Adding Another Teal to the Collection

Congratulations, we are in BONUS time this month thanks to getting on top of the posts earlier than usual. I’m off today and relaxing a bit after spending the morning taking down on the exterior Christmas decorations – before you comment that it is a little late for that, I technically had them turned off as of the 12th which is my Christmas is officially over date. The two big snows of the year still have not dissipated much so it was quite the task to get this done – need to get all the extension cords thawed out so they can actually be looped. I also decided to shovel off Serenity (link here) in effort to keep the stress off the span. That was work just getting down and back on the big hills – next time taking the snowboard! Enough bantering, on with the featured bird of the day.

Figured I would go ahead and make another check in the Bird List today thanks to a surprise capture while up at Chain O’ Lakes State Park. This has become one of my favorite parks not only for the multitude of birds shot up there, but the trails are also long and hilly – perfect for the 1/2 marathon training which is usually in flight whenever we get the opportunity to head up there (typically for dog shows). While looking through the bounty from that trip I noticed this image and decided to investigate a little more.

Blue-Winged Teal

These were taken at one of the back (often mucky) marshes off the main campground road. We always make a point to hit this particular spot since it seems to always have some interesting wildlife hanging out – deer, ducks, snak… umm forget that last part.  The wildlife tends to keep at the back edge of the pond making it pretty difficult to get anything beyond bird list shots.  These were heavily zoomed in just so you could make out the bird at the cost of quality.  The feature that immediately caught my eye was the long white stripe.

Blue-Winged Teal

Hit the jump to find out what this bird is and read up a little bit on its background.

Continue reading Adding Another Teal to the Collection

Orange You Glad You Snapped

Kind of on a bird roll at the moment so figured I’d go ahead and crank one out while I had a few minutes to spare. Today’s bird was originally featured back during the Project Chekov days (link here). Back then I was actually focused on the male species of the Baltimore Oriole and if you will allow me the courtesy to say … utilizing some fairly crappy shots. Those were desperate times and if you recall what the project was all about (26 birds in 26 days in alphabetical order) beggars can’t be choosers. These shots of the less flashy gender are thankfully a little better.
Female Baltimore Oriole

As revealed by the line and loop, these shots were taken at one of my bird feeders. That feeder typically serves quite the collection of Golden Finches, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Cardinals. Every day I take a glance out the window to see if there are any new feathers taking a moment to fuel up (the feeders are positioned right outside my master bedroom so I can wake up and immediately see my feathered friends – it’s the little things in life that keeps me going). This particular specimen caught my attention. My eyes tried to dismiss it as a Finch, but the brian (sorry, running joke based on the large number of emails that come addressed as such) … correcting .. but the brain kept nagging at me. Not sure what the problem was at the time, I obeyed my birding principles and grabbed the Beast.

Female Baltimore Oriole

With it in the tin, I put the camera down and went about my business… for a year (he types apologetically). At least they eventually made their way to the digital darkroom. It became immediately apparent that this was no Finch based on the stature alone coming in at almost the twice the size of those small in size creatures. The yellow was off as well with this specimen having a darker/oranger (my blog, I get to make up words whenever I want to) variant of the bright yellow the Golden’s boast. A quick look at the references didn’t come up with a definitive match but had some leanings to a Meadowlark, which sports a similar dagger of a beak.

Hit the jump to see and read more about this sunshine bird.

Continue reading Orange You Glad You Snapped

A Blue Devil

A while back my brother asked me an innocent question that has stuck with me ever since.  That question was “are there any common (translated local) birds you haven’t been able to photograph yet?”.  At the time I think I said there were a few especially in the smaller bird category since I have trouble distinguishing the Sparrows from each other and some of those Wrens are just so damn hyper I can’t get a bead on them.  Frequently, I come back to that question when I’m looking through a bird reference our even while out in the field and trying to decide if I want to make the effort to shoot what appears to be a common bird – “do I have that checked off the list or not?”  There is usually some doubt after the internal debate since I don’t actually carry my list with me.  Turns out there is one bird that fits this category and that is this one.
Blue Jay

Yep, the uber common Blue Jay that inhabits almost anywhere you look here in the Midwest.  I was going through my backlog and saw this set of shots taken in our woods one particularly dreary day.  I was about to skip over the shots when I remembered the question.  Might as well check just in case.  To my surprise I did not have it checked off (remember that I do not officially give myself the mark until the shots appear on the blog).  Apparently I had overlooked this common bird!

Blue Jay

Hit the jump to read more about the notorious Blue Jay

Continue reading A Blue Devil

There’s Love in the Marsh

Drum roll please… no really, let’s hear it … drum roll…. Welcome to the first bird post of 2015 .. explosions, streamer, ticker tapes, applause and drunken anarchy in the streets. Or, maybe not.  Well, at least not the anarchy part since this isn’t a new bird to the blog.  We featured the Mute Swan previously in a two parter back in February ’14 (link here and here).
Mute Swans at Banner Marsh

The previous posts were from the Banner Marsh in Banner IL.  This shoot is also from Banner and for all I know are the exact same Swans.  They don’t wear clothes so it is really hard to tell them apart.  When I have to go through the painful process of talking about my hobbies and interests (a common activity as a result of numerous reorgs at work as of late) I always mention that my favorite part of photography is when I can get wildlife behavior in the tin.  Stoic shots are nice to have in the portfolio, but I personally prefer shots that have some form of emotion or expression that tells a little bit more.  Today’s featured shots do just that.  We were out at Banner on a rather cool day when things in the water began to heat up.  The Swan above came strolling by and spotted something of interest.  Up went the charm wings as it moved in for a closer look.


Hit the jump to see what all the excitement was on the marsh

Continue reading There’s Love in the Marsh