Monday, December 31, 2007

A Long Ride for a Long Eared Owl

I took a ride to Chicago (55 miles), because I heard of a winter roost containing up to 11 Long Eared Owls. I couldn't believe the site I saw. There were 6 on this day (SUNDAY), in a neighborhood, where the streets were tight, and the park was small; your typical innercity neighborhood. The owls were in a pine right next to the sidewalk, so I could walk right up and stand within 15 feet of them. I tried to keep my disturbance to a minimum, by being quiet and not moving too fast. I'm sure this is not comfortable for the owls, so only I stayed as long as I needed. There was a lot of foot traffic, so I don't think they will be there much longer. It was my first ever sighting of this species, and for their tolerance, I thank them immensely. I don't recommend getting too close to owls, because they hide for a reason. For the most part, they are nocturnal, thus, with people invading their roost area, they are probably not sleeping well, and are stressed. In this particular setting, being in downtown Chicago, they chose unwisely, and will probably rethink their locale for their safe haven in the future.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saw-Whuut?... Saw Whet! In Pictures and... a Mooovie!

Today marks the first day I bring a video to the blog. I now own a
camcorder (Thank you Santa!), so I am going to try to incorporate
alittle action and make this THE wildlife site to be at! My skills
behind the lens of a video-doohickey is very green, so bear with me. I
have found that I need to get a UV filter first and foremost, because
the purple fringing is horrible. Anyway, the little snippit of a
mooovie is raw. The action is not much more than a blink and a
headturn, but I think this little guy is adorable, so I had to make it
my first cinematic adventure. It is rated G. It is an action movie
(note the shaky camerawork) with no plot or bloodshed. The thrill is in
the eye of the beholder, as is the love story. I fell in love with this
guy, and I hope you do too.
So I hope you enjoy your Christmas present...
This owl was found at Morton Arboretum. If I can assume, and I will...
I am guessing it is the same little owl I captured last year. I checked
the same tree where I found the previous one and voila! It is about 20
feet up in the air with its back to the sun, so shooting him was
difficult. ISO 200, shutter 1/25, f/5.6. Speedlight and beamer also.
Note: The video, upon looking after download is completely horrible, so I am hoping to find an alternate way to download a better quality view. Hang with me!>

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Saw-Whet is Coming...A Saw-Whet is Coming...

I have some shots of a Saw-Whet Owl that I took on Christmas Eve, but...I think I can improve on them today, so I am not posting them until tomorrow. The day was dank, the shutter was WAY open, ISO too high, etc....The little guy was very hidden, and obstructed! Today looks gorgeous, so I am giving it another shot, and hopefully have some great ones for tomorrows post! Ya'll come back now...tomorrow!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Start Your Own Blog!

I have nothing to post...sooo...

Since starting up my own blog back in June, I have encouraged other photographer friends to do the same. To give these friends a little nudge, I took a snapshot of my visitors map. (Every dot on this map are people in various places who have visited Hannibals Animals.) I find it amazing that Alaska, Egypt, UK, Brazil and Chile have somehow found my site, let alone our own United States, coast to coast. I'm just a little hobbiest, who decided to dabble in something new, and 6 months later, people from all over the world have stumbled on to me.......ME! So, for all you in the foreign countries out there stopping by, please post a comment (click on "comments" to post a comment or the envelope icon at bottom of post for email), so that at least I can say Hi, and thank you in person ( text!) for visiting my lil ol site. my photographer friends, come on...get your feet wet! Post your interesting photos and I promise I will add a link to your page from here, and...I will visit often!

Note: The red dot on the map is me.
The green dots are visitors within 10 days.
The white dots are visitors outside of 10 days.

This map was posted on the 19th. Since then, I grabbed a new widget that is displayed on the sidebar which shows who is on right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's My Birthday...

