I made my way closer to the tree and perched myself on a rock about 20 feet from the side of the tree and waited. In less than 5 minutes, not only did the male return, but was joined by his mate, which entered the hole in the tree several times carrying bugs to probably feed her young. She would perch (Below top, 7-8-10) on the edge of the rim for only a second before disappearing into the hole. Then she would stick her head out for a fraction of a second before taking flight (Below bottom, 7-6-10). After several attempts of trying to photograph the female I finally decided to focus my camera on the hole and wait for her to return and I was finally able to capture her.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
In Northern Illinois and throughout the Midwest, the Northern East and West is the common Black-capped Chickadee. They are the same size and have the same habits as the Mountain Chickadee. The main visual difference as you can see the Black-capped (Below, 2-9-10 in our front yard, and Bottom, 2-21-09, feeding on suet cake in our backyard) has a full black cap; whereas, the Mountain Chickadee's cap is broken by a wide white eyebrow (which gives it a more devilish look) and has less white in its wing feathers. The Black-capped chickadee's flanks are more buff colored than the Mountain Chickadee's grayish flanks.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The past two summers we have been lucky enough to camp in Rocky Mountain National Park and we love it - what a beautiful park with lots to offer. Anyway, one of the things I love about camping is lying in the tent at night and listening to the natural sounds made by those nocturnal beings that one does not often encounter in the daylight. In the numerous places that I have found myself in a tent, I have heard many sounds that when compounded by the dark, just seem to register in the eerie (not scary) column: owls hooting, deer snorting, loons wailing, wolves howling, coyote's yipping, whip-poor-wills calling, bears woofing, etc.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Yellow-rumped Warblers were both visible and audible on many of the trails that I hiked while in Colorado. The photo (Above, 7-8-10) was taken on a hike up Deer Mt. in Rocky Mountain National Park. Note the yellow throat, which is one of the main differences between the Western ("Audubon's Warbler") and Eastern ("Myrtle Warbler") populations.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I just returned from a fabulous week in the magnificent Colorado Rocky Mountains. What better time would there be to post some photos of Rocky Mountain birds? Over the course of the week, I identified either by sight or sound approximately 60 birds. Of those, 38 made their way into my camera's viewfinder, and of those 38 perhaps about 1/3 of those became acceptable photos. Everytime I have a "just miss" oppurtunity to get the photo I want, I get frustrated, but then I have to tell myself - that's what's fun about bird photography - it's always a challenge. Getting a good bird picture is like getting a hit in baseball - you're doing good if you get a hit 30% of the time. Sometimes I am lucky by being in the right place at the right time, and sometimes I get lucky by coming across an unusually bold bird who doesn't scare easily and gives me plenty of chances to try to get it right.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
8th and last in my series of "crested" birds is another Southwest bird with a great name - the Phainopepla. To be honest, until the winter of 2008, I have never heard of this bird. Val and I were hiking in the McDowell Mts. near Phoenix, AZ, when Val took a picture (above, 12-24-08) of this bird. It wasn't until later in the day when we were looking at our photos, Val asked me what kind of bird was in her photo - I had no idea - it wasn't in any bird book I have ever seen -it looked like a black cardinal. It didn't take much research to find out what it was. It is a fairly common bird in the Southwest. However because of its dark blue / black feathers, it is very difficult to get a picture of it on a bright day with a white/gray sky.
A year later we purposely went back to the McDowell Mts. hoping to get a better picture. Sure enough, there were Phainopeplas to be seen, but it was another bright day with a white sky, and it was hard to get anything but silhouettes in our photos. Below (12-30-09) I did manage to get close enough to get some definition of the bird, but it was still a challenge. Maybe we'll try again next winter, during our annual winter migration to Arizona.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Another Jay (5th in the series) with a crest is very common out West (very seldom seen east of the Rockies). The Stellar Jay is the same shape and size as the Blue Jay, but with a black head, back and breast, and much less white. We saw many Stellars when we were in Yosemite Nat. Park, CA, last summer. I took the pic (Above) of this beggar while we were resting on a longhike in Kings Canyon Nat. Park, CA. He hung around for some time and actually ate some trail mix seed right out of my hand - one bold bird. (Below, June, '06), Val snapped this photo in Mt. Ranier Nat. Park, WA. This shows how large Stellars' crests can be.