Tag Archives: bird

Dusky Grouse On Display

Dusky Grouse On Display

Dusky Grouse On Display, Signal Mountain Summit, Grand Teton National Park

Actually, I almost named this “Dusky Grouse On The Run,” since it was moving at a brisk clip alongside the road down from Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Sometimes, that’s how I used to feel when I was getting ready to go to work in the pre-dawn hours.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe my good luck that morning, at the summit of Signal Mountain. I’d already captured numerous images of the female dusky grouse, and was feeling pretty lucky about it as I began the slow drive down the road back to the main park highway (the speed limit is either 15 mph or 20 mph). I happened to turn my head to the side and see this fanned out set of feathers. I stopped the car (nobody was in front of or behind me) and looked closer and realized I was watching a male on display. So I grabbed my camera with the 100-400mm lens (with the 1.4x extender on) on the seat beside me and proceeded to get some wonderful images of this beautiful bird, about the size of a chicken. Serendipity plays a large role in photography.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Filed under birds, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Seasons, summer, telephoto lens, Travel, Wyoming

Red-Wing Blackbird

Red-Wing Blackbird

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to capture a good image of this neat bird.  I know, blackbirds are blackbirds are blackbirds (aka ordinary), but those chevrons of bright orange-red are quite the eye-grabber.  And these birds have such a pretty song.

This photo was taken out at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, here in southeast Texas, not too far from where I live.  I had my Canon 1DX attached to the 500mm prime lens.  Thanks for my efforts at losing weight and building up some arm strength, I was able to hand-hold the camera/lens combo (IS turned On) and grab some shots of this red-wing blackbird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, Canon Lens, nature, Photography, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

Black Skimmer In The Rain

Black Skimmer In The Rain

 

It’s been dull, gloomy, foggy, chilly and rainy for over a week now.  The sky has been a matte pewter-gray without even the benefit of interesting clouds.  This is more Pacific Northwest weather as opposed to southeast Texas weather.  A little depressing, actually.  Enough to make me want to return to work on Monday…and it’s only Saturday!    Sigh.  I and my cameras are definitely going to travel somewhere next December Christmastime; staying static in Texas is just not me.

C’mon, 2015!  Let’s get to the interesting stuff I have planned for this year!

 

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Life, Photography, rain

Aw C’mon Baby, Just One More Kiss

Cmon Baby Just One Little Kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under birds, Brazos Bend State Park, nature, Parks, Photography

Breakfast At Brazos Bend

I was tooleying around 40-Acre Lake at this park, tripod and camera set up and pointing out toward the wetlands next to the lake.  All of a sudden, I saw a flurry of feathers from the corner of my eye.  Aiming my camera in that direction, I managed to capture a series of photos of a great blue heron and it’s eel breakfast.

Quite A Mouthful

Breakfast On The Fly

Incoming

Crash Landing

Prize Catch

Camera data:  Canon 1DX, Canon 100-400mm lens (at the 400mm focal length – the resulting original images were ultimately cropped by about 50%), ISO 250, shutter 1/800, f8

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Filed under birds, Brazos Bend State Park, Life, nature, Parks, Photography

A Mid-Winter Photographic Visit to Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

As a rule, Texas enjoys nice, mild winters that are warm enough to encourage many bird varieties to stick around.  So on a nice, sunny Saturday morning, I took my Canon 1DX and 5D Mk III along with my 100-400mm and 24-70mm lenses for a morning  visit to a nearby state park.

Early Harginber of Spring

A Warmer-Weather Harbinger

Lovely Morning On Creekfield Lake

Early Morning on Creekfield Lake

Watching And Waiting

Watching and Waiting

Balancing Act

Balanced

Quite A Mouthful

Quite A Mouthful

Cmon Baby Just One Little Kiss

Aw Cmon, Baby, Just One More Kiss

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Filed under birds, Brazos Bend State Park, Life, nature, Parks, Photography

Hummingbird Goodness

Sharing Closeup

On my Facebook page, I have attempted to convey the sheer numbers of hummingbirds that visit the three feeders my mother set out (and that I refill) with words.  While that is nice for the imagination, words just don’t convey what I see every weekend morning at 7AM, right on the dot (hummingbirds are – apparently – very punctual little creatures).  So below are images I took this morning (9/29/2013)  of each of the feeders at a little after 7AM.

The Diners At Feeder 1

This is the most popular feeder (for whatever reason).  I counted 16 hummingbirds in this one image.  There were so many fighting for a place at the feeding holes that they gently rocked the feeder back and forth with the force of their landing, perching, getting knocked off  of, and/or colliding with, the feeder in a frenetic attempt to get in a sip or two before being chased away.

