Tummy Duty

Greetings everyone.  A little off my posting pace as we’ve been preparing for another extended exploration.   This put me in a bit of a bind with my earlier promise to get you more recent material.  Unlike the older queue material, the newer images need to be worked up on the fly which is difficult to do on the road, nor do I really want to take the time to transfer all the data to portable storage.   Instead, I’ve been working feverishly in the digital darkroom to finish up some production work to cover posts while we are out and about.   All of this while Linda wants my help packing the RV – the nerve hehehehe.  While getting all this squared away, thought I’d throw out an older set of images to hold you over.  

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

How about some cute cuddly Tree Swallows to brighten these pandemic days!?!   This is actually a sister post to one I made back in July of 2017 when the images were fresh to the month (link here).  I needed to work up an image for a photography competition at a local fair (first shot in that previous entry) and grabbed a couple of other random shots to fill out a post.  These are additional shots after I had time to go back and look at the entire shoot.  American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Our feathered twins comes to us from Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana, Illinois.  Technically in a place called Goofy Ridge – my brother Ron’s favorite place to visit and I’m sure he could give you quite a descriptive narrative about his first, second, third… impressions of that place.   I’ll simply state for the record that some names fit like a glove.  American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017
Our featured subjects were hanging out on branch just off the levee.  There were a couple more nearby, but Ron and I focused on these two that were perched together.  Still fairly young, they were taking in all the sights and sounds of their new surroundings.   Soaking in all that Goofy Ridge had to offer and I swear licking their lips .. or at least their beaks .. every time a large insect would have the balls to fly within their vicinity.  What I thought was incredible self control, our two specimens kept their composure and simply let them pass by without harassment  Almost as if they knew something we didn’t.
American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017
“Hey, did you see the size of the abdomen on that one? Sure did, we’d have to hit the lazy boy and put our talons in our beltline to make room after downing that one. Look over there.  Where?  There, here comes [a greenie] with her boyfriend.  Are we in Goofy Ridge, ’cause if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s something going wrong around here.  Good one partner, you know your lame ’79 songs.   By the way, check out that rump shaker behind you. ” 

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Something tells me the music was all over the place in whatever nest they came out of.  So why such patience and control as tasty morsels paraded in front of them.  Well, if you happened to check out the link for part 1, you already know the answer

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

These kids didn’t need to extend any energy to satisfy their hunger – mommy was still on tummy duty.  It was quite humorous as the newbs kept a constant watch on the skies, scanning left, then right, then up awaiting for take out to arrive.  When they did spy their parent, they would open their mouths and simply wait for the next course to arrive.  

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

To their provider’s credit, they kept careful attention to the portion allotment.  Clearly Ron and I were unable to tell the kids apart, however, I did try to keep tabs on who got fed on each run curious as to whether there was a pecking order, if larger kids got more or perhaps favoritisms because one made a better Mother’s Day gift than the other.  Nothing of the sort.  Each run, the mother would give her catch to an open mouth progressing equally through these two and the other ones on the nearby branch.  

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017
The amazing thing was the parents who were working their asses off to feed their children.  The mom .. and dad as you can see below, rarely stopped the entire time we were there.  Each would fly through, dispense their prey in an open mouth and then head back out across the waters to pluck another unfortunately insect out of midair.  I tried a few times to get that portion of the behavior photographed, but soon realized that was a complete waste of energy and digital space.  Usually you can track a bird’s path, extend past it slightly to start the pan and snap away – Tree Swallows are more like weedheads trying to make a decision in the chip aisle – bouncing left and right trying to satisfy their cravings.  As soon as these tree swallows see a victim, they turn on a dime and start the aerial acrobatics.
American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

“My turn, just put it right in here”

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

That was definitely a fun shoot.  Quite the workout as well.  We’d wait until we saw a parent on the way in and then do battle to keep the focus on it as it approached before hammering on the shutter in hopes of getting the feeding scene in the tin – all handheld of course.  We must have looked quite goofy to the locals ha.  

Will call it a post there.  Hope you enjoyed today’s Tree Swallows.  Bear with me as I try to keep the posts up during the travels and apologies as I’ll probably have difficulties keeping up with all the blogs I follow.  Good news is there should be plenty of new material to bring your way … and I haven’t even begun to really touch all the tins from our January trip.

31 thoughts on “Tummy Duty”

    1. Thank you Sam! If you saw the shots on the digital darkroom floor you wouldn’t be envious at all ha! Luckily the approaches to the babies were more predictable than the chaotic hunting patterns so we were able to dial those in a lot better on the panning – handholding gives a lot more freedom to match the trajectory although the heavy glass can take its toll on the muscles. Excited about our trip and will be sure and reveal the finds when we return. Appreciate you coming by and joining the conversation.

