We will take a break from the birds (and wildlife) of Florida this morning for this shot of ice bells on the Mousam River here in Kennebunk. I went out with my new ultra wide landscape camera to see what I could see along the Mousam, and had to walk back to the car for my RX10iv with its longer lens to get a close-up these ice bells several feet out into the stream. So it goes 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 378mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 160. Processed in Polarr.
I went to Roger’s Pond Park on the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine, to see if there were any Eagles yesterday morning. There were no Eagles, but there were Common Mergansers in the river. I like this shot taken over the back of the Mallard in the foreground. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
I went out on a cold January morning to see what I could see before the promised snow the following day. It was a perfect day for ice sculptures to form in the spray and splash of rapidly moving water. I found this in the outflow of one of the little ponds along Rt. 9. I am always amazed at the shapes water can get into. Sony RX10iv at 140mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
On Christmas Eve day I was looking out at the feeding station on our back deck behind the kitchen when I spotted a tiny bird on the deck below the feeders, gleaning among the fallen seed. It was a Brown Creeper, the first I have seen in our yard in over 20 years of living here in Kennebunk, and maybe only my third in Maine. It few off into the trees along the treeline between our house and the neighbors, where it stayed long enough for me to call my daughter Sarah, who is visiting for Christmas, to see scattering up a trunk. Yesterday it returned to the feeders…first on the suet and then on the fallen seed, and I managed a few shots of it before it flew off. It is apparently part of a mixed feeding flock which includes at least 6 Eastern Bluebirds, a Purple Finch (also a rare yard bird), White-breasted and at least one Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Downy Woodpecker, and numerous Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice. Such excitement! But the Brown Creeper is the real treat. Sony RX10iv at about 800mm and 1000mm equivalent (600mm optical and bit of Clear Image Zoom). Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We have lived here in Kennebunk for 25 years, more or less, and we had the first Bluebirds in our yard two years ago, just about this time, for Christmas. They came all winter that year, and stayed for nesting somewhere in the area (though not in the box I nailed to a tree along the edge of our yard) and they came again the next year, and stayed with us through the first brood last summer…and then they were gone. We did not see them the second half of last summer or this fall. My daughter and I were discussing it as we drove back from the bus station where I picked her up for her Christmas visit. Then, she was standing at the back deck door in the kitchen watching the birds at the feeder and said, “Isn’t that a bluebird?” And, of course, it was. Four showed up over the next few moments, after I went out and shook down some mealworms for them in the feeder…2 males and 2 females (or immature birds from the last brood of the summer). So that is our little Christmas miracle for the year…or one of them. Having 3 of our 5 daughters home (my 7 daughters) and trusting the others are safe, and enjoying the day is another, as is the day itself, and what we remember on this day. Joy. Blessing. The gift of love in the baby Jesus…and, of course, the gift of love in Christmas Eve Bluebirds at the feeder! Merry Christmas.
Fall has produced an abundant crop of interesting scale fungi on the fallen limbs at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. There is a beauty in the patterns and the shapes, at least to my eye. Sony RX10iv at 489mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
When I went out the other day to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters trail looking for landscape photos for my “For the love of landscape” posts, I was, of course, captivated by the fall litter on the forest floor. It was a moody day, with the sun just beginning to break through clouds away off to the south. It had been raining up to an hour ago. The light in the forest was subdued, and everything was still damp. Between the light and the wet, the colors simply glowed. I framed a lot images that were simply about color and light and texture and shape. This ladder of scale fungi on the fallen birch log, and the brown maple leaf beside it is a good example. A quiet image of nothing in particular that I find still very satisfying. Sony RX10iv at 300mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This little Chipmunk seemed to think he needed to explore me while I was walking the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells, Maine. I first saw him near the trail, but when he saw me he scampered back into the woods, only to make a loop at about 12 feet, and come back toward me. He eventually ran out into the trail and around me in a tight circle, inches from my feet, before heading back into the woods on the same side as he started from. Who knows? These three shots were taken at close to my lens’ minimum focus distance of 4 feet at 600mm equivalent. Sony RX10iv in Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
So, I am thinking this bird is a Song Sparrow. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I can not be sure. For one thing, there was a flock of them, feeding together in short grass between the drive and the edge of the woods and/or hedge at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine. They would fly up and into cover when I approached. I have seen Song Sparrows behave that way, but only during migration, and only at Cape May, New Jersey. Still, it is the right time of year. For another thing, most of the birds lacked any noticeable central breast spot…but then, Song Sparrows are notoriously variable. Finally, they seemed too small, and not “plump” enough, but then I generally see Song Sparrows posted up (and probably puffed up) singing. The alternatives are not good either. I have other shots from further away, and in no shot can I see even a hint of buff where it ought to be on a Lincoln’s and I have never seen a Lincolns out in the open feeding as these were. Savannah? I should see at least a hint of yellow above the eye on some bird, don’t you think? And way too brown for Vesper, and lacking the bold eye-ring. So, Song Sparrow. I think. Unless am just missing something obvious altogether. I am probably overthinking it, but I have seen what happens when people post pics with the wrong ID. (Not pretty!) This is one of those cases where it really would have been better to make the ID in the field, and not rely on the pics when I got home. (You can, by the way, take a look at each photo at higher resolution.) On the other hand, I really like the photos. The bit of fall foliage and the poses, etc. Great Sparrow shots…just not totally sure which Sparrow. And really, I ought to know better (or at least be more confident). Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Yesterday’s day poem was about the turkeys who came wandering through the yard in the morning rain.
Carol came in in the middle of my Qi Gong
this morning, me still in my bare feet, tee-shirt
and pajama pants, and announced that there
were six turkeys in the back yard. I grabbed
my camera. Turns out it was a hen and five
well grown poults, looking for sustenance
among the fallen leaves under our trees in
steady rain…making a short cut, maybe,
across our yard. I got a few shots from the
open deck door before they disappeared up
the alley between our house and the house
next door…not an alley proper of course but
the narrow area between our house and the
hedge, full of strawberry plants and sunflowers.
Eventually they came out onto the front lawn
and I could stand in the front door and photo-
graph them as they passed under our little
apple trees. Carol had to leave right then or
be late for a funeral, so she went out, and
of course they all took wing, the poults high
into the pines across the road and the hen
sailing down the road and across to the
woods at eye-level…which was all she could
manage in her mature dignity. Such a treat.
Making the most of a rainy morning. I got
back to my Qi Gong and the turkeys went
looking for sustenance in someone else’s
yard, or maybe the marshy edge of the wood.
What more can I say? Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 200mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled as a video slideshow in ImgPlay.