Friday, May 02, 2008


As I may have mentioned once or twice in this space, I live on the side of a mountain, overlooking the southern-most fjord on the mainland west coast. (Not sure I've ever actually thrown the fjord bit in -- but it's true, so there you are. Or more properly, here I am.)

I do not live here alone.

Along with the human members of my family, assorted canine and feline hangers-on and general riff-raff, I am lucky enough to coexist with a few others, all of whom can lay a longer claim to this mountain home than any of the above.

The bear-sighting signs have gone up this week. A sedate collection of deer have been wandering around, and two friends of mine have spotted a bobcat recently.

My own personal treat today came in the form of a nest full o' baby jays -- with faces that only their mother (and as you will see -- their father) could love.

First of all -- in defense of my photographic skills (admittedly amateurish at best) -- apart from the first, these pictures were taken through a pane of glass. There was no other access to the nest, unfortunately, so I've done what I can to bump the saturation and contrast to help with the viewing.

This lovely laurel hedge is perched near the front door of my friend's house.

(This, sadly, is the last shot you will see not taken through a filter of glass. Enjoy it while it lasts.)

Lovely piece of shrubbery, eh?

It's got a secret...

The nest is situated right below my friend's deck, so I contorted my body into strange shapes in order to try to capture the contents on film.

These are the results.

This was my first view of mama jay. Here on this side of the Coast Mountains, we do not technically have Blue Jays, though, as you can see, they are indeed Very Blue. They are actually known as Steller's Jays, named for the very ornithologist who also lent his moniker to the Steller's Hawk.

But I digress.

Mama was pretty fluffed up in her nest, looking strangely inflated when viewed from this angle.

I wonder why?

I didn't hear a sound, but just as I was about to wrap up the photography session for the day, suddenly someone else had appeared in my viewfinder.

These jays are notoriously noisy birds, who will yell and scream and stomp their feet when their human admirers are a little slow with the peanut toss. (Strangely similar to my own offspring, somehow...)

But as parents? Quiet as a whisper.

Dad brought the food, and suddenly it was obvious the nest held more than I had seen at first glance. Dig those pink beaks!

These babies are not beauties. Pink, with eyes that bulged hugely without opening, and perhaps the faintest tinge of blue to their heads...

But, man -- were they hungry!

Check out the tongue on the one being sat upon by his sibling!

Then as silently as he arrived, Daddy Jay left. Mama gave me the 'show's over' look, and fluffed herself over her babies again.

Come back another day, she said.

So...I will.


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