Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Why is this baby duck dead........

When I found a brood of baby ducks with their mom I was very concerned to see this lifeless little duck just laying there in the sand.  I wondered what happened, why is this baby duck dead?

Fortunately I soon realized that he was just dead tired!!!
Did he fool you too?  The little duck in the photo above does not look very well but it seems that when baby ducks get tired they flop over wherever they are, sound asleep.

See the photo below, he is just fine and waddled away later with the rest of his duck family!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Photoshoot with an Eastern Kingbird

(Click on photos for a closer view)

I love Kingbirds and usually see them while walking along the river or in the fields. They are fun to watch as they dart around catching bugs while they fly. Its also interesting to watch them dive into the river for bugs from low hanging branches over the water.  They are easy to spot by their posture, they sit very kinglike on the tops of trees and sticks monitoring the insect situation around them. They are feisty too, Kingbirds will dive bomb people and much larger birds, including eagles, that pass through their territory during nesting.  They winter in South America and are just now returning to spend the Summer with us.  I have yet to see the bright red crest on the top of their heads, it is completely hidden and does not show unless they are agitated, hopefully I will catch a photo of that before they leave us in the Fall.  These are a few shots I took over the weekend. This particular Kingbird was very curious and came close to see me.  

While I was taking photos a rainstorm came across the water very quickly and a strong wind whipped up. The Kingbird went over to sit with its mate until the storm died down.

As soon as the storm passed they flew off!

Last year I found a pair of Kingbirds feeding their babies - hopefully I will get lucky again this year for another Kingbird family photoshoot!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Eagle Nest

(Click on photos to zoom in for a closer view)

I have been watching this eagle nest since the middle of February as the parents
take turns preparing the nest, incubating eggs and feeding the babies.  They hatched two babies this year and as you can see from the size of them, they are close to leaving the nest.

The eagles are constantly adding more branches to the nest.  Yesterday while I was taking photos along the river I had an odd experience when an eagle came flying right at me carrying a stick.  He dropped it over my head like one of those planes dropping bombs in the old WWII movies. I stepped back and it hit the ground with a thud, missing me by less than 2 feet. That's when I realized that it was not a stick that bird was carrying, that was a really big tree branch and probably would have done some damage to me if I hadn't moved fast.  I looked it up, an eagle nest can weigh 2 tons, so that might bring the size of those sticks in the photos into more perspective!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Termite Terminator

Got a mouse problem? Get a cat!
Got termites? Get a Cat...bird!
This Catbird was thrilled to find an old piece of wood covered with newly hatched termites. Within minutes he swallowed them all, one by one. Reminded me of myself with a bag of potato chips, only these chips had wings, although I did have a really old bag of chips once and I think I saw some of them moving  :-)

(Click on photos to zoom in for a closer view)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pileated Parenting

I found a Pileated Woodpecker's nest hole today which was very exciting because it is one of my favorite birds to watch. They make a lot of noise pecking the trees for bugs and sound like a laughing hyena when they fly so they aren't too hard to find.  In the photo above, the male woodpecker is going into the nest hole to feed the babies. 

It is the largest North American woodpecker and although it looks a lot like Woody Woodpecker, I am told Woody was based on an Acorn Woodpecker not a Pileated (Hard to believe, google Acorn Woodpecker photos and you will see what I mean, Woody does not look like an Acorn Woodpecker).

Once dad was in the nest the babies started making a racket. You can see one baby beak just below his head peeking out of the hole. Mom and Dad take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the babies.

Pileateds perform a courtship dance, the pair in the photo above was chasing each other around my back yard a few weeks ago. They would stop, bow and walk around each other. Pileated pairings tend to be for life. The family will stay together until the Fall and then the young ones will go off to start their own families. Hopefully I will get to see the babies soon! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Closer View

This horned lark was not easy to see because he is the same color as the mud in the newly plowed field he was sitting in.  He was a distance away and I noticed him turning his head here and there so I took a few shots. It wasn't until I got home, zoomed in and cropped the photo, that I could see what he was seeing - a small flying bug had caught his eye.

In life and photography:                                                            
Don't forget to stop and zoom in for a closer view,
the tiniest detail can create a memorable moment. ~~FOTW

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Life and Photography

I enjoy photographing nature and wildlife.  I see many parallels and analogies between my life and wildlife.  This photo of a pooping seagull in flight is a fun way to kick off this blog:

"Awareness is one of the keys to success, 
if you don't see what is coming, you may get pooped on!"~FOTW

This was so true for many of the office meetings that I attended as a systems engineer.  To successfully share my thoughts with the team it was important to always be aware of the needs of my fellow team members, to think outside of the box and merge knowledge with a little intuition in order to be fully prepared to present my ideas so that all points of view could understand and relate to them.  The idea of awareness doesn't only apply to engineering meetings, any situation in which you are trying to communicate your ideas requires you to be aware of how other people perceive what you are saying.

For birdography, awareness is also very important...... and in this case, being prepared by wearing a hat is a pretty good idea.