I’m having trouble getting started with this post at the present time, I could do a post about GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), which I thought that I had conquered. But, both Canon and Nikon have recently introduced full frame mirrorless cameras which will probably be the future of digital photography. I could explain why that is, and why I’m interested, but I don’t think that I will, at least not now.
I could do a post on why it’s hard for me to post average photos of common subjects…
…since I shot the image of the dragonfly from my last post, and I’ve been expanding my horizons this summer in shooting night photos, the Milky Way, and the other subjects that I’ve been shooting. But, I won’t, as that leads me back to photo gear and techniques, such as how my images of birds in flight…
…have improved to the point that I’m now proud of the images of them that I shoot far more often than not.
Or, I could brag about how much my macro images have improved lately…
…but I don’t want to go down that road either.
I could do a post on the ethics of baiting wildlife, and whether it’s a violation of my own ethics if I see that birds…
…or other wildlife comes to eat what others have left for them…
…when I could just post this photo…
…and not mention that I got that photo by standing near food that some one else had left to attract the bird in the photo.
In some ways, what I did in standing near the pile of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and other seeds on the ground isn’t much different from when I stand near a bush covered with berries that I see birds eating and photograph the birds as they come to eat the berries. The only difference is that the berries are a natural source of food that I take advantage of, rather than putting the food out myself.
I could do a detailed description of Huff Park, the park that I’ve gone to the past two weeks…
…but I think that the signs says everything that I would have to say about the park.
Wait, that’s not true, I do have something to say about this park. It’s another of the postage stamp sized parks that attracts a wide variety of migrating birds that use the park during their journeys, both north in the spring, and south in the fall. This park, like many of the other smaller parks I’ve been visiting lately, provide the birds with food and cover, places for them to rest and refuel within the limits of Michigan’s second largest city.
I used to go to the largest parks and other public areas that there were in the area where I live, thinking that getting away from other people was the key to finding birds to photograph, and while I do see a few birds in large parks, they are spread out more, and harder to find. These small parks, such as Huff Park, The Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, and the East Grand River Park in Grand Haven, concentrate the birds in small areas, making them easier to find and photograph. Not only that, I would think that these small oasis parks are very important to the survival of many of the migrating birds that depend on these parks during migration.
That leads me to another observation that I’ve made recently, when I go to a large park, the birds are spread out over wide areas, and I see only one or two at a time. However, in the smaller parks, the birds form large mixed flocks that stay together as they move though the park as they search for food. I wonder why that is? Not that I have an answer, but it’s something that I hope to remember to ask Brian Johnson the next time that I bump into him.
Now, more than ever, I wish that I had been able to photograph more of the birds that I saw in Huff Park than I was able to.
I missed more birds than I was able to get photos of.
And for this next one, I threw the camera to my eye, hit the auto-focus button and shutter release at almost the same time, hoping that the camera would get a focus on the bird before it moved on me yet again.
Just as on the trail to Lost Lake in Muskegon last week, I found flickers in flocks as they migrate south.
While the year round resident downy woodpeckers were nearby, but they were also there in small flocks mixed in the overall larger mixed flocks of birds.
Some of it makes sense to me, when I think about it. I can see why flycatchers such as the pewee and a few eastern Phoebe that I wasn’t able to get photos of, would hang around near the warblers, vireos, and other smaller birds, to pick off the flying insects stirred up by the smaller birds as they worked through the vegetation looking for their own preferred insects to eat.
I’m guessing that the flickers were in small family flocks, maybe several families of them migrating together, and they are vocal birds, often calling to one another as they search for food, or in the case last week while on the Lost Lake trail, alerting the others to the Cooper’s hawk that was hunting the flickers and other small birds.
Maybe I’m on to something here. In large parks, the birds are able to spread out more, making it harder for potential predators…
…to locate them. In a small park, where they are already concentrated in a small area to begin with, and therefore easier for predators to find them, maybe it’s safer for the birds to all stick together in even tighter flocks so that they can warn the others in the flock of predators, or receive the warnings from the others.
Of course, that theory may be all wrong, but it’s something for me to continue to observe this fall as the birds migrate south.
