2016—December Bathing Bushies

When I noticed the bushtits gathering on top of the fountain for an icy bath, I walked outside and slowly approached them and they all flew into the shrubs.  I could tell they weren’t finished with their bath because they clung to the surrounding foliage and watched me instead of flying off.  I sat down on a chair close to the fountain and one by one, they returned.  I leaned forward and tried to get the camera on an even plane with the fountain but managed to cant the camera so I ended up with photographs that required leveling in post processing.  I think I enjoy the antics of the bushtits as much as the antics of the hummingbirds.  The males always look so adorable with their black eyes and innocent looks.  The females, with the yellow eyes have a perpetual angry bird look.  But to see them pile together onto the fountain and bathe with such enthusiasm is a real joy for me to see.  It is something I never tire of watching.

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2016—Melodic Meadowlark

The lilting song of a Western Meadowlark is lovely.   While out looking for burrowing owls, the sound of meadowlarks was everywhere, but as I crept slowly toward them in my vehicle, they would fly off before I got close enough to photograph them.  When I first successfully photographed meadowlarks from a vehicle in South Dakota last May, it seemed like they would stay put on the fence posts or barbed wire, long enough for each of us in the vehicle to get numerous chances at a good shot.  Not so here.  They were skittish and wary of even a stopped vehicle. I finally stopped far away and slowly exited the vehicle, inching as close as I dared on foot.  I managed to get a half dozen shots before it flew off.

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2016—Red Tail

I was free as a bird on Christmas Day so I decided to go shooting in the Lincoln area where Jim White took me a few weeks ago.   I first headed to the area where I saw and photographed my first burrowing owl.  The area is an “open space and wetland preserve” but there were no owls in evidence.  I stopped there and spent time just watching.  There were  lots of birds in the area but most were too far away or too skittish to photograph.  Flocks of starlings looked like clouds of black as they swirled then alighted; a belted kingfisher perched on a wire waiting for prey; western meadowlarks sang their melodic songs from atop fence posts; white crowned sparrows and song sparrows watched from tautly strung barbed wire perches; turkey vultures  soared overhead;  a ferruginous hawk made lazy circles in the sky (thank you Rodgers and Hammerstein).   When I decided to drive home, I passed a red-tailed hawk perched on a wire and stopped.  He got a bit nervous as I took photographs through the open driver’s side window.  Because I was being a smart-ass and had the camera set to high speed crop, when he took to wing, I cut off his wing tips.

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2016—I’m (Still) Dreaming Of A White Christmas

I had planned to wear my  black “Bah Humbug”  hat while my brother and I drank wine and prepared our homemade pasta in what has become a family Christmas eve tradition. Sadly,  a last minute phone call alerting me to a contagious illness at my brother’s home prevented me from traveling to Oregon for my first white Christmas.  I wore the hat and drank the wine anyway.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

 

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2016—Christmas Eve Hummer

I got an early Christmas present yesterday morning when the male Anna’s hummingbird cooperated by staying more than a few seconds while he sipped nectar from the sage blossoms.  I managed to track him successfully as he moved among the blossoms.  Although the red of the hummer’s gorget wasn’t reflected in the rainy morning light, the photo still has a Christmassy feel with the red and green of the sage so I decided to use it for my Christmas Eve post.   Hand held;  Nikon D5 with 300mm lens and 1.7x teleconverter; camera set to high speed crop.

 

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2016—Fiery Backdrop

As the sun rose on our last morning in Bosque del Apache, the freezing temperatures and clear skies combined to cast a gorgeous red tint on the fields behind the pond; they glowed as if on fire.  The cranes looked clumsy and comical as they skittered across the frozen pond trying  to gain control of their long legs to launch but once in the air, their flight was elegant, graceful, and mesmerizing to watch.

 

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