Monday, February 21, 2011

Great Horned Owl on Nest

It's the season for owlets, and this is my first post on this family. I hope to bring more images of them as the chicks start peeking out and until fledged.

It was really interesting to find this owl, as the signs of her were everywhere. I found loads of pellets, some dead mice, a few feathers and even an eggshell. Sounds pretty simple right? No it wasn't. I walked around the cluster of pine trees for 3 days looking for her. I didn't find her. A buddy I shared this location with was the one who located her, but not without circling the area for 2 days. Owls are masters of camouflage, so spotting her was almost impossible. (I said almost!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Name is Blond, James Blond

A favorite of mine, this blond (and I use the moniker loosely) squirrel was very friendly. I'm not sure if it's a morph coloration or a separate species, but there used to be 4 of this color in the area, and now there is just 1. I call it a "blond squirrel" because I couldn't find any info on this coloration.

My Name is Blond, James Blond

Blond Squirrel


Blond Bombshell

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

On some very rare occasions, I run into this leucistic Red-tailed Hawk. He is quite shy, so when I am in his territory, I am always fixing my camera settings for his stark white plumage and crank down the exposure compensation about -2/3's. I saw him in pursuit of a lady, so I stayed in the area just in case he came back. He did, but not very close. I stayed put and watched. He caught some pray, ate it and flew to a new perch but was still not close. I then saw him disappear behind a house, flying really low. I was hoping he landed. He did, he was in a pasture just a few yards from the road. I did a turn-around to put him in view through my drivers-side window and approached, ready to shoot. Now with hawks, you have about 3 seconds before they take flight, and I know this, but it seems every time, I think I can get away with getting a better view and blow the posed shot. I just gained focus when he took off. The last shot featured here is the first shot with him. Oh well, another day my white friend...another day.

Leucism (occasionally spelled leukism) is a general term for the phenotype resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to skin, hair or feathers during development. This results in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only a subset are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment.

If you look at the crown/nape of this guys head (best represented in the first photo), you can see a dark pigmented area. Also, there is only 1 tail feather that is red (best represented in the 3rd photo), which is why I know its a red-tailed hawk. I know he is a "he" only because I saw him mating, so it was obvious he was a boy. I have photo'd him for more than 6 years so I fear his life left on earth won't be long, so every opportunity I get, I put in plenty of wait time in the field, because he is definately worth the patience it takes.

You can see other shots I've taken, by checking my labels for "white hawk" found on the right side of the template.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Air Raid

Air Raid, originally uploaded by Hannibals Animals.

You could count every tongue as the geese sounded the alarm in panic when this air raid took place. (The sub-adult bald eagle did not grab any prey.)

Kankakee River
South Island Dam area
Wilmington, IL

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



This muskrat cleaned itself every time it came out of the ice hole. As soon, as it was clean, it went back in. I didn't get the point...




Friday, February 11, 2011

Shame On Me!

I was suckered again. My chin is touching my chest and I am doing the Charlie Brown (cue the sad music...) walk of shame. Take a look:

I've photo'd this "cat" before, about 2 years ago in this general area of a state natural area. I thought it was a bobcat. (Check my tag roll under fake bobcat) I AGAIN thought it was a bobcat yesterday. Let me explain. He was a gray blob as I was passing by. I put it in reverse to get another look. Bobcat!'s got's eating a squirrel...Wow!...Look at those penetrating eyes...gotta be a feral cat...HUGE feral cat...gotta be 25 pounds...poor guy...its so cold...look at that thick heavy coat...I saw him before...2 years ago...he's obviously doing well to survive this long...Good luck Kitty!

...So I tried to will him into a bobcat...

It didn't work. I still have hope...

Some day, Mr. Bob-Elusive-Cat...Some day...

It is considered wildlife photography when the cat is wild, right? I think so...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cozumel Mexico

Cozumel Mexico was my vacation destination for this year. I've never been, although 20 years ago I did visit Cancun and left with a touch of Montezumas Revenge. Anyway, this time was completely different, and I couldn't wait to see that unbelievably blue water again. As you know, I purchased a "Snorkelcam" and couldn't wait to use it! We also brought a "point-n-shoot" Canon Powershot SX210IS camera, as most of this trip would be spent underwater. It had a bigger zoom (14X)and still fit in a shirt pocket with 14 MP to boot. The above picture was taken with it. I was pretty pleased with it's capabilities, but make no mistake about ever replacing your DSLR with it. It did blow out the whites, but tweaking in Photoshop was an easy fix, and shooting wildlife with it would never meet my standards. But... The face recognition was great, and it even had smile/wink recognition. Pretty cool! Anyhoo...
On to the Snorkelcam!

I loved it! Was it comfortable? Yes! Was it easy? Practice is definitely necessary, as I made lots of errors between video/camera selection but I was pleasantly surprised with the photos I did get! The video was a bit unsaturated but still, after reviewing them, I felt like I was watching a "turtlecam" on the Discovery channel.

After all of the reviews online, I was disappointed though...I did get a leak which ruined the entire camera. I do believe it was a manufacturers defect as the seals were not the problem. I am returning it for an exchange and will test this one before taking it in real snorkeling waters. I missed a lot of cool opportunities which was very disappointing but what can you do? I still like their product and am hoping for great customer service providing an easy exchange!

The trip was great! The water was incredible! Now if only I can get a job working for a vacation destination company!

My next post will be about playing "The Amazing Race Cozumel". If you've seen the TV show, think of it as a condensed version of clues, codes, adventure and mayhem. It was awesome!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Know, I Know...

It's been a really long time since I posted last. I've been slacking, I know, but I did go on vacation, there was our 3rd worst blizzard ever in history and it's been really boring over here. I haven't seen much of anything, and if I do fire off a few shots of this or that, the images are not blog-worthy, so... I've saved you some time. You're welcome!

Anyhoo, I did find something pretty interesting...

Yep, a nice sized buck! Check out his mass! I was very impressed. (My brain is speaking to me...) "Oh, wait a minute! He only has one antler. Cool! My first shed sighting! It looks kinda freshly dropped...I wonder if I can find it?"

I had a dentist appointment to go to, so I left him for awhile. When I came back, he was gone (which is good because I have an agenda!). I went trudging thru the 2-3 foot deep snow and came back with wet jeans, a runny nose and no antler. Bummer!