Tag: wildbirdphotography

Photography Challenge Day 10–Great Blue Heron in a Tree

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the great blue heron. Usually these birds are wading in the lake, or perched on logs waiting for their prey—occasionally though, you can get a picture of one perched in a tree.

Now I almost missed seeing this one—if I hadn’t been looking for the songbird that flew into the upper branches of the tree on the other side, I would never have noticed the heron perched on the branch.

Great Blue Heron in a tree

I managed to also see another couple of herons on the short walk, and as I was heading back home—this guy/gal was still sitting in the tree, obviously waiting for a fish or something to swim around so it could have a morning snack.

The heron was still there as I headed home.

These guys are year round residents in the area, and they actually nest in trees, though I have yet to find the area where I would be seeing the nests—I think I know the area, but I’m not up to going that far back into slightly swampy areas just to try to get a picture or two.

They are considered to be symbols of wisdom, good luck, and patience in numerous different cultures. I like to think that when I see them on the walk—they’re reminding me to be patient working towards my transition into either industry or freelancing. I have strengths to lean into, and in terms of my weaknesses—I can work to improve them, or I can find someone who has those as strengths and ask for a helping hand.

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Update–realizing I’m procrastinating & catching up on the photography challenge: cormorants flying overhead

So I’m running a few days late with the photography challenge. Why? I think I bit off a little more than I could chew this week—I’m trying to complete two little challenges; one is a LinkedIn challenge (creating content, commenting on people’s posts, and connecting). Needless to say I’m a little behind on the challenge—I’m petrified of posting on the site (see my previous post), and trying to overcome that as well. The second challenge is a free 5-day challenge on Facebook (dealing with health/nutrition).

So the procrastination bug has bitten me hard the past couple of days—I sit staring at the computer, and then I end up going to sit outside for the afternoon, and try to get a numerous things done before bed.

Cormorants flying overhead

That now brings me to the winner of the photography challenge—which were some migratory birds flying overhead. On Sunday, I decided to take a mask and my camera and head up to Boomer Lake for a while.

While I decided to make it a semi-short walk

(round trip just over an hour walking), I knew that I should hopefully see one or two birds that may or may not be Canada geese or mallards.

As I was walking, I noticed that there was a large group of birds flying overhead. I stopped, looked up, and managed to get a good number of pictures of the birds. I had to wait until I got home and download the pictures to determine if the birds were ducks or cormorants (some that just migrate through, and others that winter in the area).

It turns out that the birds flying overhead were cormorants. Now are they the neotropical or double-crested? I would have to say that I’m not sure—the neotropical migrate through and the double-crested winter in the area. Since they’re so far overhead—I couldn’t tell the facial features (which are some of the best ways to differentiate between the two species).

Seeing these birds served as a reminder that I need to keep moving forward towards my goals—they move as needed between the seasons, locations, and so forth. Staying stationary isn’t beneficial in the long run.

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Starting a new photography challenge: Day 1: Bald Eagle

So I’ve decided that I’m going to start a fresh photography 365-day photography challenge. I will hopefully be sharing a ‘new’ photography daily for the next year. I’m going to clarify the ‘new’—as in hopefully sharing 365 different photographs. Some may be similar to past photography challenges (I mean we are in the middle of a pandemic and I haven’t been traveling), but I’m hoping not to repeat the photograph subject (at least for the first 100 days or so).

Bald Eagle soaring over Boomer Lake, Stillwater OK

In addition, I will probably be linking in a photography page to the current photograph—as a way of increasing views to those pages as well. Again, this is going to be an evolving project, an way for me to 1) increase my photography skills; 2) work on a project during the day that isn’t 100% related to job transition; 3) find beauty in the day; and 4) just have fun.

So the winner for day one is the Bald Eagle. The bald eagle, is the national symbol for the US, and is native to all of North America where it’s range stretches from Alaska down to the northern parts of Mexico. Depending on where you live, you may or may not see them in the wild—but if you’ve been to a zoo, you’ve probably seen one there.

Bald Eagle sitting in a pine tree, Lake Vermilion MN

I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been able to see these majestic birds in the wild—both where I currently live (I’m probably about half a mile away from the city ‘lake’) soaring above Boomer Lake every so often; and then up at Lake Vermilion in northern MN. I remember being about 12 or so, when my father and I took a kayak out to look at the nest of one of the bald eagle pairs on Vermilion Lake—it was huge.

