Monday, December 19, 2011

Snowy Owl--Up Close and Personal!!

Click on any photo to see much larger!

As you might recall, I had my first 2011 encounter a few weeks ago with a Snowy in Chicago at the lakefront with some pretty good success. This time was different!

I found this guy in a farm field a few days ago, prior to this particular photoshoot, but the owl was really far away, but I knew I would be back! I came back the next day under gorgeous sunny skies...

I found him perched on a pole barn, so I thought maybe I would knock on the owners door to get permission to photograph him. They agreed. Yay me!

I was able to pull my car around and shoot from my window, and when he didn't flush with my disturbance from about 75 feet away, I decided to try to step out (slowly and without eye contact) and take my chances...

These last 2 are severely cropped but I wanted to show you the spider on its face. BONUS!!

I was very lucky that he tolerated my intrusion, so I didn't approach much closer. I was able to set up my tripod, put on my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS with the Canon 2x teleconnector and shoot from the only angle I had at 600mm, but with the crop factor of 1.6x, I was shooting 960mm. I will always take what I can get, and sidelighting is way better than backlighting in this case! What a day to find such a rare sighting, and to shoot so close! It was one of those awesome days that come pretty few and far between! Days like this are why I spend so much time doing what I do!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Order your 2012 Wildlife Calendar!

Get your Wildlife Calendar by yours truly now!

Includes 12 of my best photos of the year for:

$15 *includes shipping plus a freebie! (a little mystery gift I created for you!)

Leave me a comment if you want one and we will set up shipment!

Thank you guys for all of the support of this blog! I love doing it and appreciate you taking the time to visit!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whooping Cranes!!!!!!! ....and my Birthday!

Click on any photo for a better larger view of entire set of photos!

I had to create a post for my birthday, and what better a subject than the extremely rare Whooping Crane(s). Nine of these creatures flew in for a restover and have stayed for more than a week now, waiting for favorable southerly winds to retake the skies. (Note: These birds are NOT the juveniles that have already migrated with the help of Operation Migrations ultralight airplanes this year. They are migrating on their own.)

Did you know that there are only 105 whooping cranes east of the Mississippi River? And here I am lucky enough to put my lens on these 9!

They are clearly banded, and with some research I have found out that these guys are from the 2009 hatch at Necedah Wisconsin's Operation Migration. Here is what they said in 2009: "On July 21, 2009, 11 Whooping Crane chicks were transferred from ICF to the nearb Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to make up the 2009 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) cohort. The DAR birds are initially isolation-reared at ICF and then at the Necedah NWR until the fall. All the chicks were wary of all the new sounds of bird life in the marsh, but adjusted well to the beauty of nature on the refuge. In September or October they are released on or near the refuge with older Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes, from whom they learn the migration route."

(Best photo to view large! Check out the expressions on these guys tiffing!)

It is beyond comprehension how to feel knowing I am standing before these 9 birds and knowing that I am looking at just about 10% of the eastern population. I also found out that whooping cranes are 2nd on the top 10 endangered species list.

In 1937, fewer than 20 birds remained, all in a population that wintered in Texas.
Today, with efforts made to stop these beautiful creatures from becoming extinct,
there are about 400+ in the wild.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Good Ole Boys

A couple of bucks take a break from chasing the ladies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Mishmash of Sightings

Bald Eagles are hanging out at the local dam again. A sure sign of cold weather!

Northern Mockingbird. A rare sighting in these parts and a possible wintering bird? I hope so!

Northern Shrike. Another infrequent visitor and another possible wintering bird? These both were found just a few hundred feet from eachother. Double whammy!

And last but not least: Groundhog, Whistlepig, Woodchuck, etc. He's definately a juvy and too friendly for his own good. Good luck buddy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Snowy Owl!

The Snowy Owl at Chicago's famous lakefront put on a show early Sunday morning until it was flushed to the end of Fishhook Pier. The winds and the cold kept me out for far too long, but not before making the trip worth the effort. Next time...more layers!

