Let’s hope that I timed this right!
If everything goes as I have planned it, next week, I’ll be in northern Michigan for a week off from work. Right now, it’s looking as if the weather will be cool, I can handle that, if it doesn’t rain all the time. Right now though, my timing isn’t very good, I hope that it changes in the next week.
I had just gotten to the point where I was walking again, and then I went and stubbed the little toe on my left foot hard enough to shatter the nail, OUCH! I gutted it out on Sunday though, I didn’t walk any great distances, but I limited myself to just a few short jaunts to get my legs back in shape. Today, which is Monday as I start this, I did the full three-mile walk around home, and I can sure feel it in my leg muscles. This was the first day in over a month that I have walked that far. I’ll have to walk every day this week to be ready for next week. That may mean walking around parking lots as the truck is getting loaded or unload at work, but walking is walking.
Then, there’s my timing as far as posting species to the My Photo Life List project. I had just posted piping plovers with just photos of a chick when the very next day I found a pair of adults. It wasn’t long ago that I published to post on orchard orioles, and I pondered why I saw only juveniles and females around home, but never an adult male. Well, that has changed, I got an adult male here today. I’ll get to him in a while, but for a change, I’m going to begin the photos in this post with the first one that I shot on Sunday morning.
I took a different route towards Muskegon to look for landscapes to shoot at sunrise, and that’s one that I came up with, here’s another.
Crockery Creek isn’t a very pretty area, as it flows slowly through mostly farm country, but still, I kind of like that one.
It was a cool morning, so I started at the wastewater facility, which also meant that I didn’t have to walk on an extremely sore toe. I planned to shoot a few more ducks, but the only ones that would sit still for a photo were these two lesser scaup.
I don’t know if the ducks are getting ready to head to their summer breeding grounds or what the deal was, but I couldn’t even got close enough to them to get a photo of one in flight. I even saw ruddy ducks flying, a rare sight most of the time. I did shoot a few photos though. What can I say, I’m a sucker for an interesting cloud pattern reflected from a body of water.
Another species of sparrow has returned.
I saw the first goslings of the spring,
You’d think that since there are already goslings hatching here that the hundreds of ducks still at the wastewater facility would have been gone long ago, very few of them nest there.
The upland sandpipers returned last week, this week, they’re already preparing their nests.
This mourning dove was looking for twigs to use in a nest, it must be her second brood of the year, they are one of the earliest nesting birds here.
With very few opportunities for a good photo, I head just up the road from the wastewater facility to Lane’s Landing. I had just started walking when I heard a sandhill crane behind me, so I turned around to shoot this.
There were dozens of these guys chasing each other around as they defended their territories.
I heard an American bittern, Virginia rail, and the sora again, the only one that I saw were this pair of sora.
I also heard the marsh wren again, well, actually, I heard three of them, I worked hard to get another poor photo of one of them.
As soon as I started moving after shooting the wren, I saw a large bird flying away from me that could have only been the American Bittern. I have already photographed and posted on that species, but still, I’d like to catch one not in flight, as the photos that I did for that post are of one flying past me.
It’s been amazing to me how once I have made a positive identification of a species how that sticks in my brain, and most of the time, as soon as I see another individual of the same species, I know exactly what it is. Case in point, this field sparrow.
Just their lighter coloration and “clean” face was enough for me to realize what that bird was, when so many sparrows look identical at first.
I’ve said that I’ve worked hard to get the poor photos of the marsh wren that I have, but that hard work will pay off. It’s the time of the year when the small, very quick birds that spend all their time in the foliage looking for food return to this area. Here’s a few that I managed a photo of on Sunday.
Rose-breasted grosbeaks aren’t tiny little birds, but they do spend most of their time hidden in the leaves. Here’s a series of photos of a female capturing a caterpillar and eating it, slurping it down like a noodle.
I walked all the way to where the dike is washed out at Lane’s Landing, then back to my car. In the parking lot, I found this guy that I just had to photograph.
My next stop was the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, and almost as soon as I stepped out of my car, I found a baby bunny to shoot.
On the first boardwalk along the edge of a marsh, I found Mr. Grumpy’s American cousin.
