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Learning my latest cameraEmory Eagle Festhear
White Rock Lake
Two of the five pictures of Wilbur, the missing goose in the story on the Metro cover in The Dallas Morning News Saturday are mine from this page, which you can still see free. You have to join to read the whole story in the News online or buy the paper, but pretty much all of it is on this page with my pictures, from April 16, shortly after Wilbur the goose and three females were taken. What they're calling "a flap of dangling skin under his neck" is really under his chin, and it's a wattle, the symbol of his authority. The goose with the biggest wattle is the boss, and Wilbur was the boss of the Gooses in Sunset Bay, but somebody got him and his harem.
Is the City of Dallas planning to mow down the Winfrey Point Wildflower Area (See below to put in an overflow parking lot for The Arboretum?
I wouldn't put it past either the City or the Arboretum, which has been uprooting real trees to big a big metal one that will hold their aerial tramway, but that's what I hear and read. Bird Chat is recommending birders photograph the area now, because the idiots in City Gummint in cahoots with The Arboretum-expanders are planning to pave that paradise and put in a 1,900-car parking lot. Yes, in our (The Public's) park. They've done stupider things, so I wouldn't put it past them. But I'd volunteer to picket and/or protest such an evil plan.
April 26 2012
I still think female Wood Ducks are prettier, despite all the colors and white stripes on the males. These ladies are subtler and beautiful. Both are very distinctive. Detail shots like some of these are much nicer with as sharp a lens as the Bazooka. Today's journal entry is all ducks and a Great Blue Heron much later.
See what I mean? Maybe a little clownish, show-offish. But a riot of intense colors for her subtle tones. But he's not at all ugly or undistinctive. Makes for a handsome couple.
Here we are backing up a little to see more of him. I'm still not always capable of aiming at exactly what I want with the bazooka. I suspect real bazooka's are lighter than this thing. Or they have better handles. I've had the lens for several months, but it sometimes takes me years to learn a learn lens or camera. Or longer. It does seem to help that I've been using it almost nonstop.
Somewhat farther away and in the deep red-yellow of sunset lighting.
Got all of him with lots of detail and a little bit of the subtler colors, like that blue on his wing.
Not exactly sure why they're fighting, but it's spring, so it's probably either territory or sex. I don't know Mallards well enough to know about their territories, but it seems like they're everywhere always (ubiquitous), so my guess is sex. The universal trouble-causer.
Kinda like chickens fighting. Lots of color, plenty of feathers. But I'm having trouble imagining webbed feet with sharp claws. I don't think they were particularly intent of inflicting damage. Strenuous, and fast. They ran all over the grounds. Lots of attack and feigning. But not much damage. No blood that I saw.
Not exactly vicious, but lots of action.
Again, no blood, but I doubt they were trying to be nice about it.
I think what I really needed was a choreographer. It'd be nice to see eyes and beak.
They look much bluer when they're illuminated by the blue sky above, as in a sunset with the sun setting behind it, and the great evening blue sky overhead. Usually, they are gray with brown and white spots.
As I get lower and the ISO skyrockets and the visual noise (looks like grain) gets coarser, and my exposure gets more accurate. Or something like all that.
I spent quite some time following Mockingbirds hunting in the tall and short grass meadows around Winfrey Point to get these. I'm always odded out by those who say this mostly Mockingbird behavior helps them catch bugs, but apparently the mocks believe that, too. I just can't imagine a self-respecting bug being fooled by it and jumping ito their beaks. But then, I've never been a bug, although I have been too close to some.
To get there, I drove very slowly and quietly up and down the road down from Winfrey Point. I stayed nearly in the ditch on the side, so other cars could get by. Then I just waited for another Mockingbird to avail itself of the goodies in the grass and kept photographing them.
According to David Allen Sibley, in The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, "When foraging actively, the Northern Mockingbird often raises one or both wings jerkily above its back, exposing the white wing-patches. Thes behavior may serve to scare insects out of hiding and is analogous to the tal-flashing of gnatcatchers, the American Redstart and other species. The same action may be used in territorial displays."
