begging for food. He got so close to me that I had to back up to take his picture because my camera will only focus if I'm at least six feet away from my subject. Here's his portrait.

The other young male deer was a real handful. He was constantly starting fights. Here he is acting up with what I believe is his mother. He tried to give her a good kick but mom got out of the way too fast.

Later on the same male had a showdown with mom again. I love the body language in this shot. Mom seems to be telling him, "Don't you dare try it!"

Notice the young fawn peeking out of the bushes behind mom. I can practically hear him thinking, "Oh wow, you're really going to get it now!" But the deer, being young and brash just like any other teenager, wasn't in the mood to listen to anything mom was telling him...

Temper, temper! Luckily no harm was done though. A few years ago I watched similar interactions between a male deer about the same age and his family members. In this case it was his big brother and his father (by the looks of things)...he was constantly sparring with them. So maybe this deer was just doing what comes naturally in the deer world. And sometimes what comes naturally is a little love and tenderness...

You might notice though that this isn't the trouble-making deer...this one's horns aren't as big.

Watching these deer was just the very beginning of my day. Once in awhile I have a day where I get to photograph one interesting thing after another. I'll be show and telling you about my special day coming up soon!

Interested in some silly deer pictures? Click on the link!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sooty Grouse

There's a female Sooty Grouse that likes to live dangerously close to where I live. Drivers on the highway often have to slow down or stop entirely so that she can cross. Sometimes she just stands there staring off into space. I don't think she's "all there" and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her.

I took the above picture during one such encounter. She was meandering along the shoulder of the highway with not a care in the world apparently. She let me get very close to her and in fact started walking towards me a few times. The picture below is one of those times...she hopped up onto a rock divider and was even feeling so laid-back that she stretched a little.

After I took this picture she got it into her head that she really needed to head over to the gas station. I couldn't persuade her otherwise. I tagged along, making sure that she got across the highway alright. Luckily no cars were coming at the time. But the gas station was so busy that I decided to steer her away from it so I ushered her into the field across the street. She settled into the grass for about five minutes.

While she was sitting in the grass I shot a little video of her. If you want to check it out, have a look at my videos of birds on my other website, Fun Nature Photography.

I probably spent over an hour altogether babysitting the grouse until I finally had to get going. I saw her about a week later standing directly in front of a car at the stop sign leading onto the highway. The woman had to get out of her car to get the grouse to move. Oh, the power of a grouse!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beach Bunnies

Last week we went camping on Vancouver Island. Believe it or not, it was the first time I've ever stayed at an "official" campground and it was also the first time my two dogs had been camping...they loved it!

We spent our first night at a private campground and I was up half the night listening to my fellow campers who didn't know when to call it a night. We had much better experiences, however, at the campgrounds run by the provincial government...they were quiet, clean, and seemed to cater more to families and low-key types like me! And they were at least half the price. I did a little research afterwards and discovered that there are about 1,100 provincially-run campgrounds in British astounding number! It would take you three years to visit each campground.

The last night we stayed at a campground by the ocean and it was truly special. The wind was raging when we arrived and we went for a walk along the ocean as the sun invigorating experience! Another bonus about this spot was that there were bunnies all over the place. I captured this pair foraging very close to our tent early in the morning. The bigger rabbit on the left was very attentive to the bunny on the right. I thought they made a very sweet couple.

Later that day we went for a walk along the ocean's shore while waiting for the ferry in Comox to take us back to the Sunshine Coast. I found lots of seashells, and was very excited when I found my first sand dollar. Here it is...

I'm really looking forward to getting back over there again soon. I really enjoyed my camping experience!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Tipsy!

I have a new squirrel hanging out on my back deck. She's even bolder than my other "pet" squirrel, Squiggy. I named the new squirrel Tipsy because she's missing the tip of her tail. And, well, as you can see she likes to drink a lot!

Tipsy has turned out to be quite a good model. Sometimes I just feed her peanuts without doing any tricks, but other times I put her through her paces and she's very co-operative. She's a great model and I guess you could say that she works for peanuts!

I have lots more funny squirrel pictures here and even more funny squirrels here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

T-Shirt Sale, Today Only!

My online store is having a sale on t-shirts today, so if you're looking for photography gifts, you might want to check it out!

You can have any one of my photos custom printed on a t-shirt and you'll get 17.76% off at checkout by using the coupon code, "LANDOFTHETEE".

Here's just one of the photos you can have printed on a t-shirt...

Remember, the sale's on for today only so if you're looking for a fun new tee, just click on the link!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cedar Waxwings

I don't see cedar waxwings too often, and when I do, they don't let me get too close. So it was a nice surprise when I went to the Sechelt marsh the other day and came upon a fair number of these beautiful birds. Most of them were snacking on the twin berry bushes that line the marsh path. The challenge was to photograph the birds when they weren't totally enveloped by shadow...not easy to do. Here's a waxwing that almost came out into the full sun after snacking on some berries.

I got the closest I've ever been to a cedar waxwing...the one pictured below seemed completely unconcerned that I was standing so close...I suspect he was a young one.

And then there was this pair...they sat in the tree, occasionally grooming and completely ignoring the small crowd of spectators who watched in admiration from below.

All in all it was a very successful day of Cedar Waxwing watching!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Northern Flicker Family

I discovered a family of Northern Flickers last week and have visited them a few times whenever the sun peeks out, which is rare lately.

There are two babies in the nest, which is in a cavity in a dead tree. Both mom and dad spend all their time feeding the babies and the babies never stop calling out for them.

Only one baby at a time will fit in the hole in the tree. I'm hoping to catch their first flight but we'll see.

Meanwhile, if you like bird videos I made a short one of this cute family. Check it out!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby Coyotes

This time last year I was visiting a group of five baby coyotes a half-hour's drive from where I live. I visited them about half a dozen times and it was always big fun to watch them play...they're a lot like puppy dogs and never stop playing and/or biting each other. The pups had a den in some dense blackberry bushes, behind a fence bordering an empty parking lot. They'd often come out to frolic in the parking lot and although many people would walk right by and not even realize that they were there, there were also lots of people who got in the habit of keeping up with their goings-on.

Yesterday I went down to the same area where the I'd found the baby coyotes last year. Unfortunately I didn't see anything at all. They'd cleared away a lot of the blackberry bushes but there's still a lot left so they could possibly have a den in there.

If you'd like to see a short video of the baby coyotes playing, please click on the link. Meanwhile, here's a photograph of four of the little cuties on the run that I took last year.

If you'd like to see more pictures of this coyote family (although I never did see the parents), please have a look at Baby Coyote and Baby Coyotes on the main Fun Nature Photography website.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby Birds Everywhere!

Have you noticed any baby birds around lately? I have! They seem to be popping up everywhere. I recently photographed these mallard ducklings, for example.

Here are some more shots of baby ducks. Cute or what?

Last year there was a family of chickadees around but I haven't seen any babies yet this year. Here are a couple of photos of last year's baby chickadee crop though...

If you'd like to see more baby animal pictures, please visit my main website where I have lots more photographs of baby animals...everything from baby coyotes, baby squirrels, and baby raccoons, to more baby birds.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Photos in my Online Store

I've added some new photographs to my online store. You can order all kinds of products like greeting cards, letterhead, canvas prints, and t-shirts. You can personalize the photographs or leave them as is. Here are the new photographs I just added to the store. As you can see, I was focussing on insect pictures. The first photo is of a hornet's nest I came across in my neighbourhood...