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

Where did the summer go II?

Well, once again I find myself way behind in my blogging, the photos in this post were shot back in September. All of the images in this post were shot on my daily walks around home, and I have too many for one post saved. I also have plenty of images from a day in Kent County’s Millenium Park, and two trips to Muskegon to get to as well.

This summer, I suspended doing any posts in the My Photo Life List series, I’d like to get back to doing those posts, but it will have to wait until I get caught up. That may be a while. However, once November rolls around, subjects to photograph will become fewer and farther between as winter sets in. I hope to get back to one post per week of a general nature, and do one post per week in the My Photo Life List series.

For the past month, I’ve had migrating birds, fall foliage, the year’s last flowers, along with the resident wildlife to photograph, meaning lots of photo, some of them are even good. 😉

I could do an entire post or two on playing peek-a-boo with birds, where they spot me trying to photograph them, they attempt to hide behind whatever is handy, and when they find that I still keep shooting, the birds take off. Those of you who photograph birds already know this quite well, but I’ll throw in a few for the heck of it.

On the other hand, there are some birds that when they see me shooting their photo will pose for me instead of moving on. As  I speculated in the past, it may be the bird equivalent of a selfie.

The bird’s willingness to pose doesn’t seem to go by species, it seems as if it has more to do with the bird’s mood that day. Case in point, I’ve been closer to this red-tailed hawk in the past, it’s even remained perched in clear view long enough for me to change lenses. But, on this day, when it saw me…

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

…it tried to hide behind the only leaf nearby…

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

…and when it heard the shutter still going….

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

…it said “I’m out of here”, and off it went.

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Here’s an example of a bird selfie. I was sneaking up on a cedar waxwing…

Juvenile cedar waxwing

Juvenile cedar waxwing

…it spotted me…

Juvenile cedar waxwing

Juvenile cedar waxwing

…and struck a pose for me.

Juvenile cedar waxwing

Juvenile cedar waxwing

About the same thing happened with this chipping sparrow, but I’ll leave out all but the two posed images.

Chipping sparrow

Chipping sparrow

Chipping sparrow

Chipping sparrow

Some birds pose for me, but become impatient with how long it takes me to get the shot that I want, like this juvenile white-crowned sparrow. I got this image, but thought that I could do better by getting a little closer, and better lighting…

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

…as I was getting lined up for a better shot, the sparrow shot me the “Hurry up, I’m not going to pose all day” look…

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

…and so I shot this one as it struck a pose.

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow

Then, there are the birds that don’t seem to care if I’m close to them or not, they continue to go about their business foraging for food whether I’m shooting photos of them or not.

Male downy woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

Male downy woodpecker

On a different subject, I often see Cooper’s hawks when I’m on my daily walks, usually flying at a high rate of speed below treetop level. One day, I spotted a flock of vultures soaring high above me, but one of the birds in the flock was much smaller than the vultures, it was a Cooper’s hawk.

Cooper's hawk in flight

Cooper’s hawk in flight

I wonder if the hawk was soaring with the vultures as a way to hide from possible prey? Most wildlife ignore vultures, since vultures seldom kill their own prey, so by remaining close to the vultures, the hawk may not have been noticed by squirrels or other birds that the hawks prey on. I would have missed the hawk if I hadn’t noticed that one of the “vultures” looked so small.

Back to the birds that pose for me, some prefer to spruce themselves up a bit…

House finch preening

House finch preening

…before they pose.

House finch

House finch

Then, there are birds that are often difficult subjects to work with, they go out of their way to avoid having a good photo of them taken most of the time, such as great blue herons. However, every once in a while, one will do something strange for them, like land in a tree right in front of me.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

This one even allowed me to walk all the way around it for a little better lighting.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Fall foliage

Fall foliage

That’s not a heron, how did that get in here? It was a practice shot of the fall colors before I went on my trip up north.

Back to the heron, which doesn’t seem to mind having its picture taken.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

It doesn’t like dogs though, for as a dog walker went past, the heron took off.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

But, it didn’t go far, not as far as I thought that it would, so I missed the landing photo.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Birds aren’t the only thing I shot.

Hairy or cow vetch?

Hairy or cow vetch?

Unidentified caterpillar

Unidentified caterpillar

Fallen color

Fallen color

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Woolly bear caterpillar

Woolly bear caterpillar

Woolly bear caterpillar

Woolly bear caterpillar

Back to the birds, these next three were shot on a very dark and gloomy day.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Red-bellied woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

How dark and gloomy? Here’s a downy woodpecker in action.

Downy woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

I used the flash for that last image, and the highest shutter speed I can use is 1/250 second, which wasn’t fast enough to freeze the woodpecker’s head as it probed for food. Luckily, the light was better when I shot these.

