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.

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Happy birthday to Laura Erickson!
Laura has been an inspiration to me as she faced various challenges in the last year.
Click for links to her blog and web site.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Crex Meadows - part V

more Sandhills in the air

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Crex Meadows - overlooked old bird

My friend (?), Les, pointed out that I had forgotten to post a picture of this old bird at Crex Meadows -- he identified it as a wild turkey!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Colder By The Lake

Colder By The Lake Birding is Mike Hendrickson's new blog -- check it out. I was unaware of it, and was going to write & ask why he wasn't updating his (old) blog. I enjoy his irreverent attitude and casual writing style. His current project, in addition to leading field trips, is The Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival -- read about it here & plan to attend. I'm looking forward to going, but certainly have to find warmer boots & gloves.
The photo of the Northern Hawk Owl, on the right, was taken at Sax-Zim a couple of winters ago.

Crex Meadows - part IV

more Sandhills on the ground

Monday, November 5, 2007

Crex Meadows - part III

and now for a break from the cranes with this Red-tailed Hawk taking off for lunch