      Like

    1. Thank you B.! I thought the Swallow babies were pretty cute and might brighten the day for those struggling through the pandemic – especially those in the parts of the world with tighter restrictions. Excited about the new adventure and working up my target list. With a little luck will have some new +1’s to share – have to keep chipping away at that 300 goal for the year. Take care and glad to see you getting out in the field.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely an cute and entertaining species of bird. Guessing insects may have a differing opinion of that, but I definitely enjoy the free insect repellent! Thanks for dropping in Timothy and enjoyed your Cormorant shots – forgot to look at their tails and bill outlines to see if those were Common or Neotropic.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. … and all I get from my wife are eye rolls hehehe. Glad you liked the images, it was truly a blast trying to shoot these aerial magicians .. at least the adults, the babies were a dream as they just sat there and glammed for the camera while singing Joe Jackson tunes. Yeah, I shouldn’t really complain about the small amount of prep it takes so we can “nudge” ourselves to better health and get back to nature. Take care Lisa and I can’t wait to share what we find on our adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ah, Goofy Ridge… Goofy Ridge… Not sure what I could say about that place without sounding judgmental, so I’ll demur. I will only relate one fact that in the middle of the day we had to stop our car in the middle of the little main road to wait for a shirtless, very drunk man trying not to spill the beer he held in plastic cups in both hands who wandered in front of our car trying to find the other side of the road. Oh, and if you go to eBird and enter “Beer Can Spot” in the search bar for hotspots, you will see that, yes, this spot, known among even Chicago birders, is located in Goofy Ridge. It consists of beer cans nailed into a fence post, I kid you not. Somewhere I have pics of Brian standing at the Beer Can Spot. “Cause if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s something going wrong around here.”

    That was a blast trying to take pictures of these Tree Swallows! What a lot of fun waiting, waiting, and then seeing a parent speeding for the young’uns and firing our cameras at the fastest continuous shutter speeds we had. Reminds me of trying to take pictures of Wilson’s Snipes as they blast up out of a field and fly randomly before they drop back down into the grass. We would just yell “Pull!” when we saw one fly up.

    I love that first picture the best. It’s extremely cute. Thanks for your post!

    Ron

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There you have it folks – Ron’s official take on Goofy Ridge. I thought for sure he was going to go with the couches in the front yard, but went with the two fisted beer lugging in the middle of the road episode. Not here to judge, just providing visual descriptions! I remember how hard it was to find the actual “Beer Can Spot”. I set my bar to high looking for some elaborate beer can influenced Taj Mahal – nope, as you stated, just a beer can nailed to a limb post stuck in the ground. I need that picture for my future Goofy Ridge posts! I also remember the Chain skeet shooting with those Snipes. Now that was brutal as you had the added dimension of the -y axis as they dropped back to the ground. Shocked we even got something in the tin that day. https://wildlifeintrigued.com/2020/06/27/warning-all-seeing-snipers-in-the-field/ Linda just informed me she likes that first picture too which wasn’t expected because as you know know she ONLY likes pretty birds and those are a bit dull for her (at least until they get into their male breeding plumage). Thanks for dropping by – the same day as the post nonetheless!

      Like

    1. Hi there CJ! They definitely have a high cute factor and you have to appreciate their ability to keep the insect population at bay. Looking forward to the trip, but a little annoyed at the moment as we are getting pounded with multiple days of rain making it hard to get everything packed and more importantly my final runs in before the official launch – trail are all flooded out so I had to move back onto the roads which I hate. Stay safe yourself!

      Like

    1. Thank you Reed and glad you enjoyed them. Hoping to get some opportunities to try out some of your multi-stitch pano technique while on our upcoming trip. Appreciate you dropping in.

      Like

    1. Thank you Rudi! Once we got tuned into their behaviors better the initial frustration of trying to get them in the tin was replaced by sheer joy watching them go about the daily feeding rituals. And those newbies were hamming it up for us. Thank you for dropping in and joining the conversation.

      Like

    1. Glad to hear that Sherry. It has been a cold couple of dreary days here so featuring them reminded me of warmer days and being out in the field and picked my mood up as well. Appreciate you dropping by Sherry and joining the conversation!

      Like

  2. Very cute birdies. Sort of reminds me of teenagers waiting for parents to feed, clothe, etc.

    BTW, still waiting for my big glass to be available . . . back to stacking TC’s for a while. ;-(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guessing that glass is stuck at the Suez Canal or off the coast of California… if it is even made at all at this time. You are going to take a hit stacking TCs for sure (fstops and overall softness). Hopefully it will come soon!

      Like

    1. Thank you very much MiRa! I appreciate the kind words and for dropping by my site. I enjoyed looking through your gallery as well – stunning shots!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s