Osprey and Offspring Part 2

Last post you were introduced to a mother and chick Osprey that we were able to shoot on our North Carolina trip in July 2014. As luck would have it, we are still under a monsoon out here in the Midwest putting most of my planned outside work on hold, but still leaving plenty of worry as my 46′ free standing bridge over our creek is officially under water. Not a lot I can do about that right now, hell, I can’t even get to it as the end is currently sitting 20 feet out from the water’s edge! My fret is your gain allowing me extra time to crank out another bonus post.

Osprey and offspring from Outer Banks, North Carolina July 2014

This shouldn’t be a surprise if you noticed the last post title had a clue – that was not the only mother and chick Osprey sighting we were able to witness in Tarheel country. We were checking out the various sites in the Outer Banks area when we spotted something interesting in the parking lot of a restaurant. This eatery happened to sit on a water inlet and like the shots before, had a man made mast that had been claimed by another Osprey mother.

Osprey and offspring from Outer Banks, North Carolina July 2014

Hit the jump to see the rest of the shots from this second sighting – and there’s a surprise!

Continue reading Osprey and Offspring Part 2

Osprey and Offspring Part 1

Welcome to Blog Bonus Time everyone! Now that my mandatory post quota has been officially met, I can focus on burning down some of my backlog. This is typically when I release post of birds that have already made their way on the blog – usually not as exciting as when I get to show off a new entry on my Birding List, however, there is always the chance I’ve been able to improve on images previously captured in the tin or even some new element that makes the repeat visit interesting as well. The latter is exactly the case in this particular post.

Osprey and offspring from Outer Banks, North Carolina July 2014

For the non-birders out there, that is an Osprey. A female Osprey to be more exact. These skilled hunters have been featured a few times on the blog already – link here, here and here. Before I go any further, let me just apologize for some really poor pictures on that last link from Yellowstone. Those Osprey shots were done from a less than ideal distance and could have used a lot more light. One advantage of having a photography related blog is you have the opportunity to look back at your body of work and be your own best critic. I think you will like these pictures much much better.

Osprey and offspring from Outer Banks, North Carolina July 2014

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this Osprey … and maybe a surprise!

Continue reading Osprey and Offspring Part 1

Never Mind the Bullock’s

I am glad to be back home now. It was a rather long weekend with the two races at the start of the weekend and then ended with a long day at the Poodle Agility Nationals down at Purina Farm near St. Louis. By the time we made it home last night Linda and I were totally exhausted and the dogs were like potato sacks passed out on the RV bed. That is when you know you have officially got everything you possibly could out of an extended weekend – of course, that made the workday a lot longer to ugh. Luckily, I was able to get at least one post out while traveling leaving me with only one more to hit my monthly quota – might as well get that out of the way while I am thinking about it.

Take a look at this beauty of a bird…Bullock's Oriole Shot at Red Rocks Ampitheatre near Denver Colorado in May 2014

All I can say is gorgeous. It may be due to the fact I am so fond of Halloween, but this has to be one of my favorite color palettes for a bird. Please overlook the composition and technical execution of this batch of photos. This particular specimen was hanging out in clearly the most tangled branch tree it could find to thwart my every effort to get a clean shot. Not sure what kind of tree this was, but it ended up not only providing excellent protection from The Beast, but it also looks quite menacing seeing as how some of the branches look like grey barbed wire.

Bullock's Oriole Shot at Red Rocks Ampitheatre near Denver Colorado in May 2014

Hit the jump to find out what this bird is!

Continue reading Never Mind the Bullock’s

Don’t Worry, Mommy Has Her Eyes On You

I can safely say my body, at the moment, hasn’t been this sore since exactly one year ago today.  Ironically, it is really due to almost the exact same torture I put it through last year although this year was about 13.1 miles easier.  Yep, this is my anniversary of completing the Illini Marathon over in Champaign.  Like last year, I once again battled the running gods by accepting the I-Challenge, but Linda pretty much insisted I only did the half challenge – 5K Friday and then a half marathon Saturday morning.  I’ll leave the rest of the details for a future post, but there are three more medals to add to my wall… and legs that once again are screaming at me.  Since I’m sitting here waiting for the pain to subside, decided it would be a good time for a post so here goes.