And this is a partial Flash Display. Not all of today's shots are of the same bird.
Oh, and I added another amazing Scissor-tailed Flycatcher sand an Eastern Kingbird shots below.
City of Fort Worth Solids Drying Area Village Creek Plant
April 24 2012
Thought for just one time, I'd get the name of the place we keep going back to, fully correct. So as we drove in (It was on her side.), I asked Anna to photograph it, and now I can quote it directly. It appears to be in Arlington, but it's called City of Fort Worth.
Once. We'd seen these guys earlier but then they took off and flew away before we could engage minds and cameras. So just about as we were leaving, we saw them again, and I got these two shots in focus, and all the ones after that, not.
So we'll stop right here.
There was a decent variety of bird species at the Solids Drying Area today, but most of them were shy and stayed comparatively far away. Remember that the Bazooka (formerly known as the Shillelagh but I never learned how to spell that word, is a 600mm lens, that some would claim is actually a 900mm lens, which means that even the close ones were pretty far away.
These guys were so far away, they looked tiny. But here, it looks about right sized. Nice to not have to go hundreds of miles south to see them.
But what it really is is, is a Juvenile Little Blue Heron, and I don't think I've ever seen any of them but one other place, and that was in the rookery behind the Catholic college in San Antonio we usually visit when we're there visiting my parents. Here, we can see the blue that they will become, sneaking through the white that they are for a little while. The other giveaway is that their beaks aren't black (Great Egret) or yellow (Snowy Egret).
We recognized these guys when we saw them swimming in rapid circles, which we'd see them do before, again in San Antonio.
Anna says it's a Savannah Sparrow, so that's
what it is is. She has much more patience looking these guys up, even if I may
have more books. Shooting closer out the passenger's window, Anna's who sighted
it. And it stayed, right there, remarkably close to the backing and forewarding
car till we got just the right view of it.
White Rock Lake
April 24 2012
Scissor-tails is who I was after. This one shot was the best of that bunch, but I got some other birds, while I sat in wait along the west meadow on Winfrey Hill, in a tree shadow, well off the road up to Winfrey. I'd prefocused to where it was when it was just perched there, then mashed on the shutter button soon as I saw it move. It was way quicker than I was, but I got one shot, and it ain't half bad.
I don't remember how I got this shot. It looks like a lucky shot, since it's in the middle of the frame, it coincided with where the focus spot usually is on my camera. Looks just plain lucky. I clicked and one of those stellar moments when everything works. Boy, that doesn't happen very often. I may actually be getting better at this. These last two shots are among the best I've ever shot of Scissortails.
This is the sort of stand and pose shot I mostly got of Scissor-tails today. Plenty of those. They're generally shy, so it wasn't close, but I had my bazooka, so I could "reach them well enough.
My first identified Eastern Kingbird this season, although I suspect they have appeared in my photos this year before. The one below, for example, may well be a Western Kingbird.
Pretty much the same deal here. With the doubler on this lens, as sharp as it remains, it is not the fastest focuser in the land. And shooting through that vast field of individual stalks of wildflowers and weeds, it'd zip from stalk to stalk while I was thinking pure "Hey, goofy lens, it's that bird over there. Find it and focus on it, and quit with the flower focusing, already." Kinda difficult to control. So the prefocus is better. Sometimes. The bug is in sharp focus. The bird less so, although some of its feathers are. The bird was moving more, I guess.
Obviously not a scissor-tail but something
in the Flycatcher family. My friend says both these last two might
be Great Crested Flycatcher(s), and thugh I've never knowingly identified any
bird as one of those before, I like the idea. So now it is.
I think. We saw several doing much more poetic actions earlier, before I went back to get the Shillelagh, but this one was the only one I got close to once I was armed and dangerous with the Bazooka (which I can spell, unlike the Shillelagh, which I can't spell without a spell checker.) Earlier they were flying spread-eagle at just over the tops of all those flowers that have just popped out on all those meadows.
