Two sets in as many days. Not a bad haul.
Not really post worthy but due to inquiries… here you go.
Two sets in as many days. Not a bad haul.
Not really post worthy but due to inquiries… here you go.
This is the same guy that landed on my hat back on Dec 29th. It is him or his twin. =) He stares back at me as if to say, “What are you looking at?” The cardinals are thick through the Mineral Wells, Texas area.
It was mid-day when I spotted this Red-Bellied Woodpecker assaulting a native pecan. The fight took place in a large tree right next to my house in Mineral Wells. I casually watched while the woodpecker pecked the pecan from several angles. I tried to capture each of his poses as he maneuvered the pecan around for optimum striking. After about 5 minutes I did not see much progress on the pecan but I am sure the diligent woodpecker conquered his task by days end.
Hi Guys! I spent the night in the hospital, courtesy of an over-active blood pressure and high cholesterol. Yes! Hospital stays always make for a fun time. Fun! Fun! Fun! Kind of like a cruise. Same constant unwanted attention; yet, minus the big body of water, food and ambiance.
I managed to capture several massive flocks of Egrets flying Southeast from the window of my Palo Pinto General Hospital jail cell. Probably running from the fires at Possum Kingdom Lake. Not much else flew by. The nice ladies in the colorful shirts finally got me to stay in bed and I stared at the walls for several hours. Anyhow, after a long night of playing (being) human pin cushion, I attained my freedom and left for home. It is a positive thing that the Charge Nurse, doctor and staff were sad to see me leave the floor and the premises. =/
Captain Morgan and I yard sat in the yard and communed with nature for a few hours. Nothing more calming than sweating profusely while waiting on something of interest to fly-by( BIRDING – gotta love it ). It is starting to cool off now, but I lost the light under our canopy of trees. So here I am once again.
The return home – While I sat on the porch step, a House Finch came by to say hello and duck for cover. A Mississippi Kite was hunting just overhead. The Finch heard the camera but did not move. Once the Kite passed, the Finch hauled himself over to the nearest tree limb to watch me at a distance. The mighty Titmouse and and the usual Mockingbird came by. I believe these roost nearby cause I KNOW THESE TWO BIRDS. That sums up my day of relaxation. Sleepy and buzzed… Hey… don’t judge! Medicinal purposes until I see a cardiologist. Missed items include a few sparrows, wrens and a beautiful set of Cardinals. The tinking of my glass as it was placed next to me must have – hiccup – scared ‘em off. PRO HINT – don’t drink margaritas while birding. The mixer WILL interfere with your successful outcome. Just sayin.
Enjoy the photos! I sure enjoy taking them. The move from the XS-1 over to the T3-i was a good decision.
As you can see, the light is gone in Mineral Wells as it should be this time of evening. I could not resist the urge to grab a few shots of my sickly looking juvenile Northern Cardinal. About this time every evening, I am visited by this young Cardinal that looks as if he has been rode hard and put up wet. Poor guy. I guess his mother did not teach him the dangers of too much sun. Not being the scientist type or a student of bird biology, I have no clue what causes these aberrations in my bird friends. The Starlings in my area are still in full winter coats. Anyway, no matter the time or the cause, it’s fun to step out for a few moments, crank up the ISO, turn down the shutter speed and see how it all turns out. Birding is never the same two days in a row and it is always entertaining. The Cardinal drank steadily while a squirrel chattered noisily in the background. This squirrel was being thoroughly harassed by a young Mockingbird. One can describe the scene thoroughly but the humor cannot be conveyed properly without a good visual. Too bad the trees were so thick. While all this was going on, the Sparrows and Titmice were taking turns on the feeder. A single Chickadee was directly over my head as I sat on the porch. Patiently waiting his turn on the bird bath. It may not be Possum Kingdom Lake or the Grand Canyon but a backyard scene can be invigorating and still calm the soul.
Well, it is time to upload photos, turn off the computer, and hope for a cooler tomorrow. It was a balmy 106 in Mineral Wells today. If you get the chance, stop in at yesterday’s post called, “Random Nature photos for July.” I am needing help with a spider identification.
