Blog

Stories of my adventures....

Backyard Hummingbird (my last of the year)

When, I get bored, I dig around through my images and find some new ones to edit. I wanted to share this image of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird who visited my yard in late summer/early fall. I often have several hanging around for a month or so as the Trumpet Vine and Zinnias are in full bloom. You may notice the pollen on his bill (this is an immature male) as well as a white substance on his head. The white powder is simply a build up of pollen. Obviously, he has gone quite deep to find the sweet nectar that he requires to make the long, upcoming journey.

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Winter visitors

Winter. I love it. Some birds love it as well. Yes, there are actually birds who call our area home during the coldest of months. One- the Lapland Longspur, nests in the very northern parts of Canada on the open tundra. They come south a bit to hang out in open fields. These birds, along with Snow Buntings and Horned Larks are generally the ones who fly up from the edges of rural roads. Sometimes they can mess with you as they drop into corn stubble and, quite simply, just disappear.

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What I've recently shot

I find this time of year quite enjoyable. The sunrises are often spectacular and I don’t get bitten by bugs! I also have great luck finding owls. I found four different Barred Owls over this past weekend- photographed 2, passed on one, and had another not quite as cooperative. I also love seeing the bucks strutting their stuff. The guy I photographed had a doe nearby. I got to hear a few grunts out of him as I took a few shots….stay hidden buddy- not everyone is like me.

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My lifer Rufous Hummingbird

A few years ago, a wayward Rufous Hummingbird showed up in a small town about an hour away from me. I didn’t chase it. I’ve regretted that decision ever since. About a week ago, a lady reported another on at her feeder in a small town 20 minutes to my north. I managed to get there in the late afternoon on Saturday to get my first ever views. It was awesome and the homeowner and I spoke for a bit. Sunday morning it snowed. I ventured back to her home to see if I could get a shot that I had imagined from the previous day. I sat and waited for about twenty minutes-no sign of him. The home owner then came out and brushed the snow off of the feeder- boom! Our little visitor came right to the feeder! I waited. Finally, he landed where I had envisioned. I got my shot.

Rufous Hummingbirds are tough little guys. They nest farther north than any of our other hummingbirds- all the way into Alaska. Hang in there little guy.

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.3 Miles. One Year.

Instead of a "Photo Big Year" centered around birds, my newest quest is to photograph all forms of life that call my favorite area home. This area- south side of Evergreen Lake encompassing 6 Mile Creek- is where I spend so much time.  It is .3 miles from Shady Hollow to Redtail Trail. I have seen so much there that I have decided to try to document it over the next year. I may question myself as things pick up in warmer weather, but my mind works in strange ways. I will keep a list going on here with occasional updates. I will probably post most of my images in an album on Facebook.

Geez. Here I go.....

Bird Shot January Summary

I ended the month of January with 57 different species photographed. It's been a very mild winter with almost no snow. I need snow in order to have a better chance at certain birds. I have photographed 3 birds already this year that I was unable to get in my previous attempt in 2014- Hairy Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl and Snowy Owl. It's nice to see owls at any time- it's even better when you have your camera along. I'm hoping that February is as fruitful. 

2017 Photo Big Year

Starting on January 1st, 2017, I will begin my Photo Big Year- I will see how many species I can photograph over a years time. You can follow my progress here and by clicking the link at the top of the page. 

How to get a lifer.....

Look up. You never know what you'll see.

I was photographing swallows with a friend on a quiet Sunday morning recently when the sun went behind some clouds. My friend says " you can come back out now Mr. Sun." As I often do, I looked up to see when the cloud would pass and we would again be in good light. When I looked up, I saw something soaring way up among the clouds. I raised my camera to get a better view. The first thing I noticed was it's tail. I shouted out "It's a @$#&!*# Swallow-tailed Kite" as I shot some pictures for proof. I reported this rare bird via ebird. I have since found out that this is the first recorded sighting of this bird in McLean county. 

Mentioned on a podcast....

I enjoy podcasts. Birding. Comedy. Photography. All of these topics interest me. When played through my earbuds, they make a work day go a bit quicker. I recently asked a question to a podcaster that I listen to. He was kind enough to answer it as well as promote my website.

Here it is.....around the 9:00 minute mark.....

Leucism

While most birders depend upon plumage for bird identification, occasionally you run across an abnormally "marked" bird. Leucism can partially or fully effect an individual. It is simply a genetic defect that causes a lack of pigmentation. I discovered this male Northern Cardinal last year at Evergreen Lake. He still resides in the same area and has seemingly found a mate. I call him "Paleface" and check in on him regularly.

 Paleface 3/16

Paleface 3/16

Audubon Bird Walk 8/30/15

I was the appointed leader for the Sunday morning bird walk at Ewing Park. We had a fairly small group in attendance but, despite the persistent fog, we managed to come out in the end with 33 species. We had great looks at a Canada Warbler right as we entered the park. This was my lifer view as this bird has eluded me for years. A few of us got an awesome view of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and then we all got to hear it vocalize. This too was a first for me. Black and White Warblers were the birds of the day- they far outnumbered any other species there. It's getting quite warm so migration may be on hold for a bit. I hope to see them again soon.