Day 262

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Today I was in charge of smoking the roast for supper.  So that meant I was stationed outside.  I sat next to the garage in an area I could watch the smoker without being stuck in the smoke.  The thought was that I would grade some thing for school.  What happened was that I ended up taking pictures most of the day.  The blue jays were wild today.  The longer I sat the more accustom they became to me, and after a while, they came rather close to me.

The small birds were out also.  It is my thought that they are getting ready to move on and are stocking up on food before they head out.  There were a lot of little critters around today too.  A red squirrel, which we don’t normally have in the yard, ventured over and let me take a couple quick pictures.  The grey squirrels and my chipmunk were around as usual.  We did have a great surprise visit today.  However, it happened so fast that I had no chance to get my camera up and snap a picture.  I was sitting trying to be good and let the blue jay get used to me so he would move closer when I noticed the small birds flying back to the grape vine.  A second after the little bird landed in the vine a larger shape moved by just under the line of bricks for the old gazebo.  It flew out from the bricks very low to the ground and veered off by the back steps of the house and up into the sky.  I was very shocked to see a merlin!  The little birds stayed hidden for a good amount of time.  And then later, two of them appeared across the street.  It made for an interesting day.

But the winner of the day, the one who captured my attention, was the blue jays today.  I just couldn’t look away.  And every chance that they gave me, I was hard working on getting their pictures.


Day 247

Today the birds filled my yard.  You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a bird.  And the sound…the sounds filled the air.  It was a wonderful experience.  The little birds are getting ready to leave and head south, so they are attacking my feeders like crazy.  The chickadees, the pine warblers, the goldfinches, sparrows, finches, and blue jays are just some of the many birds that are stopping by.  Not all of them will leave to head South, so I am hope that they will stay.  Not only did the birds stick around today, the little critters did also.  A handful of squirrels and a couple of chipmunks thought it was heaven to steal the peanuts I put out for the jays.  It was a good day sitting outside watching my birds.

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Day 239

Today we headed out to the lake.  It was a beautiful day to be out in our favorite place.  My camera still isn’t in the right spot, but the item I ordered to get the focus back in spot arrived today, so tomorrow I can get it going again.  However, I was able to capture some really great things.

We came upon a Belted Kingfisher today.  It was flying up out of the water when we first spotted it and then she put on a show for us.  We were able to watch her dive about 4 times before she flew up into a tree.  I tried to get some pictures, but that little bird flew so fast it was hard to keep track.  I did get some though and just being able to watch as she dove and shot out of the water over and over and moved so fast was amazing.

A little later on we were able to watch as two Ospreys flew over us and dove for fish.  My focus was not on spot again so I do not think they are the best photos.  The Eagle would only fly over, he wasn’t willing to dive for me today.  But I did get some great shots of the Blue Heron (three different ones) as they hid in the tall grass.  There were also some surprise birds that popped in today.

At this point, I needed to get fishing so the rest of the night was spent fishing and having a good time.  At the close of the night some ducks and geese flew over and gave me a great sunset picture.

Wonderful time with a wonderful captain.

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Day 235

Today was a day spent working at home, getting things ready for going back to work, prepping food to be cooked, and finding things that were put away.  It was a nice day to just take my time and spot different birds that have decided to come into my yard.

I started this morning with the hairy woodpecker that has decided to visit in the mornings and at night.  They have discovered that if they go to the right bird feeder they don’t have to try and get the thistle seed out of the small screen but that they can stick their heads in the opening and eat from there.  In the later afternoon, after the hubby went for his ride, I cleaned the bird bath and sat down to see what little birds would come to play in it.  While I captured a small handful the best surprise were the three hummingbirds that were chasing each other all over.  At times they would come very close to my head.  I wasn’t able to capture them all three together as they were moving so fast, but I did get two of them showing their tail feather to each other.

I ended the night taking some more shots of the woodpecker as it tried to hide on the feeder from me.  A very peaceful night.

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Day 229

Fish on Baby!

Tonight was a night on the lake.  Time is counting down to when I have to go back to school, so we have to grab what time on the lake that we can.  With the man now called back to work, this means we have less and less time to get our “fish on!”

It was a great night on the lake, the bass were striking and the sun was shining.  The loon family was out and I was able to get some good shots of the Mom and baby.  The little one is getting bigger and bigger and starting to get more adult coloring, but it is still soooooooooo fluffy.  There was one osprey and one eagle out today, but they kept their distance.  I tried to get some shots of a bass striking the bait, but that was a hard one.  I did find a surprise when I was going through the photos.  Instead of focusing on the lure my camera grabbed focus on a bug flying by.  Not what I planned but a great shot anyway.  The best part of the night was the sunset and full moon.  It truly was breathtaking.

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Day 227

Today I was not sure if I would find anything.  My girl child and I made a run looking for owls and only came across one Eastern Kingbird.  So while it was not a great success in finding birds, it was a great time with the girl just “bonding”.

Later when we were home and had completed our “chores” it was time to just sit in the chairs and relax.  That is when the little birds started coming in thick to the feeders.  I love my little birds.  The finches and sparrows make such nice sounds as they fly over and the chickadees and nuthatches have the cutest little noise they make.  I was able to grab a few shots of them while they flew overhead.  Then the little hummingbirds decided to show up.  They like to perch in the large pines next to where I sit.  I was able to get some cute shots of them resting in the trees.  And, to my surprise, I caught one pooping, which makes my husband laugh.  When the little hummer decided to hit the tiger lilies again I was able to walk up closer to get some shots.  At this time, the sun was very bright and shining right on them so they became almost backlight, which makes it harder.  But I like the effect of them in contrast to the color of the flowers.  It was a nice day.


