Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monticello swans

According to WCCO-TV tonight and the Monticello Chamber of Commerce , feeding of the swans has resumed at Monticello. The photo below was taken November 28 (see my blog entries for that day & several subsequent ones) while feeding was suspended. The picture at the upper right of my blog was also taken at Monticello. The city has improved the parking situation and it is really fun to spend a few hours there. Don't forget to contribute towards the cost of feeding these lovely birds. Nearly 1,000 of them show up each day (plus ducks & geese).

new map

Check out Mike Hendrickson's new Sax-Zim Bog map for
bird sightings, feeding stations, warnings, etc.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Hey! It's time to replace the suet!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Day

The glistening snow reminded me of the old fashioned Christmas cards with all the sparkles.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hairy vs. Blue Jay

As the Blue Jay landed on the branch with a screeching halt, Hairy exclaimed,
"Krafts better fill this up! We're almost out of suet!"
Blue Jay stared at the suet and thought, "Hairy is right! There won't be enough for me."

"Might makes right," the Blue Jay announced.
Hairy pondered this turn of events, but all he could come up with was,
"Life ain't fair!"

Monday, December 22, 2008

another rare species

This rare bird was captured by my iPhone camera. My excitement is showing by the blurred nature of the picture. I have identified it by the scientific name, Mallus Americus.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

how to check out a restaurant

Hey! I believe!

Clips from the upcoming "Ghost Bird" documentary here . Watch both of them. 
Anyone want to go? Anyone have Mary's phone number?
Thanks to Birdchick for the link.


Today is the shortest day of the year -- finally the days will start getting longer!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

more snow

upon hearing the words "trade-in," Ivars' snowblower started immediately and ran beautifully
all photos with iPhone

Friday, December 19, 2008

up, up, and away!

Canon vs. Nikon vs. Sony

To the perennial argument about which is better, Canon or Nikon, we now have Sony making a very strong presence with its 24.6 megapixel sensor for under $3000. If you are making the leap to a top quality DSLR, how do you choose? John Mikes in yesterday's post on his excellent blog points out Canon's recent problems; he also refers us to a Canon insider whose blog, Fake Chuck Westfall , I have not yet explored. Finally, there's the Online Photographer who posted on this topic Wednesday. I urge you to read his post thoroughly to the end; it will point out the considerations that may be important to your style of photography.

My take on all this? I've never used or even seen a Sony DSLR. I used Nikons for film shooting and thought they were the best, even though I never had the top-of-the-line models. My limited exposure to their mid-line digital models has impressed me. In particular, I like the large and bright viewfinder. I have used Canon DSLRs for the last 4 years or so (currently a 20D and an Xti, and considering the 50D). With the investment I have in about a half-dozen lenses, I will not consider switching to Nikon or Sony unless either of them take a more giant leap ahead of Canon. 

The main reason for this is cost. I do not make money from my photography. The second reason, which probably ought to be the first, is that even the lowly Xti can do much more than I have learned to ask of it. I am still learning and probably always will be. My capabilities do not come close to those of any of the DSLRs. During recent years I have learned that what improves my photography the most is practice. Sure, the better lenses are nice -- I'm still on the fence about Canon's 500mm f/4 (currently being more concerned about the weight than the cost). But when I look back at my early efforts, I am convinced that it is the time I have spent shooting that has brought forth the little improvement I have experienced.

This got to be too long, but John got me started with his post yesterday. Thank you John.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sony 500mm f/8 mirror lens

Don't we have enough of these that seem to be more toys than serious lenses? Well, this one has auto-focus and stabilization -- all for $650. The catch? You need a Sony DSLR body. But, if you're tempted, read a test report here from one of my favorite sources.

re-re-repost of today's chuckle from Richard

"Psst... There's a guy over there with a camera!!"
-- Richard

Thank you to all of you who wrote to tell me that the picture, as modified by Richard with a cartoon-like balloon containing the caption, did now show up on all computers. Anyway, it's still funny  --  thank you, Richard!
P.S.  Richard is posting it on his blog in the original form -- check it out here .  Thanks again, Richard.

the sun can't set -- the birds are still feeding

there's always something to be thankful for

I'm glad I don't have one of these at my bird feeders! Thanks Vrajesh !

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Get off my perch!!

drinking snow

I've got to get the bird bath heater out.
This poor Goldfinch is eating snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

sunrise at -7 degrees

shot with iPhone camera

rare bird caught on camera

Rare species phtographed yesterday afternoon. They appear only shortly before Christmas and then are gone for another year.
They are of the genus Xmas and species Domenica Scuola. I sighted this one at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

bird dreams

I want to echo Richard's recommendation (At The Water ) about Diane's My Bird Sanctuary Dream blog -- check it out. Enthusiasm such as hers is an inspiration for all of us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

nuts? nuts! suet!

"Where did I hide those nuts?"

"Nuts! Oh, well -- there's always the suet!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008