When I saw this, everything was silhouetted, black on sky. I liked it for the down-stretched hand holding the little bird, which looked altogether more dramatic when it was all black on blue. Then through the magic of adjusting exposure, overexposing the branch and bird and a little futzing in Photoshop. Now, X thinks this one is a mockingbird, and I kinda think so, too. Maybe a mockingbird who's been eating berries.
At first I thought it was an European Starling, then I saw those reddish wings, and I assumed it must be one of those intermediary stages of one of those.
And if this one really is a Red-winged Blackbird, then so is the one up from it, because they have the same overall shape, the same beak and, well, that's what I think.
Wasn't absolutely sure what this was till he stretched his neck and head up, up, up, which of course, I missed, but this is good enough. I love the tossled head feathers look.
Was looking for birds when I saw a guy throwing a net for fish. That usually is a photo opportunity, so I got as close as I could — he was standing in a boat on the other side of the bay just north of what I used to call The Singing Bridge (except they fixed it, so it doesn't sing anymore. Most people call it the Mockingbird Walking Bridge.) I got lots of shots, some even in focus. This and the next one are the best of the bunch.
Nice thing about netting fish is there's no fishing line left out in the water or up in nearby trees to ensnare birds and break their wings and other such. I'm sure there's drawbacks to this way of fishing, too. I just don't know what they might be.
The Medical Center Rookery
I've been calling it the betrothal stick when one bird gives its mate a stick for the nest for awhile. Several years. The first stick, well, okay. But all the ones after that have to be brought to the site of the nest, also. I doubt they go into full ceremonial mode every single time. But I don't see a nest yet, and this does look like a special event in these Breeding Adult Great Egrets' lives. Or something like that.
Which we still can't see, of course.
And a torrid green background that looks like it's in a jungle somewhere.
A "fleeg" in my own bird shorthand, is a Flying egret. I don't know why it has its beak open. I did not hear it saying anything, but then it wasn't anywhere near as elegant and quiet as it might seem with some an elegant bird in a lovely blue sky. The area where the Southwestern Medical School is is noisy all the time. Construction, traffic, all kinds of noises. I just tune those all out, so I can accomplish composition and maybe even focus.
I did eventually get a bunch of them in focus and in-frame, but for awhile I struck out every time I tried. Later, when I scoped them out on the monitor, I figured out why the low focus luck. I shot a good many of these wide open, guaranteeing nearly no depth of field. Another idiot mistake in a long and inglorious line of them. The lens sure helped me out though.
I haven't come up with a cute way of saying Flying Cattle Egret, so I won't try. Most of my CatEeg shots today are of them standing around.
I really like frame jobs.
Handsome little critter on and in dappled light and green green green. Must be spring.
With two Snowy Egrets in the background. The rookery is getting more and more crowded every time I return there. Last time we went there were a lot of Great Egrets. Today there were the usual other species that return every year.
Just two Black-crowns in the thick of nest and tree branchage. Hardly a great shot, but it turned into a great introduction to these guys other look.
Moments later, they did this. I didn't notice. I was struggling with holding that big honking lens in place and getting them in a sense of focus. A display, no doubt. They didn't fight after that, their crops fell back into place and they went about their business. I shot that, too, but it was way out of focus. Glad this was still in.
I overexposed the background but doing that really set off this bird, showing exactly what's gray, white, blue, red and black. Definitively.
I just love it, love it, love it when I get these guys in focus.
When I first saw it I thought it might be a Tricolored Heron, but when it held still awhile, I figured it out.
Anhingas were the reason I went to the rookery today. I knew I'd be unlikely to photograph them anywhere but in the sky, but after my first several shots of that, I dismayed. This came later. I don't even remember shooting it. I guess I didn't know what it was. It was smaller in my viewfinder than this. Just a spot on the far horizon, actually, but I'm pleased I got this much color out of it.
Sometimes it's really comforting to see these details, even if I'd always like to see more.
This one's a little softer, with a nice, big, gray building behind it.
