Thursday, January 31, 2008

Carlos Avery

I'm going stir crazy -- I have to get out! Tomorrow morning I'm heading for Carlos Avery. Even if I do not find any birds, I'll enjoy thinking about what is to come in a short while. Can you believe it's February already? Another stop to be made soon is Monticello and the wintering trumpeter swans. I got some new cold-weather gear at Cabela's a few days ago so, hopefully, I'll be able to stand around for a while without freezing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

some new lenses from Sigma

This 150-500mm f/5-6.3 zoom looks interesting for nature photography. More here.

Would you believe a 200-500mm zoom at f/2.8? An included converter changes it to a 400-1000mm zoom at f/5.6. If I did my conversions correctly, it only weighs about 35 lbs.!!
No indication as to the price, but you can read more here.

Nikon D60

More on the new Nikon D60, including pricing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a new Nikon body & several new lenses

click here

Red-headed Woodpeckers

I'm sure that you too have noticed the declining population of this beautiful bird. Want to do something to help? Consider joining the Red-headed Woodpecker Recovery Program for as little as $5. For more information, click here.


With temperature this afternoon at -5 & dropping, and windchill of -20, I was happy to just take some shots from my front yard window capturing the usual suspects.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Are you satisfied with your process of backing up the pictures on your computer? What do you mean you don't back up? The question is not whether your hard drive will fail; the question is, when? The ClickFree HD 700 may be our answer. Plugged in via USB port, the ClickFree HD 700 automatically launches, searches and backs up all pictures and photographs. Weighing no more than a Blackberry, it costs $169. The ClickFree DVD Photo Backup disc disc holds up to 2,000 pictures in over 70 different file formats. Read more.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Canon's spring launch

More details available here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

winter cold

I like winter because I can stay indoors without feeling guilty.
Teressa Skelton

Several mornings ago I was glad I stayed home to see this rare visitor to my yard --
a female Pileated Woodpecker.

Monday, January 21, 2008

more from Blue Cloud Abbey

Crows, along with some chickadees, sparrows, and a shrike, were among the few birds I was able to find. When I come back in a few months (I hope), I'm sure the bird population will have increased.

It's not a good birding day when one gets excited about a crow flying overhead.

waiting for Spring

bird condos at half-mast ready for Purple Martins to return

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blue Cloud Abbey

The bell tower.

Can't you just feel the cold?
Actually, the snow in this shot is misleading; there was very little of it once we crossed into South Dakota -- large patches of ground were bare.

The Abbey is directly below the usual flight route from the northwest to the Twin Cities. Sometimes the planes are the only noise you will hear. This shot was with a 400mm lens moderately cropped.

There were more squirrels than birds. This one was substantially larger than the red squirrels I have in my yard -- Fox Squirrel?

One of the few birds I saw at a great distance was this Northern (?) Shrike. The shot on the right is an EXTREME crop with a 300mm lens.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

we're back

We're back from Blue Cloud Abbey. For some pictures inside the Abbey, take a look at today's post on my other blog.
The birding wasn't great in the cold and wind (most days). However, I will be posting a few pictures in the next day or so.
In the meanwhile: As most of you know from reading this blog, I'm also interested in astronomy. One of the email groups to which I belong is made up of individuals interested in Stellarvue telescopes. (You can visit the group here.) Recently, I have been reading uniformly great comments and reviews from members who have purchased binoculars from Stellarvue. Apparently, these binos are up to the standards of Stellarvue's telescopes -- excellent, reasonably priced refractors. I may be getting the 8x42 model while they are on sale.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blue Cloud Abbey

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving for a brief retreat at Blue Cloud Abbey, near Marvin, South Dakota. The Red-tail picture is from last year. For pictures of the Abbey, take a look at today's post on my other blog and the Abbey's web site.
Birds are quite sparse there this time of the year, but, if nothing else, I should get a lot of pictures of snow!
I will resume posting on Friday or Saturday!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

settle down

I came across this saying that applies to birds as well:

Chase butterflies and they will never be caught,
watch butterflies and they will come to you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ivory Gull in Duluth

Click here for some pictures & description by Sparky Stensaas.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Carlos Avery today

As the temperature hit the 40s this afternoon, I decided it was time for my first visit of the year to Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge.

Not having a 4-wheel drive vehicle, I was a little worried about the roads; I need not have been -- they were fine.

What was not fine was the lack of wildlife. In addition to the tree mushrooms, all I saw & heard was some chickadees, a few crows, and some woodpeckers -- no hawks or owls or anything else.

I had more action at my feeders this morning.

Secretly, I was hoping the Short-ear owls of last winter had returned (see above) -- but I didn't see any.

I stayed until sunset, since that is when the Short-ears come out.

But, as empty and quiet as Carlos is in January, it will only be a few months before it starts to come alive.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

another birder blog

This one I appreciate because of her writing -- honest & interesting -- just like her photography. Take a look at Lynne Schoenborn's Hasty Brook blog. Keep writing & taking photos, Lynne!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


It is always encouraging to see young birders out there taking pictures. Sometimes their new perspective on our passion is refreshing. For an example, check out this blog by 17-year old Chris West of Richland Center, Wisconsin -- The SW WI Birder. His 2008 year list already has 27 birds! I didn't even step outside today.