Eastern Gray Squirrel: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I looked out of my window yesterday afternoon, peaking between the blinds, and saw a squirrel on the maple branch above me. He appeared to be eating the maple blossoms…I have been watching the maple blossoms since they were just tiny red beads on the branch tips. Maple blossoms are one of my favorite things about spring. They are so beautiful, and so unlikely. I suspect the vast majority of Americans do not know that maples flower, and certainly do not know how beautiful the flowers are. Our blossoms are not quite ready to open into full flowers yet, but they have made a lot of progress the past few days. I certainly did not expect to see the squirrels eating them. A google peruse this morning shows that it is common behavior…to the extent that are recommended “cures” to keep squirrels from decimating ornamental maples in folk’s yards. We have so many maple trees here in Southern Maine, and even in our yard, that it would take a plague of squirrels of biblical proportions (as they say) to do much damage. Much as I appreciate maple flowers, if the squirrels prefer them to my sunflower seeds in season, I say “let them eat flowers!” Anyway, I got my camera and spent a while watching and photographing the squirrel getting into all kinds of greedy postures among the maple blossoms. Each of these three shots tells its own story, and together they tell a tale. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400, 250, and 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I was running out of photos for my Pic for today posts, and since it was above 40 degrees yesterday (though threatening rain) I got my chair blind out and sat by the feeders under the pine for a few hours. I rebuilt and filled the feeding station there a week ago, in anticipation of more spring activity and the day I would actually get the chair blind out. It was still a bit like ice-fishing, waiting in the cold for birds to come, and while there was not a lot of bird activity yet, it turned out to be a productive, and enjoyable, time. This is one of those shots that just happen occasionally. Right place, right time, and ready…certainly not something I could have actually set out to take 🙂 And, once again, proof that you need to attempt to photograph every bird you see…even the ubiquitous chickadee. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. A little branch that was growing out of the tail feathers was removed with TouchRetouch. ISO 500 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
A sure sign of spring. We had a few 50 degree days this week and the chipmunks were active…cleaning up every stray seed on the deck under the feeders. I see them in the leaf litter under the pines as well. Bound to happen! This one has the “caught in the act” look about it. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Our Chipmunks are evidently busy elsewhere, putting in supplies for the winter, as we are not seeing them on the deck much. This youngster, one of this year’s second brood, came yesterday, drawn by the spilled mealworms we put out for the Bluebirds. Of course he was hovering up all the spilled seed as well. The original handy-vac, cleaning up our deck. We appreciate his efforts, and the opportunity to watch him…just as long as he does not go for the feeders themselves. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 640 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I am really enjoying the early November light. I have mentioned that I have been in Texas and New Mexico this time of year for going on 20 years, and so the light these first weeks in November in Maine is something that I don’t have a lot of recent experience with. The sun is low to the horizon and has swung around way to the south, putting my feeders in the good light from 10am until sundown. This Chickadee was doing it’s usual sunflower seed dance. It had picked one up from the feeder and retreated to a branch to bash it open. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
White-breasted Nuthatch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Out in the backyard in this lovely November Maine light, with the sun coming across at eye-level, I caught the acrobatics of this White-breasted Nuthatch on the Bittersweet vine under the pines. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos, and assembled in FrameMagic.
Swamp Sparrow, Roger’s Pond, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This Swamp Sparrow just would not give me a clear shot. I stood in the middle of the road at Roger’s Pond (fortunately there was not much traffic) for fifteen minutes waiting on this bird to show as was actively feeding in a clump of brush under the trees and this is the best I managed. I could have waited longer, but it became clear that not showing itself was habit not happenstance with this bird, so I moved on. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I spent some time in the photo blind the other day and was entertained by this chipmunk getting a drink from my pump and bucket water feature. The chipmunks are very bold. Twice now I have had them join me in the blind when I apparently set it up across one of their highways…or maybe they were just being friendly. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I published a Day Poem this morning, based on this experience. I love watching Black Skimmers at work…and I certainly enjoy trying to catch them in action. I have my “birds in flight and action modifications” to Program mode programed into the focus hold button on the Sony’s lens, right under my thumb, so all I have to do is press the button to shift modes when I see a BIF opportunity. The Sony Rx10iv’s tracking auto focus makes Skimmers easier than ever before…but it is still a challenge. This Black Skimmer was working the ponds off the short Gator Creek loop at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida, USA. Sony Rx10iv as above, 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic.
And here is the poem.
Black Skimmers cut the water
the way the lady at the fabric
store cuts cloth…not scissoring
at all, but holding the blades
stationary and sliding, parting
the cloth effortlessly, easily,
as though it were an act of will
instead of muscle…of course water
(unlike cloth) is self healing and
no sooner has the Skimmers bill
parted the waters than the seam
seals, leaving hardly a ripple
behind the bird. I love to watch
them, and to try to catch them
in the act with my camera. Such
grace, such skill, more an act
of will than it is an act of muscle.
We spent the morning at Dave & Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Pavilion photographing a wide range of birds in the rain…including hummingbirds. This is a Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, the only red-footed hummingbird in Costa Rica. Dave & Dave (father and son) no longer use artificial hummingbird feeders. They put out fresh flowers each day which attract the hummers without distracting them from natural food sources. Challenging photography. Natural light. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (full frame). Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.