Backyard photography

Ornithology 101

Posted on

This is a special guest post by our cat Goldilocks.  We call Goldy our resident ornithologist.  She spends most of her days at our windows, watching outside to see the birds there.  When she was younger, a call of “bird bird bird!” from anywhere in the house would bring her running.  Now she is training our kitten Whiskey in the beginnings of bird-watching… Now, Whiskey, stop chasing after kitten toys and come sit in the window with me.  The outside world is full of wondrous things, like dragonflies and insects and birds.  The birds are the best. Now the ones on the ground are called doves.  They don’t move much.  Be careful not to disturb them by moving too quickly in our window.  They are very skittish!  They like to eat the seed on the ground.  They’re not the greatest fliers…their wings rub together as they fly, and it sounds like they are saying “look out below!” The big red ones are called cardinals.  They make nests in our neighborhood, so we get to see babies a couple times a year.  The bright red ones are the boys, the lighter red ones with bright beaks are the girls, and the […]

Cats

MIA: The Pink Mouse!

Posted on

For years, Squirt has liked his pink mice best of all his toys.  Rich reminds him that little boys are not supposed to like pink, but Squirt didn’t care.  Now Whiskey’s toys are the springy-thingees, and Whiskey also prefers the pink ones.  But a funny thing has been happening.  Every time we get out a new pink toy, it disappears! We have three suspects listed in the disappearance of the pink mice… So a few days ago I watched Whiskey chase a toy under the middle of the couch.  Supposedly Rich “cat-proofed” this hole a few years ago, making it impossible for cats to hide under there.  But although there is not enough room for a feline to fit in the space, apparently there’s plenty of room for cat toys.  I had Rich help me lift the couch and we both burst out laughing.  There were 18 mice, 5 springy-thingees, and several other cat toys under there.  Jackpot!!

Cats

Whiskey: Week 4

Posted on

Whiskey decided that we should celebrate my birthday by giving him toys. He’s been having a blast with these little springy toys that Rich found on Amazon. He chases them all over the house for hours on end. He’s particularly adorable when he carries them around in his mouth. Whiskey is starting to take an interest in the windows, and the birds and butterflies that move outside. Goldy is teaching him all about our juvenile house finches right now. She says he’ll make a good ornithologist when he grows up!

Backyard photography

Rain is good for catnip

Posted on

Squirt was dismayed when I took his potted catnip plant outside a few weeks ago. But after a few good rains, the plant has quadrupled in size. Now Squirt gets to teach Whiskey the joys of playing with catnip… Now this is cool…this post was brought to you via my iPhone. I took the picture with the iPhone camera and I’m blogging using the WordPress app. :-)

Cats

Whiskey: Week 3

Posted on

The rain and heat have been keeping Rich and me from taking our afternoon walks. Indoors, my best photographic subjects tend to be our cats. We’ve had Whiskey for three weeks now, and he’s grown so much!! Check out the highlights from playtime below…

Cats

Kittenhood…

Posted on

So some proud photographer parents pose their two or three year olds with super-telephoto lenses, showing how the lens is taller than the kid. I thought it’d be fun to pose our new kitten in the Beast’s lens hood. I figured he’d be so cute sitting inside it, and I’d look back in a few months and wonder, “Did he ever really fit inside there?” Reality check…Rich put Whiskey in the hood, Whiskey hopped out. Over and over and over. Whiskey says kittens are not models and they do not pose! So we manipulated him and put some kitten food at the bottom of the hood. Suddenly the hood had his undivided attention… Let the animated GIF below play for a few seconds. It’s amazing how much our little “hoodlum” has grown already!

Cats

A New Member of the Family

Posted on

I’ll digress from my usual nature photography posts to show you some pictures of the newest member of our family. We adopted a little kitten today. Meet Whiskey Lou, which we will likely shorten to just “Whiskey”. Goldilocks and Squirt are adapting surprisingly well to the new little intruder. It’s fun to have a kitten around again. He’s so tiny! I pick up Squirt and think, “Whoa! You are huge!” Whiskey’s little face made both of us go “aww!” We’d been thinking about getting Squirt a little brother, hoping that they would play together. Squirt is a perpetual kitten, but at age 7, he’s not playing as much as he used to. I think having Whiskey around will change that!