Turkey

Turkey

Another turkey was taking life easy.

Turkey

Turkey

Now then, back to the heron that doesn’t mind having its picture taken.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

That heron seems to have developed a taste for grasshoppers, but it wasn’t having much luck finding any. It thought that if it disguised itself as Keith Richards that the grasshoppers wouldn’t pay attention to him.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

But, the disguise didn’t work, so the heron went back to looking like a heron.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Sorry for so many heron photos, but after a summer of seeing very few of them, having one close enough to shoot images that don’t need to be cropped at all is too much for me to resist.

I’ve reached my quota, so it’s time to wrap this one up. I still have lots of images from around home, and from several excursions on weekends, so it may be November before I’m fully caught up again. Oh well, I’m sure that things will slow down by then.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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27 responses

  1. Really beautiful pictures! What kind of camera do you use?

    October 13, 2014 at 11:20 am

    • Thank you! I use a pair of Canon 60 D bodies and an assortment of lenses.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      • Well, it’s really working. Thanks for sharing!

        October 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      • Thanks again, and thanks for reminding me that I have a post to finish where I list all the photo gear that I use.

        October 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

  2. Lots of lovely pictures but the fox squirrel won it for me, so cute.

    October 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      October 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  3. My favourite – that very hairy woolly bear.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    • Thank you! I worked hard to get those shots, so I’m glad you liked them.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  4. I know what you mean about being behind with posts! I am having the same trouble. The squirrel is very good and I really laughed at Keith Richard. The red-bellied woodpecker is so pretty!

    October 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! During the winter, you’ll be seeing more of the squirrels and woodpeckers, as they will be some of the few subjects that I’ll find to photograph.

      October 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

  5. I like seeing Keith, oops-I mean the heron in the grass. You don’t see many shots of them like that. Nice to see the cardinal and cedar waxwing too. I still haven’t seen any waxwings here.
    That could be hairy vetch. if it is the seed pods will look like hairy pea pods.
    I think my favorite shots are of the squirrel. I wish our grays would pose like that!

    October 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    • Thank you Allen! I thought that there was just one heron around here, but I discovered that there are two. For a week straight, one of them was hunting grasshoppers and whatever else it could find in the field, while the other stuck to the ponds. I’ll check the seed pods tomorrow if I remember.

      October 14, 2014 at 2:54 am

  6. You can’t have too many heron pictures. We need more caterpillar pictures now. What a great set of photographs in this post.

    October 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    • Thanks Tom! Caterpillars are tough subjects, they like to hide in the grass. I may have to begin rearranging nature a little to get clear views of caterpillars.

      October 14, 2014 at 2:55 am

  7. The whole series is really amazing. I love the detail and expression; the diversity of subjects you captured is really amazing.

    October 13, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    • Thank you Charlie! Just a week around home, but I do go for more variety here than when I’m birding.

      October 14, 2014 at 2:56 am

  8. Blue heron as Keith Richards – that’s rich! Love the way you got the background of the white- crowned sparrow. It’s the perfect setting.

    Your second turkey shot could be captioned “turkey practicing for Thanksgiving role”

    Nice post, as always.

    October 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

    • Thank you Judy! I was fortunate that the sparrow stayed put while I moved around to get a good background, and, you’re right about the caption for the second turkey. However, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead.

      October 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

  9. Confess-you wear a bird costume when you got out to take pix, right? How else would you get such natural poses from your bird friends??!!! 😉 Thx for sharing!!!

    October 15, 2014 at 8:56 am

    • Thanks Lori! No costume, that would be scary if some one my size tried dressing as a bird. The secret is that birds are my friend, hence a few of them do pose once in a while.

      October 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

  10. Gorgeous photographs, each and every one. I always try to capture birds with my camera…never seem to succeed. The hawk is a beauty.

    October 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Photographing birds isn’t easy, but I enjoy the challenge.

      October 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  11. You’ve got some magic going for sure, getting the GBH to pose for you like that! Wonderful shots!

    October 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    • Thank you! It gets better as the heron gets accustomed to me photographing it.

      October 16, 2014 at 1:00 am

  12. Great photos, that Fox Squirrel looks like he could use a peanut, lol! And Cedar Waxwings always seem to photogenic.

    I don’t know where the seasons go, either. As I get older the year seems to go by in a blur. I hope they don’t speed up too much faster!

    October 18, 2014 at 12:35 am

    • Thank you very much! You’re right about the seasons going by more quickly every year, except for winters, they seem to drag on longer each year. 😉

      October 18, 2014 at 2:21 am

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