Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Last week was a treat as far as my birding “career” goes, as I saw my first spoonbill and osprey at the Preserve. But I’ve already posted about them, so when I saw today’s theme/challenge, I was disappointed. However, I quickly realized I had more treats to share.

We’ll start again at the Riparian Preserve, my soul food walking spot here in Gilbert. While three birders with enormous lenses sat on their portable stools on the opposite side of the lake, I realized that if I followed the direction of their lenses, I could likely see whatever they were seeing but from a different and much closer angle. What I saw was this snowy egret primping. Try doing that on one foot at home!

While snowy egrets are a dime a dozen (yet still full of surprises and always worth photos), this was the first spotting for me of a Northern Shoveler trying to keep a low profile among a bunch of coots. Joni Mitchell may think you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, but I didn’t know what I’d got until I zoomed in on my photos. Pretty snazzy gent, I’d say.

Final treat for that day, another sighting of the roseate spoonbill perched high atop a pole. Must be more difficult to preen when your bill’s spoon-shaped than for the snowy egret with its thin, pointed bill.

(more…)

Tuesday I shared the excitement of seeing my first roseate spoonbill at the Preserve. Those in charge put out a map (I still don’t know which lake is which number) with a list on the back of all the birds that might be/have been seen there and indicating whether or not the bird is there year-round and how rare a sighting is. “A” is the last, rarest sighting designation for “accidental”, meaning it’s very unusual and that’s what the spoonbill is.

Even though I would have considered my day complete with that sighting, I had yet another surprise in store. As I wandered along a small back path, another hiker told me that back and just across the path was a falcon. I hustled over, finding the spot easily by the several birders with binoculars, long lenses, or fingers all pointed in the same direction.

The “falcon” turned out to be an osprey, another bird that’s been on my mental list of birds I’d like to see and this handsome fellow with the piercing gaze didn’t disappoint. He seemed happy to pose for us on a nearby branch. One birder was unhappy not to get a shot of the osprey in action while another regaled us with the description of a photo he got of an osprey catching an enormous fish. Me? I was thrilled to add this to the spoonbill sighting! Quite the looker, isn’t he, even though not rare or unusual here.

P.S. I’d love to see a falcon one day, too, and they have been seen. πŸ™‚

Several weeks ago while I was walking at the Preserve on the lookout for something interesting and unusual, a birder with the requisite long-lensed camera hurried up and asked me if I’d seen the spoonbill. I had to tell him no, but instant spoonbill-spotting envy struck. Unfortunately I didn’t see hide nor hair of one . Maybe beak and feathers would be a better phrase.

Today I reversed my usual path and although it was a lovely, cool morning, I didn’t see anything exciting until I stopped at one of the little open areas along one of the lakes where I often see egrets, which by now are usual. I did see an egret…and then by golly, a roseate spoonbill! And I was the only photographer in the area. πŸ™‚ Oh, yeah!

(more…)

I really did want to do Friday Flowers but frankly there aren’t that many flowers here right now that I haven’t already shared so we’re flying instead. Just a bit of fun to kick off the weekend, which I hope is a wonderful one.

Not everything in nature is large and/or showy. Look closely and you can see other things that bring joy, such as this little cutie hiding among the reeds.

Look higher and you might see this somewhat fierce-looking guy sporting some very natty threads!

My friends in most of the rest of the US are talking about the chilling effect of fall/autumn. Believe me, we’re feeling the chill, too! It’s been 105 or below for the high for some days now and later this week, temperatures are set to plunge into the 90’s or possibly even 89 for the high! Getting my fleeces out from where they’re packed as we speak. We even have some leaves in fall colors, although most of them are still attached. πŸ™‚ It’s definitely a new adventure.

Everyone has a superpower. My dad’s is being able to call on the phone at the most inconvenient time: when I’m as far away from the phone as possible, on another call, forgot to take my phone off vibrate for the night, etc. My husband, in the same vein, starts a conversation when I’m in the bathroom, doing something noisy, or have just walked out of the room. He can also nap any time and any place, something not in my super power arsenal.

Some have the superpower of always being elegant,

while others look great in feathers and a hat.

I’m a mom, so I obviously have a multitude of superpowers! But one very useful super power is being able to pack well, whether estimating how much will fit in a container for the fridge or freezer or packing the most possible items in the space allowed, whether in a suitcase or boxes in the van. My other superpower is being able to drive for long periods of time without having to stop (gas stops and bathroom/food breaks should always happen together if at all possible) and actually enjoying it.

What’s your superpower? I know you have one! If I don’t see any responses, I might be forced to come up with one for quite a few of you who follow this blog, so get your choice in so I don’t have to do it for you. πŸ™‚

BTW, I look great in hats, too. πŸ™‚

for Six Word Saturday 10.3.20

How about a little dose of cuteness to get your Friday off to a good start or to make it better if you’re already part way through?

At the Preserve, I’m both a photo and bird novice, drifting along among the die-hard birders with elephant-trunk-length lenses, camp stools attached to some of their persons, and an encyclopedic knowledge of what bird they’re seeing. The other day I came upon a group raptly gazing into the brush, looking at something I couldn’t even find. Reminded me of Yellowstone, where a group of stopped vehicles either means an accident or an animal sighting. Anyhoo…

During a recent visit, I took a few minutes to sit on a bench overlooking one of the smaller ponds and spotted what I thought might be a type of cormorant, as it was a prodigious diver. When I perused the internet, I found that it was in fact a pied-billed grebe. (If you’re trying to identify a bird, I highly recommend The Cornell Lab’s All About Birds site. I’ve had more luck with identifying birds there than wildflowers on most wildflower sites.) So without further ado, I offer you three various shots (two are edits) of the pied-billed grebe.

The original with all the lovely ripples and colors…

An edit with just the circular ripples…

A close-up of the grebe with only the most immediate ripples…

He’s kind of cute, isn’t he? Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week’s off to a great start.

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge might have you seeing double. Although most things aren’t truly symmetrical, many are so close that you can’t tell the difference or you feel that you’re seeing symmetry.

When I think of symmetry, the William Blake poem springs immediately to mind:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,Β 
In the forests of the night;Β 
What immortal hand or eye,Β 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Fortunately for you, there’s nothing fearful about the symmetry I’m sharing today. The snowy egret in this first shot is almost dancing on the water and with the water’s smooth cooperation, it’s almost perfectly symmetrical.

β€œSymmetry is what we see at a glance; based on the fact that there is no reason for any difference…”
― Blaise Pascal, PensΓ©es

Here’s another almost symmetrical shot from the Riverwalk in Naperville, Illinois.

Although this photo is less symmetrically perfect than the previous ones, there’s still a pleasing almost-symmetry about it and it feels balanced.

(more…)