Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cold Today!

As you can see, the birds were braving some pretty snowy conditions.

I used a Homemade ground pod (a board with a screw in it!) to get these eye-level pictures.

This Song Sparrow got into a confrontation with a white-throated sparrow, but I was not in a position to get any good pictures of it, since the white-throated sparrow was in front of it. What it did was bend down and spread its tail feathers up in the air.
It was sporadically windy today, so I got several shots of birds with their feathers blowing like this.I like this shot because the eye is fairly distinct from the black around it. I'm especially proud because I purposely overexposed to try to separate the eyes from the black. I think I actually sort of understand how to use this feature now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yard Birds

I hadn't posted in a while, so here are some birds from my backyard recently. I was really happy with the Carolina Wren, since they are one of my favorite birds and up until now I didn't have any really good pictures of them. I also really like the feather detail in the Junco. I'll try to post new stuff more frequently from now on!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yorkshire Dales

First, you might want an idea of what the Dales look like.Just down the road from our cottage was a stream that had many birds around it, including some warblers that were too hard for me to identify.
The warblers there are definitely not the equivalent of ours, except in behavior, since they flit around a lot and are hard to get a picture of. The finches and tits are the really colorful birds, which seems unfair since they're very common and will come to feeders.
This male chaffinch is feeding what I presume is a young one. we were there at the right time for nesting, and I also found this spotted flycatcher nesting under the eaves of a house.
I have to say, I was actually more confident identifying this flycatcher than I am identifying the ones we have here. I just label them "Generic Flycatchers" and then move on.
This is a pied wagtail along a stream near Arncliffe. There was also a bank where you could lie down and look into swallow nests.
The buzzard is, I believe, one of the most common birds of prey in England. This one was floating around a little way up one of the fells.
This is a Dunnock that was in our garden. They look plain, but sing very nicely. The blackbirds also had nice songs. Overall, the common birds there seemed more musical than ours.
These curlews are funny looking birds with their huge curved bills. I think they had just arrived.
When we were first driving into the Dales, we saw some oystercatchers, and I was amazed. It turns out they regularly breed here though. I just wish I had gotten some pictures of the Lapwings, which have an interesting crest.
See how colorful these blue tit are? I would love to have birds like this at my feeders here at home.
You can't complain about our goldfinches, but I like the red faces these guys have!
This little blackbird gave me some of my best shots from the trip. He's also a really fluffy looking little guy! The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most beautiful places I have been, and the birding was excellent, since we had sun for almost the entire time we were there. Look for more summer posts in the future!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tower Grove Park

Today it was cold, windy, and damp here, but Tower Grove Park still produced some good birds: Red-Tailed Hawk, Eastern Phoebe, White-Throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Wood Thrush, Hooded Warbler, American Robin, European Starling, Ovenbird, and Northern Cardinal.
You can see the wind here blowing both the tree and the birds feathers!
Here's a wood thrush on the path; the light was bad and I was unable to get good shutter speeds even at ISO 800.
This is the hooded warbler. Just a proof shot, although it's iffy even for that!
This phoebe was hovering just over the ground, I guess looking for insects. It sort of looks like its perched on an invisible branch here! I look forward to getting later into spring, as more migrants arrive. In the meantime, Good Birding!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Florida Pt. 2

On my second day in Florida, we went to Wakodahatchee Wetlands, a boardwalk in a marsh. Within feet of the entrance to the boardwalk we saw black and white-warbler on a tree so close to us that I could almost touch it.
A Purple Gallinule was the next interesting bird we saw. These look like common moorhens, but are more colorful.
The boardwalk also crossed bits of dry land, and these had many palm and yellow-rumped warblers.A yellow rump.
A palm warbler.
A pine warbler, I believe. I thought it was interesting that I was more interested in seeing the warblers that I would see in Missouri in a month anyway than looking at the shorebirds you can only see in Florida.That's all for this part. Check back for part 3!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Florida Part 1

The first birds I saw in Florida were Brown Pelicans, an Osprey, a Laughing Gull, and Ring-billed Gulls. Also, there were Boat-Tailed Grackles and a Palm Warbler in a parking lot. The grackles turned out to be everywhere we went.
Ring-Billed Gull with Laughing Gull in the Background.Pelicans with a gull tail in the foreground.
All the gulls were interested in this bone.This is actually from Wakodahatchee Wetlands, but I didn't get a picture of the other Palm Warbler. More to come!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Florida Pictures Soon!