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Day 224

Today was a special day; my hubby celebrated his birthday.  So this meant that he got to pick what we were doing after supper.  So that meant that we were going fishing.  It was a wonderful night on the lake, a little bit of clouds to start with and a small breeze.  But other than that, there was nothing going on.  The birds were very quiet, with only a few to be found on the water, and the fish were not willing to play.  So while it was slow in some ways, it was still a good time with the hubby celebrating his birthday.


What did we see tonight:  An Eagle sitting in a tree that was extremely unhappy with something and made a lot of noise.  The clouds were pretty heavy at this time so it isn’t the greatest picture as my ISO had to be up high.

A family of loons, where the baby was diving by himself.  I am a little concerned as there were two babies in this area.  I know they move around, but it makes me worried.

A new bird for us:  pied-billed grebe.  Some flew off and left this one lonely one swimming in a bay.

Mallards swimming and flying around.

Our friendly neighborhood beaver.

And one wonderful sunset.  Within minutes it went from soft to vivid to gone very quickly.


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Day 222

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Tonight I was on the hunt, and I shot over 600 to get my prey.  I was on the hunt for the hummingbirds!

After a busy day “shopping” for the girl child, I came home to to hunt.  I sat outside for a good amount of time, and in that time not one single hummer.  My finches and nuthatches were everywhere, while the sparrow decided it was bath time.  Right about the time I was ready to call it a day and go get a popsicle, the Hummingbirds made their entrance.  They zoomed over my head really close and sat in the tree next to me.  They gave me many opportunities to get some great shots.  I was hampered only by the wind, that was blowing so hard that it made it hard to focus on such a small thing from such a great distance.  I love it though.  Hummingbirds have been one of my favorite birds since I can remember.  My grandmother and I used to spend a lot of time at her cabin watching them as they went from feeder to feeder.  I have always tried to have feeders out for them where ever I have been.  They are so amazing, so delicate, so sassy, and so beautiful.

Day 221

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Today was a day of being in the right place at the right time.

I started the day off early and set off to run errands with the girl child.  In the short time span before I had to run errands with the boy child I was able to sit outside and try to capture the humming birds, which did not happen.  However, even though the hummers were being shy, the sparrows were not.  They would move in force from one feeder to the next.  I happened to be in just the right spot to capture some interplay between the birds.  Especially the fighting and staking claim to a certain spot or a feeding cup.  For such small birds they are extremely sassy.

Later in the day the man child decided to give fishing a try.  There was a nice breeze at the house and it looked to be a nice time to head out.  Well, when we hit our favorite lake the wind had kicked up, but we decided to give it a try.  This gave me my challenge for the night:  take great pictures while the boat is going up and down in rather large waves.  My first test was on a family of loons that were riding the waves also.  It was rather hard to get the photo and on this burst there were many that were not in focus, but I did manage to get one right after the baby popped back up from the water.

The eagle was my next target.  He was sitting in his favorite roost in the bay we like to fish in.  He sat for a bit watching me trying to get a picture before he flew off.  I think he was just being nice as trying to capture the photo was making me a tad motion sick.

After a bit of fishing we moved across the lake in hopes of some better fish.  While the fish did not pan out the chance for photography did.  I happened to be in the right spot when an Osprey decided to fly right over the top of the boat.  I was hoping that he would do a dive by us, but he moved out across the lake.  It was about the time I stopped tracking the adult Osprey when the juvenile Osprey flew right over the boat on his way to meet the older one.

When we moved to a different spot in the bay, I final got one of my shots that was on my bird buckets list.  I have been trying to capture a Northern Flicker in flight.  While I can capture them on the ground or in the trees, it is hard to get them in flight.  They are very cautious and will fly, fast, at the slightest movement.  So while I have gotten a couple shots of in flight, they were not the best.  But tonight, one flew from the small island right over my head to the tree behind us.  I was finally able to get some shoots as it was overhead displaying the marvelous yellow color on the inside of its wings.  Truly a great moment for me.

After that some loons decided to call and flap their wings at each other.  I tried to capture it, but the wind had picked up once more.  By the time focus was achieved the one had settled down and it was only the other one flapping.  Overall, though, the night on the lake handed me some great opportunities.

We were feeling pretty good and decided to drive by where the Great Horned Owls have been hanging out.  There was just enough light that if one stopped by I might have been able to capture it.  Of course, one did not stop by until after the sun had set.  Three Great Horned Owls came to roost rather close to where we were standing.  I was able to grab some quick shots of them before they flew off further down the road.  It is extremely hard to take a night photo with a flash without the light needed to focus.  That is why the owls are a tad bit out of focus.  So while they are not the tack sharp that I like to get in photos, they are the closest and in the greater detail than any of the other ones I have gotten.  To me, it was a success.  Especially since I will not get the true colors and details of them unless they pop up during the day light hours.


Day 216

Late last night Joe and I decided to head out to capture the Northern Lights.  I have never gotten a chance to shoot them so this is a challenge I really wanted to try.  I have, in the past, gotten good star trails so I had a little bit of luck at night.  So we headed out to see what we could find.  We did not find the lights (we had a deadline of Midnight so Joe could get some sleep for day shift and they came out at 12:30-1am) but I did end up shooting the Milky Way.  I have never done this so I really wasn’t to sure.  I had my camera set for lights and I didn’t change the settings.  So while they are good, I know now to tweak the ISO a little more.  It turned out to be a lot of fun with my fish eye lens.

As we were leaving we even had a chance to spot a Great Horned Owl.  We will be heading out to see if we can capture some shoots of one at a later date.

But we will be heading out for more milky way shots for sure.

((tonight you really need to click on each image to really see them))

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