Thursday, July 15, 2010

The sport of kings

I've got a bunch of pictures this evening, and am obviously a bit late with the posting, so I'll just get right to it.

First, a few photos I took this morning at work when Esa met Bear. There was a slight size disparity between them:

I can't remember the last time I saw one so small...

They do WHAT at the vet's?

However, I took the bulk of today's photos over at the other pond I visited a few times in the spring (the reeds over at Howell's have grown to about a foot over my head, so that's pretty much a non-starter these days). While there were just as many reeds along the banks, the pond itself is actually a couple of yards lower than the roadside—and a steep couple of yards at that. So I was in essence standing as close to the water as when I'm down at Howell's, but with a much better view. That's win-win in my book.

Anyway, to start the outdoor portion of today's program, some lily pads:

A Catbird that landed fairly close to where I was standing:

Ditto this Downy Woodpecker:

I'm not really sure what caused this neat ripple effect—I'm just glad I happened to notice it:

As I stood looking down at the water, I spotted what looked like wakes that seemed to materialize out of nowhere—it was like there were fleas out there in motorboats or something, although I'm presuming it was a water insect that happened to be just as small. At any rate, I thought this pattern they produced was pretty cool—and looks a bit like a duck to my eye:

I noticed the feather hung up on the branch first, and discovered the spider web nearby when I went to shoot the photo:

However, the stars of the show were undoubtedly my old friends the kingfishers—three of them, in fact. And because the part of the pond I was standing next to was a bit narrower than Howell's, I was able to snag some slightly better shots this time around:

It was interesting to watch them hunt for food today. Whereas usually I see them dive down from their perch, then fly back up into a tree upon exiting the water. The ones I saw today, however, often tried a couple of spots in quick succession; I think this next sequence of shots helps give you a sense of it.

Diving in:

Coming out of the water:

Flying along just above the surface of the pond:

Back down into the water:

And re-emerging once more:

Just a shot I liked:

They didn't seem to have a whole lot of success, at least not while I was there—I never saw any of them with a fish in their beak, at any rate. However, I did have the very good fortune of seeing all three together in the same tree. Surprisingly, nary a fight or even a disagreement broke out. They sat there quite peacefully for some time, in fact, before one headed out to fish another section of the pond.

A wider shot of the trio and the dead tree they perched in, as I liked how it looked with the reflection in the frame:

Hey, whaddya know? I managed to finish this before midnight. Tomorrow I'm thinking I need to start work on my post a bit earlier in the evening...

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