The Ones That Got Away

When we moved to the southern pacific northwest, never did I imagine I would start photographing birds.  Then, someone gave me a bird book, and I have been learning how to identify them.  How did this happen? This just wasn’t me.  Where we lived in the high desert of Southern California, there would be ravens, pigeons, sparrows, finches, and an occasional hawk.  It was cool when the hawk would land on the tree.  But it wasn’t often.  Nothing super exciting to take pictures of.  I did the hummingbirds and the house birds, but that was simply because there wasn’t anything else to shoot at. (with the camera)

Fast forward, moving where the Pacific Flyway is.  I remember researching what it was.  I didn’t know there was such a thing. I knew birds migrated.  I remember as a kid in Montana, being outside and hearing the Canada Geese before you could see them high in the sky heading for the warmer climate!

Geese in flight 02

Such great memories!

Now here we are,  we love to do our Saturday drives on the Refuge and Sunday drives on the side roads.  You never know what you will see.

Last week we were driving the side roads and there were hundreds of White Fronted Geese in the fields and canals.  This week, no more geese.  It’s interesting how one species leaves and another comes in.

White Fronted 02

      White Fronted Geese

The last couple weeks the White Face Ibis started coming in, and this week  by the hundreds.  A very unique bird.  They are colorful in the sunshine and have a crooked beak.   They are pretty good formation flyers too!

Ibis 01

  White Faced Ibis

As you all know, I have a great love for the eagles and hawks.  I think it’s just that they are so majestic.  We are noticing less eagles and hawks this time of year.  They are hopefully sitting on their nests!  Every now and then they can be seen sitting on the power poles, or in the fields.  Hubby will stop the truck if they are on the poles, and I will sneak out (like you can sneak up on an eagle) and then I will start photographing them, inching closer and closer.  I can shoot the same bird 20-30 times, with the chance of getting close enough to get the  detail on the beaks, talons, or feathers.  And eventually they will take flight because of the annoying red-headed lady holding up something and pointing it at them.  So I smile, thank the bird (honestly I do) and happily walk back to the truck.

But not every photo turns out.  That’s just a part of learning.  Yep, I have tried flight pictures and they aren’t pretty.  I get half of something, or the whole thing is blurry.  I am still trying to be more patient with the in flight birds.

All that said,I wanted to share with you, the get aways….  Yes they are blurry and I am not ashamed to share that with you!  It happens to all of us!  Some more than others I am sure.  Ducks 01

Ducks 02

Ducks are one of the flightiest birds I have seen.  They must still be shell shocked from hunting season.

Egret 01

Heron 01

Blue Herons and White Egrets aren’t easy either.  They can be so still, and as soon as you get up on them whoosh….  they’re gone!

Hawk 02

     Hawks are fun.  They keep me on my toes.

hawk 04

   At least the feet are in focus!

Eagle 06

   Hello Majestic Eagle

Eagle 01

    Good bye Majestic Eagle

Eagle 05

Not quite sure what this was. I think it was an eagle. but its a nice foot and wing!

eagle 03

This is by far, the stuff that bad dreams are made of!  Kind of eerie if you ask me!!!

While you are viewing these photos, you are wondering… WHY do I keep these blurry photos?  Well, of course to share with all of you!  I guess maybe someday I will go through the files and delete them.  Or Not.  What if I need that perfect get away blurry shot?  Well, it could happen!

Enjoy your day!  Go outside and enjoy spring!  Shoot some pictures, try new things and don’t be afraid of the blurry ones!  I’m not!

Happy Shooting

T Lynn

The Ends

12 Months 12 Photos

Season’s Greetings to you all!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and I wish the best for you in the coming year!

The 12th month of 2017 is nearing its end.  So hard to believe another year has gone.

What were your favorite parts of 2017?  Did you accomplish all that you set out to?  As for me, I don’t make resolutions.  Mainly because I don’t want to set myself up for failure, so to speak.  I don’t want to tell everyone my resolutions and then come February 1st I get asked about my resolutions.  I don’t need that stress! (ha) So I merely make a mental list of things I would like to accomplish in the new year.  Some I do, some I don’t.

One thing I do though, is take more pictures than the previous year.  Not sure my computer is happy with that.  Guess that is why there are two external hard drives attached plus a reliable back up system.  I am trying to teach myself that it’s okay to delete a photo that didn’t work!  It’s not an easy task!  Baby steps I guess!

I decided this month to share with you 12 months of  iPhone pictures.  I almost always have my phone with me, because you just never know when you might need it.  Besides, what if I saw someone famous and no one would believe me if I wasn’t able to get a picture right?   Doubtful there would be anyone famous where I live, but hey, one can dream!

