2020—Borbs

As the Audubon Society has clarified about Birbs, Borbs, and Floofs, Borbs are fat Birbs. This is a Purple Sandpiper on the left, looking like a fat, chocolate covered cake pop. On the right, a Borbish Ruddy Turnstone. I took this photograph on Huguenot Memorial Beach near Jacksonville, FL in February 2019 with my Nikon D5, 500mm PF lens, and Nikon TC 14 Eiii.

2020—Hello, Birb!!

Somehow I managed to miss a most important addition to the lexicon: birb. It is “internet-speak” for birds. Apparently it’s been around for quite a few years. But, just the other day it came to my attention through a link from the Audubon Society. Being a passionate photographer of birds and even the roommate (I hesitate to say owner) of a Red-lored Amazon parrot, I should have known this long ago. Not all birds qualify as birbs but according to the Audubon Society’s article (see link above) all parrots qualify so I have my very own birb to show off. And not only are there birbs! There are also borbs and floofs. Watch this space for more birbs, and even some borbs, and floofs! Here is my very own birb, Bobo, as she goes about her daily excursion on the kitchen countertop in search of chili peppers. Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm f/1.4

2020—Patagonia

The past several summers I’ve visited Madera Canyon in Arizona to photograph hummingbirds, one of my favorite birds. At Madera Canyon we have the opportunity to photograph quite a few different species of hummers and occasionally, we’ve seen a Violet-crowned hummingbird there. But until we visited Patagonia, about twenty miles south of Madera Canyon, I had never photographed a Violet-crowned hummingbird. At the Nature Conservancy Preserve visitor center in Patagonia we had one very cooperative Violet-crowned hummer. He stayed with us all afternoon. We had a severe thunderstorm while we were there under the protection of the center’s canopy. Much of the afternoon, this hummer chose one of the metal perches with some protection from the overhang of the roof.

2020—Northern Parula

Magee Marsh in Ohio on Lake Erie is a treasure. When the warblers are passing through on their annual migration, the numbers and species there at any one time vary considerably. Birders and photographers crowd the boardwalks to capture a glimpse or get a shot. The dense thicket of trees and shrubs surrounding the boardwalk make it a challenge to see the birds clearly without them being obscured by twigs and leaves. This year, no one will get to watch this incredible migration at Maggie Marsh. But, I was there last year. This is a Northern Parula perched on a small branch in the open. Taken with Nikon D500, Nikkor 500mm PF, Nikon TC 14EIII.

2020—Baltimore Oriole

Thursday, March 26, was supposed to be opening day for Major League Baseball teams including the Baltimore Orioles. For those baseball fans that are missing MLB, I can offer a real Baltimore Oriole for which the team is named. I think its brilliant plumage is cheerful and uplifting. I photographed this Baltimore Oriole at Magee Marsh in Ohio last May using my Nikon D500, Nikkor 500mm PF, and Nikon TC 14EIII.

2020—View from Cape Meares

The Cape Meares Lighthouse isn’t the only attraction at Cape Meares on the coast of Oregon. The views from the trails surrounding the lighthouse are gorgeous. The sights are enhanced by the sounds of the sea as its waves crash against the shores. This was taken mid January as winter storms were clearing briefly. Nikon Z7 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S.

2020—Little House on the Palouse

When I first saw this weathered, dilapidated, and abandoned house in the Palouse two years ago, I fell in love with it. I’m not sure what it is about it but I wanted to return to it this year to try to capture the essence of it. It’s just one of the many abandoned barns, farm buildings, and houses in the Palouse. Their placement in the midst of this expanse of farmland with the vast sky above make them seem like lonely outposts but these structures only add to the charm and intrigue of the Palouse. Two years ago we met the owner of the surrounding land and learned that the home had been his wife’s parents’ home until about fifty years ago. Apparently, no one wanted to live there but they’re not removing it from their land.

2020—The Round Barn

Many of the barns and outbuildings in the Palouse are weathered and dilapidated. Their paint is crackled and their roofs are often missing shingles. Not the round barn we found along our travels. This is quite a beautiful structure, well maintained, and its shape is unusual, especially for a barn. It reminded me of another round barn in the town where I grew up, Santa Rosa, California’s iconic Fountaingrove round barn. It was a landmark and was one of the hundreds of structures destroyed in the Tubbs Fire in 2017.

2020—Good Morning from the Palouse

The Palouse is a vast and distinctly unique agricultural region along the Washington-Idaho border characterized by dune like hills on which are grown grains and legumes. The bare, undulating dune-like hills characterize the region. Witnessing this lovely, serene scene at sunrise helped us forget, however briefly, some of the recent chaotic reactions and uncertainties about the world-wide health crisis.

2020—Just A Couple of Sheep

We didn’t see many rams in the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep herd that we photographed in Wyoming a couple of weeks ago. The few rams that we did see were young, not the older rams with the seriously curled horns that are a mark of maturity. The juxtaposition of this young ram with the ewe as they munch dried grasses makes it appear as if they are a couple, but they really are just a couple of sheep

2020—Oh, Those Ears

Mule Deer, like the Mule from which they get their name, have huge ears. This Mule Deer, relaxing in the midday sun in Wyoming in the Whiskey Basin Wildlife Management Area, has a divot missing from its right ear but that huge pair of ears is hard to miss, especially when they are turned to the front.

2020—Greetings

The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in Wyoming were nothing if not cooperative. They seemed to recognize us and our vehicle. I’ve been told that these sheep have good memories and because we were respectful and did not encroach, they accepted us and went about their daily routines. On our third morning, as we drove into the Whiskey Basin Wildlife Habitat Management Area in search of sheep, I spotted a trio of ewes atop a rocky outcropping and alerted the others. By the time we got the vehicle turned around and stopped, only one ewe remained on the rock. It was the first (and only) time I was the first person to see the sheep so I have a particular affinity for this ewe who stood proudly and looked straight into my lens as if to greet me.

2020—Cloudy Moon

Moon shots with clouds have always intrigued me but until last week I had never managed to photograph the moon with clouds. In Wyoming, I had an opportunity to photograph a Waxing Gibbous moon as clouds blew by it. Getting the shot was not an easy task because the winds were brisk, the clouds moved quickly, and I was using my Nikon Z6 and FTZ with the Nikkor 500mm PF and hand-holding. Keeping the long lens steady while pointing to the sky and positioning the moon in the viewfinder proved quite a challenge for me. While I searched for my subject in the viewfinder, my friend Richard would tell me how much time I had before the moon disappeared into the clouds. I took the photograph in black and white so the sky looked dark and it seemed to be nighttime although it was only late afternoon and the sun had not set.

2020—Young Ram

After the winds died down in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains last week, we found another band of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep near the Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp, near the side of the road. They were so close to the vehicle that I switched cameras and lenses. I attached the Nikkor 300mm PF and the FTZ converter so I could use the lens on my Nikon Z6 with its MB-N10 battery pack. I took this photograph through the rear seat passenger window across Eric’s shoulder as the young ram approached.