Monday, December 19, 2011
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
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Includes 12 of my best photos of the year for:
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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!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
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
Click on photo to enlarge.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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!