Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mellow Yellow

Our Easter weekend was very nice. On Saturday we were invited to my godfather's house for a cookout with my cousins. I took my 100-400mm lens thinking I would capture some wildlife since his house backs up to a pond, but my eye seemed drawn repeatedly toward my second cousins who range in age from 17 to 4. They're great kids, full of joy and life. The photos turned out better than I expected, so there's hope for me on the portrait photography front yet. I'd love to show you what I captured; however, I don't want to make them public without asking their parents first.

The photos below were taken in my yard the morning of the cookout. I couldn't believe my good fortune to get FIVE American Goldfinch at the feeders, all in breeding colors. I had seen one over a week ago and not since, so I thought he had already migrated. They say when their colors come in, they're about two days from leaving.
Bow your heads....

Let us pray.
There's always that one in the back pew who won't obey. :/

Double D is headed to Dallas early in the morning to hopefully make some money. I hope everyone has a wonderful springlike week!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Star of Bluebonnet Swamp

Since I had such good luck a few days ago finding Barbara the barred owl at Bluebonnet Swamp, I had to test my good fortune once again. I ran into my birding buddies there and together we waited by the same cypress tree as before. Over an hour later, Barbara made her mid-afternoon appearance to the same tree; however, she sat on a branch that was positioned much higher. This shoot was more challenging for many reasons, among them, harsh lighting and dangling tree limbs. Overall though, I am satisfied with this set.
The first thing Barbara did was hock up a large object that fell into the water.
Bertha, my bratty camera, failed to catch the object. :(

The next order of business was grooming. She groomed for a long time.

Being a new mother, she's probably behind on her mani/pedi.

We all held our breath as this snake swam right below her.
We could see Barbara tracking it with her eyes, but she didn't go for it.
Wouldn't that have been a sight?

Her meal of choice appears to be crawfish right now. She and I have something in common! :)

We think she was preparing this red bug (crawfish) for her babies.

As she delivered the meal a blue jay started dive bombing her. Once again, Bertha failed to capture a major element of the scene.

Because of the blue jay's torments she dropped the meal inside the hollow tree and waited.

After the blue jay gave up Barbara flew over to another cypress tree near her owlets.

Parenting in nature is fascinating. One of my birding buddies said that Barry was a slacker father and that Barbara could do better. It's true I haven't seen him around much, but maybe he's out on the perimeter, keeping the bad guys away. In any case, Barbara seems perfectly capable of handling her motherly duties. At one point there were eight of us gawking at her in the tree and she never said boo...or hoot, I guess is more accurate. :) She's the calmest, coolest mom ever.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Guess where I'll be? :) Since I probably won't post again until Monday, I wish for everyone a blessed Easter!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


We had a little cold front blow through which sometimes means a change in birding activity and what one might see out in the field. I hadn't been out to Bluebonnet Swamp in a few weeks, so I thought I'd check it out and see what's what. The first thing I noticed was how thick and green the plant life has gotten. It's getting harder to see the birds now, especially the little ones. I passed a couple of photographers on the boardwalk asking if they had seen anything. All negative; the swamp was as quiet as a church mouse. Continuing on the boardwalk, something caught my eye. There sat Barbara, the resident barred owl, not ten feet in front of me on a low cypress limb, scouring the waters below. She sat and posed for several dozen photos, then swoosh, she hit the water and came up with a crustacean. A few moments later she took off to the nesting site several hundred feet away to deliver the mid-afternoon snack to her owlets. Made my day.

Mama has just spied the meal in the water below.
I missed the flight shot because I was chimping (looking at the shots I had just taken on the back of my camera).
Chimping is a no-no when wildlife is present. Even though I was just checking to see if the exposure, etc. was correct,
I spent way too much time doing it. There's still so much I have yet to learn. Sigh.

The owlets are nestled in the hollow of this tree. You can see mama's feathers as she descends to bring them food.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lake Martin

Happy Sunday everyone!! It is a yucky, cloudy, misty day, so not sure what I'm going to do for a photography outing. We've had a breeding American Goldfinch coming to our feeder the last few days. He is a beautiful bright yellow. He has the most beautiful song. Maybe I'll stick around the house to stalk him and try for that perfect shot. What are y'all up to and how is your weather?

This will conclude our day trip from last weekend. All were taken in Lake Martin, Louisiana.
Cypress trees standing in the swampy waters.

iPhone shot

Roseate spoonbill. 

More trees in the swamp. The blue water surrounded by algae is quite lovely.

Juvenile white ibis on the river bank

Juvenile white ibis standing in the tree

One of these days we are going to have to do the swamp tour during a sunset. Who's with me? :)

Thanks, Madge for hosting
Weekly Top Shot #75

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Avery Island Wrap-Up

There are many more photos of Avery Island besides these, but I think I'll put this baby to bed for a while. I still have photos from Lake Martin on the same day to process, and those need to be posted, too. Hope you enjoy. As always, I appreciate the kind comments and visits. Y'all make my day!
There are signs like this all over the island. And yes, they are necessary.

My husband was convinced this wasn't real. Then the gator opened his mouth. Silly man! 

I really became bored with them after a while.
There is nothing beautiful about them, but it is a rush to get close.
If the sun is particularly bright, it makes taking photos of them very challenging.

Great egret with breeding colors and breeding plumage.

I must've looked at this picture twelve times, but only today noticed the eggs.

Observation tower where I took all of the egret photos.

Swallowtail kite. This is a first for me. Not my best photography, but putting it up anyway.

Another live oak with spanish moss. Azaleas are blooming like crazy everywhere.
Feedly has been acting a little strange lately, so if I missed your post, I'm sorry. Some of the feeds show up days later, all at once. I guess Feedly is experiencing growing pains. I'm still mad at Google. :(

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