Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time Sequence - All in the Month of May

An extraordinary occurrance has happened right outside my back door. O.K. I am exaggerating a bit but... Just a few miles away, an eagle couple has built a nest...
And one is sitting on that nest!

This shot was taken on May 1st.

(Pay special attention to the 3 photos' foliage or lack of, on the tree.)

Being careful not to disturb the eagle incubation period too much with frequent visits, I would only visit the location once a week or so, and stay for just a few seconds at a time. (By car)

On this next visit, although lighting was awful, I caught a glimpse of new life...Eaglets! Amazing! I was speechless!

This photo was taken on May 8th.

The kids were awkwardly stumbling about the nest, and for just a few seconds, they became interested in the big shiny gray blob on the ground. (My car.) I felt that I had disrupted nature a bit, so I left in total amazement...

I've never been so fortunate, to witness such an event or even thought I ever would, unless it was on the Discovery Channel. As a mental note, I thought that the eaglets would be all white and fuzzy when first born, and I've been proven wrong. It's a wonderful thing to be wrong, first hand! Amazing!

(I've gotta shout out to Rattlin Antler for trusting me with the secret, Thank You! It an awesome memory in the making, thanks to you!)

Going back to see how big the kids have grown on May 25th...

Holy crap! They grow incredibly fast! Wow, it's almost over...Soon, the not-so-little kids will fledge...I'm sad to see them go, but thrilled that both young eaglets are healthy and ready to soar! I feel so incredibly lucky! Once in a lifetime...
I still just shake my head in amazement just thinking about it. Seriously? Wow! and...WOW!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Black Attack II -- I'm Baaaack!

Returning to the scene of the "incident", I wanted to loiter on the red-winged blackbird's territory just to capture better photos of this irritable character, since the sky was beautifully painted with big poofy clouds and plenty of light for a nice background (through a windshield). I didn't have to wait long before he buzzed my car and landed in the reeds beside me. He let out an ear-piercing rendition of his fiercest call, just to try to scare me off. When that didn't work, he predictably landed on my car and inspected my windshield, then gave another shout!

He paced back and forth on the hood...

...and stared inside...

He shouted a few more times through the windshield and then chased off another unsuspecting blackbird trespassing, so I took that opportunity to escape his wrath.

Whew, I was lucky to get out alive!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Common Yellowthroat

A personal favorite characteristic of mine are birds with masks. The Common Yellowthroat's wide black mask is at the top of the list for "Best mask"!

It's "wichety-witchety-witchety" call is a very distinctive sound, but seeing one requires a bit of luck.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Just a few reserves to post:

The Great-crested Flycatcher is often heard before seen. It's such a beautifully marked bird. It is the only eastern flycatcher that nests in cavities, and often uses snakeskin in the nest lining.

Northern Flickers drill holes for nests. It looks as if it changed its mind on the placement of the hole and finished the one he is in. He peeked out for just a second.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is such a starkly bright colored bird. It's one of my favorites! They also drill holes, and this pair had babies they were feeding.

I found this wren to be quite funny looking. Here he looks as if he has a handlebar mustache. Quite handsome don't you think?

This junior Bullfrog was just hanging out above water when I saw him. I'm used to seeing them quite a bit larger than this, so I took the opportunity, although my vantage point was not optimal at all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Few Warblers and a Tanager

It's been a tough year for seeking out warblers after my initial early finds. The forests have leafed out and closed their windows. A few I have found have been in my car as I drive by. I feel pretty lucky just to have these:

Pine Warbler

I've been looking for this guy all spring, concentrating on him in particular for a few weeks. Rattlin Antler told me of his siting and I was lucky enough that he showed up, just as I was leaving. He kept a distance though, unlike when Rattlin spotted him.

He took off pretty quickly, and out of sight.

Yellow Warbler

These guys always look happy to me!

A Mouthful

So you see a giant fish hanging from a Great Blue Herons mouth as you are driving by. You gotta stop! Is this guy seriously gonna swallow this cat (I think it's a catfish)? He did! I missed that shot only because I was watching him for quite some time, struggling to properly prepare this fish for the gulp. He tried many different techniques but there was 1 problem. This catfish had been dead for some time. Rigermortous had set in, so the long stiff fish was being quite difficult for the GBH. He dipped the fish for lubrication many times, just to give up for a few minutes, then grab it again and start all over. This went on for a long time, and just as I had given up, he swallowed it. Doh!