Shot nearly wide open. The camera reports an aperture of f3.5, which is too open for a bright blazing day like today. That's why the tail is sharp, the wings a little less so, and the head and beak a bit of a blob. At f3.5 the depth of field, even at this distance could probably be measured in inches. Not even the whole bird.
And that, my friends, once again, is that. Stay tuned.
White Rock Lake
April 18 2012
You know how lucky I often am about finding and photographing birds? Well, it hadn't been happening lately. Might be because I've been putting off bird photographing till after I go to the gym, and I'm new at this gym thing, and it plumb wears me out, so sometimes I can barely walk, and other times I can't think. That might have something to do with my low luck level lately. Maybe a lot.
Six weeks after I started swimming again, I was back to photographing interesting birds doing more interesting things than taking a bath, but this is the level I'm at right now, and maybe for awhile to come. I'm not giving up on the bird photo dream, just delaying it while my body catches up with my ambitions. Happy birding.
Annette Abbot of the Bird Squad has asked me to e put this notice on my journal. Wilbur and three of his friends are missing. No signs of animal fowl play. They have not been seen since Saturday night. Wilbur is the big, white goose leader of the goose flock at White Rock Lake's Sunset Bay.
She said, "Charles was walking his dog
at Winfrey around 1:00 yesterday and the geese were napping there and seemed
fine. Last night, he said they
were acting unusual and seemed stressed. David, a friend of ours and Wilbur's
big buddy, told Charles he had looked everywhere and couldn't find Wilbur.
Looks like someone just took the four geese. We have had this happen before but, because it is Wilbur, it really hurts and the geese are missing their longtime leader."
Goose flock leaders are usually selected for the size of their wattle, which the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines as "a fleshy, wrinkled, often brightly colored fold of skin hanging from the neck or throat, characteristic of certain birds, such as chickens or turkeys, and some lizards."
Oh, and Annette later told me, "Charles saw the one, remaining pelican flying today. He said it was flying quite well. Not sure why it is still here."
Friday the 13th April 2012
Today was a Focus Test Day for me, and I used it to try my old Nikon D300 that I bought about five years ago and got fixed by Nikon last year, and mostly the test was a dud. Yep, this shot worked well enough. It's pretty sharp, which is why this shot's on top of today's pile. Certainly not because mockingbirds are wonderfully rare or exotic birds. Not hardly.
I was looking for birds. Really not anything in mind. I would take any bird at all. If it'd just hold still. I haven't captured the notion of stopping birds in flight with the Shillelagh yet. Need more practice. Didn't expect such a tall bike to whiz by, but since it did, it seemed important to try to get it in focus, and I managed that pretty well — never a guaranty at 600mm, so I'm happy enough, but it's a human, not a bird, so, nyeah. S'pose he works in a circus?
All but one of them have curly tail feathers, so they're all but one males, and that one is the one at the top right. I can't really tell if that one's got a green head, either. They're pretty sharp, too.
Green-neck-and-headed Mallard male duck.You know these ducks by now, because I keep photographing them, because
And I assumed birds would love it. I loved it. But I saw only a very few birds all the time I walked around there. Well, I only saw a few birds I had any chance of photographing or getting in focus. Most of the birds I shot today, I did not get in focus. Even easy shots my D7000 would have captured as a matter of course. Which means I usually use the correct camera and today, I didn't. It did okay with stuff that didn't move very much, though.
I suspect it was cleaning it, and just left it up there while it looked around a little. I didn't see the leg up, so I didn't watch it to see what it did next. This is actually a very small portion of a large image frame. It was the only thing in that frame, though. And I like the shot.
I saw it. I followed it down the slope toward the west from the top of Winfrey Point. When it finally settle briefly, I unloaded at it. This is the sixth shot of a quick series of six shots. It was a little bigger in its frame than the Ruddy Duck with her foot up but not much bigger in its frame, so there's some detail, but its mostly the appearance of detail rather than real detail, although it's still more detail than any bird I photographed today.
