Readers’ wildlife photos

May 12, 2022 • 8:00 am

It’s been a long time since I’ve featured the superb bird photos of reader Colin Franks, but there’s a reason for that, which he recounts below (reproduced with his permission).

I was going to put together a collection of photos for your blog, but I discovered that there already was a batch that I had amassed last year, but forgot to send.The last few months have been insane. My ALS/PLS diagnosis has forced my wife and I to sell our much beloved home in favour of a wheelchair-friendly townhouse, and also forced me to close my business of 28 years.  That whole experience was indescribable; I feel like I did a marathon in a tornado every day for three months straight, and put myself into a level of exhaustion that I’ve never experienced before, and was further surprised at how long it took to come out of it.  I later learned that fatigue is part of the journey of ALS, so it’s no wonder I put myself in the gutter.  Even now it doesn’t take much to wipe me out, which is difficult, as I used to be an “energizer bunny” type of person.It’s been ten months now since my diagnosis, and my rate of decline is indeed proving to be slow.  I have to be thankful for that, because I’ve learned of numerous cases where the person’s decline was rapid, and they died within a year or two.  My balance and walking is getting worse (I’ve had a few falls lately), which is also very difficult for me emotionally, as I used to have the balance of a cat.  Thankfully my hands/arms and speech is so far unaffected.  The terrible thing about this disease is not knowing what one’s rate of decline will be.  Will I be in a wheelchair next year, or will it be seven?  How the heck does one plan around that?I had to put the camera down during the whole moving experience, but have picked it up again and am stepping on the gas for as long as I can.

I’m sure I join all the readers in wishing Colin the best and thanking him for his bird photos. Let’s hope there are many to come. Colin’s business page is here, his Facebook page is here, and his Instagram page is here.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee  (Poecile rufescens):

Dark-eyed Junco  (Junco hyemalis):

Dark-eyed Junco  (Junco hyemalis):

Mountain Bluebird  (Sialia currucoides):

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias):

Northern Flicker (C. auratus):

Bushtit (P. minimus):

Bushtit (P. minimus):

Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii):

Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii):

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens):

California Quail (Callipepla californica):

19 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Yes indeed, best wishes as they say, but it also appears Colin is Doing the Right Things with the help of those who care – that is a precious gift – and a great attitude – glad to hear it – and I delight in the splendid photography! The bluebird photo strikes me as appearing effortlessly and simply beautiful, though I bet they all are lots of work.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Colin, we are rooting for you. And thank you for the photos, which are simply stunning. They truly belong in a museum. The colors. The compositions. The quail especially caught my attention…it is like a painting.

  3. Thank you for gracing us with your presence once again, Colin, despite the rocky road you have to travel. Your work is sublime. I hope you and your wife have many, many more pleasant days than challenging ones.

  4. These photos are gems. I get such pleasure from looking at them. Thank you so much for this post.

  5. These are simply spectacular! Love that many of these birds are ones I see every day, but through your lens they look extraordinary. Wow.
    Prayers for strength for you as you travel this difficult road of illness. Thank you for continuing to share yourself through these lovely photos.

  6. Truly beautiful, but that’s an understatement. As a botanist, I really appreciate how you show the birds interacting with the plants in their environment. And I agree with Janet above that the California quail (one of my favorite birds) is just stunning. Best wishes to you, Colin, until the next batch.

  7. Excellent photographs.
    For some reason or other (I can’t put my finger on it) the photo of the California quail looks like a painting.

  8. Absolutely top notch, as always, Colin. These singular portraits of birds have so much personality! I like the first bushtit photo best but they are all worth a good long gaze.

  9. Masterful, beautiful work, thanks for sharing, Colin. My sympathies for the health challenges, having something like that hanging over you can be terrifying. I hope your symptoms stay in check for a long time.

  10. These are really special. I looked at that chestnut backed chickadee straddling two pine-cones, and thought, what a great taxidermist! (Meaning, how does he do it?)

    Thanks for the update on your health, sad as you situation is, I have to say, your tone is upbeat and optimistic. That’s an inspiration.

  11. Absolutely stunning composition in each and every one. On average, how long do you figure it took to capture that one image? And how do you manage to get them to land on that spot?

    Of course, I am also taken by your situation and as Mark wrote above applaud how you are facing it.

  12. Thanks for the kind words all.
    To the last post above, every image represents a different investment of time and effort, sometimes a little, sometimes an amount which puts into question my sanity – LOL.
    In any event, my diagnosis sure does undermine the whole “loving god” hypothesis, especially when one considers the enormity of other human & animal suffering which has taken place on this planet in the last few billion years. I’m reminded of a recent book by John Loftus on the topic, although I haven’t read it yet:

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