A good fluffing after a belly buster of a meal!

Strike a pose!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Turkey Vultures

Place a Turkey Vulture in any scene, and it will darken the mood, no matter what the lighting. Take this old decrepid barn gabel for instance. I've known this barn for ages, given that I was raised in the area. I've never seen it as "creepy" until this photo.
It's not a bad thing, this way or that, but none the less, I wouldn't go in this barn on a dare. I don't know, it's just funny how we all stereotype things...such as vultures, which in this case, transferred it's creepy label onto the barn.

Wading in the Sunset

While on vacation, expecting nothing better than great things, my choice of weeks, weather wise, came up a bit short. It's a good thing I chose to stay around home for the entire week, or it could have been a huge spoiler. Anyway,it was a nice sunset to shoot these Greater Yellowlegs!

There were hundreds of waders, most were yellowlegs and willets.

Don't expect me to know the difference in this lighting!

As the day ended, the flock flew off into the sunset!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sandhill Crane

A chance meeting with a few late migrant Sandhill Cranes. I didn't expect to see these guys so late. They probably forgot their maps and wouldn't ask for directions, thus, the delay...

There were 4 in the flock casually feeding not too far off the road.


I've been on vacation for the past week, so posting has been hit and miss, but since I am back into the swing of things, I can promise to post regularly for a while.

These cute and fuzzy lil guys can be found just about anywhere you look right now.

I can hardly pass up a fuzzy photo shoot, although observing them without a viewfinder can sometimes be more rewarding.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Black Attack!

So I'm just minding my own business, parked at a wildlife area, when all of a sudden, a Red-winged Blackbird appears on the hood of my car...

Holy cow, what does he want?

He paces back and forth, inspecting my windshield...

And then gets all territorial on me, and lets out a scream!

He then hops over to my side mirror and inspects some more...

He then takes a look at himself...

and hollers some more...

He then hops to the side window and spits out some more foul language, as if I didn't get the message...

But I did get the message...This is his piece of property and he wants me out! So, after giggling at him and his intimidation tactics, I let him win and left.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bald Eagle Series

Included here is the rest of the series in the photoshoot of the Bald Eagle. It was one the luckiest days ever! (These photos are not cropped)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Personal Best

There are times when you just know, after the shutter has fired, that you just captured a pretty good photo. You were prepared and it came out nice, but...There might have been some distracting "this or thats", but who cares, you really like the photo! There are also times you hope and pray that what just happened got caught on film, and that the settings are right, but it ends up a "woulda, coulda, shoulda" photo that you keep anyway, just as a reminder to do things differently. And then there are times when everything comes together perfectly. The environment, the subject, the camera angle & the camera settings are all perfect. This photo represents the closest thing to perfect I can muster. I took this on Tuesday, not knowing what was about to transpire. The sky was filled with thin clouds, the sunlight was weak, but I went out anyway. As I drive along the gravel road, I whisper a gasp as I see that an eagle on a dead tree branch with nothing else but sky. He was just 50 feet away, and to top it all, I happened to be shooting vertically as it lifted off his snag in my direction as the sun brightened for just a few seconds. I was thrilled! Right place, right time! I couldn't wait to get home to review the images. I knew the settings were good. I played with them previously, as the eagle sat tight for at least a few minutes. What a great day it turned out to be!

I took liberty with the background to fancy it up, and liked the results. So, as far as personal best's go, this is mine.

Here is the original.

Tomorrow will include the rest of the series!

I would love to see all of my bloggy bud's "Best's". So if you would like to show your Personal Best, include the link in your comments, or start a new post and lets start a new meme! I challenge everyone to post their "Personal Best"! So...Richard, Chris, Shelley, Craig, In the Garden, Marsha, Barb, Rattlin Antler, Nick, Eve, Tina, Jalynn, Ruth, Helen, Michele, Melissa, Don & Sher! Will you do it?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Orchard Oriole

Chalk up another first, as this Orchard Oriole is the first male I have ever photographed. Last year, I shot a pair of females, which was really exciting, but the beauty of this male outshines all!

The smallest North American oriole, the Orchard Oriole is found nesting in shade trees along streams, rivers and lakes, and on farms and parklands. The rich chestnut color of the adult male can be so dark that he may appear all black before you get your binoculars on him. Source: All About Birds