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Tag : Bird

09 Jul 2010

What’s good: More splendor, grandor and Alaskan wildlife

A bald eagle in Chitina, Alaska

It’s 11:30 p.m. and the sun just set. We’ve been going since 5 a.m. and I need to get some sleep. Today started with a great horned owl, then we had waterfalls, majestic mountain ranges, eagles, crazy colored rivers, moose, Anchorage, glaciers, I got pecked on the head by an Artic Tern.

There are lots of photos at Loren’s Alaska photo gallery.

Read daily details at Walter’s blog.

21 Jun 2010

What’s good: The longest day

A swallow flies over clouds reflecting in the water.

Today was the summer solstice, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, the most sunlight. As the sun was setting behind some light clouds, swallows were diving near the water of the South Branch of the Raritan River. I like the way the bird silhouetted against the clouds reflecting in the water.

29 May 2010

What’s good: Merganser and chicks

A Common Merganser and her chicks on the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock, Vermont.

I was driving along the Ottauquechee River this afternoon just west of Woodstock, Vermont, when I saw a Common Merganser sitting on a rock with some chicks. The road was about 20 feet above the river and the bank was pretty much straight down. I found a place I could climb down with my big lens and monopod. I thought I was far enough away that I wouldn’t scare them but when I finally got to the river I saw them floating down the river away from me. I climbed back up the bank and drove downstream to see if I could find them again. There wasn’t any access to the river until I got to a trailer park, so I drove in and found a place I could get to the river. The merganser was right there with her chicks. She seemed pretty nervous and stayed on the other side of the river and hid under a boulder. I sat quietly and they finally relaxed and came out and swam down the river.

29 May 2010

What’s good: Ferns on a cloudy day

Ferns in Woodstock, Vermont

I was hoping for a sunny day so I could photograph the beauty of Vermont in morning light. I saw a little bit of sun but the clouds took over and created a soft light. I found a large patch of ferns, so I put the soft light to work with them. I like to photograph ferns, and they look better, or at least more natural, when there isn’t strong sunlight hitting them. Harsh shadows and ferns don’t work for me.

A Common Merganser flies out of the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock, Vermont

As I was driving along the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock and saw a bird in the river. It was swimming upstream slowly, and I walked along the river and made pictures until it decided to take off. I thought it was a loon until I looked closer, it was a Common Merganser, with a red head. I would have loved to had sunlight illuminating that color. Maybe tomorrow.

28 May 2010

What’s good: Herons on high

Great Blue Herons in their nest near Bennington, Vermont

It has been a couple of months, but I was finally able to get back to our home in Woodstock, Vermont. As I was driving, I was looking at a swamp just north of Bennington in hopes of seeing a moose. I swear the Vermont state tourism department is in charge of putting up Moose Crossing signs, because I’ve seen dozens of signs but no moose near them. But I’m always looking. As I was scanning the swamp I saw there was a small Great Blue Heron rookery. There were about a dozen nests and all of them seemed to have birds in them. The road was up high and the swamp was about 75 feet lower than the road. The closest tree with a nest was at the same height as me. I could see right into the nest and there were two or three younguns and a parent. It is pretty unusual to be able to photograph into the nest of a heron without going to extreme effort to get up high.

Young Great Blue Herons in their nest.

26 May 2010

What’s good: Things are looking up

A robin flies over the backyard.

After dinner I pulled a chair out into the backyard and just looked up and watched the sky. It was a clear day with a few light clouds rolling past. Being 35 miles from NYC and Newark airport, there is almost always a jet flying by, some days we are on the landing pattern, some days they are just leaving when they pass over Somerville. Tonight was a landing night. As I was watching the clouds and planes, a few birds were buzzing around. Up high were swallows, down around the trees were robins and starlings.

A jet leaves a contrail.

15 May 2010

What’s good: Warbler flies into ground, mate comes back

A male yellow warbler watches over his mate that flew into the ground.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at the Great Swamp, a 3,000 acre national wildlife refuge about 15 miles north of my house. I’ve spent a good deal of time there, it is a cool place, there is lots of wildlife, which is good since it is a refuge and not a lot of people, which is good since it is a wildlife refuge.

I haven’t done a lot of bird photography, especially small birds. I saw three people with cameras watching some trees at the edge of a parking area. I parked and slowly walked over to see what they were looking at. They were friendly, as birders tend to be, and told me there were several yellow warblers buzzing around. After they said they wouldn’t mind if I joined them, I brought my camera over and setup near them. They were good, they’d point out birds I didn’t even see, usually in the shadows where a good picture couldn’t be made.

The warblers were pretty rowdy, they were mating, the others said. A male and female flew out of the trees and were wrestling in the air. The male kinda hit the female as they were flying and the female flew straight into the gravel road. The bird was out cold. The male flew down to check on his mate but the female didn’t move. He flew away and two of the people walked over to see if the bird was dead. As they approached, it slowly flew into the trees, but it was still stunned. They tried to catch the bird to take it to a nearby bird rescue. The bird regained strength and flew higher in the trees. I guess it was just stunned but OK. None of us had even seen a bird fly into the ground before, it was quite a sight.