The Diners At Feeder 2

I counted 10 birds at this 2nd-most popular feeder .  You must look carefully in order to find that bit of tail, wing, or head indicating the presence of a hummingbird to add your count.

The Diners At Feeder 3

I counted 8 hummingbirds in this image.  And while I won’t call this the least-popular feeder, it is the less-visited of the three feeders.  There are an inordinate number of bugs at this spot, which can be a bother, or – if the bug is small enough – an extra bit of protein for the little hummer, since hummingbirds feed on small insects and spiders in addition to nectar.

The air was thick with the sound of humming – because there were so many birdies zipping back and forth, the decibel level of the humming noise had increased, I kid you not.  Hummingbirds would zip past me, sometimes less than a foot away from me.  A few hovered near me to check me out, but upon deciding I was not nectar-worthy, they would fly away.

Pulling The Head Feathers

Of course, I witnessed more of what I jokingly call “corporate behavior”.  These little “pecks” and “feather pulling” to the head were so quick, and yet to a 3.5-inch hummingbird (yes, that is how tall a ruby-throated hummingbird measures), those little pecks and pulls might have hurt just a little.  I dunno.  I *did* think it was funny to see so many hummers visiting the feeders that showed off spots of ruffled-up feathers on their heads and backs.

Becky And The Hummingbird

Most of the hummingbird photos you have seen on these  blog posts are for sale as prints on my website (just click on one of the photos to get to the hummingbird gallery).  I’ve also created a couple of hummingbird calendars for sale on my zazzle storefront (just click on one of the calendar images on the left column of the screen) as well as a number of neat book options (writing journals, address books, and 2014 weekly planners) – just click on the icons for those books on the left column of the screen.

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Filed under birds, hummingbirds, nature, Photography, wildlife

Corporate Behavior

Corporate Behavior

Well, now I know: we humans are not the only species within the animal / bird kingdom to practice climbing over another’s back to get ahead at the office.

Ouch

Nor are humans the only ones to have a pecking order.

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Filed under Attitude, birds, hummingbirds, Humor, nature, Photography, wildlife

Of Red-Tailed Hawks and Taking Advice

H5T1140-3_Juvenile Red Tail Hawk

A recent incident regarding one of my photographs made me think about how I act toward others concerning advice.  This, in turn, brought to mind the idea that it might serve as a good blog post, tied to some recent red-tailed hawk photographs I captured during an evening visit to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (since the hawk photos are the main reason for all of this in the first place).  My blog posts are like photo ops: I’m always trying to find another great reason to put one out there for public consumption.

I’m horrible at taking advice.  Doesn’t matter from whom:  my mother, my sister, my best friend.  I’m  an Aries woman with a strong Type A personality ; all the women in my family are a  bossy lot with strong opinions, so I don’t know if it’s a gender thing or a familial thing.  I readily admit to having  doled out advice without being asked for it.  I’ve been on the receiving end too; I was once married to a man who used to attend a weekly evening group session where people just listened to each other’s stories/rants/issues with the objective of being better listeners and not advice givers.  This same man – my then-husband –  would afterwards come home and start giving me unasked-for advice – apparently those group sessions didn’t help him much….or else this was his way of getting it all out of his system because he couldn’t impart his ” learned “ advice to the others in these group sessions.

I recently was once again on the receiving end of some unasked-for advice from a well-meaning (and very good) photographer who I met once through a mutual acquaintance and who owns a very expensive Nikon camera and a lens as big as I am.  I did not take his advice very gracefully, I’m afraid.  As a matter of fact, I did a slow burn over it for the remainder of the afternoon.

That being said, after I got home, I went through the hawk photos (the object of the advice) and actually did re-work several of them, following that unasked-for advice.  I do like the reworks, as a matter of fact.

This whole episode was a good learning experience for me and the gist of it all is knowing when to keep my own mouth shut, no matter how much I might want to say something. Oh, I’ve screwed up plenty in that department, believe me. I’ve had the temerity to ask probing questions then dole out unasked-for advice to people whose photography blogs I follow. What the hell was I thinking??!  If I don’t like unasked-for advice, then why would anybody else like it coming from me? Sigh. Lesson learned.

So, while it’s one thing to ask for advice, it’s another thing to get unasked-for advice. I now make every attempt to keep my mouth shut.  I am learning what a friend of mine calls “The Power of Shutting Up”. This doesn’t mean I won’t probably slip up at times to say something I perceive in my own little mind as being well-meaning. But I’m trying to not do that.

