Thursday, January 25, 2018

Learning Curves

I've been looking for a more lightweight camera system the last few years.  I think I've found what I've been wanting, but with new gear comes a learning curve.  

Birds and waterfowl make good subjects for practice, so I headed to the bay to see what I'd find.  Seagulls were all over the place, mostly perched on marina posts watching for handouts.

Mallards were populous at the marina too.  This guy came out of the water and walked right up to a family walking through the park.  It seems begging is really in vogue during these cold winter months.

I moved to the west side of the bay and immediately saw this Lesser Scaup, or a least I think that's what it was.  Seemed to be a bit too far north, but maybe it was still migrating.

This female Common Merganser looks like it's relaxing by floating on the bay.  But don't let her fool you.

Mergansers are diving ducks and are hilarious to watch as they go "bottoms up" in search of their next meal.  I caught this one as she was just going into her dive.

I planned to head to the other side of town to check out big birds, hopefully another Snowy Owl.  But instead of a Snowy, I spied this huge hawk perched at the top of this tree watching and waiting for its next meal.  After a couple snaps, I realized my camera wasn't functioning.   I figured out I had a dead battery.  Ahhhh, learning curves.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Late afternoon shadows...

Golden hour colors...

Dramatic skies....

A fiery sunset.

It doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Blue skies in the winter!  What a treat compared to the gray days we've had much of the last month.  I decided it was the perfect time for a road trip. 

I headed out of the city to Old Mission, hoping the roads would be as clear as the skies.  I noticed right away the significant ice and snow build-up along the shoreline.

Wide swaths of slush next lined the coast, waiting for winds to add it to the beach accumulation.  Out a little farther, the water appeared sluggish with no wave action going on.  I realized a thin layer of ice was coating the surface.

Weather prognosticators consider the bay frozen when ice reaches Power Island.  That hasn't happened in the last few years, but this might be the year that it does.

I passed the island and came into Bowers Harbor.  More protected from the winds, the small bay was full of ice floes and significant ice.  Its cold beauty was stunning. 

I turned inland and noticed the orchards quietly resting in the winter chill, preparing themselves for next season's crop.  The heavy snow cover also was doing its job of protecting the roots from freezing.  It won't be long until we see farmers out trimming their dormant trees.

As I reached the peninsula's interior, I remembered the barns marked with quilt patterns.  This red barn with its North Star pattern was striking against the white snow.

I had a decision to make when I reached Center Road: return to the city or continue on to the tip.  The roads weren't as clear this far out, but I couldn't resist the pull of seeing Old Mission Light, pristine in a winter setting. 

As I left the tip and started back to the town, I noticed the blue skies were giving way to winter gray.  It didn't matter, though, for this one last picture.  Red barns always stand out against the white snows of winter, regardless of what's happening in the skies.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


How the winter landscape has changed in the last few weeks!  The extreme cold temperatures and chilly winds have made life challenging for critters and birds.  Fortunately, "my birds" are getting plenty of seed to help them through this season.

The feeders are so crowded, in fact, that there has been a waiting line to get on the perches.  Birds, like this Black-capped Chickadee, wait their turns on the trees next to the feeder systems.

Luckily, photographing birds in a more natural setting is more pleasing than from a metal feeder.  I noticed the American Goldfinch has taken on its duller, less vibrant winter coat. 

Northern Cardinals are regular visitors too.  This female continues to have its beautiful coloring.

As does the bright red male.  What is more beautiful than a cardinal against a snowy backdrop!

There have also been new visitors to the feeders this winter, like this Slate-colored, Dark-eyed Junco.  Some juncos live here year round, according to the migration maps, but I've only had Junco visitors in the few weeks so I think mine have come south. 

In looking at my bird visitors, they all appear to have big chubby bellies.  But in times that have the negative wind chills we're currently experiencing, they need those extra layers for warmth and energy.

I wonder who the next new bird visitors will be.  Will the Cedar Waxwings find the fermenting berries from Mountain Ask trees?  Or will the little Common Redpolls find their way to my feeders.  I've heard they've been sighted in the area.