Male Prairie Chickens thump their feet as they try to impress the ladies on the lek. This male is trying hard despite the fact that no females were in evidence while he thumped.
Winsome, my Ron Smith Memorial Rose, is in full, gorgeous bloom on my patio.
The Old Sunset Rose cutting that my brother John gave me a few years ago continues to thrive despite the previously mentioned benign neglect of my roses. This rose is an unknown variety planted in the late 1800’s when the Sunset Line & Twine Building in Petaluma was the new Belding Corticelli Silk Mill. When Sunset closed and the building sold, John rescued cuttings of the old roses that grew wild around the building. The cutting he gave me was neglected in a small pot until my friend Honora espied it and when she heard the history of the rose, insisted on repotting it. It is now a large rambler and it has rambled and threaded its way among the branches of Winsome, the Ron Smith Memorial Rose that my friends Royetta and Cherry gave me shortly after Ron died ten years ago. I really must stop neglecting my roses. They reward me with such beauty. I wonder how much more beautiful they might look if I gave them just the slightest bit of care. Because this rose blooms only once in the spring and it is now covered with buds. I’m afraid that the rose will be in full bloom while I’m away photographing birds and I’ll miss the gorgeous display. So to commemorate this year’s bloom, I took a some photos of the single blossom amidst a cluster of closed buds. The first was taken in early evening light; the second the next day in late morning light.
A few months ago, I was introduced to the magic of Beach Panning, a technique that puts the photographer down low at the same level with the shore birds on the beach. Since then, I’ve had several opportunities to try it and now I can’t seem to get enough of it. Last week, I made a presentation about Beach Panning to the Placer Camera Club and prepared a short slide show with some of my favorite Beach Panning photographs. The video’s musical accompaniment is Angel Eyes played by my favorite jazz pianist, the great Oscar Oeterson — no relation to Moose Peterson who introduced me to Beach Panning.
There can be little doubt how the Little Blue Heron got its name. This particular Little Blue Heron was foraging in a pond at the Six Mile Cypress Slough in Ft. Myers, FL very late one afternoon in March.
Roseate spoonbills are tactile feeders. They have sensors on their long, flattened bills that feel small fish and other food as they probe the water, waving their submerged bills back and forth. When they find a fish, their bill snaps shut on the prey in a vice-like grip, then they lunge their head forward and open their bill slightly, moving the prey toward their throat. The small fish about to be swallowed by this Spoonbill is visible about mid-bill as it is flipped backwards toward the gullet.
Corkscrew Swamp, Ft. Myers, FL, March 2017
Meet Sheila…Sheila’s Perfume to be exact. She is a beautiful and fragrant floribunda that anchors the row of rose trees along my driveway. My roses are glorious right now and I’m home for a few days at the peak of their spring beauty so I can enjoy and appreciate them. They are gorgeous despite my benign neglect. I don’t prune them the way I used to. In fact, while I once spent hours deciding which stem should be clipped for the perfect urn-shaped rose bush, I now let my gardener slash at them however he sees fit. I haven’t fed them in years. I suspect the abundant rain we’ve enjoyed this year has contributed to their current glory.
It was early April and the shore birds were in breeding plumage in Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. This avocet, a bird I’d never seen, in or out of breeding plumage, was feeding in the marsh in a place called Tyrell Park on the edge of a golf course south of Beaumont, TX. There were scores of avocets in the area and the water surrounding their legs was several inches deep so despite their long legs, it looks as if they’re swimming. The avocet in the first shot has just captured a morsel in its long curved beak. The group of avocets in the second shot appear to be working together as a group to corral some crustaceans or small fish.
Black Necked Stilts look like they just emerged from a Walt Disney cartoon. Their huge eyes and their long, skinny, unwieldy legs make them instant charicatures. I took this shot of a black necked stilt last week in Texas on Bolivar Peninsula.
A Great Egret struggles to keep balanced on flimsy branches in the High Island Rookery.