“I” stories voting and May 23rd Photos — Part 2

I’m starting to feel the pressure of the “J” story submission deadline (due in less than a week).

I’m envious of readers of this blog . . . all they have to do (if they feel like it) is read the submissions, and after, if motivated, vote for their favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge I-Stories” HERE<<<This is a link.

That post has links to the individual stories and the poll where readers can click a box to indicate their appreciation for their favorite. And, after voting, readers can spread the news about the story to friends and family. Maybe.

So, May 23, 2020 . . . after capturing a few birds in the backyard, we went for a drive to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.<<<This is a link

That’s an Eastern Meadowlark<<<This is a link. I think this is a newly-minted adult. By that, I mean the bird looked not quite like a juvenile in appearance and not as well-formed as an adult. Something like a teenager, you know what I mean? Kind of looks like it has his shit-together but you get a distinct impression it’s all an act and they don’t really know shit.

Unfortunately, it never fully turned toward me as it was busy calling out to an empty field. OK, it probably wasn’t empty; snakes, crawling stuff, mice, other birds, Little Foot, etc., all make their homes in these remnants of once-massive grassland habitat.

In the above photo, he’s in the process of calling out to some female that took one look at him and said “NOPE!

I could imagine her hiding out there saying stuff like “Is there someone else? Anyone?

I mean, he’s not awful-looking, but he still gives off an air of “I’m standing on my own droppings! COOL!” I don’t know much about Meadowlark females but in the human world, it would be a bit like watching a young-adult walking around wearing a MAGA hat. Sure, there will be some females attracted to him but, as an observer, I’d be hard-pressed to understand why. But then, I’m sure the same could be said about men wearing skinny jeans and shoes that remind me of 18th-century footwear.

And yet, they find mates and reproduce, so, dear meadowlark, good luck to you.

I did manage one decent shot in near-profile. Let me just say that when I see birds open their beaks, it looks . . . wrong. Yes, I’m in a judgmental frame of mind today, but if you look at most birds and then see them opening their beaks, the actual opening always seems to go further back than what it looks like it should.

It’s a bit like a human opening their mouths and the opening going all the way back to the person’s ears. Creepy.

Anyway, onward we go . . .

Dickcissel.

It sounds a bit like someone describing Trump, or what he says, or what he does. But, no . . . it’s the name of a bird. I’ve had one on here a number of posts ago, but here I give you more Dickcissels.<<<This is a link.

That’s a female (the male had just flown off). I was lucky it sat there for a bit while I switched off the car and lowered the passenger window. What? Oh, I have better luck with birds sitting where I find them if I don’t get out of the car.

Meaning, the act of opening the door and having an old and ugly human step out holding what looks like a mini-hand-cannon usually results in the bird taking off.

BUT . . . snapping a photo while in the car with the engine running invariably produces unsatisfactory results (photos that are not sharp, done me some tests to prove it wasn’t just me being a crappy photographer).

I was hoping for a better shot at the rusty shoulder patches, but it was in partial shade. You can see a bit of them in the first photo and in this next photo.

It’s a beautiful bird . . . and here’s the male . . .

This isn’t the male that was with the female. This fellow was about a quarter-mile down the road and still unattached as he was calling out what I assumed was a mating call.

I should mention I was about 50-60 feet from the bird and it was very windy. Also, because they are small, it was difficult focusing on the swaying bird because the focus would lock onto the background.

Moving a bit further away and to the side (changing the background) made it somewhat easier (not by much) to get the occasional focus. The reed and bird were swaying through a range of two or three feet and unpredictably so (that’s the wind for you).

For them who care, I upped my f-stop to f/10 and narrowed my focus area, and spot-metered.

Just for kicks, let me crop really close . . .

That’s as large as the crop is (meaning, that’s the actual size of the resultant photo: 490×500 pixels).

Ah, but I have GigaPixels AI (Topaz Labs). What can it do?

Well, that’s a discussion for the next post; the one about GigaPixels AI.

As usual, the SmugMug Gallery is HERE <<<This is a link. And, also as usual, click on any photo for a larger version or scroll the gallery below.

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

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