Thursday, February 25, 2021



After a long morning of working at the computer, the outdoors beckoned me.  I needed to breathe the fresh air, even though it wasn’t ideal weather.  It was blowing from the west and the north-south roads were drifting over.  My car windows were down and the spitting snow surprised Gracie.  The outdoor world appeared nearly monochromatic, and while I rarely shoot in black and white, it seemed right for the day. 



Thursday, February 18, 2021



The spring after I moved into my new house two years ago, I did landscaping and planted trees and flowers.  I especially wanted ones that would attract birds.


 I planted one crab apple tree that hopefully would attract Cedar Waxwings in the winter.  I thought it would take several years for the fruit to mature enough, but I was very surprised to see a flock of about twenty eating the tiny apples a few days ago.

I love these distinctive birds with their crested head, black mask, buff underparts, and yellow-tipped tail.

These guys are voracious eaters.  Legend has it that these birds can get drunk on fruit that has fermented over the winter and then display erratic behavior and flying.  I don't think my little apples were large enough for fermentation, but they were sure the right size to fill the waxwing's mouth.

It was hilarious to watch them contort in all directions to eat the berries.  It didn't take long for the waxwings to practically strip the tree of its fruit.

I'd had a lot of Audubon reports for both Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings in our area.  While the two birds are quite similar, the Cedar Waxwing has a yellowish breast and belly versus the gray body of the Bohemian.

I got three days of watching them and taking pictures before the tree was mostly bare.  From the chubby body of this Waxwing, it looks like they had enough to eat.



Thursday, February 11, 2021



There’d been sun in the morning, but it became intermittent by the time I headed out to capture the winter wonderland.  So cold the waterfowl huddled together on the ice.  Nearly monochromatic in tone except for an occasional swath of blue sky, a red barn, some decorative grass, or a few red berries.  Evergreens beautifully laden with snow.  The first real snow scenes of winter.




Thursday, February 4, 2021



Over several recent days, I returned to the site where I’d seen a Bald Eagle family a few days earlier.  I was surprised how much it had all changed.


Right away I saw one mature eagle in a tree and another sitting with its back to me on a small hill.  I wondered where the rest were.  I saw a car ahead of me at the top of a rise and decided to move ahead to see if the view was better there.


 Oh, my.  I saw an eagle and several big crows feasting on the fresh, pink carcass of a deer.  I don’t know if a farmer had deposited roadkill or if he’d put out a deer he’d killed.  


 But the real action was a bit south, where more eagles and crows were eating from at least three more carcasses.  Several eagles were coming and going, and, at one point, I counted seven eagles at the site.  They were still pretty far away to get good pictures, so I turned around and focused on a fifth carcass on the other side of the road.


 There were two mature eagles at this carcass, picking at and savoring the deer meat.  The moment I began my approach, one eagle took to the air in a short, low flight to safer grounds.


 The whole time I was there, this eagle stayed put, watching my every move.  It was a beauty!


Meanwhile, the more intrepid of the two eagles stood its ground near the carcass.  I hadn’t realized it at the time I took this shot, but a juvenile eagle was in a ditch next to its parent.


 The juvenile, probably two or three years old due to the amount of white mottling in its feathers, was more flighty.  It rose up from the ground, but I didn’t know what it was going to do.


 It kept rising, and I got a good close-up as it flew off and returned to the distant patch where there were more eagles and no photographers.


 The mature eagle stayed put, alternately training its eye on the deer carcass, its mate in the field, and a crow that flew in.  It always knew my whereabouts too.


 Apparently not liking the crow for company, the eagle took a short flight away from the bird and closer to me.


 I was amazed at the eagle’s wingspan, which my bird app pegged at 6-8 feet.  The wings almost occluded the eagle’s vision as it flew.


 The eagle dropped its legs for landing.  Those talons, four to each foot, were deadly-looking!  I can see how their sharpness would aid in holding onto slippery fish when eagles hunt near water.  The talons could also be used to defend themselves from potential threats, including rival eagles.


 At this point in the afternoon, I’d taken over 700 pictures.  Gracie had been a great sport, but was getting antsy.  She was sick of sitting in her seat and was curious what was taking so much of my attention.  She’s really good about not barking so I let her hang out the window a bit and watch.  The eagle focused intently on what that curly haired white critter was.


I hauled Gracie back inside the car and snapped a few more images before heading home.  Photography doesn’t get much more exciting than this!