We haven’t been out to properly enjoy the birds very much since the runup to the holidays… now things are finally allowing us to recreate again.
Isn’t this kestrel just adorable?
There were lots of this one odd kind of duck… turns out they were ruddy ducks with their breeding colors turned off. Here’s the boy,
and here’s the girl:
We also saw something large and owl-like fly by, which I could only get a distant shot of from the back:
Probably a red-shouldered hawk.
The next day, we went on a mini hike up a local hill. Various hawks soaring around… check out the bulging crop on this one:
And then we got to see a nice sunset.
Are we finally seeing the first signs of the end of Windows? Can the vast decaying empire of the Windows desktop finally be about to fall? (more…)
My 150th photographed wild bird species (not counting five blurry shots of uncertain species) is the red-breasted nuthatch, which recently started showing up in our back yard.
Long time no post. Long time no get out of the house and see anything, let alone get good pictures.
The migratory waterbirds are returning. And we get plenty of a species that I have not photographed before: cinnamon teals!
I also caught a blue-winged teal, which was also new to my camera:
This guy who is apparently flying without wings is probably a green-winged teal (a familiar denizen of the area):
We haven’t gotten out to enjoy the wetlands properly — and especially not to take pictures — in weeks and weeks. It was wonderful. She was delighted with how we kept seeing another new species, and another, and another. Song sparrows, northern harriers, northern shovelers, northern pintails, a mute swan, goldfinches, vultures perched in a blooming century plant, a gadwall, avocets and stilts, a mass of unidentified shorebirds… and isn’t this pintail just the handsomest thing ever?
What happens when you try to photograph Independence Day fireworks with no tripod? Sometimes, what you get is a weird sort of tesla coil lightning bolt effect.
I recently learned that a gang of Auduboners came out to the parking lot at my job, to observe the birds there. So it’s not just my amateurish ignorance that makes it seem like a prime birding spot. Last time I took my camera there, I got a species I’d never seen before — a bullock’s oriole:
And I got a good long look at a pair of swainson’s hawks, which I’d previously only had a very distant shot of (probably one of those same two). Here’s one of them in flight:
Great blue heron nestlings!
A red-shouldered hawk in a nest!
A stack of adult herons:
I was just gonna watch its progress with a pinhole projection, but she wanted to actually look at the sun. So we made a last minute scramble for some kind of filtering medium. What we came up with, thanks to an idea from someone at the local hardware store, was the mylar film that is sold for tinting car windows. We found a roll that was rated for blocking the majority of IR and almost all of the UV. But it wasn’t very dark… we got only moderate tinting, because she wanted one she could actually use in her car. (It has old tinting film that is cloudy and bubbly and needs to come out.)
By pulling the roll of film out into a cone, she could look through a variable number of layers — just move the tube horizontally in front of her eyes until the sun was a comfortable brightness. She was thrilled — she’d never watched a solar eclipse before.
I cut a strip off the end of the roll, and made an eight ply cheapass neutral-density filter for my camera. (It was a bit thin to look through directly.)
And check this out on the ground:
In some of the late shots, I can make out a sunspot in the lower right.
I did not know a pelican could look this tough and scary.
To get a clean look at this picture without the blog clutter, click here.
That’s the full-blown breeding look there. Here he is rinsing himself off: