There has to be something wrong with the rotation of the earth. I know this because it is obvious I am getting shorted days in my months. Take for instance this month. I start my blog entries a little later than usual, but no worries, I have plenty of time to get my quota in. Then all of a sudden I am staring at 2 days left in the month and I am sitting at only 5 posts. Oddly enough, the tides do not appear to be affected much by the increased earth spin, but it may be the reason for all the rain we are getting and the fact I woke up to about 60 degree weather at the end of August. Guessing Gore finds that fact an inconvenient reality.
No fear, I have plenty of content to pull from our vacation this year. On our trip, we stayed at a Best Western in the Jackson Hole Wyoming resort area. On a side note, that night’s stay was the most expensive place we stayed the entire trip. I recommend finding somewhere else if you do not want to pay through the nose for a place to sleep. As we were leaving, we passed a window looking out into the pool area. It was too cold to actually swim outdoors, but I find it nearly impossible to pass a window without taking a look. Besides, there just might be a blogging opportunity waiting for me to observe. Sure enough, there it was sitting a few feet out from the window.
My guess is you are not too impressed by this particular robin, especially if they are as common in your area as they are in Illinois. Although it was somewhat interesting that this particular bird would choose to nest so close to people (lots of people were continually passing this window but based on my analysis, very few of them were taking the time to take a peak). So what was the tipping point that warranted taking the time to get the camera out? … and by time I mean a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to shoot through the glass and get the focus through the numerous evergreen branches. Hit the jump to find out
Continue reading Robins in the Hole
I have a lot of bird pictures I really like, but to be quite honest, the next couple are definitely in my group of favorites. It is not so much the quality, lighting, pose etc. as much as it is the amount of things that fell into place in order to actually be able to take this shot. First off, Linda and I were heading out one morning to check out the Peoria Zoo and thus had both our good cameras with us. It was a fairly nice sunny day so we dropped the top on the convertible which allowed me to take in the scenery as we were passing our favorite park just down the street from us. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that a large object was sitting in the branches of a dead tree (in a yard across the road from the park). I had Linda slow down allowing me to make out that it was this sitting in the tree:
The best I can tell, it is a Barred Owl which according to my guide can be active into midmorning. We always hear these birds hooting at night, but rarely have we seen one out in the morning sun. Unfortunately, I had to crop it a little tight to block out some unappealing background. I prefer to give my birds some room to move in the frame, but technically he is facing backwards to me so he does have room to escape out the left side. Although this was a pretty close encounter, Linda and I have had two other experiences. One was at our old house while walking along a trail in the woods. We startled a huge owl that literally dive bombed us before getting enough uplift under the slowly unfurling wings enabling it to lift into the sky. That one made our hearts skip a beat, but the other one just about killed us. We were heading home late one night in my wife’s Wrangler. As we came down a hill, there was a large object in the road. Although there are conflicting reports on what actually occurred next, the consensus is my description is the accurate one. For some reason my wife either did not see the LARGE OWL in the middle of the road or had some owl angst from a childhood experience and thus decided not to hit the brakes (she claims she was preventing a rollover due to the top heavy Wrangler). The owl unfurled its wings and began the slow process of lifting into the air. Let’s stress the word slow in relationship to the speed we were traveling. The next thing I see is a full window of owl feathers making an ugly smack sound. Since the Wrangler has a flat windshield, my guess is that owl is toast. For my own since of tranquility, I chose not to look back and just assumed the plumage cushioned the blow allowing it to survive the horrific event. I keep reminding her of this night every chance I get and threatened to paint a silhouette of an owl on her vehicles next to the hundreds of other wildlife she has run down in their prime.
Oh, the other lucky factor is the owl gave me just enough time to get one still shot before he assessed the situation and headed off. I did get one pretty cool flight shot but lost him in the zoom lens as he turned into the woods.
Again, so many things had to come together to get these two pictures. If I get a chance I might post another one of my favorite bird shots I submitted to the State Fair photography exhibit. I am a little hesitant to post our best pictures on the web yet, but I am looking into some watermarking or labeling to give me a little more piece of mind. I enjoying sharing, but I have been getting some stories from my fellow photographers that are concerning me.
Hoping to have more owls to share in the future!
What does the Puss ‘n Boots and the tiny rock creatures in Galaxy Quest have in common? The answer is they frighten me. No, I know they are not clowns, but they have the ability to be charming and cute while they are scheming to kill you. Puss ‘N Boots would take off his hat, expand the eyes to capture his victim off guard and the pounces on them with saber in hand. Those cute looking rock creatures are all smurf like until one shows a weakness and they pounce on it and tear it to shreds with their fangs and claws. Why am I bothering to tell you this? The reason is I encountered a new creature on visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park that creeps me out in a similar manner. Here it is in stealth mode:
Did you find it? Here is a hint:
According to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States, this devious creature is a Marmot. In my opinion he looks like a groundhog or possibly a beaver with a furry tale instead of the paddle. Apparently, it is a member of the squirrel family which puts it in the Yosemite Sam Varmint category. There is an error in this guide as it states that the Marmot’s habitat is below 11,000 feet. This picture was taken at 12,000 feet on the Tundra trail.
Upon first look, it is all soft and cuddly like. He would probably curl up in your lap and softly chirp (straight from the guide) away.
But there is definitely a demon side to this creature. Take the jump to see a couple more pictures of the Marmot
Continue reading We’re Here for You Marmots – Rocky Mountain National Park