Friday, November 18, 2011






Thursday, November 17, 2011

Window of Opportunity

Window of Opportunity

Not the best, closest photos I always try to get, but a sense of the scenery these bucks call their stomping grounds (literally) makes composition for photographers pretty tricky. I found windows, albeit small, to photo these testosterone filled bucks with plenty more to come in future posts. The rut is in high gear right now for us in the Land of Lincoln, as the lip-curling & chasing are all the rage. These beasts with their massive necks that are swollen to maximum capacity are what I am here for. I love this time of year!





Tuesday, November 15, 2011


MoFo, originally uploaded by Hannibals Animals.

On the hunt for monsters for weeks now and coming up empty, finally this MoFo shows up. Let me tell you, the thrill is still in my bones a day later! Alot of enthusiasts, including me, love the monsters, and this one surely qualifies. A droptine is the cherry on top for a bruiser of this caliber. I've got the fever!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

600th Post!

600 posts?  Are you kidding me?  Well I had to make it a special one so here it is! So many of you have wondered just what happened to me since I haven't posted in like...forever!  I know!  My luck had run dry.  I couldn't find anything to shoot or I couldn't manage decent photos etc.  This has gone on for months!  I've never had such a dry spell.  Anyway, here I am bringing you a post about a pretty sad little guy. Not so sure this little guy doesn't have an illness (rabies?), as his drunken stagger to my car without fear and the dazed look in it's eyes gave a few clues to it's physical and mental state. Being out in the rain during the day were all factors too. Poor guy!

 He sure is cute tho...
 ...and the leaf litter made for a nice bokeh background.
 Here he is right next to my car-Full Frame!
So cute, but the glaze in his eyes makes me sad ;(

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Portrait

My favorite backyard bird!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

and 1 more...



Hand-feeding our Hummers

Thats me feeding the hummers!  I love this time of year!

This is my partner Becky feeding the hummers!

If you've never tried, here are a few tips.  Spend alot of relaxing time close to your feeders, and do this all summer long.  The hummers will get used to you being there and will feed eventually. Be patient!  I usually don't attempt handholding the feeder until about September, just before they migrate.  The most bold ones are the juvies.  When you are seeing them come to the feeder is the time to start trying.  Don't move! It's a bit startling at first when they get close, but just be still.  The buzz in your ear is half the thrill!  Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Few More Owl Shots-Flight Shots

A Few More Owl Shots-Head Shots

Click any photo to see large.

It's Been A Slow Summer For Wildlife

I've been going thru a bit of a dry spell with my wildlife photography obviously. It's been sooo long since my last post. Over the past few months, I've been looking forward to the fawns and kits and babies in general to pass my time through late spring into fall. That hasn't happened. I've seen just 2 fawns with no good shots of them. I haven't seen any fox kits, nor a raccoon baby or much of anything in these recent months. But, my luck might have changed for the better, given that I ran into my old friend the Barred Owl on Friday. It's been since early spring since I've spent any time with this guy. He has disappeared for the most part, all summer long. Luckily, as I cruised his area on Friday, I happened across a migrant bird calling in the distance so I thought I might park the car and wait for a closer view. While waiting ole Mr. Barred gave a contact call deep into the timber. I gave out my own impression of a barred owl call back to him and he responded. We talked for quite a bit until he showed himself about 10 minutes later. I was very happy to see him. His ole lady showed up too, but at a distance. She wouldn't get in close, which is weird for her, but maybe she's protecting her juvies? I can only hope!

Click on photo to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caption Contest Winner-Colleen!

Caption Contest!, originally uploaded by Hannibals Animals.

Check out the comments for all of the submissions. All were very clever! Thanks to all of you witty peeps who participated! I laughed alot!

The winning entry was by Colleen! She wrote: "Lord I apologize and please be with the starving pygmies down in New Guinea. Amen." For those of you who don't "get it"? Larry the Cable Guy, more famous for the phrase: "Git-R-Done" also said the above phrase and used it as the title of his comedy album. So there you have it. Colleen wins because I laughed the loudest!