01 Jan                                             This is January.  January wasn’t very nice.

January brought about one heck of a snow storm. I think we had more than one good storm, but this one was volumes.  We even got a snow day from work.  For which I was thankful.  I don’t remember when I last experienced the joy of a heavy snow fall like this. I am thinking 1982 or 83 in Eastern Montana.  Either way, once the skies cleared, and we were able to make paths outside, it was beautiful to photograph!  May as well turn it into a photographic event!

02 Feb                                            Something new for me to learn in February

With the first experience of seeing the bald eagles up close this year, hubby and I decided it was time for that new lens.  I was ecstatic!  I still am!  But it’s been a learning curve.  It is an amazing lens.  One that only lets you shoot manual focus if you put the doubler on it.  I learned two important things.  I need to practice patience, and I needed an eye exam.  I am still working on the patience! There are still things to learn and I need to sit down and read about the lens and let it teach me.  I’ll get back to you on that!  I am learning little things.  I know that between my lens and my camera it weighs over 10 pounds and walking over a mile hurts my arms!  And I am learning the tripod is my new best friend.

03 Mar copy                                                       A hope for spring in March!

I did’t know there was such a thing as miniature daffodils, but there is. Either that, or my soil is bad enough that they decide to stay small.  March brought about hopes of spring and warmer days.  The new beginnings after a long cold winter.  Flowers, birds, deer, bugs, all those things you love about spring.  Searching for warmer days and nights!

 

04 Apr copy

April kind of reminded us that March was only kidding.  We had various snow storms through out April.  Winter just did not want to go away.  It actually started to get a little old.  However on the plus side, some of the spring flowers looked quite nice with snow capped buds.  But by the end of April, we were out of the snow zone.

 

05-May-copy

May brought about new hopes of a nice calm spring, green grass and new planters. One thing I love to do is get my hands dirty with flowers and plants.  I have learned that things don’t bloom as early on the mountain as they do on the lower lands.  The first year we moved up here, I was reminded that it still freezes at the end of April and those pretty geraniums you bought for the back deck? Ya, they would die… I should have really remembered that from growing up in Western Montana. But I didn’t.  And now I think it’s more fun to plant the seeds than it is to buy the flowers. Unless of course, it’s a basket full of petunias!  Our spring lasted maybe 3 weeks before the heat of summer began to creep in and steal the season!

06 Jun copy

Hello June, hello summer.  Hello summer skies.  June was beautiful.  The thunderstorms, the rainbows, the beautiful clouds.  Time to plan the rest of the summer.  Plan a vacation, go fishing, take a road trip.  Of which we did one of those.  We planned our vacation.  Most of my cloud scenes were again, taken while driving to and from work.  I really need to take the good camera with me more often.  Guess I would also need to leave for work earlier and plan to get home later!  There are just so many cool things to shoot most days. From calves to birds to clouds!  The sky is literally the limit!

07 Jul copy                                                               My Montana Sky!

July brought us home.  Vacation from here to South Dakota and back.  Time to see family and friends.  Hubby and I hadn’t been on a vacation since 2013.  It was time.  We did a lot of miles in a short time and realized we didn’t give ourselves enough time to decompress after each travel day.  We were going all the time.  We were able to see a few things we wanted, but mostly we were just on the go to our next destination.  There were still many pictures taken.  Not all were out of the front windshield like the above one was!

 

08 Aug copy

August brought about the hint that fall wasn’t  far behind.  I had some amazing sunrises on the way to work.  I wasn’t even late!  We enjoyed what summer has to bring us on the mountain.  Long evenings on the deck, BBQ’s in the front yard,  watching the baby deer run around.  And enjoying those seeds I planted that bloomed into pretty summer flowers!

09 Sep copy

September was a busy Monarch Butterfly time at work.   We had a late start to our season this year, by about a full month. The weather wasn’t cooperating at all this spring.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a lot of butterfly pictures with the big camera.  Mainly because I was at work and we were moving caterpillars, and chrysalis, and observing our butterfly season.  I do love this majestic Monarch.  And we are doing our little part to help them along.  Incidentally this is a male Monarch.  And if I remember right, the day this was taken, was his birthday.

10 Oct copy

October brought us fall, the end of our butterfly season at work, and our first snow.  At work we were able to enjoy nice fall day walks.  The days were warm enough you didn’t need  a sweater.  The deer were abundant and the way they were always bunched up you would think they really did know something we didn’t.  Like snow was on the way.   Walking at work is always a plus anyway, and the phone is most always with me.  These deer were enjoying the shade of the warm day. They didn’t want to move along to fast either!  So we slowed down and enjoyed them.

11 Nov copy

November brought us more snow and cold weather, and awesome sunsets and sunrises.  I will admit, I was later than normal getting home a few days.  This stretch of road I travel is a straight 7 miles of agriculture fields.  Potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, and I don’t know what else they plant.  But after the harvest, the fields are flooded and the migrating water fowl start enjoying the seeds and water.  This was one of the last fields that hadn’t iced over yet.  Tundra Swan, Canada Geese and lots of ducks I couldn’t identify were taking in the last rays of Gods light!  The skies were changing so fast I couldn’t keep up.  I did safely pull over the truck to take the pictures.  If you call stopping in the middle of the road safe.  I made sure no one was around.  Remember I don’t live in a city!  Traffic is sparse on this road!