I have the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders book from way back in 1980 that includes moths. This is not one of the moths illustrated in that book. It has a lot of design qualities similar to about five of them in the book, but altogether like none of them. I'm not claiming it's rare. What I think of as rare just almost never is, so I'm not going out on that limb again. I guess this might be like what used to be the "black ducks" that are now mostly brown and many even have green heads. Only The Mutants Survive!
I drove almost all the way around the lake
today and got one set of shots of four egrets in the pond by the lower steps
Like most birds, gooses lay eggs. But the gooses in Sunset Bay, at least, have never been known to lay and sit an egg until somebody comes out of it and grows to be another big goose. Nada. Never once. Somebody lays one, like this, and they tend it awhile, then seem to forget what they're up to, and they go off somewhere else to do something else, leaving the egg to predators, of which there are plenty. Sometimes those predators include other gooses.
Not telling about what.
Note its feathers in its beak, being sewn back together again.
They get the lanolin somewhere, I forget where, and spread it all over the feathers, which is pretty much everywhere but beaks and feets.
I think I remember somebody who knows telling me that ducks with the poofy crown were called Rouens, but apparently I am not that well-informed. Annette Abbott of the Bird Squad informs me instead, that
"Most breeds of duck may be crested. According to the duck and geese books we have by Chris and Mike Ashton of Ashton Waterfowl, the crest forms if the duck has what is known as a lethal gene in an impure form. Basically, the top of the skull though which the fatty tissue covering the brain protrudes, causes the feathers on the crown to create a tuft or crest. I always thought crested ducks were cute until I read this explanation!"
"Rouen are large, heavy "table birds." Most of them look like very large, overweight mallards. They were primarily bred for food, thus the large size."
Ashton has a very good website about domestic ducks and geese. It is a quick guide to identify birds we can't find in the wild bird books. Their book, "Keeping Ducks and Geese" is very detailed. We are still learning!" Annette says.
Not very dainty, other than that hat.
Like its head exploded.
There's not really any upper steps, but there is a dam at the top of The Spillway. Down at the bottom, where it takes a sharpish left turn, there are steps. These are those. It's been awhile since I've done egret photographing down there, and this was great fun, and I expect I'll be doing more in the coming weeks, maybe even months. This, oddly, is a new angle. From, I think, the walking bridge over the steps with the shorter version of the Shillelagh (just 300mm).
Probably the reason I'm starting today's journal with two landings is because I didn't manage to catch up with either egret until they slowed down enough to land. Then, I finally got them in focus and in frame. But I've always enjoyed photographing egrets, and especially on the lower steps. I used to stand on a little step-stool, so I would be taller than the fence-thing that keeps us on the bridge, and I could swing the lens freely without bumping it into metal.
Spring is the easiest season to have First Ofs, and the Little Blue Heron, even when they're not doing anything very interesting like this one today, is one of my favorite birds, so of course I had to copiously photograph it today. And here it is. Eventually, with luck, I'll catch them doing something more interesting than just standing there, but for now, this is great. It's right here, to interrupt the otherwise unending supply of egrets landing.
Same rationale for this one, landing on the slanted concrete at the lowest end of the spillway, that got washed away in the so-called "100-year-flood a few years ago." I basically don't trust anything The City says. I believe they just want to pave the universe, and that whoever's selling them all that concrete probably owns Dallas already.
This time I got the approach, but not the landing. I really need to bring my step-stool so I can photograph the lower steps. Obviously, I need more practice, although I really like the shots I got today.
Snowies are very aggressive. When they're not complaining about something or chasing off one of their own species or several others, they're starting fights. They don't always win, but they win often enough for it to be a valuable action on their part. Great Egrets have yellow beaks and black feet, and Snowies have black beaks and yellow feet. Greats are bigger and much less aggressive. Even snowies are smart enough not to mess with Great Egrets very often.
As you can probably see, its throat has thickened considerably, so maybe what it's complaining about it what it just ate all of. Herons — including egrets — put everything down the hatch, bones and all, which is part of why they poop bright white.
Probably our most common bird, especially in shopping centers and anywhere lots of shiny clean cars are gathered.
