Friday, April 30, 2010

Bath and beyond

Tonight I had dinner with my brother Greg over at our parents' house. As we enjoyed our pizza, a sparrow landed in Mom's bird fountain and proceeded to avail itself of the service Mom is so kindly providing: a free bath. I took these photos through the glass door, so they're not the greatest. And they're not actually in order of when they were taken, as the sparrow made quite a few dips into the water—I just picked the ones I thought best conveyed the various stages of the bathing process. But I think they're still fun.

I liked how in this one there's that one little drop of water sitting right on top of its head:

Dipping in:

Doing a full-body shimmy shake to get that water everywhere:

I thought this one provided a nice sense of how far the water goes flying when a bird takes a bath:

After dinner, Greg and I took a stroll up into the woods. We'd barely stepped out onto the back porch when he noticed this little brown bat hanging out where the chimney, the wall, and the underside of the eave intersect:

I have no idea what kind of flowers these are (and I did look), but they were growing in various spots alongside the trail up into the woods:

So nice to see green again:

And, of course, no visit to the homestead is complete without at least one picture of Kaylee to close out the post:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bye bye blackbird

Tonight's visit to the pond was a much more sedate affair than yesterday's. The geese kept to themselves, the swallows flew around at treetop level, and the otters were nowhere to be seen. So I looked around to see what else I could photograph, and as I looked at the water I was struck by the combination of the reflected mountainside with the reeds:

I noted that the mama goose was still on her nest, barely visible through the reeds; in fact, I very much doubt I'd ever notice her at all if I didn't already know she was over there:

After a while, I noticed that the red-winged blackbirds were a bit more active than usual this evening. They worked the reeds at the pond's edge, were doing a lot of calling, and at one point I watched two males chasing a female in and out of the bushes and trees at a breakneck pace. And as I stood at the edge of the pond, one of them perched right in front of me for a bit to do some preening—it was neat to watch:

In other news, Mom and Dad were once again kind enough to have me over for dinner tonight, so today's post concludes with a few Kaylee pics.

Getting a piece of cracker from Mom:

Clearly she found our company very stimulating:

Dealing with a soda box—you never know when one of those things might snap and turn on you:

And perched on a chair, keeping a close eye on the neighborhood:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Avian antics

After an extremely busy day at work today, I decided to head over to Nemesis Pond after work to unwind and take some photos. I wasn't expecting all that much, just hoping to find a few things to photograph so I'd have something to put in the blog, but it turned out to be a fairly active evening over there. The swallows were out in full force, swooping and skimming along the surface of the pond. For obvious reasons, it wasn't the easiest thing to get a decent picture of. But I did end up with some images I liked, even if they're not all the clearest shots in the world, thanks to how calm the pond was and the great reflections it provided:

In this one I liked how the wings of the two birds are at the exact opposite points in their flying motion:

I'd like to chalk it up to being tired, but I suspect it's because I was so focused on catching the swallows in action that I never noticed there was a wood duck on the opposite side of the pond until I saw it in some of my downloaded images. Not that I'd have likely gotten a better shot of it than I did here, given the distance and all, but still:

Along with the swallows, the geese were pretty active this evening—three in particular would sporadically chase each other around the pond; the first time it happened they were right in front of me:

One of the geese in a quieter moment action-wise, although you can see by its beak that it was making plenty of noise in the moment I snapped the photo:

This bird was a bit further away from where I stood, but I liked this photo because of how you can see the way it puts its feet down when it comes in for a landing:

An otter also put in a brief appearance, at one point swimming close enough to a goose to... well, goose it. Naturally, I wasn't snapping pics at the moment it made the goose jump, but I did get some shots of it making sure the otter maintained an appropriate distance as it swam on its way:

Finally, I liked this one because you can not only see the otter swimming toward the bottom, but the mama goose keeping an eye on it from the reeds:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More April showers

Another rainy day here (if I refuse to acknowledge the snowflakes that came along later they don't exist, right?), so I didn't get a chance to get outside to do any photography. Instead, just a few pictures I took while having dinner at my parents' house.

My grandmother:

In this one she's watching the progress of a fly and my father's attempts to catch up to it:

And a couple of Kaylee:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just another manic Monday

Between a busy day at work and a rainy afternoon I didn't have a lot of time for taking photos. So just a few pictures today, all of a flowering crabapple tree I parked next to when I was out getting my lunch:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two for the price of one

One of these days I'll learn and always have my camera out and ready to go when I first get to the pond. But because today was not that day, I missed out on a chance for some really good photos of a heron as it waded near where the goose is nesting; by the time I'd stopped and was getting the lens cap off, it'd flown further away. So instead you get this shot:

A couple of turtles crossed paths as I stood watching:

The winner of the skirmish:

Have I mentioned how much I love my new zoom lens? 'Cause I especially do when it garners me pics like this of a female kingfisher:

Naturally, the kingfisher I spotted didn't stay on my side of the pond for very long, flying over across the way to look for fish. She finally got one, and then found a spot to dispatch her prey and enjoy the meal. As she started bashing the fish against the branch, a male kingfisher came in and perched on the branch just below hers:

A few moments later, he swooped up and went after her catch:

But she managed to elude him, leaving him in her former spot and settling down below him against the tree trunk:

Unfortunately, when she went to find another spot to eat in peace she ended up dropping the fish back into the pond. So I'm figuring that if the male was her mate, this is her giving him the cold shoulder:

I'm not sure which of the two birds was flying across the pond here, but I liked how you can see how streamlined it can make itself—perfect for diving:

A blackbird perched not too far away from where I stood:

Finally, most of my attempts today to capture Canada geese in flight didn't turn out all that great—hopefully next time I'll remember to switch to sports mode to get that faster shutter speed. I liked this one, though, because it was an instance where I thought the blurriness added to the overall effect rather than detracting from it: