Sunday, December 30, 2007

really "up North"

If cold weather deters you from going out to take bird photos, this Minnesota blog will make you appreciate how good we have it. The Visit Crane Lake blog shows and tells us about the beauty "up North" as well as what real winters are really like.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

an hour in the life of a Brown Creeper

"Bugs -- bugs -- gotta find some bugs!"

"Nope -- not here!"

"How am I supposed to find anything under the snow?"

"I just knew it was going to be one of those days!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Leica's new binoculars

Here are the details on Leica's new Ultravid HD line.
P.S. You may be able to still find some of the previous models at a discount.

cheap shots

Digital 4x6 prints for 8 or 9 cents? Click here.

Where was I?

Can't remember where you took that bird shot? ATP may have the answer for you -- available in a few months. The ATP GPS Photo Finder is a a portable device that geotags photos taken by any digital camera. It’s universally compatible with any digital camera using jpeg image files. Put a memory card into the Photo Finder’s built-in card reader or USB port and it automatically finds and tags your images without any additional software or hardware required. For more info, click here.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

I've had more of them this winter than the last three combined!
They're a fun bird -- quite tame & friendly.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

late afternoon

This female Downy was looking for food as the day was drawing to a close.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

This is a graphic created by my nephew, Lauris Sarma, in Latvia.
It is also pretty much how the day looks outside my window this afternoon.
May you enjoy this Christmas Day with your family & friends!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!


snow & more snow

"When will it stop?"

just in case

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Although this has nothing to do with birding, if you are interested, take a look at my other blog to see what gets me in the Christmas mood.

Monday, December 17, 2007

new Canons?

Photography Blog reports that replacements for the XTi and the 5D may be on their way.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I enjoy following blogs by other birders/photographers. Recently I came across Jeff Fischer's Ecobirder. He does a great job of covering seasonal changes and reminding us to be aware of our effect on ecology. Take a look!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Take a look at the Herring Gull photos by the Weekend Shooter in his Dec. 13 post. Who knew that they could be so colorful?

Congratulations Laura!

I was thrilled to read that Laura Erickson will be working as science editor and writer at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Her casual, yet informative, writing style made her one of my favorite birding bloggers.
When her blog was hijacked by a former employer, we missed her and hoped for her return.
Now, about 8 months later, her talents as a writer have been recognized by a worthy institution. We wish her the best!
Laura has promised to continue her blog, where you can read in her own words about this exciting new venture. Also, check out her web site.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

zbirding update

If you are into digiscoping and Zeiss equipment, Zbirding has finally updated its web site after a 6-month hiatus.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Mike's excellent digiscoping blog describes a new scope & camera unit by Nikon that will enable you to get into digiscoping on the cheap (well, relatively cheap). You can see details on Eagle Optics' site. I have some concerns about the small aperture of the scope (50mm rather than 70, 80mm or more). On the other hand, the total unit is very compact and should be easy to lug around, depending upon the tripod you pick.

Nikon D300

Nikon's challenge to Canon
tested here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

chit-chat in my front yard

"Snow's coming!"

"And cold too."


"Tomorrow afternoon."

"We'd better stock up!"

"Don't forget to share!"

"We are sharing."

Sax-Zim Bog

Mike Hendrickson is reminding us to mark of February 15th through the 17th on our new calendars for the Sax-Zim Bog Winter Festival. In addition to some great speakers, food, and fun, Mike has promised that we will see the following birds: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, White-winged Crossbill, and Common & Hoary Redpolls.

See you there!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crex Meadows redux - in the air

I really don't have the words to describe how magnificent these (Rough-legged) hawks are. They will soar very high looking for prey.

When they spot something promising, they stop & hover -- like a helicopter -- but without the noise.

If they need a better look, they will slowly lower themselves -- like an elevator coming down -- for a close-up check.

If it turns out to be nothing, they simply resume their soaring -- in slow circles -- going back up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Crex Meadows redux - on the ground

Jim & I had a good time yesterday revisiting Crex Meadows. Our bird species count was low -- a few Red-tailed Hawks, a couple of Bald Eagles, a bunch of crows, and a few smaller birds I couldn't identify. The highlight, however, was the two to three dozen Rough-legged Hawks. They were in the air, in trees, and on the ground. I do not know whether they were just passing through or settling in for the winter. They are the subject of most of my posts today and tomorrow.
All of the posted pictures were taken with my XTi and Canon's 300mm f/4 lens. I am disappointed with the small size of the resulting bird images and plan to switch back to the 400mm even though I have to use it on a tripod for ultimate sharpness.

This Bald Eagle was surrounded by 8 or 10 crows -- however, the eagle did not seem to be bothered by them.
In the air shots tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crex Meadows remnant

This morning Jim & I drove up to Crex Meadows for a few hours of exploration. However, before posting some pictures from our trip, I want to share the remnant from my previous trip.

I did get my deer!

Pied-billed Grebe (?)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crex Meadows - part VIII

another raptor take-off sequence

to appreciate the bird's sense for aerodynamics, look at the feet in the above sequence

one more . . .

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill can hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week;
But I'm damned if I know how the helican.
Thank you, Gail Perrizo

Thursday, November 22, 2007


A good cross-over quote for my other blog -- "It ain't just the birds!"

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
-- The Rime of The Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The several birding lists from which I receive mailings have been sharing quotes about birds. May favorite so far:
"Feed the birds and what do you get? Fat birds!"
-- from "Mary Poppins"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Earth & Solar System shots

For images of Comet Holmes taken by the Hubble space telescope, click here.

For great Bald Eagle shots taken a day or so ago in Alaska by Liz Stanley, take a look at this link.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

comet Holmes update

Holmes continues to increase in size -- easy to recognize with the naked eye.
However, it is also dimmer.
Both of these shots were taken with my Canon XTi and a 400mm lens.

f/5.6, 30 sec., ISO 1600, full frame

f/5.6, 15 sec., ISO 800, cropped
The comet is not quite head-on as viewed from the Earth, and, therefore, you can see a bit of the tail off to the right of center. Some of the tail may be disconnecting -- read about it here.