He was looking for an out of the way spot to take his afternoon siesta, and never moved while I tied several places to shoot from, trying to get a clear view of him. He must have had a very good morning fishing, as the rest of the birds were still active, one way…
The palm warblers have returned.
I’ve been short on cute, cuddly mammals here lately, so to go with the baby bunny, a grey squirrel…
…that hammed it up a bit when he heard the shutter going.
I see now that those two are a bit too blue, I should have warmed them up a little in Lightroom, oops, sorry.
Those photos weren’t cropped at all, that’s the way that they came out of the camera, which brings up something I’ve been thinking about lately.
Yes, I’d like a full frame sensor camera body, but that’s a long way off. I’m almost positive that Canon will upgrade the 5D Mk III to the 5D Mk IV soon, however, I’ll still wait until I purchase one, probably at least a year, maybe longer. I know now how Canon does things. First, they will announce the upgrade, and take orders before it goes into production. Canon will hand out “pre-production” versions to their paid spokespeople, who will all rave about how that camera is the best that Canon has ever built, to fuel demand for it. A few months later, Canon will begin shipping the new model, at full price. After demand wanes a little, they’ll offer a small rebate for a while, and by the time a year or so has passed, they will up the amount of the rebate. So, since I know all of this, I’d be dumb to pay full price when I know that if I wait, the price will come down.
In the meantime, I could buy some of the accessories that I’d like to have for my 7D Mk II, such as a battery grip. I do carry a spare battery for each of my cameras, and the 7D is the only body that has drained a single battery in one day of shooting. So, having a battery grip that holds two batteries isn’t a bad idea. Not only that, but the battery grip allows for the use of AA batteries if you’re out in the boonies and can’t recharge the regular batteries for it.
Another really good feature of the battery grip is that it also has a duplicate set of buttons so when you hold the camera in the portrait orientation, one doesn’t have to fumble around trying to find the auto-focus or shutter release buttons the way that I do now when I was trying to photograph the squirrel. No more bending my thumb around in such a way that I don’t poke myself in the eye when trying to find the auto-focus button the way that I have to now.
Another accessory would be a microphone. That way, when I shot a video of a bird singing, you’d be able to hear the bird I was shooting the video of, without as much background noise. First though, I have to train the birds better.
On Sunday, I had two male catbirds having a singing war, with one of them on either side of me. Catbirds mimic the songs of other birds, taking bits and pieces of the other bird’s songs, and blending it into their own. I posted a video about their ability to mimic other bird’s songs quite a while back. I’ve heard a lot of catbirds sing, but the one to my left was putting all the others to shame, I’ve never heard anything like him before. The only problem was that I couldn’t see him. If I had shot a video, the visual would have been boring, just the green leaves, but the symphony that the catbird was composing on the fly, made up of snippets of other bird’s songs, was simply amazing, I’ve never heard anything like it before. About that time, he moved so I knew where he was, and I could even make him out through the leaves…
…I broke out into laughter right after that photo, he heard the shutter go off and moved just enough so that I could no longer see his eye. I can’t help but think that he knew darned well what he was doing. That may be just a sign of my warped sense of humor, I love playing hide and seek with birds, doing my best to get a clear view of them as they do their best to remain hidden from the camera.
That brings up another point, how much higher my standards have become for the photos that I post here. Other than the marsh wrens, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a photo with most of the bird hidden from view. The first step was making sure that you could see the bird’s eye. Then it became trying to get the lighting right so that you could see the catch light in the bird’s eye. Now, I try to get close enough with good enough lighting that you can see the bird’s pupil in its eye. That doesn’t always show in my photos here in their smaller size, but when I view these full screen on my computer, you can definitely see the bird’s pupil in each of these next images.
I think that this chickadee was looking for insects within the cattails, at first, I thought that it was gathering the fluffy stuff for its nest, but it never carried any of it away.
Well, I’ve reached my self-imposed limit for photos in one post, and I still have a few left overs from Sunday, plus all the photos that I shot on Monday, so I’ll try to squeeze in one more post this week as I get ready for my vacation next week.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!