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

The light that I’ve been waiting for!

I may as well start at the beginning for a change, since it’s rare that one of my first photos of a day is also one of best, unless it’s a sunrise photo.

Juvenile bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

With the eagle perched there and willing to pose for me, I switched camera bodies and long lens/tele-converter set-ups to shoot this one.

Juvenile bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

As I sat there watching the eagle, it assumed an aggressive posture to warn away other raptors, letting me know that another raptor was in the area.

Juvenile bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

 

Juvenile bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

It turned out that a red-tailed hawk that was being mobbed by crows had landed in the same tree as the eagle. I didn’t get a good shot of the hawk though, here’s the best that I could do.

Red-tailed hawk sharing a tree with a bald eagle

Red-tailed hawk sharing a tree with a bald eagle

If the hawk thought that landing near an eagle would discourage the crows, it was mistaken, for the crows paid no attention to the eagle, and the eagle paid no attention to the crows.

American crow landing near a juvenile bald eagle

American crow landing near a juvenile bald eagle

The eagle was focused on the hawk, and giving the hawk “the look”, which meant that the eagle thought that the hawk should move on.

American crow landing near a juvenile bald eagle

American crow landing near a juvenile bald eagle

It wasn’t long before the hawk took off, taking its entourage of crows with it, leaving the eagle by itself again.

Juvenile bald eagle with a red-tailed hawk and crow flying behind it

Juvenile bald eagle with a red-tailed hawk and crow flying behind it

Some of those were shot with the new 7D body, some with the older one. Some were shot with the 100-400 mm lens and 2 X tele-converter, some with the 400 mm lens and the same tele-converter. In good light, both set-ups are about equal as far as image quality.

I had very high hopes for the day, there was great light, very light winds, but very few birds. I saw very few mallards or Canada geese on Saturday, I have no idea where they had all moved to. I did find gulls to practice on though.

I was using the newer body with the 100-400 mm lens with the 1.4 X tele-converter for these next two. That set-up works great when I get very close to birds, I can zoom out to get the entire bird…

Herring gull at 140mm

Herring gull at 140mm

…or zoom in for a head shot.

Herring gull at 560 mm

Herring gull at 560 mm

I used the same set-up to get the best images of a snow bunting that I’ve ever shot.

Snow bunting

Snow bunting

They may not have the wow factor of some other species of birds, but I love their markings…

Snow bunting

Snow bunting

…and it was nice of this one to do its yoga exercises while I was shooting photos.

Snow bunting

Snow bunting

They’ve created a short nature trail at the Muskegon County wastewater facility, and so I walked it on Saturday for the first time. I missed the other birds because I was trying for only very good images, but I did get a chickadee…

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

…if I had been quicker, I may have gotten a shot of it as it tried to perch on my hat, but I had to settle for this one.

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Stepping out of the woods and into one of the fields, I was greeted by two red-tailed hawks hunting together, probably a mated pair.

Red-tailed hawk number 1 in flight

Red-tailed hawk number 1 in flight

 

Red-tailed hawk number 2 in flight

Red-tailed hawk number 2 in flight

 

Red-tailed hawk number 2 in flight

Red-tailed hawk number 2 in flight

I had very high hopes for this weekend, as you can see in my photos so far, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky most of the time. However, two things limited the number of images that I shot. One was a lack of birds at the wastewater facility, and the other is that I’ve come down with a nasty cold or the flu. It’s hard to get close to birds when your nose is running all the time, and you’re coughing and sneezing most of the time as well. Yesterday, Sunday, I started at the Muskegon Lake Nature preserve hoping to sneak up on a few of the smaller birds there, but between how much noise I was making due to the cold, and just how cruddy I felt, I had to give it up and return to the wastewater facility where I could do most of my birding from my Subaru. I saw some promising signs that the waterfowl are returning, however, they stayed well out of camera range.

I must apologize to the people whose blogs I follow and comment on also, I’ve had a headache for the past three days which only gets worse when I try to comprehend what they have written. I’ll try to get caught up once I’m feeling better.

It’s now Tuesday morning, and this cold is still kicking my butt. That hasn’t been helped by returning to work yesterday. The hardest thing to deal with is trying to get enough sleep with the long hours that I have to work. At least I got a nap yesterday while waiting for the truck to be unloaded then reloaded on the other side of the state. I’ll probably do the same thing today.

Anyway, I’m going to throw in a few more photos that don’t require any comments from me, then call it good for this post.

