Thursday, May 31, 2007

yesterday's birds, etc. at Carlos




fish entree with salad

the growing goslings aren't quite as pretty

but the wild roses certainly are

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

fawn at Carlos Avery

I know this is supposed to be a bird blog. I also know that an overload of cute is not every one's cup of tea. Remember the goslings (scroll down to May 10)?
Also, there is danger that too much cuteness can make your camera sticky. But, in spite of all this, I could not resist this fawn. It was so tiny -- I wanted to pick it up and bring it home.

I almost ran into it (literally) as I was leaving Carlos Avery early this afternoon. As I was driving slowly with the car windows open I heard this strange loud cry - like a large bird in distress, but I couldn't identify it. Since it seemed so close, I backed up the car to the point where I thought it came from. Then I heard it again, but somewhat softer. It seemed so very close, yet I couldn't see anything unusual. I opened the car door, got out, and to my surprise spotted this little creature in the weeds only a foot or two off the road.
I looked around for the mother, but didn't see her; a minute or so later I heard a loud snorting and crashing in the brush on the other side of the road. I would have gotten back in the car, but the mom was running away from us. My next dilemma was how to take a picture of the fawn - the only lenses I had for my Canon were the 300mm and 400mm. But then I remembered my trusty old Nikon Coolpix 995 which I usually keep on the floor in front of the seat. The battery had a charge and so I was able to get these pictures.
The fawn wasn't scared at all, just anxious to have his mom back, I'm sure.

(a few bird pictures will follow)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Springbrook, Friday, May 25

Someone has to tell Bucky the Beaver that he is supposed to be moving trees & branches, not reeds.

Great Egret

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bank Swallows at Carlos Avery

I spent quite a bit of time last Tuesday watching a Bank Swallow colony preparing for nesting. I intend to go back and check if the latest hard rains did any damage to their excavations.

"Shall we take this one?"

"How about this one?"

"Let's build our own!"

hard at work

time for a coffee break

Saturday, May 26, 2007

more from last Tuesday at Carlos Avery

I think this American Goldfinch was trying to decide whether to go for the bug in the spider web.

There are a lot of Marsh Wrens at Carlos. But they are extremely difficult to photograph since they spend most of their time down among the reeds, only occasionally popping up to take a look at what's going on. You know they are there from their loud song, but just try to get a glimpse of one. I spent over an hour trying to capture the one on right -- this was my best shot. But I'm not giving up -- "I'll be back!"

American White Pelicans

Sandhill Cranes

Yesterday morning I decided that some walking exercise would be better than spending time in the car, so I headed out to Springbrook Nature Center. I was there from about sunrise until 10 a.m.; but got off very few shots. Where are the birds? After some coffee and a little rest at home, my frustration didn't diminish. Being too tired to do much walking I drove to Carlos Avery. My luck there wasn't much better (I'll post a few pictures from both places later).
I do want to pass on a tip for those of you who may want to to see some Sandhill Cranes. The one on the left was in the Pool 3 area yesterday. However, in the same place where Les & I saw quite a few of them a week ago last Thursday and also last Tuesday, I saw several pairs yesterday as several more flew in. I tried to look for crane chicks, but the pairs that were already there were in deep grass that would would have hidden them.
Therefore, if you want to see Sandhill Cranes, go to Carlos in the mid or late afternoon, drive on the road between Pools 5 and 6, stop just South of the road leading to Pool 6, get out your binoculars, or preferably a scope, and look Southwesterly over Pool 4.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

more from last Tuesday at Carlos Avery

Gray Catbird

Mourning Dove

female Wild Turkey

yesterday . . .

Yesterday's post re the Sandhill Crane chick stopped showing the pictures, so it is reposted below. Any comments would be welcome.