These majestic birds have managed to climb back from the edge of extinction and while they aren’t protected under the Endangered Species Act, they are currently under the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

I’m hoping that soon I can get back to my weekly walks around Boomer Lake and hopefully be able to spot one of these majestic birds soaring overhead looking for lunch to steal or catch.

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Photography Challenge Day 204 & 205: The Green Heron is still around

So the winner of the next double photography challenge is the green heron. This one (or these two) haven’t started their migration south yet, though they should be heading off within the next couple of weeks. Green herons migrate south anywhere from the end of August through October.

Well–we’re a little over halfway through September, so there is basically now six weeks until Halloween. I’m hoping to possibly get a few more pictures of them this fall before they head south, since I never seem to be able to get good pictures of them in the springtime.

Green Heron flying in the fog.

I managed to see them both mornings that I walked at Boomer Lake, though I saw them on opposite sides of the lake. On Saturday, I startled this one, and it flew past me to head into the little cove. Due to the fog, I lost sight of it once I turned around to follow it.

These guys blend right in with the dreary landscape, and if it had sat still and ignored me–I would have completely missed seeing it.

Green Heron flying across the lake

Sunday morning, I saw one of them flying from the little island towards the tall grasses that I had just passed. I knew that there wasn’t going to be any closer pictures this morning. Though I have to wonder where the other one is at–I’ve seen them as a pair this year. Even with the one I startled yesterday–I soon startled it’s mate/friend a few minutes later. I just wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

Though this is one thing that has made me happy this fall–being able to get a couple of good pictures of the green herons.

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Photography Challenge Days 202 & 203: The difference between sunny and foggy.

So the walks this weekend were polar opposites of each other—Saturday was totally foggy, and Sunday was sunny without a cloud in sight. Therefore the pictures for the weekend are going to somewhat showcase the difference between a sunny day and a totally foggy day.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Saturday

So the above picture was taken on Saturday, and I was actually surprised that I managed to see the heron through the fog sitting in the tree. Luckily I’ve been watching them enough that I knew where to look.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Sunday

Then basically the same location on Sunday, and either the same blue heron or another one was sitting in the tree deciding on when to go hunt for breakfast.

Then I managed to get a picture of an egret back in the creek area of the lake. This is one area that I want to explore a little more–but I need to get some hiking boots first, plus some decent pants as well (summer isn’t the time to be in the woods with shorts on).

Great Egret in the fog, on Saturday morning

So there is this one egret that I always see under this tree on the creek side, come fog or sunny weather.

Great Egret in sunny weather, on Sunday morning.

So even slightly unpleasant weather can lead to interesting pictures, especially when you can do an comparison shot within a few days afterwards. I probably could have tried to go back out Saturday afternoon and see what photographs I could have gotten–but these are roughly the same time but one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

Something new to aim for–getting certain photographs in certain areas at roughly the same time each day (or each week) and then compare them to each other………..

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Photography Challenge Day 195: The Green Heron (a short post)

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the green heron. I actually was able to get a good picture of the green heron as it landed on a tree limb at Boomer Lake.

Green heron sitting on the log at Boomer Lake

These birds are very easy to startle (compared to the great blue heron and great egret), so it was a surprise to see it on my walk—if it hadn’t flown from it’s original spot, I probably would have walked right past it.

Though as it flew past me, I did managed to get a picture–though with the sun coming up, and it being a dark colored bird, it does make for an interesting contrast.

Green heron flying over Boomer Lake at sunrise

Pretty soon, they’re going to start on their trip south to warmer winter areas (the gulf coast, Mexico, and possibly down into Central America). I’m going to have to try to keep an eye out for these guys, and move as slowly and quietly as possible as I’m doing it—so that I don’t scare them off before I’m able to get a good picture of them.

These are yet another species, that I’m going to have to be stealthy in terms of getting close to–or break out the tripod and larger lens for the camera.

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Photography Challenge Day 192: The young scissor-tailed flycatcher

While the adult scissor-tailed flycatchers may have started their migrations back south—the younger generation is still present, at least for awhile.

