A Walk in the Park

I can only assume things are getting .. if not already been.. crazy wherever you might call home. All the large events have now been canceled (including two of my scheduled races for April), schools have been shuttered, remote work has been instituted where possible and now we officially have our first confirmed case of the Coronavirus in our local area. I’ll spare you the political gamesmanship that is going on at the same time beyond the tidbit my tax evading governor of our broke state is on TV complaining that people are continuing to go outside – the horror, the horror (oh, but he still wants everyone to go out and vote on Tuesday – long live politics). Will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Lemons out of lemonade, there’s extra time to devote to the image backlog.

Birds of Jubilee State Park - June 2017

The queue can definitely use the extra attention now that it has been drastically inflated thanks to the discovery of the previously mentioned missing directory. Being that it is currently snowing here in the heart of Illinois, decided to take you on a virtual bird walk. There was a series of shots in the queue taken back in June of 2017 courtesy of a stroll through my favorite local state park – Jubilee College. It happens to be only a mile south of us – our woods and those of my neighbor’s all link to this park. A lot of my free time is spent there either training on hills or enjoying birding hikes on their many trails. This collection is more focused on the bird variety discovered that day than the photographic execution. Sometimes you just need to focus on the joy of being outdoors and experiencing nature leaving the stress of getting the camera and light settings mastered. Sean O’Connell said it best “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

Birds of Jubilee State Park - June 2017

Hit the jump to do a little virtual birding!

Continue reading A Walk in the Park

A Brush of Color

Continuing the bonus posts this month, thought I’d bring you a few shots that will help you think about Spring … as if you were not already in the mood after Mother Nature put up a whopping 77 degree day this week already (yeah).  Nothing represents a change in seasons .. oh sorry, guess I should use climate change instead .. than seeing the dull Winter feathers give way to beautiful color.
House Finch

The Purple Finch vs House Finch has always been a tough identification.  My go to characteristic is the streaking on the belly.  The House has very defined streaks where the Purple for the most part lacks the same definition.  The purple also has a more pinkish hue in my opinion.  Based on that, my choice for the shot above is the House.  Opinions to the contrary are always welcome.

Next up on the color spectrum is yellow.  Specifically, the American Goldfinch all decked out in its banana costume.  This image makes me chuckle every time I see it.  Chillin’ on a branch, shades on, hat pulled low – Raptors have nothing on this dude in the cool factor category.

American Goldfinch

If there is one bird that can rival the brilliance of the Goldfinch, it has to be the Indigo Bunting.  I swear that blue can be seen in the dead of night.  Over the last couple of years, these Buntings have been increasing their presence at my feeders and usually spot one or two on each of my runs in the Jubilee Park.

Indigo Bunting

Hit the jump to see a couple more crayons in the box.

Continue reading A Brush of Color

Project Chekov: Indigo Bunting

There are birds that have some blue in their palette and then there are birds that are BLUE! The following bird definitely fits into the latter group and one of those birds that are rarely mistaken. Unlike the last post, this entry does result in a new check mark in the birding list – not that I haven’t seen it a bunch of times (especially around where I live), but finally got one in the tin and that is a key criteria for the coveted check. So, without further delay, I present to you the Indigo Bunting.

This specimen was really sporting the blue and based on the other specimens below, you will notice it is actually a little more puffed than usual. My apologies, but I cannot remember the setting where this particular bird was taken. As a result I am not sure if it was cold that day and it was simply puffing itself up or if there might be some other external condition that accounts for the larger than rounder shape – maybe it is just fat (harsh, I know).

I did check into the Blue Bunting which does have a deeper blue and fuller shape, but according to Stokes that is a fairly rare bird so dismissing that for now. Here is a more typical example of an Indigo Bunting that was taken at a different location. A little thinner (umm maybe a LOT thinner). From this angle you can get a good feel for the overall coloring with the deeper almost black highlighting in the wings.

Hit the jump to view a few more Indigo Buntings enjoying our feeders

Continue reading Project Chekov: Indigo Bunting