Birds – May 17-19, 2014

Birds . . . it’s almost as if I had forgotten about them. Not so, dear readers, not so. Herein is the proof. Once again, I warn new readers . . . this be a long post. If you’re not into long posts with lots of words and photos, move along; this is not the post you are looking for.

We begin with a quick recap . . .

Hummingbird

The blizzard and brutal temperatures of May 11th, and my worry about the plants, birds, and especially hummingbirds . . .

Well, rest assured . . . at least some survived (I like to think they all did).

Flowers, birds, clouds,

Flowers, birds, clouds,

I’m writing this on June 15, and there be many around, hitting my feeders regular-like.

I was also worried about the Common Grackles . . . well, specifically, any eggs that might have been in the nests.

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

Judging from the number of crap-sacs they are dropping into the bath, I surmise a healthy population of chicks.

One thing that I noticed is an increase in the vultures circling above the neighborhood.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

I’m used to seeing them over fields and meadows, but I now notice they regularly patrol overhead. Perhaps they sense the state of the economy and the country in general, and are anticipating a feast.

The Spotted Towhees are regular visitors to my yard. They are rumored to be shy birds, but I’ve seen no evidence of it. They are pretty close when I’m out watering the flowers and when we sit out in front, and pay us no mind. I photographed this one from my deck using my once-again favorite lens, the 80-400mm.

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

I shot that through the fence, and I was surprised I was able to pick it out and focus on it amid all the interference by grass, fence post, and fence. Here is a nice shot of his coloring.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

I did get better shots once he hopped up on the Blue Spruce next to the house.

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

Well, not those shots; those shot are a tad ‘soft’ . . . I mean these next shots:

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

You’d never know it, but it was fairly breezy, and he was doing a balancing act as he foraged on the outer branches.

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

Sometimes it looked as if took notice of me leaning over the railing, snapping away.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

For the most part he concentrated on his balance.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

The House Sparrow above him watched on with seeming indifference.

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

Actually, he was probably making sure the Towhee didn’t make a move on his lady.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

Perhaps sensing her mate’s jealousy, she dropped down to forage on the ground.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

The male, in turn, flew up to the roof, gaining a better vantage point to monitor affairs (or lack thereof).

Flowers, birds, clouds,

I don’t know what made me look up, but . . .

Flowers, birds, clouds,

I’m not sure what they are, but they were heading North . . .

The Grackles were foraging on my grass . . .

Flowers, birds, clouds, Flowers, birds, clouds,

. . . and the Robin was singing his evening song from atop the neighbor’s house.

Flowers, birds, clouds,

May 17th was drawing to a close, and there was no sign of Tree Swallows, and no sign of Bluebirds . I knew for a fact the Bluebirds had built a nest in their box, and that the new Tree Swallow box I had built stood empty. I turned and headed in, troubled thoughts swirling around inside the cavernous emptiness of my mind.

Perhaps the 18th would be a better day . . .

birds, clouds,

In some ways the 18th was just as good. The above shot and all the ones from this date were shot in the evening, and given the low light I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Let me show you an example of what these finch photographs looked like before I post-processed and cropped them.

birds, clouds,

Not much to look at, right? Enter Lightroom and onOne . . .

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

Sure, they won’t win any awards, but I like them.

I do like this next sequence.

birds, clouds,

Many people might not recognize that as (I’m fairly certain of the identification) a female Red-Winged Blackbird. This is also a crop of a shot about a hundred feet away, and atop the cottonwoods on the corner of my back yard.

And here’s what I mean about a sequence I like.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

It may seem easy, but trust me, I was lucky and very pleased with these captures.

Meanwhile . . .

"I'm Batman!" (with gravely voice resembling someone straining from constipation)

“I’m Batman!” (with gravely voice resembling someone straining from constipation)

Yes, the Grackles were still trying to hook up.

birds, clouds,

"Calling all ladies; come an get it!"

“Calling all ladies; come an get it!”

birds, clouds,

"That's some seriously scary stuff!"

“That’s some seriously scary stuff!”

And so May 18th came to an end . . . once again I retreated to the shelter of my house, and wondered what I would face the next day.

Well, it began the same as it ended . . .

birds, clouds,

The Robin was right . . . this is some seriously scary stuff. Let me show you what I mean . . . 

