A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Friday, September 23, 2011
A colony of Purple Martins at Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 8/3/2011.
The only time I have seen Purple Martins was in and near man-made bird houses, so in early August, I was pleasantly surprised to observe a moderate sized colony of these martins in the more natural state of Rock Cut State Park. They were swooping down over Pierce Lake gleening insects off the water surface and roosting in a couple of nearby trees (Above). This is also the first time I have seen Purple Martins in Illinois. During the summer months, they are found throughout the Eastern half of the U.S. and in spotty regions out West as well as in Canada. In winter they will migrtae as far south as the middle of South America. In the East they most exclusively nest in man-made Martin Houses; however, in the West they are more likely be found in natural cavities such as holes in trees and in the sides of cliffs.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought a Sigma 150-500mm.and finally sold that one and replaced it with a Sigma 150-600mm, my current birding lens.