Well, this particular post shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if you happened to read my previous post on the Great Horned Owlets.  You probably already guessed, their mother wasn’t very far away.

Great Horned Owl Shot In Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

…. and you would be right!  She was actually just on the other side of the tree trunk hanging out on  a branch keeping a very close eye on any dangers that could threaten her cuties.  She was pretty calm about the whole thing.  Imagine a number of tourists driving up, pulling off to the side of the road, jumping out with all forms of cameras and then milling about under the very same tree her precious offspring are spending their days.

To her credit, she would check off all the dangers to her right…

Great Horned Owl Shot In Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of Mommy!

Continue reading Don’t Worry, Mommy Has Her Eyes On You

Owl-Let You Take Their Picture

I have one word that defines today’s post topic – that being FINALLY. This happens to be one of those times when I was keenly aware that I was able to get a prized bird in the tin but it seems like it has been forever trying to get them processed and ready for publication. So, without any further delays, please say hello to my little friend.

Great Horned Owl Shot In Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

How cool is that! That is the cute and puffy offspring of a Great Horned Owl. This particular nest was shot in the Rocky Mountain National Park back in May of 2014. Pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but we had traveled out to the Denver, Colorado area for the Teacup Dog Agility Nationals. As an incentive, Linda added in a side trip to the Rocky Mountain Park to check out the local wildlife. She knows me to well, I’m in the van and ready to go the minute I hear there’s a chance to spend some time in the mountains with The Beast.

“Who goes there!”

Great Horned Owl Shot In Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the fuzzy Great Horned offspring

Continue reading Owl-Let You Take Their Picture

Book Recollection: Sibley’s Birding Basics

Sibley's Birding Basics Greetings everyone! We just returned from a quick birding trip in Iowa over the Easter break. Nothing new from a bird species perspective, but think there are a few wall hangers so it was likely a productive outing. Been caught up in a number of projects as of late not to mention putting the final training runs in before the start of the race season scheduled for next weekend. As a result, going with a short post tonight – my body needs a rest from all the hiking.

Today’s featured topic is another book recollection – Sibley’s Birding Basics by David Allen Sibley. If you are familiar with birds at all you should recognize the author’s name. If not, you need to make your way to your local bookstore and pick up his Guide to Birds – it is an illustrated book which is a nice compliment to the references with actual photographs – you can always draw key features better than you can visualize them from an actual photograph (we’ll just gloss over the nuances of how he was able to draw them so well). This particular book was actually loaned to me by my brother Ron. He probably didn’t realize at the time it would take like a year for me to get through it (sorry). The interesting thing about this book is it isn’t a very large book. Not only is it thin (maybe a 1/4 inch), but it is also small in dimension. Don’t be fooled though, this is a very technical read and one you might find yourself repeating paragraphs just to understand the nuance or detail. It is a very sharp looking published product with gorgeous illustrations, but one thing turned out to be a tad annoying – the type font is too small. One of the reasons it took so long to read is it wasn’t convenient to travel with since it required me to drag along a pair of reading glasses or have really good light. Basically it became my quick nightstand reading material for those days I wasn’t too exhausted to get a few pages in.

From a summary perspective, this book is pretty technical. Recommend just focusing on a few key elements you can use in the field immediately – there is a lot of stuff in there and you might find yourself overwhelmed like I was was at the beginning. For me, the key characteristics that distinguish the Hairy Woodpecker from the Downy Woodpecker was worth the price of admission alone – distinguishing those two in the field is about as fun as trying to identify juvenile Sparrows. Without having them side by side to see the stature differences, they pretty both looked identical until reading the key tail barring difference and the fine feathers on the bridge of the Downy give it a smaller bill appearance. I recommend giving this book a read – maybe a number of reads taking a few more bits of knowledge each time to increase your bird brain.

Hit the jump to read some of the takeaways from my first read!

Continue reading Book Recollection: Sibley’s Birding Basics

Squirrelly Attitude

Sticking with the featherless theme again for today’s post. I try my best to be accommodating for my non-birder readers whenever I can. Having recently processed this set, figured there wasn’t a reason to let the chemicals dry before releasing them!