The Shillelagh with the doubler is much more difficult to capture a bird falling fast out of the sky. At 300mm, however, it's comparatively easier.
I've been worrying about what appears to be the only pelican left after all the others flew back to Idaho recently. I suspect it cannot flay. Last summer we had eight American White Pelicans stay over at the lake. All eight were "released" by Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, and I watched them try to fly. One of the eight could fly, apparently didn't know which way to go. I suspect it flew back with the rest of our Winter Visitors a couple weeks ago.
I saw four of them on the log after most of them flew off, and I don't know what happened to the others, but there's this one pelican left now. Its wing is down in this shot, apparently because it was drying it. I watched it awhile, and eventually, it folded it back up where it goes when it's dry. If I were the only one of my kind here, I'd be lonely, but I'm sure it would rather be outside where it can swim and catch food than in those nasty little cages with a shallow plastic swimming pool at Rogers.
Duck action sometimes means a photo opportunity. So I shot as quickly as my camera would let me and still focus.
I didn't really know what they were up to.
Sometimes something fast-action like this means duck sex, which can appear pretty violent.
But I was too busy photographing to figure it out.
So I kept shooting.
After I'd shot all these, I figured out it was only male Mallards involved.
And they were really fighting mad.
Fighting and biting.
Kinda exciting to watch.
And sometimes made for interesting photographs.
And sometimes not so much.
But lots of action going on.
So I kept shooting till here, when they suddenly stopped battling and splashing. They just stopped. So I did, too.
Later, we met a young couple while walking up the lagoon in Sunset Bay. She had a handfull of very young bird. Strong young bird. Thus the nearly closed fist full of it here. She found it under the second big tree that way, and asked us what she should do with it. I pointed them to Charles and Annette, who told them how to go to Eastlake Veterinary Clinic, who holds birds for pickup by Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation. Charles thought it might be a baby hawk. I thought the beak looked vulturish. Nobody really knew who it was. But Anna and I walked up the lagoon looking for the nest our mystery guest must have fallen out of.
After failing to find that nest, Anna and I were curious enough to go to the shelter and check it out. The man there told us the young couple had just dropped off a chicken.
We were all disappointed. Seemed likely the only way a chicken got to the lake was somebody dropped it off there. I could see dropping off ducks, and I've watched lots of those grow up. But they have the water to escape into. Young gooses are assigned a goose to take care of them. A young duck might find some duck to help out a little. But a chicken? What can a defenseless little chicken do but get eaten? What were they thinking? Or were they?
The only lens I had when I shot this chicken-in-the-hand
image above was a 600mm, so I had to back off about twenty feet to get it. Clearly
absurd, but it worked great, although the first half dozen shots were a little
Always I think that this time, I am finally going to get the definitive Wood Duck photographs, but so far, I have not quite achieved perfection. They're perfect. Exquisitely beautiful, colorful, with a variety of textures and areas of color and shape. I have no doubt. Just my photographs of those beautiful birds — both female and males — are not.
Yeah, the male has most of the color, but for distinctive design, and design elegance, the female Woodies have it all over the males.
Especially when they're out in the sunlight and all their colors show. More subtle, yes, but so much less garish, too.
Somebody once thanked me for photographing common birds with great dignity. As if I had a choice. As I thanked them for noticing, I also noted that I get what I can get. Hawks and eagles and pelicans and Herons and almost everybody else I photograph are my favorites, but who is available is the most salient point. I look and look and look, hoping I'll stumble upon somebody important and rare, but who shows up is who gets photographed.
As if to prove the point, here's a female of what may well be North Central Texas' most populous species, a Great-tailed Grackle. She's resting on that strut. She had hoped to rest on a strut much closer to me, but I think I scared her off when I hauled the Shillelagh over the balustrade and aimed it at her — or where she had been. I never mean to, but when I raise the Shillelagh, it sometimes happens that I scare things. Here, at that increased distance, she's not scared of me at all.
I saw lots of other Barn Swallows today, and for a few seconds I thought it might be fun to try to capture some of them zinging fro and to around the wood bridge, then I remembered what dreadful difficulty I had several years ago when I'd just got my then-new 70-300mm zoom lens. Catching them up with my 600mm seems unlikely, to say the least.
