My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Merry Christmas everyone! Woody was working, the heron, frozen

I just got home from a Christmas Eve hike a few minutes ago, fist I had to prep tonight’s dinner before posting this. I have simple, but very tasty fare in the oven, buttercup squash, potatoes, cornbread, and of course my favorite meat, Ham. I’ll be eating well for a few days.

Now, for the hike. I went to a county park near where I live, I didn’t see many species other than the typical Michigan tweety birds, such as chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, and our more common woodpeckers. It was cold and cloudy, a typical Michigan winter day.

I did walk right into a small herd of whitetail deer.

Whitetail doe

Whitetail deer

One of the herd was kind enough to step out where I could get better shots of her.

DSC_5894

Whitetail doe

Whitetail doe

Whitetail doe

Whitetail doe

Whitetail doe

One of these days I’m going to get a frontal shot of a deer that shows their big beautiful eyelashes!

Then, I spotted a species of woodpecker that I have fond very difficult to get a good photo of, a pileated woodpecker, two of them actually.

A horrible shot of two pileated woodpeckers

A horrible shot of two pileated woodpeckers

One of the pair flew off as soon as I made an attempt to get better shots of them, without all the brush in the way, but today was a fairly lucky day, the other stayed put.

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Those aren’t great shots, but they’re better than I’ve ever gotten before. Mostly black birds aren’t easy to photograph well in the first place, setting them against the dark bark of trees only makes it harder, and to top it off, they love the shady side of trees on dark cloudy days, or at least that’s when I normally see them.

I did see the other of the pair flying a couple of times and attempted photos of it, both flying and stationary, but none of them are worth posting.

My last two photos of the day, a great blue heron. These shots are so bad that I wouldn’t normally post them, but I think that they should remind us of what wildlife has to endure, plus, I tried out the new tripod that I bought myself for Christmas.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

It was so dark by that time that I couldn’t tell for sure that it was a heron, it was a heron shaped dark blob to my eyes. I snapped a couple of photos handheld, but seeing the exposure time, I knew that they would be junk even at ISO 800, and they were. So, I set up my new tripod, freezing my fingers while doing so. I reset the ISO to 200 and zoomed in as best I could, and came up with this.

Frozen great blue heron

Frozen great blue heron

I know, it’s really a bad photo, but I did get something recognizable as a heron. I know this also, I sure wouldn’t want to be roosting on a snow covered log for the night tonight, it’s cold out there!

So, while we’re enjoying the food, companionship, and warmth that the holidays bring, please remember our fur and feathered friends don’t have it as easy.

Merry Christmas to all of you and yours!

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16 responses

  1. Those are better shots of the pileated than I have ever managed.

    December 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    • Thanks, and Merry Christmas. They are a tough bird to photograph.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

  2. Vicki

    love the first photo of the deer, and the photos of the pileated woodpecker sure look good to me. I look forward to your new posts.

    December 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    • Thank you, the photos are OK, but some sun would help. I should say, some sun at the right angle would help.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

  3. amiloo

    Love the detail and the coloring of these photos.

    December 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    • Thank you, you’re being too kind.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  4. Such a wonderful Christmas Eve walk. Thank you for your well wishes. May you have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring your hearts desire.

    December 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  5. I’m jealous, Jerry. I have never seen a Pileated Woodpecker. But someday……. Happy Holidays to you.

    December 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    • Thanks Bob, but jealous? I’ve never seen many of the birds you photograph on a regular basis, I’ll have to find a few more species that stay up here in the frozen north to photograph.
      BTW, I’ve been checking out the Big Bend area on Google Earth after seeing your photos, I’m going there someday. Is there a best time of year to go? Like to see the cactus in bloom?

      December 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

  6. All the best for the Christmas and the coming new year.

    December 25, 2012 at 7:49 am

  7. Excellent photos of the pileated woodpecker, which is a bird that is seldom seen. Hope you have a great Christmas Jerry. I’m cooking ham too!

    December 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

    • Thanks, but I don’t know if I would call the photos excellent, just better than I have already taken. Perseverance and a willingness to kneel down in cold mud made those photos possible, I did work for what I got. Merry Christmas to you as well.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

  8. Northern Narratives

    Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    • Thank you, I suppose it’s too late to wish you Merry Christmas again this year.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm

  9. A belated Merry Christmas! Great shots of the Pileateds, they are majestic birds. I had the pleasure of standing under one when it was sending pieces of bark showering down around the area.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:45 am

    • Thank you, and a belated Merry Christmas to you, as well as a Happy New Year!

      December 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm