Monday, January 25, 2016

Hoover Reservoir Spillway Wood Duck

I've updoaded this image at 2000 pixels wide.  Click for a much larger image. 

Yesterday afternoon, I zipped down to the spillway below Hoover Reservoir.  You're looking at the drinking water for a major chunk of the Columbus area.  It also happens to be a place where waterfowl gather when much of the reservoir is frozen.  While yesterday's temps reached above freezing, we've had a fairly good stretch of subzero temperatures.

This drake wood duck stole the show yesterday.  It is just a simply stunning bird. This by far is the best look at one I've ever had, and it's simply beautiful.  Wood ducks are quite wary, and as this one approached, it had its eye on me the whole time.

The platform above the spillway is becoming such a popular and busy place, for both birdwatchers and fitness enthusiasts who climb the dam's long stretch of concrete stairs, that the ducks seem even less wary of people.  So, if you've never gone to Hoover, I urge you to, it's a great place to see waterfowl relatively closeup.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vultures and Hawks

Doesn't everyone love the birds of prey?  Ok, maybe not the vultures, but there's something special about the soaring flight of a hawk.

I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of the Snail Kite next week in Everglades National Park.  And if I'm lucky, maybe even a photograph.

Not that I've photographed the group very much, but I will have a separate group for the falcons.  I don't own a great image of our commonest falcon, the American Kestrel.  And I'll also be searching for the Crested Caracara next week as well.  Wish me luck!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blue Jays and Crows

The Blue Jays and Crows. It's interesting how I don't photograph our common birds very often. Crows, which I see almost every day, are just not very well covered in my archives.  I should have the best photos of the birds that are the most common.  But sometimes, that just isn't the case.  The common and familiar just don't draw my photographic eye.  That will change in the future.

I'm quite limited in this group.  I'm hoping to photograph the Florida Scrub Jay next week in southwest Florida.  I'll look to find it and the Burrowing Owl in the city of Cape Coral.  And come May, Megan and I are planning a trip to New Mexico, where several western species may be possible photographic targets.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls

These might take a while to load.....

These magnificent denizens of the grassland are what I encountered in a seemingly sterile landscape of nothing but native (but planted) prairie grasses. 


Monday, January 18, 2016

The Pickaway Plains

I spent the evening in one of Ohio's former grassland areas, which happened lie just as the landscape changes to the rugged foothills the Appalachians, as seen along the horizon in the second photo. What was I looking for?  Come back later this week for the answer!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Hummingbirds

My hummingbird images come not from Ohio, but Colorado and Maine.  Just two species.  The broad-tailed just happened to be perched on a branch where I set up my camera for a session of sunrise photography, as seen in the first two images here. We haven't been to Colorado since 2011.  I think it's time to go back.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gruiformes- Gallinules, Coots, Rails and Cranes

An interesting group, certainly under represented in my photographs.  The Purple Gallinule and Limpkin will targets during my upcoming trip to Southwest Florida.  The Clapper rail shots are from South Carolina.  They're a blast to watch as they dart across the tidal flats during a morning low tide in the salt marsh.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gnatcatchers, American Dipper, and Kinglets

This is a group that I surely need to photograph more.  I added the Golden-crowned Kinglet photos two weekends ago after an encounter at Hoover Nature Preserve.  My photo of the American Dipper was back in the 5 megapixel Kodak point and shoot days (It was an early superzoom that even shot RAW I LOVED that camera, but ultimately it made crappy images compared to my tools today). I'd love to make a trip to the Montana canyon where Megan and I watched this bird dip and bob through the rapids just below a fairly significant waterfall.  When we visited around the Fourth of July, 2007, the snow was still melting in the mountains there.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Flycatchers

Hey, all the flycatchers look alike, so why bother photographing them all?  I kid!  I kid!

The most interesting of the group is the endemic Puerto Rican Flycatcher, which is the last photo of the slideshow. I saw these fairly frequently when Megan, Weston, and I visited the western shore of the island way back in 2010.  I'd love to return someday.  This year's vacation time is all planned out, but maybe next winter we can make the trip.

Back to the birds. This is a very interesting group.  The empidonax flycatchers are a bit like sedges. They superficially look the same, but there are ways to tell them apart. The flycatchers are a group I'll target more frequently come spring.  First on my list is the willow flycatcher, which is what I heard all the time when I did grassland bird surveys on eastern Ohio abandoned strip mines a few years ago.


Monday, January 11, 2016


The finches are a group I have not photographed extensively.  My best find was a chance encounter with a Pine Grosbeak in the dead of winter at Little Pond, Maine.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Wading Birds

And here is my latest finished gallery, the wading birds.  With their large size and tameness, these are perhaps the "easiest" birds to photograph.  It doesn't take a super telephoto lens to make pictures of our wading birds.  Shots are from our many trips to Florida and South Carolina, with a few images captured in Ohio.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Pigeons and Doves

I've photographed four species.  I've seen a fifth, the ground dove.  I'll be sure to photograph one on my upcoming trip to Southwest Florida. My photo of the Eurasian collared-dove was snapped as we waited on the curb of the Columbia South Carolina airport, waiting for a rental car shuttle that never showed up.  Well, it eventually showed up; and Megan was able to talk them into a complementary rental.  She knows how to travel!  And about those pigeons. Aren't they interesting?  They're a bird I see almost every day, yet I have photographed them little.


Sunday, January 03, 2016

New Purpose; At Least for Now

So, I know I wrote the post-mortem for this space, but maybe there's a little heart beat left.  After writing that post-mortem, I decided to systematically organize every natural history image I've photographed at my Smugmug website -  Doing that has made me aware of species that I have yet to photograph.  And what did I decide I would do about that?  Well, photograph them!  And instead of just adding them to the gallery on Smugmug, why not share them here as well?

Today I went to Alum Creek to look for the eared grebe, and struck out.  A trip to the Oxbow Area at Hoover Nature Preserve, however, yielded three species I have not photographed, the golden-crowned Kinglet;

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ohio

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ohio

The Bonaparte's Gull;
   Bonaparte's Gull, Ohio

And the Bufflehead.

Follow along, and let's see what else we can find in 2016.


Saturday, January 02, 2016

Swans, Geese, and Ducks

For whatever reason, I've always love photographing ducks.  These are the species I have photographed.