Brown-headed Cowbird (female), Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I am having a lot of fun watching the birds try to figure out how to get a drink from the pump and bucket water feature I have near my backyard photo blind. This Brown-headed Cowbird spent about 10 minutes at it before she managed to get a drink. Now that she has it down, she will be back. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — As the weather gets warmer the water features of my backyard photo blind feeding station become every more popular. I have a hanging water feeder, a hanging bird bath, and a recirculating waterfall pump and bucket thing. The birds (and chipmunks) are just figuring out the waterfall, but they have been using the birdbath all along, and individual Goldfinches, Chickadees, and one female Bluebird have figured out how to use the hanging water feeder. The male Bluebird, however, continues to prefer the hanging bird bath. My line of sight to the bird bath is getting more limited as the leaves come in. I may have to move it soon, as I will not be trimming back the vegetation. These shots of the Bluebird getting a drink of typical of what I see these days. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — While watching the fledgling Eastern Bluebird the other day, it did some practice wing stretching and I managed to catch the wing at full extension. Not great light, but still impressive. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Lupine. Kennebunkport, Maine. There is a poem that goes with this.
The lupines caught me by surprise
out Emmon’s way, late as the season
has seemed, and us with still a day
to go in May. The field at the fork
in the road there, where Goose Rocks
meets Guinea, where some years
the lupines make a purple pool under
the old maples and well out into the
hay, was coming into full flower already.
These last few days of 80 degree
weather have really rushed us on
toward June…only a few weeks ago
we saw our first rhodora and now
flag iris and geraniums are blooming
in the ditches and lupine in the fields.
There at the corner, they have moved
the old hay rake out next to the road
right among the lupines. It is is always
there in that field, and this year they
must have figured they would save
the trespass of all the photographers
who waded out and trampled hay
getting to it among the flowers further
out. Nothing like a field of lupines
(unless you see them among a white
birch grove as I did once in Acadia),
and I look forward every year to
catching them in bloom, there, out
Emmon’s way, in early June. If you
are going to caught by surprise, may
it always be something like lupines.
Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent. HDR mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Ma and Pa Bluebird parked their fledgling above the feeders near my backyard photo blind yesterday afternoon, and I got to spend an hour or more with the youngster, watching it explore, and especially watching as it try to figure out the flowing water feature I have installed. The bird clearly wanted a drink but had no idea how to go about getting one. Eventually it figured it out (see today’s poem: https://day-poems.tumblr.com/post/619629866684448768/531-i-have-made-my-pump-and-bucket-recirculating). While watching, the male Bluebird came three times to feed the fledgling. The first time I saw the begging action and knew one of the adults was coming, but did not get the camera fired up in time. After that I paid more attention and got ready as soon as I saw the first sign of begging and managed to get two sequences of the actual feeding. The male was bring dried mealworms from the feeder on our deck. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Red-eyed Vireo, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — A new bird for the yard and the backyard photo blind. This Red-eyed Vireo flew in behind the feeders for just a moment…just long enough for a burst. The light was not great, just as I was thinking of going in, but you can just barely make out the red in the eye. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I had begun to think the only Lady Slipper Orchids I would find this spring are the ones out by Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains…which are atypical in that they grow in the open shade of big pine right on the edge of the pond…not in the deep forest where they are normally found. My forest site for Lady Slipper Orchids, at the Rachel Carson Headquarters, where I have photographed them every year for going on 25 years, is closed due to the pandemic this year, so I was stuck. Then I remembered seeing a few along the trial into Alwive Pond, on the Alwive Reserve of the Kennebunk Land Trust several springs ago. I have not been back out there in season since. Land Trust trails are open, though proper social distancing is required. I rode out there yesterday on my eBike and found that there were indeed lots of Lady Slippers, the first before you even get to the parking area, and then in clusters of single plants all along the first mile of the trail, with a few even further in. There was even one large clump with multiple blossoms…the way they grow at Rachel Carson. Lady Slipper Mission accomplished. (There is, of course, a poem to go with this, which you can see at https://day-poems.tumblr.com/post/619357400179277824/528-i-will-admit-i-might-have-gotten-lady-slipper)
Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have way too many photos of the Eastern Bluebird at the mealworm feeder…in all kinds of poses and all kinds of light…but he rarely sits long enough away from the feeder (and near the blind) for me to get an memorable image. This time he did. Late day sun. Perfect background. Great pose. What more can any photographer ask…at least for a portrait shot. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. You can drill in on this quite a ways before you run out of feather detail. (One of these days I am going to make a collage of all the mealworm feeder shots, just for fun.)
Grey Catbird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We had a few Baltimore Orioles come through last week, so I have oranges out in hopes of enticing they to hang around…much to the delight of the Catbirds, who are, apparently, hanging around. We have not seen the Orioles in several days, but the Catbirds come for the oranges every day. They are dainty about it. It takes them a long time of finish off a slice of orange. (And they do get help out by my photo blind under the pines, from our one bold chipmunk kit who as decided he/she also likes orange.) The Catbird can be a good study in plumage detail without lots of garish color to distract you…but it is nice to catch the red under the tail. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Point blank range here, at only about 8 feet from my blind. This is almost a full frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Cardinal, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Any day when the Cardinal comes to visit is a good day…actually, of course, he comes most days, and I sometimes see him from the back deck windows, but he only comes occasionally when I am actually out in the blind and ready for him. 🙂 I have to be quick as he does on hang around long, and he is a habitual skulker, so unobstructed shots are even more rare than his visits, but it is still fun to try. This shot is through a tiny window in the brambles and bittersweet vines, and even when he turned around on his perch, he was then partially blocked. I will settle for the back view. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.