Thursday, January 25, 2018

Watching You, Watching Me

Feeling safe & secure in tangle of wild grape vine, a male
 cardinal stares into the camera lens.
When photographing wildlife we move slowly and deliberately, trying our best to remain undetected. This is especially true with our avian friends as they tend to be skittish and become spooked rather easily. However, there were times when our “quarry” was not only aware of our presence, but much to our delight, they appeared to be curious rather than alarmed much like the cardinal pictured above. Here are a few more of those instances captured during the spring and early summer of 2017.     

Why are you looking at me?.
This Yellow Warbler was busy probing apple blossoms for insects when it spotted me. We find Yellow Warblers difficult to photograph as they tend to rapidly flit about, whether in the wild or here in our apple tree probing the tiny white flowers for insects.  

I'm pretty sure he's giving me the evil eye.

This Tree Swallow paused long enough for a series of pics, including this eye-to-eye confrontation. They are a territorial sort and normally an exercise in perpetual motion. Whether protecting their nest or picking off insects on the fly, their daylight hours are spent performing airborne acrobatics in the form of swoops, dives and high- speed passes meant to intimidate intruders – including invasive photographers!  

Looking like a toddler sampling his first birthday cake, this 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak stares into the camera while feasting on soggy suet.

Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia


Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Delightful Pileated Woodpecker

A Pileated Woodpecker scans his surroundings.
I don’t believe I’ve ever, in my entire life, caught sight of a Pileated Woodpecker and not stopped whatever I was doing simply to observe the largest of North America’s woodpeckers at work. And if their presence was made known audibly by a loud, ringing cuck cuck cuck, that too was cause to scan the immediate area in search of a dark, crow-sized bird with white neck stripes and a prominent red crest atop its head. Even on the fly there is no mistaking the Pileated Woodpecker’s undulating flight pattern, or those easy to spot white markings on the underside of their wings.
What's for lunch today?
Although we’ve not yet heard their tell-tale call in the winter months spotting them has not been difficult. With zero foliage they are easier to espy, whether on the wing while passing through the open woodlands or alternately probing and hammering away at tree bark.  
This male is taking a brief break from drilling for his next meal.
In recent days, with arctic air invading the area, the Pileated Woodpecker was a sight to behold for sure as evidenced by this male in a large Cottonwood tree. He seemed oblivious to the cold, undeterred by single digit and even below zero temps. Personally, we found him to be a natural delight, both entertaining, amusing and a joy to watch.

Until next time,
Jim & Claudia