Purple Finch, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — There is a poem that goes with this.
5/15 I am here to celebrate my first good shots of full male Purple Finch. It dropped by the feeders in front of the blind this after- noon while I was out waiting for the supper chili to cook and watching for whatever birds might favor me with their presence. And such a presence! We have had two females right along, and a first year male just coming into its first blush of color these last few days, but the male has been scarce… two sightings in bad light on the deck feeders and a few photos through the thermal glass, but this male was right there, 10 feet in front of me, at the feeder in its full royal plumage…purple so rich it glows, almost red when it perched higher in the pine in the late day sun. Such a treat. And a great relief. I had begun to think I would have to wait for our first year male to purple up.
Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. I shifted the focus point to the upper third of the view to make sure the head was in focus at this close distance. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Red-tailed Hawk, National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells Maine
There is a poem:
When I first pulled into the parking lot
at Laudholm Farms, I glanced out the
driver’s side window to see a hawk
sitting on the Bluebird House 40 yards
away. I grabbed for the camera, but
by the time I got it out and on, and
reached for the handle to roll down
the window, the Hawk was gone.
Surely too big for a Cooper’s Hawk?
Still I got out and wandered over
toward the corner of the woodlot
beyond the bird house, in case it had
not gone far…and, surprise, there it
was on the ground 4 feet behind the
rough hedge along the fence between
the parking lot and field. It was away
again before I could get on it, but it
landed in the low branch of a big oak
at the edge. I got a few shots, mostly
obscured by branches and a few dried
leaves still clinging on…but then it
swooped and landed again on the
ground behind the hedge. Now there
was a big enough gap just there so I
could focus through the winter twigs,
and I took its portrait as it danced and
pounced on something small in the
frozen grasses at its feet. Up again
to perch in an old maple by the road.
This time I caught the unmistakable
flash of rust red on the tail. Ah!
The Red-tailed Hawk perched with its back
to me, and let me get a lot closer than I
expected, looking over its shoulder every
once in a while to see what I was doing.
Magnificent! The beak and eye…the
intricate cryptology of feather detail
of one of nature’s ultimate birds of prey.
In the end it had enough of my looking at it,
and flew off down the treeline another 40
yards. I let it go. Thrilled to my bones,
entirely blessed, to have been part of its day.
This is, clearly, one of the portraits behind the hedge. Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. 1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Cropped for scale and composition and processed in Snapseed on my Android tablet. Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm in Wells Maine.
Cedar Waxwing, Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms, Wells ME
I took a photoprowl to Laudholm Farms yesterday (Well National Estuarine Research Center at…). It is always good to be there, and it is only about 6 miles from home (shorter as the crow flies), but yesterday was especially wonderful. I wrote a poem about it.
Any photoprowl that begins with
Wild Turkey in the tall grass beside
the road, and ends with a juvee Red-
tailed Hawk swooping in on prey,
killing it, and eating it in front of me,
not 40 feet away in low brush,
is a good photoprowl! And that is
not to mention the flock of 100
Cedar Waxwings moving through
the wild apple trees in the wood
beyond the Monarch Meadow, or
the Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing
against the sun, or magic of spring
light on new leaves and the forest
coming alive, or the Thrushes, or
the Blue-eyed Grass, or the Red
Squirrel, or wild Geraniums, or
the unbelievable cluster of Jack-
in-the-pulpit growing right beside
the boardwalk…I mean, Jack-in-
the-pulpit! So strange, so beautiful.
And for all that…all that wonder seen
and shot, home in time for lunch.
Now that is a good photoprowl!
This is one of that flock of 100 Cedar Waxwings, one of two large flocks I encountered on my prowl. I think Cedar Waxwings are among the most elegant of birds…silky feathers and subtle colors set off with crayon bright flashes on the tail and wings. Beautiful altogether.
Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent (600mm plus 2x Smart Tel-converter which crops a 5mp image out of the center of the sensor to achieve twice the magnification). 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
If you are interested in my daily poems you can follow them at Day Poems 2016 (http://daypoems16.blogspot.com) or on Facebook in my stream or in my Day Poems 2016 collection on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/0uunr}
Red Squirrel, Alewive Woods Preserve, Kennebunk Land Trust. Kennebunk ME
I told the story of this Red Squirrel, which I encountered on my hike into Alewive Pond on Thursday, in today’s Year Poem (which I will append here for your viewing pleasure :).
The photo is with the Nikon P900 at 1100mm equivalent field of view. 1/60th @ ISO 800 @ f5.6. Processed in Lightroom.
And the poem.
The red squirrel paralleled me
100 years along the trail,
always three threes ahead,
but with one eye solid on me.
Eventually he found a perch
on a branch, oh, twice my height,
just where the trail turns,
to sit safe and sass me as only
a Red Squirrel can sass…tail
arched high, little paws, tiny
claws clenched, every ounce
of his ten, behind the eye
that glared, that dared me
to do my worst!
Little did he know I had
my camera ready to
record his heroic posturing,
or that his antics would
be exposed on the internet
for all the world to see.
So there, Mr. Red Squirrel,
we humans can sass too.
Carol came running
early to the bedroom,
“turkeys in the yard,”
and I went running
barefoot and still wet
from the shower, camera
in hand, out the front door.
Indeed, four big birds
in full spring finery…
feathers aglisten in the
morning sun with
colors rarely seen,
They strutted mindlessly,
as only turkeys strut,
(I know they call it
a trot but it’s not…
a strut and a stroll)
up the middle of the
road to the neighbor’s
yard where they circled
back just in time
to be a Turkey heart
attack for the lady
in the SUV taking the
corner on Brown
Street a tad too fast.
They scuttled (again
a better word than trot)
through another yard
into the relative safety
of a patch of forest
and where gone.
Ah to be as mindless
and a carefree as a
Turkey in the spring.
I am not sure why, but this little snippet from Roger’s Pond in Kennebunk Maine has a very oriental feeling to it. At the same time it reminds me of William Carlos Williams Red Wheelbarrow poem.
so much depends
the red wheelbarrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white
There is that sense of much depending on the close observation of a fragment of reality: here the reeds standing in the dappled water among the distorted shadows of the trees around the pond. It is a very simple composition…but there is a lot more to it, somehow.
Samsung Smart Camera WB250F in Rich Tone (HDR) mode. 41mm equivalent field of view. Nominally f3.6 @ 1/1225 @ ISO 100. Processed in PicSay Pro on the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.