Sound the Trumpets

It’s another February bonus post and since last time I featured cute and cuddly bunnies I feel less guilty featuring another bird for today’s post.  Sorry to keep doing this to you but my brother is putting tremendous pressure on me with his progress on his birding life list gallery.  Now that he is using technology like e-bird alerts I’m forced to work my fingers to the bones slaving away on posts just to stay ahead.  Only thing going for me is most of the bird alerts required him to leave the car in the frigid temps of Chicago which translates to … no check mark hehehe.  With bloodied fingers I type you today’s featured bird the Trumpeter Swan.

Trumpeter Swans of Yellowstone

This is actually not a ‘new’ bird to the blog or technically an add to my Birding Life List Gallery.  What is new, however, is the fact you can actually make out the features on these shots.  The previous ones from Yellowstone were a long way off even with the Beast and tele pressed into service (link here).  Now that you can actually experience them up close you can see just how majestic these Swans are.  I laughed when processing the shot above in the digital darkroom – it seems a tad pissed off that we were disturbing his afternoon swim.  I am getting the general opinion that most birds simply looked annoyed or goofy when viewed head on.  See how much more pleasant this angle looks.

Trumpeter Swans of Yellowstone

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of these beautiful Swans.

Continue reading Sound the Trumpets

They Say it is a Trumpeter, But it Looks More Like a Bird

It was a tough debate with myself.  Do I blog about the Zook finally getting the hook (a triumphant time for all Illini fans) or do a rant on what a piece of crap software iTunes is (you would think an half brained programmer would allow you to sort your playlist folders by the physical file name).  At last I decided to go with … oh geez, I better get going on those Yellowstone posts or I’m going to spending the rest of the month wading through all the email from my angry readers.  I need to ease into this thanks to the fact there are probably 30 posts alone from our shots that week and like a big night of bar hopping, once it’s tapped … you’re in for a long stream (too graphic?.. thought so).  This set is a little bitter sweet.  The sweet part is I was able to put another check in the bird list with Trumpeter Swans.  The bitter news is I wasn’t able to get the best shots due to a combination of the weather conditions and just not having the required reach – those suckers were out there and even though we ended up hiking out pretty far to improve the shots, I didn’t exactly execute.  Enough chit chat, let’s get those pictures up!

Linda and I were able to meet up with David and Giselle while we were out there.  They are friends from here that recently moved out to Billings, Montana (to join the militia ha!).  On our first day out there we passed by Swan Lake and noticed what looked like rather large white birds enjoying the water.  Now keep in mind that was a ways off!  I pulled out the Beast and tried to pull them in, but it just didn’t have the desired reach.  Somewhat adventurous we decided to hike out there to get a better shot.  It looked like just prairie grass at first, but we soon found out it was kind of swampy – luckily the cold weather firmed it up enough for us to pick our way out there.  Linda took this great shot of us shooting the Swans.

As you can tell from the shot, it wasn’t the best day for shooting – glad we bundled up before hiking out there. I should probably point out that if it wasn’t for the cold there is absolutely no way Linda would have been out there with us because this field must be a snake haven on warmer days!  As it turns out, we checked back at this lake later in the week and had a little better lighting than our first day.  Since those came out a little better, I’ll start with those – note, I wasn’t about to ask Linda to head back out there in snake land so the better lighting cost some distance.

Here they are pulled in a little bit more thanks to a tighter cropping.  For a bird that is somewhat rare, there sure was a nice grouping of them in the appropriately named lake.

Hit the jump to see more pictures of the Trumpeters!

Continue reading They Say it is a Trumpeter, But it Looks More Like a Bird