I had a great time in Florida, but I have lots of pictures to sort through and edit and convert. However, I'm on Spring Break, so I should have a post ready soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woodcock/Owl Prowl

No usable pictures from this trip, since it was cold and grey, but I did see a Great Horned Owl on its nest, heard a Barred Owl, and saw and heard several Woodcocks, although it was extremely dark, and they were little more than moving shapes. They called quite often, however. I also saw and heard the Barred Owl at the bridge again this evening, and got a dark, blurry, unrecognizable cell phone picture of its back. I'm heading to Florida tomorrow, so I hope to have an exciting post full of great birds when I get back!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forest Park Forever Beginner Bird Walk

Not too many species seen, but it was nice out finally, and there were many more people than usual.
Wood Ducks, male and female. It's hard to believe they're native; they're so exotic looking.
Canada Goose, common, but I thought it was a nice picture. Other species of note were a red-headed woodpecker, great blue heron, and cooper's hawk.
Song Sparrow. There were lots of these around, along with at least one American Tree Sparrow. This is more a testament to Canon's great cameras than about the bird walk. My dial had slipped, and I was shooting on the wrong mod at 1/640. They picture was way too light. However, I shoot in raw, and was able to correct that. The birds are too far away for it to be a graet shot, but I thought the comparison was interesting.Undoctored photo.
Corrected photo. Thank you Canon, and thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Barred Owl

Today my Grandfather and I biked down to the drainage creek in our neighborhood, and there were some birds moving around, so I went back to my house to get my binoculars. When I got back to the creek, we suddenly hear a Barred Owl calling its who cooks for you call from right over our heads, and another responding from upstream. It eventually poked its head out from a tree that had lost its top, and apparently had a hollow in the top. It then flew upstream, and started doing its jackal-laughing call. (That's how I would describe it.) They nested in a tree extending over our yard one year, but then our neighbors had to cut the tree down, so it is nice to see them again. I'll have a post up later about the Forest Park Forever Beginning Bird Walk I went on today.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary

I headed out to Riverlands this weekend, since it was around 40 degrees. Not at Riverlands. There was a cold wind that that illustrated the fact: It's always colder at RMBS. However, there were some great birds, including a kestrel with a meal, horned larks, Bald Eagles, American White Pelicans, unidentifiable ducks (mergansers of a sort and some possible goldeneyes), geese(greater white-fronted and canada) and gulls.Gulls. I'm going to say the smaller ones are ring-billed and the larger ones are herring. If you want to disagree, you're probably right.
I think this is a Ring-Billed Gull.I thought it was interesting that so many birds could be found close to an industrial area.
This one looks sort of like its winking.Bald Eagles are one of the big draws for this area. As you can see, there are several on the ice in the background.An adult one.You can't really tell, but this is a big flock of pelicans.Greater White-Fronted Geese.
Kestrel with snack. Good Birding!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Camera!

I'll have some pictures from Michigan up, but I don't have them right now, so I'll talk instead about my new camera. It is a Canon Rebel XSi/450D. 3.5 frames per second, 12.2 megapixels, and overall a great step up from my Powershot S2 IS. I got a two-lens kit, with the ef-s 18-55 and the ef-s 55-250. The 55-250 is the one I use for birding, and for the price, it is excellent. I am perfectly happy with the image quality and autofocus speed, the only problem is that it is a little short. However, it came with some nice editing software, and I can crop to get some really nice images.
This is a white-throated sparrow, taken in my backyard.This is a chickadee, also from my backyard.
This junco is in a funny pose, I thought.
This eagle, from Forest Park, is dropping the catfish/bullhead it was eating.
I was happy to get a couple of decent flight shots. Ring-Billed Gull.
White-Throated Sparrow. I like to see the green, since it reminds me of spring.
A Northern Flicker from Tower Grove Park.
Finally, I would like to recommend Birdforum to you birders reading this. I joined in June, mainly to ask camera questions, but now I enjoy just browsing the forums and gallery. One of the best features is the Bird Identification Q&A section, where you can get answers to your ID questions as soon as you post them. There are almost 90,000 users from all over the world, and it is a great community! Good Birding!