Tuesday, September 22, 2009

morning on the observation deck

sometimes i like to get up early on the weekend and set out on a walk. no breakfast (though a mountain dew of some sort is necessary); just get up, get dressed, grab the camera, and see where i'm led. it's strange…i never really have a set destination in mind. i just walk out the door and feel. one morning about a week or so ago, i started my walk out by visiting a couple of my usual haunts, one of which had previously turned up some great belted kingfisher action; the other, a green heron patiently stalking his breakfast (pictures of which are forthcoming).

but on that day, those locales were dry, so i just pointed myself up the road and walked, on toward the greenway. i stopped walking when i reached the observation deck—not because i was lazy, but because it felt right. so i turned, walked to the end of the deck, and waited. and watched. and listened. and waited some more.

just when i was drawing the disappointing conclusion that i either got up too early or got here too late, i spotted the green heron.

not sure how long he had been there, watching me while i waited for something to watch, but there he was, and in a couple of seconds he was in my viewfinder. i got a lot of pictures of him—stretching his neck and body, contracting back to his little compact shape, scratching his neck and chin with his formidable-looking claws (reminding me briefly of my cat), switching positions so that i got his good side(?), then back again—but unfortunately, i don't have the fastest lens, so those shots (and really, almost of my shots that morning) were between 200 and 400 ISO with the lens as wide open as it could get (6.3), and a shutter speed that needed to strike a balance between slow enough to let the right amount of light in and fast enough to take care of camera shake (i handhold everything for now...a tripod is a distant dream of mine). that combination did not really serve me well—inordinate amounts of noise resulted—but, as i've said before, it's not always about the picture. i caught a lot of birds that morning, and it was cool just to observe them.

ruby-throated hummingbird (female?)

downy woodpecker

great blue heron (vignetted through a very small opening between the leaves)

and a couple of things that birds like to eat:

more than a few of them need IDing (as i'm still a birding newbie), and they are as follows:

i saw this one on my way to the deck:

(a juvie red-winged blackbird? he was small...3 to 4 inches head-to-tail, at the most. my little arrows are pointing to some significant distinguishing features: the little mustache things; the red stripe on his neck; the buff-colored underbelly; the red streaks under his tail.)

and these on the way back:

here are a couple of flycatchers (or maybe the same one...):

(eastern wood-pewee? that's my best guess.)

this one made the aforementioned observation of the birds that morning very rewarding. seeing him launch into the air, performing his acrobatics while trying to catch the bugs, then landing again, making it all look so easy.

and this is a before picture (the arrow points to a little flying bug...no, it's not a spot on my lens!):

i'm sure if i looked through the succeeding pictures, the little flying bug would not be present...

birds i heard but didn't see: some sort of jay (blue jay maybe?); red-shouldered hawk; some crazy, amazon jungle-sounding thing that i would love to ID; chickadee; and a few more i'm failing to recall at the moment.

so all in all, despite the lack of "keepers," it was a good morning out on the observation deck.

1 comment:

Susan Gets Native said...

I've been enjoying reading through all of these old posts...
To answer a two year old question:
First mystery bird is an male American Redstart.
Ducks are female or juvenile wood ducks.
Third bird is a xxxxxx Flycatcher. That's as close as I'm gonna get. :)

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