Birds Of A Feather…

You know the rest of the saying!

I never ever in my life imagined I would be so “into” photographing birds.

I am NOT a “birder“.

Not all birders are bad.

Definition of birder

1: a catcher or hunter of birds especially for market
2: a person who birds

 

I have met birders.

And I do not fit into the category of a birder.   For one I am considerate of others when driving (well, hubby is).  He goes slow, as not to raise dust, he pulls over to the shoulder as far as he can without freaking me out by thinking we’re headed into the marsh,  and we will close the dang truck door if we get out so if someone does drive by, they can get past.

Okay,  now that I have gotten that out of my system, shall we continue?

I have learned things this year while roaming the Refuge.  #1, you are never ever to old to learn! It keeps the mind growing!  I had absolutely no idea that Egrets and Herons nested in trees. Why did I think they were ground nesters? Because you always see them next to the bank of water right?  Ya, not so much!  The only thing I knew was Herons are bluish-gray and Egrets are white.  I know that both are skittish as all get out, when you try to photograph them on the bank, poof, they’re in the air.  Did you know that their wingspan can be up to 5.6 feet?  Pretty cool.  Egrets also fly at 25mph.

Egrets 09

Egret 04

Egrets nest in colonies.  The male is the nest builder, he tries to attract the female, so he builds her a nest for their young. (Pretty presumptuous I think)  Hey, wanna come to my nest?  Thats an opening line if I’ve ever heard one!  Mr. Egret likes to get to the colony first so he can get the best spot.  However, they also nest with other birds. Herons and Cormorants and more.  At this location Mr. Heron was at the top of the tree, so I think Mr. Egret wasn’t the first this year.

The colony

H 01

Egrets are monogamous during the season.  It is not known if they are for life or not.

So, here is the reason of why I know these things.  Google haha…  well, hubby and I were out taking pictures, (okay I was) and we saw a Heron in the top of the tree.  So I had to partake in the moment!  When I got home I noticed a little tiny Heron head peeking out of the nest.  I was hooked.  So, that said, it became our weekend ritual!  Since we head that way every Saturday anyway, we made it a point to go through the Refuge and see what we could find to shoot.

H 04

Yep, I was totally hooked.

Back to more fun facts.  During breeding season, long feathery plumes grow from it’s back.  They are called aigrettes, which they hold up during courtship displays.  The sad thing is, they were almost pushed to extinction because people in the “olden” days, wanted the plumes.  Boo Hiss for those people. Now I know where those feathers came from on those silly looking hats!

Egreat 03

Both parents feed their young.  The babies climb out of the nest around 3 weeks old and begin to fly at 6-7 weeks. And when this happens, I will become sad, because shortly there after I will have an empty nest until next year.  I am already sad thinking about it.

Egret baby 01

My advice for you all is this; find a road along a marsh or a wetland.  Something with some tall trees perhaps.  And visit it often.  You never know what might show up.  I really enjoyed learning about these beauties this year!  And I totally loved capturing them in their natural state!

Heron Egret Babies 01

Egret 10

Egret 01

Egrets 05

Walking on water copy

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  It’s gotten to the hot part of the year on our mountain in the Southern Pacific Northwest, and I am not a fan.  However, I have many fans going in my house!

Empty Nest

 

 

 

Be Nice Humans!!

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn

 

 

Spring Green

Green

Spring Green

I am almost afraid to say it out loud.  But I can see it everywhere!  The leaves are on the trees, the blossoms are on the trees, the bees are buzzing around the blossoms on the trees. I think it might be spring!

Spring Leaves

However, looking ahead to the weather report, I fear we will have one week of spring, and go straight into summer.  Lovely wonderful summer heat that no one is ready for.

Just last week we were still running our pellet stove.  Hubby and I were commenting on the fact that we only had 3 bags of pellets left and we needed a couple more.  Winter just did not want to give up!  I might add that in the western part of my home state of Montana, in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley, they just had close to a foot of snow a few days ago, mid May.   Also last weekend, we had a dusting of snow on our back deck.   This is why I am afraid to think of spring.

Driving along our favorite State Line road with our favorite trees, I captured some trees, with leaves.  It rarely happens.  These trees are more  dramatic with out the leaves.  But I still like them… a lot!

Tree along stateline 1

On the way to where I work, I pass wonderful trees.  I had noticed something in one of these trees for about two weeks and finally told the hubby we should drive to the trees and see what was in it.  I knew there were nests close in other trees but I was surprised to see what was there!

GH Owl Fledling and Parent

My favorite of all owls and an owlet.  I love the word owlet, I had to look it up to see if it was even proper.

There were 3 owls in the tree when we pulled up.  I got out of the truck and one flew away.  I am thinking dad wanted to watch for any shenanigans from the next tree.  No worries dad, I am not going to hurt your precious owlet and the mother of your child! Nope, that’s not how I shoot!  I respect all signs.  And owls.

Adult Great Horned Owl

Besides, I really don’t want you or mama to come after me, I have seen your talons!

It was a challenge to shoot between the branches and leaves, but I was quite satisfied with the results.  And trust me, I had a lot of pictures of leaves!

How many people drive by these trees daily and haven’t even noticed? How sad for them.  They are missing out on nature at its finest time.

I think the Good Lord above has a favorite color, and it is indeed Green.  It might be blue, there are some awesome shades of blues in the mountains.

Have you ever driven through farm country or even a mountain canyon and noticed how many different shades of green there are?  Way to many to count!  I sometimes wish I could take my color picker out of photoshop and sample them all and have every color of green!  Is it even possible?

Spring Morning

Weeds are green, and there are plenty of those.  The alfalfa fields are growing green, and in the morning with the sun coming up and the sprinklers misting, it makes for an awesome relaxing sight to see so early.  It’s serenity at its finest.

Sprinklers in Spring

Don’t close your eyes to spring green! There is so much to see!  All different shades!

Before you know it, the browns of summer will be upon us and you’ll have missed the glory of spring.   Because after brown comes the beautiful fall colors and then it turns white and I refuse to think about that for another 6 months!

Cows in Spring

Take a drive this weekend, in the early morning, in the afternoon, anytime your heart desires.   Get out of the house!  Go see things!

You won’t be sorry, well, unless you have allergies.  Don’t forget your allergy pill!

Mt Shasta Spring

Happy Shooting

T Lynn

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