Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lifer! My first ever Pine Siskin

We ventured back out to Short Hills Provincial park in hopes of capturing the vivid fall colours that are currently on display. Just in case there was an opportunity to shoot some wildlife - I brought Ashley's Canon 70D and 300mm f/4, as well as my landscape lens (17-40mm f/4 L)

Short Hills Provincial Park

Short Hills Provincial Park is located at the southern edge of the Niagara Escarpment.  The park is a mix of small hills and valleys that were created during the last ice age! There are several informative signs throughout the park that explain the history of the park, and how it was created.

Some interesting wildlife inhabit the park including white-tailed deer, coyote, and meadow vole. I rarely visit Short Hills without seeing at least one deer, in a recent trip, I counted 16!  Because the park is located in the north end of the Carolinian forest zone in Canada, many plants grow here that do not grow, or are rare in other parts of Canada.

Mother nature did not disappoint on Saturday, the fall colours in the forest were breathtaking. Usually I time my landscape photo shoots to take place during the "magic hour"; when the sun has either just risen, or about to set. Today, however, it was a less-dramatic mid-day shoot. The lighting through the canopy of trees can still produce some serious mood.

About half way through our hike, I heard some unusual chirping that I had never seen before. A small flock of little birds were hopping from branch to branch in a near by pine tree. At first, I thought they were Goldfinches, but they sure sounded different. I fired off a few shots of the direction of my curiosity. A quick scan of the LCD screen on my 70D revealed a bird I have never seen before, a Pine siskin! I recognized the species immediately, as I have seen many pictures of these handsome little dudes from other photographers on Flickr in the past.

I blame Rudy for the lack of an up-close, clean photo of the bird. It is virtually impossible to take a great bird photo while holding on to a dog leash. Especially when he just noticed a chipmunk pop his head out of an old tree stump. Rudy will eventually learn the practices of a serious birder and photographer. He is becoming a better birding partner with each hike. He is now used to his master stopping erratically and playing with "that big thing that he always holds that makes a clicking noise".

Species #126: Pine Sisken


  1. Congratulations! Pine Siskins are among my favourite understated birds (and I managed to get some good close-up shots on a couple of occasions).

  2. Thank you Pierre! Excellent blog you have there as well I must say:)