Northern Cardinal: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I had to do some Googling this morning to see what was going on here. I know this pair of Northern Cardinals has already fledged the first brood, as I have seen the two fledglings with the parents passing through our yard. Turns out cardinals build a new nest for the second brood. This is a drastic crop as the bird was just too far back in the brush beyond my backyard photo blind (the light was not great either). I have used Pixelmator’s ML Super Resolution in processing and the results are not half bad…which means they are at least half good 🙂 At least good enough for viewing on a reasonably sized screen. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (but more like 2400mm equivalent in the crop). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo. ISO 800 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV.
Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine. This shot is actually form last week, but I want to post it before Trout Lily season passes us by altogether. You really have to get down low to fully appreciate the blossoms of the Lily, or Adder’s Tongue as it is also called. Someone posted a photo recently of a pure white Trout Lily…something I have never seen. According to Google the white flowering Trout Lily is actually a different species, but I do appreciate our little yellow troops on the floor of the Maine forest when they arrive in early spring. Sony Rx10iv at 78mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th.
White-throated Sparrow: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The White-throated Sparrow was another bird that showed up in our yard for the first time last year, after I started putting mixed seed out in the feeders for my backyard photo blind. (Or at least last year was the first time I saw one in our yard.) We had quite a bunch of them for weeks spring and fall. This is the one of the two first comers this year. I saw them one afternoon, and have not seem them since, so I suspect they were trail-blazers on their way north…the earliest migrants…with the promise of more to come. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent from my photo blind. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 500 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Yellow-rumpled Warbler: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Yesterday morning I was bemoaning the lack of warblers on our yard list. I see the flood of warbler photos on Facebook, and can not help but grieve a bit that I am not headed for Ohio’s Magee Marsh and the Biggest Week in American Birding this year, where for 10 days I could bathe myself in warblers at eye-level and 20 species in a day. I even used to have a half-way decent spring warbler spot here near the house, but it has been posted out of bounds (and never was that safe, being on the train tracks) so I have not been there in years. I had Ohio in May, and didn’t really need to find warblers in Maine. The pandemic has changed everything. I even wrote a little poem about it, which I will post as my poem of the day. (See it here: https://day-poems.tumblr.com/post/649611122967789568/427-if-you-are-like-me-you-have-to-look-twice-at) I had no sooner stood up from writing that and glanced out the back deck doors, when a Yellow-rumpled Warbler flew into the suet feeder. What? That will teach me! First ever in our yard! Of course it was gone by the time I got the camera, but still. A spring bright Yellow-rump…Audubon’s flavor…as you can see from this photo which I finally managed late in the day, and from too far away, but, again, still! A Yellow-dumped Warbler (not another Pine) in our yard! Sony Rx10iv at 1200mm equivalent (2x Clear Image Zoom and cropped to maybe 2400mm equivalent). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 320 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Northern Cardinal: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We probably get a visit from the neighborhood cardinals every day, probably more than once a day, but I am rarely looking when they come. Therefore it is always a treat to see them. Both male and female will occasionally use the feeders, but they are both happier feeding on the ground…however they are much more difficult to photograph on the ground as they like to skulk among the leaves and brush, and seem to have a talent for keeping junk between themselves and my camera lens. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent from my backyard photo blind. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Feeder shot: ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th. Ground shot: ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Hermit Thrush: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — After missing two good birds yesterday, the birding day ended with the gift of this Hermit Thrush in our yard. I could not get the camera on the Brown Creeper in the morning (though I had it in the frame several times) or on the Common Loon on the Mousam River on my eTrike ride (wrong camera in my hand, and gone by the time I got the right one), and I thought the thrush was going the same way. It flew in under the feeders by my backyard photo bind as I was folding up the blind to put it away, and after I had already put my camera up on the deck by the back door of the house. It sat there and looked at me, 10 feet away, for several moments and then scuttered off to the back side of the tree line and into the neighbor’s yard. I watched it through the brush for a while and then a chipmunk made a run at it, and it hopped back through the bushes close to me. So then I had to go get the camera. Again I had to contend with the full width of the tree line but I got some shots for the record. Then, another chipmunk ran at it (not sure what was going on there but two chipmunks apparently attacking a Hermit Thrush on the lawn has to be more than a coincidence) and it hopped over the brush, right past me, and into our yard below our deck. I was paying me no attention at all, so I was able to “stalk” it across the yard and get a few better photos. 🙂 Like I say, a gift! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1000 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Trout Lily (aka Adder’s Tongue): Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — I rode my eTrike out to Emmon’s Preserve on Monday, in part to see if the Trout Lily was in bloom. I have always called this early spring flower of the Maine woods Trout Lily, but a few years ago, I found that it has another, maybe more common name…Adder’s Tongue. By whatever name, the drooping yellow and orange blossoms above the dark spotted green leaves are one of the first delights of spring in Southern Maine…but, you have to be on your toes to catch them. Two weeks ago, the leaves were not even showing above ground. 5 days ago, I only found a few unopened buds. Yesterday, two favored patches in sunny spots in the forest were in full bloom. Some of the more shaded clusters are just poking up, but as the weather is staying above 50 degrees for a few days, they will quickly develop flowers and bloom…and then there well only be the clusters of patterned leaves close to the ground (marked like a trout) for the rest of the summer. Sony Rx10iv at 78mm equivalent. Full time macro on the ZEISS lens got me to within inches, and the flip out LCD allowed me to shoot from ground level looking up at the drooping flower. For a shot like this the movable spot focus is ideal as I can just tap the touch LCD over the flower and get precise focus. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. As you see, this shot was taken in the natural dappled shade of the forest floor. ISO 100 @ f3.5 @ 1/250th.
American Goldfinch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It is the season of patchy Goldfinches. The males are molting into breeding plumage and they are, honestly, all over the place…with patches of brightest yellow, pure white, and mottled black. I would say they did not know if they were coming or going, but, of course, they are all coming on to breeding. This is an interesting shot technically…a focus challenge for the Sony Rx10iv. 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 320 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Brown-headed Cowbird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — If there were an award for the least colorful bird in North America, surely the female of the Brown-headed Cowbird would be a contender. I won’t say it is the least attractive bird I have ever seen, but from any distance at all, the bird looks dull gray on gray, relieved only by the heavy black beak and big black eye. If it were any more dull it would disappear all together. If you look closely at these photos you will see that there is a subtle pattern under (or behind, or within) the gray, that is at least more interesting. And of course, the feather detail is also worth a look. Thing is, being a cowbird…messy, aggressive, feeder-hog that it is…and a known nest (or brood) parasite to birds that are easier to love, we might be just a bit prejudiced in judging its looks or attractiveness. Brood parasites, like the Brown-headed Cowbird, lay their eggs in other birds nests (in this case many warblers) and the larger and more aggressive BHCB chick hogs all the food that is intended of the true nestlings, to their detriment, and, often, demise. Not an easy bird to appreciate. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm from my backyard photo blind. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Chipping Sparrow: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Chipping Sparrows have been back for several days now, but I did not have a good photo op until late yesterday afternoon, when the sun came back out under the clouds on the horizon and lit up my photo blind area under the trees. This bird was about 8 feet in front of the blind. An elegant little bird, always, and lots of fun to watch. They are very active all summer, but especially active now during courting season. Lots of chasing and gyrations in the air. They are unusually agile even for a bird 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent, from my backyard photo blind. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.