December 14, 1965. Gary Indiana. I meet mom and dad for the first time on this day. Later, I come home to meet my 2 brothers. I will live in Griffith Indiana. I spend my first 8 years on Woodlawn Avenue. 334 to be exact. I was the first girl born. More than a year later, my sister will come home. We move to Illinois in 1973. The old picture above is me with my mom, brothers, cousins, and granny on the farm. I don't remember it. While writing this, I am trying to recall what my first ever memory is. This is what I came up with: It is of Christmas morning in Griffith. I was probably 3 or 4. My biggest brother had a trainset. It was set up around the Christmas tree. I climbed up on his back just as the train was coming around. I'm not sure if it hit him in the face, but I would like to think it did. Makes for a better story. I remember celebrating birthdays on top of the kitchen table. It was sort of a throne I guess. We were not normally allowed on the kitchen table, but when it was your birthday, you sat on top with the cake. Now that is special! I don't remember any certain gift, but that memory is enough. My mom always made our cakes, and...the frosting. When we got older, we got to choose our birthday restaurant. I chose Long John Silvers, and sometimes McDonald's. This was back in the day that restaurants were a rare occasion, a big treat. McDonald's served billions, but probably just 5 billion back then, when they counted the billions. I now eat lunch most every day in 1 of those establishments. I don't appreciate them at all. I remember my Grandad giving me a silver dollar on every birthday. I now collect old coins. I remember thinking when I was 4 and my oldest brother was 8, how great it would be to be that old. I could do the things he did. Now that I am 42, I don't want to be 46, like my brother. Now, I can do things he can't, or shall I say...won't.

For this birthday I am eating in. I am celebrating with Cuttidad, who's birthday is on the 18th. We are going to have steaks from our local butcher, along with blue cheese crumbles, and stuffed mushrooms. All homemade! We will probably play Guitar Hero and open gifts. Maybe I can sit on the kitchen table, who knows?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cedar Waxwing Weekend

I took a whole week off from work last week, because the year is coming to a close, and I needed to burn some very valuable days with pay. I hated to do it, because I had nothing planned, and the weather was pretty crappy, but use em or lose em! I wanted to have great days, so that I could run around the countryside looking for cool stuff, but the weather was dreery and on some of the days, freakin dangerous! I stayed in, watched everything I had Tivo'd, and surfed the channels in desperation because I was so bored. I watched all kinds of reality shows that I would have never watched, and even chose some classics, for instance, Casablanca. Well, I Tivo'd that, came home at the precise moment when Bogart said: "Here's looking at you kid", so I chose not to watch it afterall. Dammit! Anyway, I did get out thursday to check out a spot where I might find a long eared owl, but came back with a great place to shoot Cedar Waxwings. My friend Pam and I went to a place called Perry Farm in Kankakee. It is a city park that borders the kankakee river. Its like an extremely small Central Park of New York because once you are in, you no longer think you are in the city. It is huge for its location, and a great place for various creatures. It is known for its black squirrels, which we did see, but were eluded, as my car scared them off. So, we walked the trails in search of some pines (suspected of holding a long-eared or two) but didn't find any. (We couldn't even find a pine, which makes it harder to find a LEO). As we are walking, Pam takes a shot of some birds in a distant tree. Upon zooming in, we discover they are cedar waxwings. We find a new trail to get closer and find the source for their locale. There were winterberry bushes under the cedar flock's tree. We stood there shooting frame after frame until Pams battery quit. They didn't get too close, they never do, but they did get bolder. I went back with Cutti on Saturday to get even better shots (above). Big R hooked us up with some really cool winter camo, so I just can't wait for better weather to try my chances again with the Cedar Waxwings. They are one of my favorite birds because of their very cool markings. They are called Cedar Waxwings for 1, because they eat the berries of certain cedar trees and bushes, and the waxwing comes from the yellow and red markings on their wing and tail tips. It looks like their feathers were dipped in colored wax. Their black mask is a unique marking, as well as the tuft on their head that looks like a faux-hawk (not displayed in my photos, but still...very cool).