For you photographers out there, I promise I will keep my mouth shut tight and only give advice to you if you ask. For those of you who have been following my posts for a while, you know the photographic advice I impart here is more on the instructional level and not geared toward any one person or entity.

That being said, let’s take a look at some recent images I captured during a late afternoon visit to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (the whole reason in the first place for this longer-than-usual diatribe from me).

U9A7613-2_Sunrise Landscape

(ok, this is a morning shot, but it was so pretty I just had to post it here)

During this time of year, as I am zipping home from work in the evenings, I see all sorts of birds of prey looming over the highway, either perched high atop trees or else on signposts right next to the road. They are such beautiful creatures, but to try and photograph one while driving home is impossible.   I am driving fast, there are other commuters tailing me at a fast(er) rate, and if I pulled over and stopped rapidly, said raptor would fly away…..This is also not to mention that the only camera I have with me on a daily basis is one with a 40mm lens attached .  Yes, I always carry a camera with me – my “purse” is actually a Lowepro messenger-style case into which I store a camera with attached lens, hairbrush, extra pair of glasses, wallet, USB flash drive, pens, etc.

So this past weekend, I took a late afternoon drive out to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge to see what was going on. The day had dawned chilly and warmed up to the mid-60’s. The sky was blue and the atmosphere was clear. The first sight that greeted me upon reaching Olney Pond within the refuge was a red-tailed hawk riding the currents against the backdrop of the deep blue sky.

H5T0768-2_Against The Clear Blue Sky

H5T0796_The Skys The Limit

From there, I found another red-tailed hawk perched atop a covered picnic area opposite of Cross Trails Pond.  After allowing me to get within a certain distance of it, this hawk flew away too (always use your Servo focus mode when photographing birds that may take flight, so you can keep them in focus as you pan your camera to follow their flight path).

H5T0983_Nice Vantage Point

H5T0988_On The Fly

After spending a little more time in that area, I returned to the car to head back toward the visitor center and out of the refuge toward home. I was driving reeeeaaaalllllyyy slowly and had glanced down at my camera on the passenger seat. Looking back up, I suddenly saw to my right this beautiful juvenile hawk perched on the metal post. I slowed the car to a stop. Lucky for me, the windows were already down. Hefting my camera/lens combo (without one of those window bean bags – I’ve used one before and personally find that it gets in my way), I rapidly and happily snapped away  for as long as this raptor was willing to pose for me.

H5T1136_Hello Becky CROP_Orig

This is the original photo.

H5T1136_Hello Becky

This is the photo after I applied the advice over which I had such a knee-jerk reaction.   In truth, I like the change….although I’m fine with the original, too.

H5T1173-2_The Look CROP

After the hawk flew away, I continued my slow trek along the auto-tour road, and spied another red-tailed hawk (could have been the same one since its leg was also banded) sitting high atop a pole specifically erected for perching purposes. This time, my 6-lb camera/lens combo was aimed through the open window of the passenger side to capture this awesome creature (thank goodness for image stabilization).

H5T1221_Hawk On A Perch

H5T1214-2_Hawk On A Perch

After this bird flew away, I knew it was time to go. I drove all the way home with a smile on my face.  Open-mouthed smile

H5T1234_Evening On The Refuge

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Filed under Attitude, birds, Brazoria NWR, Life, Photography, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

International Amity

For the past month, now, I’ve been going over to Mom’s house (I live next door to her) every afternoon upon coming home from work.  I’ve been changing out the hummingbird feeders since I don’t want my 87-year old mother getting up high on the step stool to do this herself.  Instead, Mom makes the nectar solution.

So this afternoon, after a short visit with Mom, I was walking out the door and looked directly across toward one of the feeders, to see an unusual sight:  a bright green Anole lizard sitting on the feeder, lapping up the nectar.  Southeast Texas has a lot of these pretty little things, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised.  But this was the first time I’d ever seen anything like this.

A few seconds later, a little hummingbird perched itself at the feeder and started sipping from the same siphon.  International Amity….for a moment.

6202_International Amity Best

Shortly after the photo above, the Anole turned around and started crawling up the feeder, only to be buzzed by other hummers more than happy to send the lizard packing.  While buzzing the lizard, they would alternately buzz each other.  Sooooo territorial.

6241_Righteous Indignation

I titled this photo “Righteous Indignation” Winking smile

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Filed under hummingbirds, Humor, lizard, Photography, Texas