Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Which Pics?

My church in Pattison, Texas has an annual German Sausage Dinner the first Saturday in May (this year, that's the 2nd -- if you're in the area, it's served between 11-2, come on by!).

We always have a silent auction and I usually print and frame a couple of pictures to donate. I find that some pictures go better than others, and I'm wondering if you all could help me by suggesting any photos that you might be willing to buy (no, I'm not asking you to buy anything, but if you were, what would you choose?).

I'll probably do 3-4 shots, and I'm seriously considering the Krider hawk in the post below and possibly the Swainson's as well. I love pelicans, but they don't seem to sell well. I might pick one of Marc's Whooper pics, or a good Caracara, if I have one (I'll have to look again). If you have any you particularly like, please comment on this post and let me know.


Update: Here's the Caracara pic I'm thinking of...

This will need a bit of editing (there was also a vulture in the original). I find that I need to do the editing at the camera store, as I can't get the size right with my photo editing software, and it defaults to 72 dpi (yes, I can fix that, but it's a pain).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Birds of Prey on a Gloomy Day

OK, I know that I promised the whoopers, and I was trying to update my posts in the order that the photos were taken, but I'm behind, and today was a "good birding day".

The weather has been gloomy and overcast all day, but we wanted to get out of the house, so we made the "loop" down Woods Road -- our favorite birding locale. The birds were low to the ground -- sitting on fence posts. We saw this bird first. It took me a while to identify it, but I think it's a Swainson's hawk. When it flew, I could see the mostly white underside, with a dark "chest".

Almost exactly across the street on another fence post was this beautiful Krider's Red Tail Hawk.

CORRECTION: This is a juvenile Swainson's hawk. Thanks to Jonah for setting me straight!

Marc finally honked the horn to get it to fly, but I missed that shot. He flew a ways down the fence-line and was there when we back-tracked, but those shots were too far and turned out blurry. This will probably be one of my Photos for the silent auction at this year's Sausage Dinner.

Around the corner on Hwy 359 we saw another of our favorite local birds -- a Crested Caracara. The bird is looking directly down at the camera -- it has a very intense glare!

Here's a close-up so you can see its face!

Friday, April 03, 2009

November Fulton Trip -- Mostly Shore Birds

I focused on the pelicans in my previous post, and I will do a special post on the Whoopers that we saw on the trip, but we see a lot of other birds, and some are really special!

Every time we go to the coast, Marc loves to feed the seagulls -- they are excitable birds. Taking shots of the feeding frenzy can produce some great vignettes, like the one below.

In Fulton, there are a lot of wetland areas, full of herons and egrets. Here is a great, reflective shot of a Great Egret. He (or she) has caught something -- I'm not sure if it's food, or just a reed and maybe lunch got away.

This pic of a Long-billed Curlew was taken from the Skimmer, Captain Tommy Moore's boat, in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Another great reflective pose. These birds are rather large, standing 23 inches. Sibley's says this bird favors drier habitats, but I guess this one is an exception.

This Ruddy Turnstone was posing for me. This is the non- breeding plumage. I have a shot of one in breeding plumage in my post of one of our first trips to Port Aransas. If you click on the link and scroll down below the Wilson's Phalerope, you will see the extreme differences in breeding and non-breeding plumage.

This little guy is a Spotted Sandpiper -- again in non- breeding plumage. (He gets spots during breeding season -- what a surprise!). This was another bird for the life-list.


I think of all the sea and water birds, Brown Pelicans are my favorites. They are much more colorful and prettier (IMO) than White Pelicans and a lot more interesting. They hunt from the air, diving down into the water head-first to come up with dinner. This shot was taken on our November trip (continued from below, just a few months later :-). I think it is one of the best shots I've taken -- I didn't have to do any adjustment except resizing to upload here.

This is the same bird, shortly after takeoff. I left most of this picture, including the Laughing Gull in the water, just to show you how large these birds are. And the Brown Pelican is the smallest of the Pelican species.

For contrast, here are a couple of White Pelicans. The one on the right is showing some of his wing-tip feathers, which adds a bit of contrast, but really, I think the white pelicans are rather boring, and plain. You can see, however, that they like these rocks as a perch.

To give the White Pelicans some credit -- they look really nice when they are flying. Black wingtips seem to be common on a lot of white water birds -- pelicans, cranes, ibis, storks all seem to exhibit this trait. I think these flying pelicans contrast nicely with this lovely cloud, and with the perched pelican below.