They're really from Asian, but apparently they got named "European" by some Euro-centric bird-namer some time back, and that name stuck. But it don't make it right or correct. Neither, of course, is me calling it bearded, just because it looks like it has a black beard. But it sure looks like it. A lot of people hate starlings, but I love them and their many forms. To get this shot, I aimed my camera up through the driver's window at it, on the western edge of Parrot Bay, stopping several cars behind me, some of whom did not understand the universal hand-signal for please drive around, there's nobody coming in the other lane.
I didn't really name my latest car after these guys, but I've called several of my vehicles over the years variations on turtle names, and since it seems to slide through life, the name has stuck. I'd still like to paint its side-mounted rear-view mirrors red and green and yellow stripes like these guys have, and at one time I wanted to paint a slider tail on the back and reptilian, slider eyes on the lower front, but I never wanted to paint anything else turtlish on my pretty white car. The few people I told of my eventual plans, did not seem to approve, at all.
April 3 2012
It was too wet to go to the lake, so of course, I went. Didn't find many birds, however. They, at least, have the sense to stay out of the rain.
Well, maybe not the gooses and ducks and coots. Or the photographer, all but the last of whom all are pretty well weather-sealed, which is part of what all that preening has to do with.
Still, some of them looked a little worse for wear. Green and purple is part of what I got for seriously underexposing this shot. The rest was the darkness that often accompanies these storms. I still haven't seen the video of 18-wheelers flying through the air.
For awhile, between mini-storms and lighting and thunder and driving rain. Luckily, I didn't see any funnel clouds today.
I planned to go to Sunset Bay, but first I wanted to stop by the Bent Bridge area in Cormorant Bay to see what I could find there, besides cormorants. (of which there were only a few). What I saw was what I have come to recognize as a flock of Ruddy Ducks somewhat off from the bridge that curves out over the lake from shore, then curves back at the other end. They weren't particularly closer than they usually are, but I had the Shillelagh, and that brought them pretty close
Not like I've never shot these guys before. I have. Over and over and over. When I pulled up February's Journal to change things because I'm adding this month's page, I found them on the top of the February bird journal. I just keep photographing them in attempt to keep getting more details, like this lady's long, thin tail and stare.
Note the tail in this shot. More interesting facts and more details. And we can even see her eyes, which rarely happens in my photogs of Ruddy Ducks.
At a 35mm so-called equivalence of 900mm the actual depth of field "out there" that in sharp focus even at fairly small apertures for digital (f8 and 11), there's only a few inches of sharpness, so I might get one duck. Two if they're already close. These may be related, but they weren't all that close, so she's out of focus. I'm beginning to understand that Ruddies not only have various types of tail feather configurations, one bird photographed twice may look quite different.
Because the male's beak doesn't look blue, it is likely non-breeding. And she's out of focus, so who knows?
Usually, we can't see male Ruddies' eyes. Here, the sun was at my back and bright. Next time I photograph Ruddies, I'll ask them to configure themselves this way.
This is a small portion of a much larger digital frame. Off even farther away were a couple dozen more Shovelers, who look a little like Mallards, except their beaks are humongous. They are beautiful otherwise or with that beak, which they often keep down in the water snorkeling up stuff they eat.
Here's the Blue Goose variant of the Snow Goose, who has been discussed on these pages before, just today I caught it busy cleaning itself. I like this shot for that.
I like this shot, because this goose is showing its mostly white tail — and those gorgeous scalloped dark tail feathers, too. Since it cannot fly, it's likely to be with us for awhile. I watch it often, and I'm sure there'll be lots more pictures.
I'm pretty sure this is a female Mallard.
And only one. I love its flyaway feathers here.
text and photographs copyright 2011 by J
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My favorite answer is, "I don't
am, after all, an amateur.
I'm not kidding. I've only been birding for three years,
although I've been photographing professionally since 1964.
Thanks always to Anna.