Pin The Tail Revisited

Since there was a definite outcry of support for more birds after the last post, I’ve decided to appease the teaming millions and feature a bird for this post.  This particular set of pictures is actually a bit of a surprise.  If you recall, I introduced the Northern Pintail back in June of last year (link here).    In that post I mentioned there was a better set of pictures likely to come from the second day of shooting.

I managed to process this second set of images yet they didn’t find their way onto the blog.  Nothing like spending time on something only to find there were no fruits of the labor.  As you can tell, the missing images were found (while processing the Katydids from the last post).  I do like these shots better – the previous ones were mostly from behind and didn’t give a good view of the overall bird.  The right side view:

the left side view:

and the front!  That pretty much covers all the angles with the tail side covered in the previous post.

Hit the jump to read some more about the Pintails

Continue reading Pin The Tail Revisited

Henderson – It’s a Wrap

Today’s topic seemed a perfect fit for today’s blog for a number of reasons.  For starters we just finished up our latest bird shoot down in Texas.  Although that trip was somewhat exhausting (7 days, 7 different hotels) we did manage to shoot what we went there to find.  Which, by the way, is absolutely awesome and can’t wait to post the results here.  I was able to finish up not one, but two more phases of Project Auuunnooold.  It’s the end of the month and lastly, the final wrap on our first two visits to the ,  Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.  This comes as a bitter-sweet event.  Bitter in the sense that this shoot produced an amazing number of new checkmarks and interesting photos.  The Sweet part is it will allow me to move on to the other shoots that have been piling up in the queue – and trust me, there is a LOT in the hopper at this particular point in time.

Let’s recap why the Henderson Preserve was such an amazing birding location!

Overall Posts Pertaining to Henderson: 22

Number of New Birds to the Blog: 21

Number of Birds Featured: 32

Number of non-Bird Posts: 2 (The Coyote and the Jack Rabbit)

No other place has come close to being this productive from a non-captive environment perspective.  In closing this shoot out, I just wanted to provide a few more shots that caught my eye when closing out the catalog from the digital darkroom.  First off is a few more of the Northern Harrier that was hunting in the area.  This bird of prey must have known we were there since it would drift his hunting circles away from us every time we came close.  It is hard enough to keep The Beast on target with something close, but downright nightmare trying to keep the focus on something that doesn’t even fill the focus point.

As a result, there are “plenty” of blurred shots that hit the cutting room floor, but some turned out decent enough to process.   Not as crisp as the previous set (link here), but definitely closer so you can make out the features better.

The next one could use a little more lightening in the dark room – likely pushed the shutter speed in favor of keeping the blur down.  Mainly putting it here because the composition looked nice in the frame.

Hit the jump to see the last of the Henderson shots.

Continue reading Henderson – It’s a Wrap

A Long First Day in Paradise Comes to an End

Welcome to the latest offering from Life Intrigued.  I had quite the debate with myself on the topic for today’s post.  Should I go with a discussion on the results of a key bird hunt?  Maybe a summary of the various happenings while we were in Vegas (when you run a blog, there is no such thing as What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas – rather What Happens in Vegas is Another Post!).  I do have another book recollection to get to, but need to get the graphics ready for that first.  Why don’t I just close out the First Day at Henderson Series.  I promise I’ll give you a break for at least two posts before diving into day two.

To wrap things up, I’m going to throw you a hodge podge of birds.  None of these were firsts for me, but wanted to let you know that there was a nice collection of the more common birds to go along with all those new check marks.  First off is the Northern Shoveler.

To say there was a lot of these hanging out at Henderson would be an understatement.  There were actually more there than I’ve seen collectively at Havana’s Emiquon (link here).  What did catch my attention was they isolated themselves to a specific pond.  Not sure what the real attraction was, but it was one of two that had an island in the middle providing pretty good cover from the sun and Harriers circling the skies.  You almost got the sense they were keeping one eye on the water and one eye looking for danger.

Of course, they may have seen what happens when you venture too close to the shores (link here).  Fortunately, this didn’t prevent them from engaging in their unique feeding ritual.  This was observed at Havana, but only two or three of the Shovelers were involved and didn’t give the full effect.  At Henderson, they were in full whirlpool mode.

Reminds me when I was a kid and we would quickly traverse the outside edge of a neighbor’s pool to create a similar effect.  Of course, we were not doing that to make food more accessible (wow, the thought of a Baby Ruth just crossed my mind hehehe).

Although not completely positive thanks to the number of female breeds that look a like, I think the following shot is of a Shoveler coming in for a landing.  Both the water and wings were frozen in motion which is rather difficult to do with the Beast.  Our lighter 2.4 70-200 is more handy for those kind of shots being easier to hit the focus marks and most of all LIGHTER!!

Hit the jump to see more of the birds of Henderson

Continue reading A Long First Day in Paradise Comes to an End

Girl Power

Just so I don’t forget to mention this like I did in the last post, the following topic is another product from our Henderson Nevada Bird Viewing Preserve shoot we went on towards the end of last year.  Another difference from last post is this one  is not as picture scarce.  Oh, and indeed there is another major difference but we’ll get to that in a second.  With that lead in out of the way, please give a grand welcome to yet another new bird to the blog.

Want to take a shot as to what it is?  Hint, it is NOT what I had mistaken it for while out in the field.  For some reason I crossed this particular duck up with the Dufflebag,  Well, it really isn’t a Dufflebag, but that is what I’ve always called the Bufflehead.  Ever have one of those bizarre associations that popped in your head at the second it entered long term memory?  No matter how hard you try it just never gets corrected in the gray matter so EVERY time you see it, that is the first thing your brain’s Google engine conjures up.  Not knowing at the time that this was a wrong identification, I snapped a few and went on my merry way.  This classification error was discovered while hunting down the reference material to post on the blog.  Our friend the Dufflebag has the white markings shifted up to the 4th quadrant.. and has a completely different body feather palette, but let’s not get nitpicky.

No worries, this pattern is pretty unique so a few more minutes in the duck reference should clear this mystery right up.  10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes … later and I’m asking myself what the hell is this bird.  Eventually, the Stokes’ guide came through.  The problem is, the bird that caught my attention is not a male.  Nope, everyone one of the shots in this post are of the female which, for the record, are traditionally harder to identify than the normally more colorful males.  The fact these females have a unique coloring threw me off.

Hit the jump to see more pictures of this duck and maybe even confirm your guess as to what it is

Continue reading Girl Power