Some birds I was observing from quite a distance.
Some birds I was observing from quite a distance.
When this guy sang, his entire body shook. I could hear him on the other side of the park!
From my Thanksgiving-day walk. I think the male Cardinal looks a little crazy... The Downy Woodpecker wouldn't give me a good shot and the Turkey Vulture was circling over my car!
Never can get a satisfactory shot of one of these guys. Probably my favorite bird, the Cedar Waxwing. I still think they look like they come from the future! I just wish they would come around more and maybe land a little lower on the tree for once..
I recently got to fly a few seconds with some hawks that drifted by on a thermal. I say they were hawks but I really don't know if they were or not because they were too far away. I was so excited when they showed up that I descended to meet them and I think I probably descended too quickly and scared them away. If I ever get the chance again, next time I will move in more slowly. They will probably still fly off but maybe not as quickly.
Because they were so far away, you probably won't be able to see much on a phone-sized screen. I recommend at least a laptop but, if you have sharp eyes, maybe you can get a glimpse of the flight even on a phone-sized screen. I recommend you crank the resolution up to 1080p on the youtube widget and view full screen.
The birds enter from screen-right at about the 2:00 minute mark.
A tiny, female Downy Woodpecker.
The temperature was 15 degrees when I saw this chubby little female cardinal. She was in full warm-up mode.
This little guy was so cold that he was all puffed up.
When this guy flew past my head, I thought it was a flying barrel. I really thought it was an owl because it was so large.
A bright male cardinal.
The other day I was walking, as I quite frequently do, in Tom Sawyer park. One big difference this walk had with almost all of my others was the fact that the ground was covered in fresh snow and it was sleeting as I started my walk. From a distance, I could see that someone had thrown some corn on the ground for the birds and five or six cardinals were making good use of it. I kneeled in the snow to get a lower vantage point and stayed far enough away that the cardinals probably didn't even know I was there. I grabbed some photos of the feeding cardinals but, when my knees were wet and cold enough to make me want to move, I decided to continue on to see what else I might find in the park. Passing by the corn, the bashful cardinals all took off for nearby branches until I could pass. But I didn't pass. As I walked by the corn on the side of the trail, a strangely colored "thing" was back in the woods and walking toward me. That "thing" is pictured below. That is one fancy-looking chicken!
A few weeks ago I was roaming around Tom Sawyer Park as I often do, but it was so hot and humid that there didn't seem to be anything presenting itself to be photographed. All the plants were either brown and dry or wet and weedy. No butterflies, no deer, just gnats and hot air.
Having given up any hope of seeing anything interesting, I left the woods for the walking track where all the wannabe skinny people were walking as usual. Off to the side I noticed the familiar group of soccer fields and that the grass on those fields had grown quite high and was very dry like everything else. Then I saw there was something sitting on one of the goal cross posts. It was a large bird, a red-tailed hawk, and I was there without my long lens!! Apparently I had not made the appropriate offerings to the gods of Canon that week to ensure that the Force would be with me.
Well, I know these hawk guys can count the pores in your skin at 100 yards so there wasn't much hope in sneaking up on this fellow. I figured if I walked slow enough he (she?) would not feel threatened and, since it was so hot, maybe it would just sit there and "chill". I got close enough to be in range with my inadequate 200mm lens when it flew off before I had a chance to take my first photo! Arghhhhhh! Why is nature being so camera shy today?
But then I noticed that it had reappeared on the opposite goal but I didn't see how it had gotten there. It was like it jumped off of one goal one second and teleported to the other goal, a soccer field away, a second later. And then it was magically back on the goal near me and I was able to document what was going on.
If you look at the series of photos below, you will see what I saw. The goalkeeper was actually hunting at high speed between the goals. It would dive off of the close goal, beat its wings once or twice, and then ride the wind like a bullet, hovering just a wingspan above the ground, or less, as it made its high speed, guided missile-like run across the field looking for small rodents, rabbits, squirrels, etc. Though the hawk didn't catch anything while I was there, I caught my few photos and felt privileged to have been invited to watch.
(Each thumbnail will get displayed in the larger image area when you click on it and that photo can be enlarged, even more, if you click on it again. Clicking the super-sized photo will toggle it between large size and regular size.)