Sandhill Cranes

During yesterday morning's trip to Carlos Avery, I was disappointed that I did not have any close encounters with Sandhill Cranes. The above picture is a full frame shot with a 300mm lens; it's as close as I could get since these birds were in a restricted area Southwesterly across Pool 4.
I wasn't going to post this picture; there was nothing significant about it. However, as I enlarged it, just to see how sharp it was (or wasn't, since I was not using a tripod), imagine my amazement when I saw what I have posted below.

Isn't that a crane chick in the lower right-hand corner?
I wish I had seen it while at Carlos; I would at least have used the 400mm lens on a tripod with one or more teleconverters.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Didn't we just see this?

Yes, we did.
Then why am I reposting it?
As I was examining the full frame of this shot, I became intrigued by the various colors of the out-of-focus background. They make the picture much more interesting, in my opinion. However, within the confines of picture sizes on this blog, including more of the background reduces the size of the bird to the point that we lose interest in the bird since we see less detail. But, in an 8x10, or even a 5x7 print, the bird would retain its importance with the plus of a much more intriguing background.
What do you think?

Carlos Avery, Tuesday, May 22

With the promise of rain this afternoon (which become reality) I headed out to Carlos Avery early this morning -- arrived before 6 a.m.

The Song Sparrow at right was doing his thing just as the sun was

I stopped at a small pond just East of the Zodiac entrance since there is some activity there most any time of the day. But I was driven away within minutes by the hordes of mosquitoes who were anxiously looking for breakfast through the open windows on my car. Oh well, a few hundred yards at 10 mph got rid of most of them.

(more to follow)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Common Grackle

To me there's something sinister about this Grackle.
Perhaps he is the cause of all the Creeping Charlie in my back yard.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Carlos Avery, Thursday, May 17

When my friend, Les, called to see if I wanted to join him at Carlos Avery, it didn't take long to make a decision. We arrived a little after noon, which may explain why we didn't see as many birds as during early morning or late evening explorations.
In addition to the pictured birds, we also saw Blue-winged Teal, a Bald Eagle soaring very high, some distant, hence unidentifiable, swans (at the same location as the last picture in this posting), Goldfinches, Yellow Warblers, plus the usual assortment of ducks & sparrows, Tree Swallows, a Wild Turkey, and Bluebirds.

A Sandhill Crane jumping across a drainage ditch in Pool 22.

"I made it!"

Why are Red-winged Blackbirds always angry?

As we were on our way out of the refuge, we stopped to stretch our legs near Pool 5. All of a sudden we saw some Sandhill Cranes in the distance as well as several small groups flying in to an area South-westerly across the pool. I had decided to travel light and without a tripod & only my 300mm lens and the 1.4x & 2x converters. This shot was taken with the converters stacked and resting on Les' bag laid on the top of his Subaru -- the equivalent of an 840mm lens. The next time we go to Carlos, I'm taking along my scope with an extra tripod; it's the only way to observe the cranes at the distances they often are from the road. 8x binoculars just don't cut it.

Lake Superior boat trip

Yesterday's Lake Superior boat trip was cancelled due to a lack of participants. However, it may not have been the day to go. Mike Hendrickson writes:
Thank heavens the boat trip was canceled! The winds were gusty from the east around 30mph and frigid temps! (low 40's)

Michael Hendrickson
Duluth, Minnesota
Lake Superior Boat Trips

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the remnant from Wednesday at Springbrook

My first stop upon arriving at Springbrook was to visit the Red-winged Blackbird nest I have written about earlier. Here she is; still on the job. I just hope that the new green reeds do not grow so tall as to hide the nest by the time the little ones hatch.

another female Red-winged Blackbird on the scene

this is her nest, very close to the first one

Red-winged Blackbird watching

& flying

Yellow Warbler

Easter Wood Pewee & Baltimore Oriole

mother Mallard showing her duckling how it's done

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Great Egrets yesterday at Springbrook

As the morning mist lifted, ...

... so did the Great Egrets

a little yawning

a little scratching

a little preening

while another watches