Back in February of 2015, I had the opportunity to visit my parents in Springfield IL. The camera came with me in hopes of heading out to Washington Park to see what kind of ducks were hanging out in the ponds. If you recall, the last time I was there a number of Wood Ducks made their happy way into the tin. (link here). The Woodies were still there this trip, but a small bundle of fur ended up stealing the show.
Squirrel shot in Washington Park, Springfield IL February 2015
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing a number of squirrels – like here and here. A lot of those were taken out west, but a few of those also featured the Eastern Fox Squirrel (at least this is what I think this specimen is). However, this little gal (again, a logical guess) was quite animated upon discovering the big glass of The Beast pointed directly at it. It suddenly became very possessive of its recently discovered acorn.

“Ummm, you looking at me over there Mr. Puny-man!?!”
Squirrel shot in Washington Park, Springfield IL February 2015

Hit the jump to see what kind of attitude Mr. Squirrel brings today.

Continue reading Squirrelly Attitude

My What Green Eyes You Have

Welcome to April everyone! Bonus time is now replaced with monthly quota time so I get to start the trek to 6 posts once again. Figured I could at least get one out of the way seeing as how I’m just sitting here trying to recover from a difficult training run this morning – first of the young season two loop pass through the hills of Springdale for a healthy 13 miles (also took the second loop in reverse to make sure the legs were totally drained by the end). I also know my brother Ron is out trying to add to his bird count right now so opted for a devious subject
Praying Mantis shot at house October 2014

I know for a fact that Ron is not fond of the Praying Mantis based on his decision to wait an extra month to turn the page on our EddieSoft Gallery calendar so he could skip looking at the one we selected for our annual product. You can view the previous featured post on the Mantis back in Sept 2010 (link here). Hoping that after viewing this new set he might be in enough trauma that he will prefer to stay inside rather than risk a personal encounter – ha.

Praying Mantis shot at house October 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more creepy pictures!

Continue reading My What Green Eyes You Have

A Mellow Fellow

We are still in bonus time here at blog headquarters. I was able to get my monthly quota in pretty quick this month thanks to a strong push out of the gate. That means we get some extra time to focus on subjects that have already been featured in a previous post. I’ve typed it once, I’ve typed it a hundred times, the greatest thing about being a birder photographer is every outing is like a new beginning. Even if you have a bird in your gallery, you can always try to improve your image. Better technical, more interesting posture or even unique behavior. Note, “birder photographer” was not a typo. It is amazing how many times the question comes up as to whether you are a birder or a photographer as if they are exclusive titles. With my brother Ron on this, we are answering this question with a resounding “Yes” from now on hehehe.

So, welcome back to the blog…

Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014

… the Yellow Warbler. You may recall that this brightly feathered bird made its debut back on April 15th, 2015 (link here). Mr. Yellow from the previous post was found at Lake Andes in South Dakota. This new specimen was spotted on our trip to Colorado back in May of 2014. True to the statement above, I happen to like these first two shots better than the previous set (especially the first one).

Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the yella fella.

Continue reading A Mellow Fellow

Just Me and My Peeps

Well, at least I was strong out of the gate this month. Unfortunately, things have slowed down a bit as of late due to massive amounts of spring cleaning taking place around the house. Cleaning brought a bonus with it this year. Linda was continually making comments regarding my Halloween Lab still sitting in the middle of our newly remodeled basement. Personally, I think this is a fabulous place for animatronics construction, but I can see her point – it has been there pretty much since last August. Decided it was best to heed the warnings and cleaned out the small room previously used for the remodeling staging. I must say it looks pretty nice and might put a project post on it when I get time – expecting big things now from the evil depths of the new lab! Knowing my readers have been waiting patiently, decided it would be prudent to dust the cobwebs off the blog.

Say hello to my little feathered friend.
Birding Texas November 2013
Want to spend a day nose deep in reference books, try to ID a non-breeding adult shorebird. You have to admire the experts in this field since they basically ALL look alike – at least to me. For starters, I usually check the regions to see if there can be any narrowing there. This particular specimen was taken at Galveston, Texas back in Nov 2013. Well that did little to narrow the field since the Texas Gulf is a favored stomping ground for all the Peep breeds..
Birding Texas November 2013

Hit the jump to find out what this Peep is!

Continue reading Just Me and My Peeps