. . . it seemingly takes notice of me (I'm on my deck, about 60-70 feet away) . . .

. . . it seemingly takes notice of me (I’m on my deck, about 60-70 feet away) . . .

. . . it puffs up, the evil eyes intensifying their gaze . . .

. . . it puffs up, the evil eyes intensifying their gaze . . .

. . . it looks as if it's about to hurl a malediction my way . . .

. . . it looks as if it’s about to hurl a malediction my way . . .

. . . but no; it's just another mating call. I doubt it even saw me.

. . . but no; it’s just another mating call. I doubt it even saw me.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

. . . and back to normal. That’s stuff straight out of the psycho handbook!

Seriously! What kind of lady would find that attractive?

But my concern for Grackles quickly dissipates. The swallows are back. A number of them are flying around, and they are interested in . . . the bluebird box. And no bluebirds in sight.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

A little disheartened, I am consoled by one of the males that comes and perches near me.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

They are beautiful birds . . . meanwhile, the drama at the box continues to unfold, with what looks as different pairs vie for control of the roof.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

That’s a female that chased a male away, or they are taking turns in staking the box as theirs.

This one notices me (or seems to), and positions herself to keep an eye on me.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

Meanwhile, the drama continues to unfold above as well, with various birds seemingly engaging in air combat of sorts (no close calls, but you can tell who attacks and who retreats).

birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

At one time I think I counted at least four pairs (if they were paired up – there were eight birds, and they did seem to fly as if some were paired).

The flying did give me a chance to capture a number of them in flight . . . 

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

I do like to see them soar . . . I would envy them, but that whole bug-eating thing gives me pause. I mean, I know people around the world eat bugs, and bugs are an excellent source of protein, but I don’t like the idea of something still struggling as I am trying to eat it.

Back at the bluebird box, a male was voicing his claim . . . 

birds, clouds,

Another day drew to a close, and I wondered if I would have to wait until next year for my tree swallow birdhouse to see any use. 

Clicking on any picture should open a larger version in a new window or tab – unless WordPress messes up again. The original sized photos can be seen in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Song from the pew

Song from the pew

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If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in American Robin, Birds, House Sparrow, Hummingbirds, Photography, Photography Stuff, Red Finch, Red Winged Blackbirds, Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Stuff, Tree Swallows, Western Bluebirds and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Birds – May 17-19, 2014

  1. Fantastic captures Emilio :)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thanks Norma . . . and I don’t know why the comment went on moderation. All comments are pre-approved, so this is another of WordPress’s wonderful quirkiness.

      Like

  2. Wonderful photos. I’ve had a large number of birds foraging in my yard that look somewhat like the grackle. But when I looked it up, it didn’t show it as being native to this area. Who knows. I’m still waiting for our hummingbirds to return. I haven’t seen any yet this year.

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  3. oneowner says:

    Great selection, particularity the Spotted Towhees. I want to get more involved in bird photography, particularly for the yellow finches that we feed in the back yard. But the feeder, placed on a branch on a tree, is too far away for my 70-300. I’m thinking of a 2x extender but I’m not sure if the VR will work with it.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      If you check posts from prior years, almost all my shots were with my 70-200 (105-350mm equivalent), so it’s doable.

      Of course there’s always other options, like moving the feeder closer or walking halfway there.

      Like

  4. gpcox says:

    Beautiful birds with such melodrama!! Maybe you need more boxes?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Some same-species birds nest next to each other, but neither Bluebirds nor Tree swallows do (although they tolerate each other more than those of their own kind).

      While I have to room to put more and adequately spaced, they would be in high-traffic areas. The current locations have minimal intrusions from both my wanderings and those of the neighbors.

      Like

  5. sandra getgood says:

    Some wonderful pictures in there….the towhees are a new one to me, and quite interesting. I must confess a weakness for the swallows…whether they are flying maneuvers, or perched on the bluebird box, or just sitting there keeping an eye on you, they are so beautiful. Great post!

    Like

  6. AnnMarie says:

    I have not seen the female Red-Winged Blackbird in years so it was a pleasant surprise to see her in that beautiful sequence. Your first shot of the snowy hummingbird is a gem and it’s the perfect teaser for the abundance of fabulous birds that follows. Nicely done, bro!

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