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.

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

Continue reading There’s Love in the Marsh

A Cute Mute Pt 2

It is dog show weekend and that can only mean one thing.. that’s right, plenty of time to type out a post which, by the way, completes my monthly quota.  February is always a tough month due to being ripped out of two full days.   But enough whining, I know you want to get onto the post.  Today we bring out the big guns.  The first set of the Mute Swan series (link here) brought you the pictures of Swan cygnets which are umber cute in my book.  Unfortunately, there was room for improvement on the execution of those shots for a number of reasons including distance and light topped off by I just failing to hit my marks.  Figured the cuteness factor would help compensate for the softness and the hard light in the later shots.  Truth is I put those in the first set because I had a much better offering and wanted to build on the excitement.  Going right for the jelly always dampens the experience of that tasty Mel-O-Cream Bismark doughnut.  Yum, but I digress.  Leading with my favorite and soon to be uploaded Gallery shot on the newly redesigned EddieSoft Photography site (link here):

The reduced size takes a little away from the eye.  Normally shots from the back do not work that well, but the fact he (also referred to as a Cob) was looking back at me with that smirky don’t even try to sneak up on me look provided a nice composition.  As with all the Mute Swan shots in this series, these were taken at Banner Marsh in Banner IL.  Thanks to our friends over at Wikipedia learned that this pose is known as busking and as suspected in this particular setting a display of threat.  No fear dude, just hanging out here on the banks of the marsh snapping a few shots… now my wife over there .. yeah, the one over there with that long stick trying to smack the Canada Goose she sees.. well she is dangerous – just ask the Geese that crossed her path on the golf course – the horror, the horror (just kidding, Linda was behaving herself .. or was she?)

Hit the jump to read the rest the Mute Swan series post

Continue reading A Cute Mute Pt 2

A Cute Mute Pt 1

I tried really hard, but I just can’t go that long without a bird post.  At least I gave you a little bit of a break, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, we are once again featuring a feathered friend  .. wait, let me put a little more emphasis on that .. featuring a NEW bird to the blog.

To be honest, I kind of held back on this one during Project Checkov.  I had plenty of ‘S’s for that particular post, but I did wimp out and use the Mallard for the ‘M’ entry when in fact I had this water bird available.  Wait a minute, I might not have mentioned the whole basis for Project Chekov.  I think I at least hinted that there was a theme in a previous post but maybe didn’t state it for those that didn’t figure it out.  Each entry of that post started with a different letter in alphabetical order.  That element made the effort extremely difficult requiring a number of days to lay out that series with the photographs that were in the backlog.  If you didn’t catch that you may have underestimated just how hard that project was.  Oh and of course the name was a play on the fact I was trying to complete a bunch of CHECK OFFs on my bird list.  There isn’t a real check mark until a picture is taken and it shows up on this blog.  There was one and only one reason I didn’t go with this bird over the Mallard and that is due to the end of this title – there were too many shots I wanted to feature and why this post is really spread out over two parts.  Rather than get ahead of myself, let’s focus on the aspects of this set of Mute Swans!

All of these pictures were taken down at Banner Marsh in Banner Illinois over different visits to the marsh.  Every time we head down there, we are greeted by at least one Mute Swan hanging out among the weeds or enjoying a slow paddle on the water.  I never really thought much of it while taking the shots, but this particular Swan has a pretty narrow distribution in North America predominantly around the Great Lakes region.  They are  primarily a European and Asian Swan but introduced into North America in the late 19th century.  Some consider the Mute Swan an invasive bird due to their disruption to the natural waterfowl population.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of these rather large birds.

Continue reading A Cute Mute Pt 1