Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Canon 7D mini review

The first, informal, short review of the Canon 7D here - interesting. I think I "need" one.

more from Crex


Monday, September 28, 2009

Crex Meadows

Last week had to check out the Sandhill Crane population at Crex. There was a heavy mist upon Phantom Lake.





Sandhill Crane flock

more to follow

10 budget accessories

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday at Carlos Avery

the best camera & more

Which is the best camera? The one you have with you!
For most of us it is the camera in your cell phone. If you have an iPhone, a new $2.99 program is worth checking out. It contains most, if not all, of the editing functions you would want + an integrated distribution system for your photos. For a video describing the program & more, click here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

more flight training

The second group of juvenile Whoopers in training consisted of six birds.



Sometimes the cranes would get ahead of the ultra-light.

Before we knew it, they were gone.

Later we had the chance to examine the ultra-lights in the hangar.

Richard explained the fine art of piloting his craft. The most difficult part? Wearing the hot, white suit and pretending to be a Whooping Crane!

As thanks, Stan presented each of our guides a copy of his latest owl book.

It was now early afternoon & time to head back to the Twin Cities.
Thank you, Stan, for another wonderful trip!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

flight training

Finally, sunrise!

An eagle was watching the fog lift.  

Caitlin was on the phone checking with the ultra-light pilot to make sure the fog wouldn't prevent him from flying this morning. All systems were go & we proceeded to an observation platform.

After about a half hour the ultra-light passed us on its way to the Whooping Crane pen with juveniles waiting to "follow the leader."

Within minutes the ultra-light returned with the first group of four Whooping Cranes practicing to follow the knowledgeable "adult."

Note the white suit disguise on the pilot. It does appear to fool the juvenile Whoopers.

Next we will meet the pilot & the second group of cranes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

found 'em!

The running joke in our group was when Stan said the van would leave at 5:30, some of us would respond with, "P.M., right?" Wrong!
We were on our way and entered Necedah National Wildlife Refuge well before sunrise. After picking up our guides Caitlin & Jess at the Refuge's headquarters, we were off to find Whooping Cranes in the wild. The mist or fog was extremely heavy. Nevertheless, we encountered our first pair of Whoopers within a short time. In the cool & silent fog they made me think of ghost birds. What do you think?

As we approached sunrise, the fog began to lift.

And we came upon this second pair.

I was so excited to see these rare birds in the wild.

Next:  teaching Whooping Crane chicks to migrate

Friday, September 18, 2009

looking for Whooping Cranes in the wild

Upon leaving the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, we headed to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where Operation Migration funds research into migration of Whoopers via ultralight aircraft acting as surrogate adult birds.

One of our many stops upon entering the Refuge was this oak savanna which is the home of many, and I mean MANY, Red-headed Woodpeckers. Above, Stan is explaining to us how the Red-heads' behavior is different from most other woodpeckers.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to get good closeups of these beautiful birds.

Stan also taught us how to identify vultures by their flight rather than just "looks" when they are far away.

Eventually, Stan found two Whooping Cranes in the wild. Yes, see the white dot in the above photo which was taken with a 400mm lens + 1.4x converter. Below is a greatly cropped picture.

Obviously, we wanted to do better than this, but that would have to wait until tomorrow.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whooping Cranes

The best exhibit at the International Crane Foundation is reserved for our North American Whooping Crane. One could spend hours just watching these graceful, magnificent birds. (L 44-51" WS 79-91")





next, we look for Whooping Cranes in the wild   

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

more cranes

Depending upon the size of the above photo on your monitor, you might be able to see my reflection -- and -- the chain link fence through which I had to take most of my photos. To minimize the effects of the fence I ended up with a lot of closeups, as you can see.
  Now for the main reason I came on this trip:
our own Whooping Crane
 more to follow