Backyard photography

First Images with the 500mm Lens!!

Posted on

Rich gave me the most awesome lens ever for Christmas!   The weather has been gross (cold front = cold + wind) and so I haven’t been out to Circle B with the lens yet.  But here are a few pictures from around the house… Every time I get a new lens or piece of camera equipment, my first subject of my first picture is my cat Goldilocks.  We’ve had this tradition ever since 2003.  With the 500mm, I asked Goldy to go all the way on the other side of the house, to get her within my minimum focusing distance of 14.5 feet. Our Painted Bunting has been coming to our feeder at least twice a day.  Poor little thing, she was sure getting blown around in all the wind today.  This picture was taken with the 500mm handheld and/or balanced on my knee as I sat in the dining room and shot through the somewhat dirty window.  Not bad, huh? :) Then I moved into the living room and mounted the lens on my tripod.  Two Red-Winged Blackbirds were stocking up on food before the cold weather tonight.  I guess bird parents don’t have the “don’t eat with your […]

Cats

Goldy Got Locked in Squirt’s Room

Posted on

It’s hard to do much photography at night when it’s already dark when you get home…so Rich and I resort to making up holiday parodies of songs. This one is in honor of our cats Goldilocks and Squirt, intended to be sung to the tune of “Santa got Lost in Texas” (with our apologies to Jeff Carson)… Goldy was keeping watch one night on Christmas Eve when she saw a spooky sight one you’ll never believe All tuckered out and bone-tired weary Rich came her way closed the door to Squirt’s room and left her there to stay! Goldy got locked in Squirt’s room and didn’t know how to leave Goldy got locked in Squirt’s room on Christmas Eve She sat right down next to the door to consider what to do she knew she’d never sleep in there Squirt in his sleep goes “mieu” Rich is pretty dumb she thought to lock me up in here he’s pretty dumb she thought but the key is nowhere near! Goldy got locked in Squirt’s room and didn’t know how to leave Goldy got locked in Squirt’s room on Christmas Eve Squirt came up to her and gave her a leg hug […]

Backyard photography

First Pansies of the Year!

Posted on

It’s the most wonderful day of the year! Squirt has been dreaming of this day for the past six months, ever since he took his last bite of pansy back in the early spring. He’s been getting pretty desperate, too. I found this note in my car after work this afternoon: So we stopped at Lowes this evening, and they already have pansies! I think they’re about a week early this year. They didn’t have any six-packs, but they did have eighteen-packs. Squirt will have to share with my flowerbeds. We brought them home and brought two in immediately, to the delight of our cats. :) (Excuse the focusing problems. I’m still learning how to do good videos with my 7D.)

Cats

First images with my new Canon 7D!

Posted on

We have a little tradition at our house that the first picture taken with any new piece of camera equipment must be a picture of Miss Clock.  So we followed tradition today when Rich broke down and gave me my Canon 7D one day early. Squirt didn’t want to be left out, so he posed cutely by the window.  This new camera is so totally awesome.  It does a great job of metering Squirt’s dark fur, which can be a real challenge.  Mieu! I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot of fun with this camera… :-D

Cats

Squirt is Pet-Sitting this Weekend

Posted on

We promised to look after Pickles this weekend.  Squirt took us very literally and kept a very close eye on him! I had a lot of fun with Photoshop, and Rich and Mum-mum had fun egging me on.  First we added Zach and Cody to the party, then Goldilocks (asleep, like usual!), then Beaky, then our resident squirrel, and finally, a dove.  The caption for Peter and Carla will be, “Next time you guys go out of town, you might want to mention to Pickles that parties are forbidden!” :)

Backyard photography

Time to wake up to watch for migrating birds!

Posted on

It’s time for our favorite window-cat birdwatchers to wake up and start thinking about birds again!  This morning a cardinal father and baby spent the whole morning chasing each other around the yard (including several stops on the porch roof, where they made lots of noise that intrigued the gatitos!) Mum-mum reported hearing a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in her yard yesterday.  Birders on badbirdz saw Yellow Warblers at the Circle B Bar Reserve.  Apparently the shorebird migration has really picked up, too.  It’s so exciting when our birdie friends from the north come back through the state! :)