12 Dec copy

December is always a busy month for most.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays, getting together with family and friends, and a shopping day with a friend.

Last year I had done a few craft fairs and sold mostly ornaments, centerpieces and my photo coasters.  This year I focused on my photography.  I was pleased with the success.  I met many wonderful people and heard a lot of encouraging words about my work.  I was happy.  I am still happy.  I have a great cheering section. My husband and my co-worker, who did the craft fair as well.  Between the two of them I branched out.  The greeting cards were a good fit.  My coasters sold faster than I thought, and we’ve come up with some ideas for next year.  I can’t wait to get started.  But first I must clean up all my messes from the garage so the husband can have his work bench back.  I hear rumblings.

My thoughts about next year for you.  Take pictures.  And at the end of each month, pick your favorites.  Print them out or put them in a special folder on your computer or tablet.  At the end of the year you will have a wonderful re-cap of your year.  There are so many affordable sources for photo books and memory type books that you could print a nice book out for yourself!  Of all those favorite photos, pick 12 and make a calendar for the next year!!!

Enjoy every day.  Capture it on your camera.  Don’t be upset that every picture doesn’t turn out.  And delete the bad ones!  (A note to myself)

There is something to take a picture of every day.  I would love to do a photo challenge but I am not sure I would post every day. (Just being honest)  Step out of the box!  Learn something new!

Do what makes you Happy!!

Blessings to you all in the coming new year!

Happy Shooting

T Lynnb916768ded54f754f422869425ee65ee

Goslings

Following Along

A couple of weeks ago the husband and I started seeing the goslings on the refuge.  It’s almost as fun as photographing the eagles when they started migrating in.

Follow us Kids

The tiny little yellow “fluff balls” are just so stinking cute!Mom Dad and Kids!

We went out to the refuge this past weekend in search of more cute adorable  fluffy goslings.  Boy were we in for a surprise!  They grow fast!  It is amazing to see what a difference a week has made.  No, I do not know if they were the same goslings as the week before, but we can sure see the difference!

The Goslings are getting bigger

3 Older Goslings

One thing we have noticed and learned is they have very protective parents.  The geese were across the canal from us, so we weren’t causing any real harm, other than disturbing their day and perhaps the swimming lesson and other lessons.

Mom and Dad put their heads and bodies down very flat and they remain very still.

Protective Parents

Older Goslings and Protective Parent

As with any youngster, the babies weren’t as still as they probably should have been. I am sure they have a short attention span as do most little ones.

Protective Mama

This mama, kind of resembles a snake that I would not want to mess with!

A couple facts about the newly hatched balls of fluff.

The newly hatched babies are able to swim immediately.  After the babies have hatched, the family moves away from the nesting site on foot toward more favorable feeding areas.  Five weeks after the goslings hatch, the females begin moulting (the males begin right after mating).  During this time, the adults are unable to fly.  The adults regrow their flight feathers and are ready to fly at about the same time as the goslings are able to learn – at nine weeks old.”

Nine Weeks?  Really?  That means before the end of May!  Then what will we photograph?

We’ve only seen goslings, and no ducklings yet.  Hubby and I are really looking forward to seeing little baby ducks! There are so many different species on the refuge right now so I am curious to see what the babies will look like!

I think I should pack a picnic lunch and a couple lawn chairs and find a “good spot” to sit and watch and photograph all of these cute babies!

Maybe next weekend!

Family All in A Row

One thing about where we live and what we get to photograph, is it gives us a chance to not only see some cool birds, but it also gives us the opportunity to do a little research and find out interesting facts about the birds.  It is true, we are never to old to learn.

Never in my life would I imagine that I would be going to a wildlife refuge on a weekly basis, find a bird I haven’t seen before, take a picture of it, and go home and break out the bird book.  I’m not addicted, so I can’t be classified as a true “Birder” but it is fun to try and identify what you saw while you were out for the day!

One thing I will say is this.  Take some time to “unplug” go outside and stop and listen.  There are so many different sounding birds that it is really kind of cool to listen to how many different birds are out there!

Small Goslings on the Marsh

Set up the video camera, find a great spot on the bank of the water that has a lot of birds  turn on the camera, sit back and let the video listen for you.  You can even use your smart phone to capture the sounds!  You won’t be sorry.  Unless the wind is blowing right into the microphone!

Best of all, have fun!  You will fall in love with the sounds of nature.

Until Next Time!

Happy Shooting and Happy “Birding”

T Lynn

Nice day for a swim