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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Black-throated Blue Warbler in the Bur Oak



This year, I've really been diligent to glass the bur oak each day.  Earlier in the week, I saw a black-throated blue warbler, a first for the yard, during a quick morning scan.  I had to get to the office though, and didn't have time to photograph it.  Fortunately, later in the week, I had the opportunity to watch and photograph this wonderful warbler once again.

-Tom

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Morning Mourning Dove



I spotted this mourning dove through the kitchen window yesterday morning as I was preparing for work. I've been successful recently to tighten up my morning routine. On this morning I had a few extra minutes to run upstairs, grab the step stool, open the small bathroom window, and get a few shots at this inquisitive visitor before it was time to head to the office.

-Tom

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Purple Martins at Slate Run

Two pairs of Purple Martins- The males are midnight blue, the females are much more drab.

It had been a while since we last visited the historical farm at Slate Run Metropark.  Sometime since, several purple martin trees had been installed.  Our largest swallow nests almost exclusively in artificial nest structures in the east, while in the western part of their range, they nest in abandoned woodpecker holes.

It's been nearly a decade since I've photographed this species- the last opportunity came on North Bass Island before I had any decent telephoto lens capability.  Although the light was fairly atrocious on this day, I managed to capture a few images I liked.





What I noticed about the martins is just how large they are.  They forage quite high in the air, and even when viewed from a distance, they're noticeably bulky.  If I hadn't known they were around, it probably would have taken me a while to figure out what they were from their in-flight silhouettes alone.  Viewing my photographs after the fact, it's easy to see the blue colors of the males, but through the binoculars, I was pretty much only seeing their outline.

-Tom

Monday, May 09, 2016

Barn Swallows


I don't believe this male barn swallow realized that it was Mother's day yesterday.  If he did, he wouldn't be scolding her like this.  At least that's what he appears to be doing.  Maybe he's just trying to impress her with his wide gape?

Slate Run Metropark, just south of Canal Winchester, is really a great place to photograph barn swallows.  They nest in the big red barn, and they're quite used to people.  Wait long enough, and they're sure to perch on the fence rails just behind the barn. Fair warning, however- if the wind is blowing just right, you may be standing directly in the path of the malodorous pig pen!

-Tom

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Black-throated Green Warbler



The distinctive call of the Black-throated Green Warbler is unmistakable.  There's just no other bird that has the loud, piercing, zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee song that immediately grabs my auditory attention. So when I woke up yesterday and heard it, I immediately grabbed my camera.  I was able to make fairly decent image of the bird as it moved toward the lowest branches of our backyard bur oak. The migration is on, and, for the first time, I've made a conscious effort the check the backyard each morning for new arrivals.  The most excitement this week came on Wednesday morning, when we had multiple Cape May Warblers, joined by a Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. So far, it's been a slow, steady migration, but because I've paid it more attention then ever, I'm seeing more backyard birds than ever.

-Tom

Sunday, May 01, 2016

It's Been a Birdy Week



The migration is on here in Central Ohio!  I have photographed black-throated blue warblers, tons of yellow-rumped warblers, one orange-crowned warbler, a black-and-white warbler, palm warblers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, orange-crowned warblers, and even an American redstart.  All these encounters happened not in a high quality natural area somewhere, but either on the grounds of the office or in my backyard.  But perhaps my favorite image from the week is of this female red-winged blackbird.  I sometimes forget the nature photography opportunities that I have at my disposal on the grounds of my north Columbus office complex.  We have two female red-winged blackbirds that have carved out a territory on our cattail marsh.  There's used to people walking by, so getting close to them with the camera is as easy as it gets.

-Tom

Friday, April 22, 2016

From the Archives


Now that I've posted all my bird photographs on my in-progress photo gallery site, I'm now scrolling through every digital photograph I've taken, sorting them into collections in Lightroom.  I came across this ultra-closeup of one of the spreadwing damselflies I came across in Maine.  What amazing creatures!

-Tom

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Birding at the Racetrack



Megan and I use an incentive system for the boys. When they do chores, behave well, etc., they get a marble placed in a mason jar.  When the jar is full, they get a reward. Weston has been wanting to go try the go-karts for a long time, and finally we had a perfect day for it.  He had a blast.

The track is situated right next to the I-71 corridor, a habitat that is often frequented by red-tailed hawks.  What luck that a beautiful bird soared right above our heads while waiting in line.  I just happened to have my telephoto lens and camera all set up for action shots.  The red-tailed hawk had eluded me for quite some time.  I just didn't have any great photos of this common bird taken in Ohio. Not anymore!




-Tom

Friday, April 08, 2016

Favorite Photos from Spring Break in Southwest Florida

Two weeks ago, we were wrapping up our spring break trip to Bonita Springs.  With trips to Corkscrew Swamp and Barefoot Beach, usually followed by afternoon trips to the pool, the boys were exhausted.  Here are a few of my favorite photographs from the trip.











Florida.  I can only imagine how awesome it used to be!

-Tom

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Building My Nature Photography Archive

My new landing page at tomarbour.smugmug.com features every bird photography, nearly 500 images.

At the beginning of the year, I came to this realization that the body of my work was sitting on my hard drive, very difficult to access.  Yes, this blog is a record of my natural history activities since the mid-2000's, but it's sequential- not well organized by taxa, or natural history subject, for example.

And after nature blogging began its big decline starting around 2010, most of us turned to Facebook to share our natural history images.  While some photographers curate their own wonderfully organized galleries, most imagery on Facebook is ephemeral.  Social media good way to give a dose of "nature porn" to our friends, but it's quite horrible to serve us, each of us as nature photographers, as a place to catalog and archive our body of work. Which, in order to become better photographers, more complete photographers, we need this.  At least, I came to the revelation a few months ago that I need it.

I need a place that is my own.  That I can display my work.  A place to help me better focus my field efforts, so that I'm bringing home photos of things that I haven't photographed particularly well before.  A place that I can catalog the wide range of nature subjects I choose to photograph.  A place where photos won't get buried over the years. A place where the photograph itself takes precedence. A place that I own, that I can design, and call my own.

While I never would have guessed just how much time it would take to complete such a site, I also underestimated the end value that this effort would have.  Take my bird photography gallery, which is now complete.  Who knew that I have never photographed a hairy woodpecker?  Or have any decent imagery of other common birds, including the northern flicker, indigo bunting, and red-tailed hawk?

I have a long way to go, but I know that my photography will improve for it.  I encourage you to visit tomarbour.smugmug.com and take a look.

-Tom