Don’t forget to check out the links below the gallery for more information on birding, my hook bird, and some free nature photography desktops.
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Birding 101 – New content for new birders. Read Birding 101. It describes the birth of my passion for these flighty little creatures. I also discuss the few essentials necessary for getting started.
It was a slow day at the feeders, but the Northern Cardinals have finally returned. The day was extremely hot and muggy. I arrived home, waded through the two dogs, kissed the wife, grabbed the XS-1 and stepped outside. The heat hit me full force and caused me to rethink my wisdom or lack thereof. The usual House Sparrows covered the feeders, no interest there, so common sense kicked in and I stepped back into the house.
Watching American Pickers is always a good bet when trying to multi-task. It is a brainless program, yet very entertaining at the same time. My wife is an antiquity (garage sales mostly) shopper and firmly believes the adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. At the pricing in the shops, I don’t really classify any of it as junk. Anyhow, I am watching the program when I saw a flit of red pass the window at the front of the house. The temperature was at a reasonable 102 degrees, so I gave it another go. My vantage point from the truck was a good one but it was infinitely hotter than the 102 degrees previously mentioned. Within two or three minutes (Thank you Lord), the male Northern Cardinal came in for a roost at the “rabbit” feeder. It is approximately 20 yards from the truck and hidden in the shade. At this point I did not care. It was a bird of color, which is a rarity on my street. So, I snapped a shot for documentation, rolled up the windows and turned on the AC for a couple of minutes. Cool air!
Approximately 5 minutes rolled by when the male took off into the blue beyond. I turned off the truck and started to get out, impatient to see if the photo turned out.
In the past, the male has always eaten, followed by the female. Sure enough, the short wait paid off. The female Cardinal came in from the opposite direction, landed, and started to feed. With light starting to fade, I snapped off two quick photos. I believe these to be the same birds from my previous post. If they are the same two birds, the heat has taken a toll. The male looked bleached out.
The Cardinal with its very distinctive features is still one of my favorites. The crest, mask, beak and color make both the female and male easy to pick out of a crowd. The male is full red with a black mask that extends from the top of his face to his neck. The female is a buff brown with tinges of red. Time to retire to the house and check out the low-light, high ISO photos. The ISO was crazy high on the female shots but it could not be helped.
The Northern Cardinal is now checked off my Region 2 bird checklist for Palo Pinto county. The goal now is to get better photographs. How did I draw the bird into my yard? I put out some Black-oil seed. It works like a charm. She was very wary, but she did arrive. I scrunched down in a 120 degree truck with one window down. The female came in for a feed (opposite side from me) and then went to the bird bath (entirely in shade). I did manage to catch a shot of her launching off the feeder. Then, I was able to lighten mid-tones and shadows enough to define her on the bird bath. The colors are off, but there is no mistaking that beak. The Cardinal’s ruffled crest is slicked back because she just pulled it out of the water. Finally, I turned the truck on to get some air and waited some more.
A male will usually come in to scope out the scene with the female to follow. At least that has been my experience in this area. A while back prior to working on my checklist, I caught a male on the ground below the feeder. A female swooped in a few minutes later and landed on a nearby fence to watch over the male. They did this three days in a row and then disappeared until today. Today, the female Cardinal was alone. The daddy was probably off feeding the brood.
The Cardinal is a fairly interesting bird with very distinctive features. The crest, mask, beak and color make both the female and male easy to pick out of a crowd. The male is full red with a black mask that extends from the top of his face to his neck. Similar to the Summer Tanager except the tone of red is darker on the Cardinal and he is supporting that mask. The female is a buff brown with tinges of red. The Northern Cardinal is non-migratory for most of Texas. Some spread North for the summer but each winter they return increasing our population. I started birding about two months ago. The Northern Cardinal was one of my most wanted. Still is.
Their mating pattern and behavior would be unacceptable in the human populous. =) The male will fly in and pick out a territory, defend the territory, and wait for the female’s arrival. The female will build a nest, mate, and lay 3 to 4 bluish white eggs with brown markings. The male is left to feed the first brood while mom leaves to build a second nest.
Here are the photos of the female hitting the large feeder and then the shot of the bird bath that I spoke of in the first paragraph.