Starling

Starling

 

Starling

Starling

 

Starling

Starling

 

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

 

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

 

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

Ring-billed gull finding lunch

 

Gadwall duck

Gadwall duck

 

Canada geese in flight

Canada geese in flight

 

Male mallard

Male mallard

 

Canada goose

Canada goose

 

Female mallard

Female mallard

 

Male mallard

Male mallard

 

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

 

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

 

White-breasted nuthatch hopping

White-breasted nuthatch hopping

 

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

 

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

 

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

 

Common merganser

Common merganser

 

Common merganser taking off

Common merganser taking off

 

Common merganser taking off

Common merganser taking off

 

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

It may take me a while before I’m able to catch up on every one else’s posts, and the same will apply to comments that people may leave to this post also. Last night, I came home, ate supper, did the dishes, and went straight to bed, I’ll probably do the same tonight the way that I feel right now.

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

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32 responses

  1. Such a bummer to be sick when the weather is nice. Being sick is for crappy days. Hope you get turned around quickly.

    Like your eagle narrative. If I were a crow and getting ‘the look’ like that, I’d get the hell out of Dodge, too.

    Added new birds to my Only in AZ viewing in the last few days – a female AZ woodpecker (all brown & white) and both male/female Acorn woodpeckers. I realize more and more how much skill you have in getting the great shots you post. Sadly, my cell phone is not up to bird photos. Not even going to try anymore.

    Take care.

    February 21, 2017 at 9:18 am

    • Thank you very much Judy! Being sick is never fun, no matter what the weather is. If there is a good side of driving truck, it’s that you’re by yourself most of the time and there’s no one around to spread germs. This is only the second time that I’ve been sick in the last 15 years. I think the downside is that my body isn’t used to fighting off colds any longer.

      Congratulations on all the new birds, I’d loved to have seen some photos of them, but you’re right, a cell phone won’t cut it for birds.

      February 22, 2017 at 7:20 am

  2. That nuthatch was so cute, wonderful photographs.

    February 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:20 am

  3. Really sorry to read that you are not feeling 100%…life can be so tricky and unfair sometimes! I love the bald eagle story being played out and the photo showing its ‘aggressive posture’ it’s really special. In fact all your photos are wonderful and every one of them has that little extra bit that makes them special: the eye of the herring gull, the close up of the chickadee, the iridescent sheen on the starlings, the gull flying and eating…in fact I could go on and on about your lovely photos but it may give you a worse headache than you’ve got now….I do ramble rather! Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your cold/flu and please don’t answer this comment…save your energy for taking more photos!

    February 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

    • Thank you very much Marianne! with really good light for a change, I put more effort than usual into getting the very best photos that I could, and I think that it paid off.

      February 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

  4. Great photos, get well soon!

    February 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

    • Thank you very much Michael!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:25 am

  5. Spectacular shots as always, Jerry!

    February 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

    • Thank you very much Sue!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:25 am

  6. You’ve done well with the zoom-ins in particular. Glad to have checked this out!

    February 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    • Thank you very much Alok! I’m glad that you liked what you saw.

      February 22, 2017 at 7:26 am

  7. Fantastic photos here, Jerry! LOVE the Snow Bunting captures, WOW!! Hope you’re on the mend real soon, take care!

    February 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    • Thank you very much Donna! It’s taken me several years to get good images of a snow bunting that show how pretty they are, it was worth the effort.

      February 22, 2017 at 7:28 am

  8. The lunching gull and the nuthatch shots got my prizes for the day.

    February 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:30 am

  9. Great shots as always. The snow bunting is a cute bird!
    Hope you get over the cold quickly.

    February 21, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! I’m feeling a little better this morning, so I hope that I’ve turned the corner.

      February 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

  10. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them all Jerry! Great Job! Such detail, gorgeous light! My favorite is the Cardinal. I’m partial 🙂 Sheila

    February 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    • Thank you very much Sheila!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:32 am

  11. Get well soon, Jerry! Beautiful shots, all of them!

    February 21, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      February 22, 2017 at 7:33 am

  12. Snow bunting!!! So cute!!!

    February 23, 2017 at 9:48 am

    • Thank you very much Lori!

      February 24, 2017 at 7:17 am

  13. Some of your best photos.
    Very beautiful.

    February 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    • Thank you very much Cornell! Good light makes everything from the birds to the water look better, if I remember to get the angle correct at the time that I press the shutter.

      February 24, 2017 at 7:21 am

  14. All beautiful photos, Jerry! I like the commentary on the young eagle, and the snow bunting yoga. And the chickadee tried to land on your hat?! They are pretty friendly little fellows. And you got in one of my favorite birds, the cardinal. Wish they came this far west.

    The weather is all over the map here lately. Low 50s and bright, warm sun yesterday, mid 30s and snowing here this morning.

    February 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia!

      February 26, 2017 at 10:37 pm

  15. These are great snaps

    February 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

    • Thank you very much!

      February 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm

  16. Awesome shots as usual. The snow hitting is a charming bird!..Hope you get over the chilly rapidly..

    March 1, 2017 at 3:35 am

    • Thank you very much!

      March 1, 2017 at 7:41 am