Young scissor-tail flycatcher

I noticed this one sitting at the top of a tree, and probably wouldn’t have paid much attention, until it stretched and I saw it’s tail. It was then I realized that I’d probably been overlooking the younger generation of scissor-tailed flycatchers the past few weeks.

I think it thought it saw something to eat….

While the scissor-tailed flycatcher is common in Oklahoma (we’re in it’s breeding area, and it is the state bird), during migration they actually wander and therefore can almost be spotted anywhere throughout North America. They winter in the warmer regions of Central America and southern Mexico.

Since they feed predominately on insects, I don’t think that there is a good way of trying to lure them into the yard during the year—they seem to really like the open spaces around the lake, and we lack that around the house. So I will just have to keep an eye out for them again in the spring. I will be looking for the younger ones again on the weekends and I will see how long before they do decide to head south for the winter.

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Photography Challenge Day 191: The birds…….

The winners of today’s photography challenge are the birds. Since today was a holiday (no work, :-)) that meant I had the time to go for another zen walk around Boomer Lake this morning. I managed to get several pictures that I will be sharing this week (in addition to other pictures I managed to get over the weekend).

Ducks, egrets, and an heron…oh, my

But today’s picture is of a couple of egrets, some ducks, and a heron (it almost makes me want to think of a bad, corny joke—but I’m currently too tired to do so). Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the two in the background (the second egret and great blue heron), as I was focused more on the egret and ducks in the foreground.

Closer look at the one egret, and more ducks joined the picture.

As migration season kicks off, the limbs of the different submerged trees become prime spots to both fish from, and just generally sit on—so they’re usually always have something sitting on them—be it egret, heron, or cormorant (and sometimes the terns and gulls).

Currently the cormorants haven’t started migrating though (they should be here within probably two months or so—just as the egrets move further south), so the limbs will be having either egrets or herons sitting on them.

I’m going to have to start keeping a tally record and see who sits on the various branches and logs the most during my walks–the great blue herons or the common egret.

For today–I’d have the say the egrets were on four branches/logs and the herons were on two branches/logs.

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Photography Challenge Day 189: The green heron playing hide and seek

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the green heron—who is playing hide and seek in the picture.

Green herons hiding in the trees

These guys are actually more the size of crows than herons or egrets. They’re short and stocky, and they look like they’re constantly walking hunched over. Since they were playing hide and seek in the branches, I’m not sure if they were adults or juveniles.

These two were probably trying to hunt this morning when I noticed them and tried to get their picture. They usually stand motionless close to the water’s edge (though they were actually perched a little above the edge of the water in the branches), waiting for prey (which are usually fish and amphibians).

Heron sitting in the trees

Oklahoma is within it’s breeding range, which means that come late fall it will be migrating back down to warmer areas (such as Mexico and Central America).

Still waiting for me to leave.

They are capable of diving and swimming back to shore with their catch, though for the most part they hunt by wading in the shallow waters.

Hopefully I will be able to see these guys again before they head south for the winter, or in the spring when they come back. Unlike the other herons that are out in the open, these guys like to stay back in the foliage (probably due to sitting above the water), and out wait their prey. I’m just happy that I managed to get a couple of pictures of them that weren’t totally blurry.

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Photography Challenge Day 165: Waterfowl Wednesday (short post)

The winner of today’s photography challenge are the ducks and geese. I’ve been lucky over the past couple of weeks to get candid photographs that if I was a few minutes earlier or later I might not have gotten.

Ducks on the logs

I’ve managed to time my walks in the morning to where the ducks are actually resting on the floating dead trees that normally are populated by turtles later in the day.

Walking past, there are usually another half a dozen swimming around patrolling, while these guys nap and groom. I’m sure that at a certain time, these guys will push off into the water and the others will quickly move in–going, thanks our turn.

Geese, geese, and more geese

Then I saw a large flock of Canada geese out on the lake, and in the background you can see some more geese that are grazing on the grass. I think due to what ever predator is around, there were fewer goslings this year than previously–though the total number of geese is still pretty high.

Ducks snoozing on a log

Then on the other side of the lake, I noticed that there is another dead tree, but this one is more popular with the ducks than it is with the turtles. I’m pretty sure that is because of how close it is to the shore. These guys were still wanting to snooze, even though the sun was up and the temperatures were rising. It is always nice to see that there is almost a universal “I’m not a morning person” mantra going on.

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