Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

where the owls are

more from Monticello

you can read about the scarecrow in yesterday's post
but he didn't scare the ducks (they were imitating him)
although none of the swans landed
they're not that attractive head-on
more from Monticello will follow

Friday, November 28, 2008

what I found - and didn't find - at Monticello

Between the tree trunks you can see one of the two scarecrows placed in the river to discourage swans from landing.
The above pictures were taken with my iPhone camera; of course, it isn't a DSLR, but I'm rather pleased with the results from this cell phone camera.

Monticello swans?

With a clear sky and temps to hit over 40, I thought this would be a good day to check out the swans at Monticello. I did look at the chamber of commerce web site to see if there was anything new - nada!
Arriving at sunrise, about 7:30a, I noted a strange quiet -- walking toward the river I discovered no swans, but only about 100-150 mallards. A fellow from the neighborhood pointed out the above sign to me and gave me a brief explanation. Sheila Lawrence, who has been feeding the birds for over 10 years, started thinking about who is going to continue the effort when she is gone. Also, she underwrites about $10,000 of the cost each year. (About $4000 comes in from donations.) Consequently, in order to encourage migration by the swans, she has postponed feeding until January 1.
You won't find the explanation by going to the site on the sign; I never did find the press release, but located this from the council minutes (click here ).
I'm emailing the chamber and asking them to place a notice on their site that feeding will not start until January 1 and to consider funding this tourist attraction.
A number of swans did fly by while I was there and I will be posting pictures later.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


... and Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

eagles & lead

see the StarTrib article about the effect of lead bullets used by hunters

another Crex eagle

close-ups to follow

Monday, November 24, 2008

2009 Sax Zim Bog Winter Bird Festival

It's not too early to start planning. Read Mike Henderson's blog and the Festival's web site .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

sunflower seed prices

According to prices posted by the National Sunflower Association, sunflower seeds should be nearly 50% less that what they were in September. I haven't seen any decline in prices, have you?
Granted, this is in a different scenario than the retail prices through bird stores, but shouldn't there have been some decline? 
Thanks for the link, James!

Bald Eagle & snow at Crex

I want to believe

I was happy to rediscover Mike Collins' blog about his search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker; I was afraid he had given up. 
Do you want to believe?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Phantom Lake at Crex Meadows

Bald Eagle having breakfast on the far side of the lake during a snow burst

O Arkansas

Thanks to John Trapp of Birds Etcetera , I've come across this read by Laura, O Arkansas .
On occasion, she even writes about birds .

Friday, November 21, 2008

return to Crex

What a difference three weeks make!
It is now colder -- bleaker (until the sun shines) -- birdless & peopleless (almost).

there is very little open water
by mid-morning the sun began to peer out
Before you criticize me for dirt on the lens or sensor -- the white spots against the blue sky are snow flakes that were falling as the sun came out.
more to follow

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Springbrook's Goldfinches

Inspired by Richard's recent Goldfinch posts on his At The Water blog, I had to share some finch photos from Springbrook. They seem to take the ice in stride.
Some of these didn't seem to be so willing to get along.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

winter IS coming

Last week as I was walking around Springbrook, there was no doubt that winter IS coming.
The cloudy sky takes on that certain look threatening snow any minute.
Ice covers ponds with very few open spots.
The leaves are frozen and crunch under my feet.
Even the few remaining birds seem a little anxious.
Or am I projecting my own feelings upon them?
more to follow

Saturday, November 15, 2008

the remnant

These are the last two shots I want to share with you from my trip to Crex two weeks ago -- a Rough-legged Hawk & 2 Bald Eagles. If anyone has been there in the last several days, I'd love to hear a report since I'm planning on going next week.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the last of Crex's cranes

And you thought there would be no more Sandhills?
This probably will be the last of them for the year. I hope to get to Crex next week, but I doubt there will be any left. It was fun while it lasted. Now to look forward to Kearney, Nebraska, next spring.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

why more megapixels don't necessarily result in better pictures

An interesting analysis written so that even I can understand it -- here .
The quote from Ansel Adams is worth reading the article.

Why do I take pictures?

Every once in a while I ask myself that question -- what drives me to get up in the dark to get to a birding spot before sunrise? -- my photos aren't that great; why do I take them?
Though not pertaining to bird or nature photography, some of New York Times' David Pogue's reflections in "Why We Shoot Home Videos " deal with related questions. 
Why do you take bird or other photos?


The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a Lifelong Bird Watcher
This post may be more suited for my other blog, Ivars' Voice , but I decided to share it with you also. Theologian, John Stott, has authored "The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a Lifelong Bird Watcher" relating his study of Scripture to his love of bird watching. Included are photos by the author. I have not read the book, but you can find a review here . It might make a nice Christmas gift for someone you know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

more from Crex

It was exciting to see this juvenile eagle; unfortunately, as I moved to get a better shot, it took off -- but, what a magnificent bird!

Monday, November 10, 2008

more Crex cranes

these Sandhills decided to take the high road

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM

A test of a lens most of us would like to have and cannot afford (and some of us, couldn't lift).
click here 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sandhills at Crex

I returned to Crex Meadows on Halloween Day.
As you can see, I can't get enough of the Sandhill Cranes.
You can tell that the one on the left is a juvenile -- the red on its head has not developed yet.
This is what your bill looks like if you dig around in the mud.
Yes, there will be more.