Pine Grosbeak!

Pine Grosbeak: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I will admit to being the tinniest bit jealous of all the folks in Maine who have had Pine Grosbeaks in their yards this winter. It is an irruption year for northern finches in general, and Grosbeaks in particular, including the Pine, but as far as I know they have not gotten as far south as Kennebunk. But then I found 6 birds, all young or female (it is impossible to tell which without a hand’s on examination), feeding on fallen apples under the trees by the education building at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms. The reserve is just south of the Kennebunk town line, less than 5 miles from my house. They have temporarily detoured the main hiking trail right under the trees, and the birds were so busy with the winter dried apples that they paid no attention to passing hikers, or photographers. I had forgotten how big Pine Grosbeaks are…almost the size of a Robin…but definitely a finch. The massive bill is suited for anything from pine nuts to thistle seed, and they were definitely digging something in the shriveled apples…not maybe the apple flesh itself as they were doing a lot of tossing…they may have been after the seeds. Anyway, I have a lot of photos of immature or female Pine Grosbeaks now. I am still jealous of those who have had males…but, actually, I have only seen a few photos of males from Maine this year. I am definitely keeping my eyes out. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th.

Handsome Downy

Downy Woodpecker: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Our Downy Woodpeckers, here in southern Maine, are distinctly petite…especially compared to their chunky Hairy cousins. This male has learned to get inside our anti-squirrel suet cage, like the smaller chickadees and titmice. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

swirly ice :)

The other thing, besides yesterday’s Mallards, that I found on my hike into Wonderbrook, was this swirly ice on the stream. To be fair I am always looking for swirly ice in the winter, as I find the patterns that ice forms while freezing fascinating. I can’t quite figure out the physics of it…no, that’s not right…I am no where near figuring out the physics of it. 🙂 The beauty only has to seen. We can appreciate what we can not fathom…and often do. Sony Rx10iv at 227mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. (Just because I was too lazy to switch to another mode.) Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1600 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Mallards on ice…

Mallards: Kennebunk River, York County, Maine, USA — It has been an atypically warm winter, and we have had very little ice in the rivers…here we are in mid-January, and we only had a significant amount of ice over the last few days. I generally find concentrations of ducks at edges of river ice and I have missed the mergansers, the occasional wood duck and the rafts of mallards. There was a group of over 100 mallards on the Kennebunk when I visited yesterday…the first large concentration I have seen this winter. Ducks on ice are always photogenic, even in the relatively dull light of a January day. I like the way this group is arranged within the frame…almost exactly were I would have placed them in a painting. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 500 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Robin in the brush…

American Robin: Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — Another view of one of the robins in the large flock, 100 or more, working the edge of the woods and marsh at Laudholm Farms this week. They were actively feeding, mostly deep in the brush. This shot serves as a demonstration of why wildlife photographers like the Sony Rx10iv. It is a crop at 600mm equivalent, and I used auto focus…flexible movable spot. The camera was able to sort out the jumble of branches and lock on to the bird. 🙂 Of course the conditions were ideal for the camera. Good direct light. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th.

With skirts a-flutter

American Robin: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells, Maine, USA — the folks in Washington at the inaugural celebrations did not have a lock on fashion statements on Inauguration Day. This Robin at Laudholm Farms was rocking a skirt to set any fashionista’s heart a-flutter. I saw several Robins doing this, perhaps as a defense against a chilly wind. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Significant crop. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th.

In the bleak midwinter…

I am not sure this is what the author had in mind when he wrote “in the bleak mid-winter” (in fact the “snow on snow” line convinces me it is not), but this is the bleak mid-winter we are having in southern Maine. While I can no longer say I am a fan of cold temperatures…if we are going to have cold, even the relatively mild temperatures we have had in January, I would prefer to have a snowy landscape under blue skies…thank you very much. Of course my weather preferences hardly matter in the big scheme of things. 🙂 There is still a bleak beauty in this landscape…though more like the bleakness of early spring than mid-winter. This is the Mousam River marsh from the Kennebunk Land Trust Mousam River Santuary in Kennebunk. Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent. Program mode with auto HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Nominal exposure: ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.

alternative nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Of course, when the Red-breasted Nuthatch shows up at our back deck feeding station, I never take just one photo, or even one pose. You can never have too many Red-breasted Nuthatch photos. 🙂 And their antics are certainly fun to watch…and fun to try to catch. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

the under-appreciated Crow

American Crow: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I often under-appreciate our local Crows. They are with us all year, and even on the slowest bird day you can generally find a crow somewhere in the neighborhood. And, of course, they are among the most intelligent of birds…one of the few birds with a sense of humor similar to our own…and one of the few that so obviously indulges in “play.” Watch them in the air on a blustery day and you will see what I mean. And they are, relatively speaking, good neighbors. They clean up any bite sized trash…or any shiny thing they can carry away…and help with carcass removal for the smaller mammals and other birds. If I were another bird, of a smaller species, I might not love a Crow, as they are nest predators…but as a human I can admire their sturdy beauty. There were a group of them in a yard up the street when I walked by, very busy with what appeared to be scattered popcorn, and they let me take some photos. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Eagles in the air…

Bald Eagle: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Something a bit different than my perched backyard birds. I walked to Roger’s Pond the other day, checking to see if there were Eagles on the river there. None. However, on the way back, crossing the bridge over the Mousam, I looked up-river just as these two cleared the tree-line. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to get my camera up and press my “birds in flight” button for a series of shots as they spiraled up and away. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (cropped significantly). Program mode with my Birds in Flight modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th. +1 EV exposure compensation.