Spring vacation, Alpena, Day 4
Warning! Too many photos ahead!
This post will hold a few photos that I had leftover from the previous day, the subjects are the same, but the photos from the day before were better.
Also, this post will continue on with the rather whimsical notion that I have to kick the birds and other wildlife out of my way as I walk along. I’ll be posting some poor photos that I otherwise wouldn’t, but I hope that they give you an idea on the number of birds that I was seeing.
Finally, after two cloudy sunrises, I got a good one!
Walking back to my campsite for coffee, I noticed this red pine in the morning sun.
This was Saturday morning, and while I had the campground to myself the first night, and almost to myself the second night, by Friday evening, it had practically filled up. With all the other campers there, I saw fewer warblers that morning while I was drinking my coffee, and no species that I don’t have good photos of already.
So, after finishing my coffee, I set off down the beach for my morning walk. I had just gotten started when I noticed a young male Baltimore oriole perched in the top of one of the pines. It was really too far away for a good photo, but it made a good subject for me to check out the exposure settings that early in the morning.
I had just lowered the camera, when the oriole took off and started flying across an opening in the pines. I was kicking myself for not trying to get a photo of it, but if I had tried, I would have missed what happened next.
A small brown streak came up from behind and above the oriole, the oriole saw the brown streak approaching, and took evasive action, causing the brown streak to miss. The brown streak slowed down, and landed in one of the pines, it was a peregrine falcon!
I can’t claim to be an expert on falcons, but this must have been a younger one, as it looked much smaller than the few that I have seen in the past, including the one that I posted this photo of earlier.
Anyway, the young falcon didn’t stick around for me to try to get closer, it went streaking off in search of breakfast.
There’s a story behind this next photo also. When I was there last year, there was a great egret that would not let me get close enough to it for a good photo. There had been an egret hunting the same marshes again this year, I think that it’s the same egret as the year before, as I couldn’t get closer than 100 feet no matter how carefully I stalked the egret.
On this morning, I saw the egret flying straight at me as I was partially hidden in the willows that ring the marshes. I got the camera on the egret, got the auto-focus tracking it, and was waiting for the egret to get closer, when it spotted me.
I had just watched the oriole elude the falcon, but the turn that the egret made was every bit as good of flying as the oriole had done, I didn’t know that such a large bird could fly like that! Luckily, my finger pressed the shutter release out of instinct, and I captured the turn forever. The egret’s wings and body were already making the turn, its head and feet were slung out towards me due to centrifugal force. I wonder if egrets can suffer whiplash or G-force blackouts? This one had to be coming close if they do. Of course I shot a few more photos, but the egret’s butt isn’t that interesting. 😉
When I got down to the point, there were two young eagles there, and to my surprise, these two hung around for a minute or two, so I have bad photos of stationary eagles rather than bad photos of flying eagles. 😉
I thought for sure that when this one looked straight at me that the jig was up, but the eagle sat there a few seconds longer. If you look closely, in the grass in front of the eagle is its breakfast, a carp.
Coming up next are a series of images of shorebirds that I shot over the last two days I was up there. Since a few of them are actually quite good, I should note that they were all shot with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens).
I should also note that identifying shorebirds is much easier in the spring when they are in breeding plumage than it is in the fall, when they tend to all look-alike.
I should also note that with every one of the shorebirds that I see after I have learned that species a little bit makes it much easier to ID them quicker from then on. Not to brag, but photos like the last one really help also.
At the other extreme as far as photos are these dunlins.
Those two images are there to show you how many there were, as these next two photos are.
Now then, back to some better photos. I saw a semi-palmated plover and two least sandpipers together, they were a bit far away, but I didn’t know how close I could get to them without spooking them.
A third least sandpiper came along and began herding the others straight towards me.
They kept getting closer, until they were just a few feet away.
I’ve managed a few photos of killdeer as good as this one…
But I think that this next one is my best ever!
And, to wrap up the photos, a common bird almost everywhere, a red-winged blackbird.
And with it turning into afternoon, I decided that it was a good time to pack up and head for home to avoid the holiday traffic on the way back. It took all of ten minutes to clean and pack my tent/cot, and I should also say that with better weather, it performed much better than when I had three straight days of rainy weather.
The tent/cot does what I want it to do, it goes up and comes down quickly, it’s much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, and once I learned to control the condensation, I’m very happy with it. It’s a bit of a pain to get in and out of it, and to undress or dress inside of it, but overall, it works well. Yes, I was a happy camper!
I still have photos from Muskegon while I was on vacation that will take at least one post, and a bunch from around home since I’ve been back as well, but it may be a day or two before I get the photos sorted.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!