That reminds me, I have another “mystery” that I’d love to be able to solve. It concerns this juvenile bald eagle…
…where it catches fish, and where it goes to eat them. This is the third time that I’ve seen this juvenile eagle carrying fish while flying over the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve from south to north. I have to wonder why it travels so far to eat the fish that it catches, since it’s a juvenile, and given the time of year that it is, it can’t be carrying the fish back to its nest to feed its young. I’d love to find out where it does its fishing, it can’t be very far from the preserve from the lay of the land and water in that area. There are also trees and manmade objects that the eagle could use as a perch to land and eat the fish that it catches off to the south of the preserve, so I don’t understand why it travels so far and burns so much energy carrying the fish as far as it does. It’s not as if eagles share food, quite the contrary, they often steal food from other eagles and other predators when they can. Maybe that’s why this eagle travels as far as it does, it has a spot where it feels safe to perch and eat its meal in peace, and not have to fight off other eagles trying to steal the meal it worked so hard for.
It could also be that the eagle doesn’t want to alert any other passing eagles to the fishing spot that it’s found if it were to perch nearer to where it had caught the fish it was carrying. If another eagle flying past saw this one eating its meal nearby, the other eagle may encroach on this one’s favorite fishing hole. So, maybe as I typed this out, I’ve explained the mystery, but I’d still love to learn where this eagle does its fishing in hopes that I’d be able to photograph it in action.
I suppose that the poor photo of the eagle carrying its meal should be my motivation to continue to shoot photos such as that, as they prompt me to think about the behavior of the subjects of such photographs, and I try to figure out why the subject is doing what it’s doing.
Sometimes, that’s easy.
I did try to shoot a better photo from close to the same angle, but the vegetation made that impossible.
So, I had to settle for this.
I also wish that I’d been able to switch to my macro lens and get closer to the spider, but it was already trying to move away from me, dragging the grasshopper with it since it didn’t want to lose its meal. On the other hand, this garden spider was too busy wrapping its latest victim in its web as I shot this photo.
That’s one of the many times that I should have switched to shoot a video of the spider as it used its hind legs to wrap the grasshopper in its web. But, handholding the camera, the 100-400 mm lens, and the 1.4 X tele-converter would have resulted in such a poor video because of how shaky it would have been that I didn’t even try to shoot a video.
Come to think of it, I have another mystery to solve, and I don’t think that I’ll be able to do that on my own.
I took that wide shot after I had removed some of the other foliage from around these leaves…
…to get the best possible view, and best possible photo of them.
It looked to me as if these leaves had turned blue naturally, and weren’t a result of human interference, such as paint. I suppose that the minerals in the soil could be the reason that these leaves turned blue, but I’m not an expert on plants. I can’t even identify the species of plant that this is, which is the reason that I included the wider shot, in hopes that some one would be able to tell me what this plant is, and possibly, why its leaves would turn that shade of blue.
Anyway, here are a few more of the photos that I shot this last week.
Sometimes, I prefer a wider shot that I shoot…
…over images that I shoot with the macro lens.
I wonder why all spiders seem to hang upside down on their webs, and also, why I seldom see them in a position where I can shoot the top of them.
I really meant to pay more attention to the leaves of this next flower so that I’d have a chance of identifying it, but I was distracted by the spider shown above and forgot to shoot a photo of the leaves.
My skill level when it comes to identifying flowers is close to zero, I believe that this next flower is in the aster family, and not the daisy family, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn otherwise.
This next one is just a wider photo showing some of the colors and textures that I saw and enjoyed, even if the photo doesn’t do justice to the scene.
And finally, one of my favorite wildflowers which is coming to the end of its blooming period as fall approaches.
Well, I have a good many thoughts running through my head right now, things that I have to sort out as I go. I’ve already had another two days off from work since I began this post, and I just barely managed to shoot enough photos for another post, maybe. They were somewhat disappointing days, made worse by the swarms of mosquitoes everywhere I went during those two days. We received over a foot of rain over a two-week period not long ago, which as I explained in a previous post, has made finding trails dry enough to walk harder to do. And with all the standing water left from the rain, it’s going to be a bad fall as far as the skeeters, at least until it dries out here.
Enough of that, time for me to work on my plans for going up north in a few weeks to photograph the fall colors there, and to begin another post.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!