I’m sharing some of my favorite images from the past ten days. Enjoy!
The number of hummers we have observed at our nectar feeders this year is down significantly from years past. I’m happy that I was able to get a decent shot of this guy when he stopped by for a sweet treat.
This Great Crested Flycatcher stopped by just a few yards from the house. This is a species that nests and typically feeds in the upper canopy of mature trees (so I have read – I’m not the expert.) Seeing one in the backyard was special.
When I was filming the Red-headed woodpeckers the other day, a squirrel caught my eye as it sat noshing on a nut in the middle of the cut lawn area under the mature trees. Then, I spotted this Bluejay nearby. I don’t see them much during the summer. I feel lucky to have caught him considering flying off with such a large bounty. I’m attaching the squirrel that drew my attention below the shot of the Jay because they are cute and I’m an equal opportunity photographer of nature.
We’ve seen two Tree Swallow pairs fledge a first brood this year. And, there are currently three pairs feeding chicks. This box contains youngsters that appear to be ready to leave the nest very soon!
In a recent post I highlighted the current status of five bluebird pairs that are working towards rearing their next brood. Here are a few photos of those birds.
I have to remind myself that I didn’t start traveling about our property until June sixth, last year. So, when I began to worry I hadn’t seen a Phoebe yet this year, I realized that I may not have seen one until this time, a year ago! Here’s the first one I’ve filmed this year – Voguing and skipping; two quite distinct presentations of this lovely bird.
This is one of my top favorite birds. They often come into our yard to hunt insects. They are easy to observe because they typically perch for a spell in order to focus in on their next target. Their hunting style is very entertaining, as they often hover a bit just above the ground before nabbing their prey. And, they are incredibly handsome with a “formal attire” appearance – tuxedo-esque including spats (the white trim on their tail.)
The other day I learned a new detail about this fav of mine. I shot a photo of a Kingbird in the wind, and in one photo I noticed what appeared to be a red spot on his head. I looked it up and learned that Kingbirds do, in fact, have a red (yellow or orange) feathers on the top of the head (under the dark gray top feathers.) I also caught that bird yawning. I’m including a couple shots of a different Kingbird for comparison.
I have relatives that live in southern Florida. When visiting, we often eat at restaurants with outdoor seating – sometimes waterside. There, you need to be careful that a Great Blue Heron doesn’t snatch a piece of your dinner right off your plate. The huge birds are quite accustomed to living (and making a living) around people – even people who are quite gregarious and loud.
That’s not the sort of Great Blue Heron that comes to fish at our pond. The herons that show up here have a HUGE personal space. If I can get within 150 feet of such a bird, I feel incredibly fortunate. The other day I was sitting in the golf cart on west side of the pond. Being in that vehicle does offer a bit of a “blind” once I’ve been stationary in one place for a while. Many of the birds that took flight as I moved into a location often feel secure returning within minutes. Others take a bit longer to show up, again. But, some species are just far more spooky than others.
I was enjoying the acrobatic display of the barn and tree swallows as they snatched insects off the surface of the pond and filming bees on milkweed when I spotted something in my peripheral vision. Off to the left, I saw the massive bird flapping with wing beats that were slower than appeared suitable to keep the animal airborne. It was a Great Blue Heron executing her descent to the east side of the pond. “Remain still!” I told myself. I knew that any movement I made would trigger an “Abort!” behavior and the bird would turn on her thrusters and fly away. I nearly held my breath. She (I’m only assuming gender based on the svelte body mass) landed on the turf a few feet from the water and stood like a statue. I reserved my movements to nothing more than snapping the shutter and captured nearly the same image frame after frame.
Then, I saw it – the red flashing “low battery” light in the lower right corner of my view finder. What the heck! I thought I might be able to get away with slowing reaching forward to open my small bag in which I keep the fresh batteries. I don’t know if it was my very slight shift in movement, or the bird saw something else which changed her mind about sticking around for a bite to eat. But, with incredible out stretched wings, she took flight again and was gone.
These birds are so common and so vocal around our property that I actually become irritated with their constant singing. That’s especially true when I hear an unfamiliar bird song and attempt to record it for later review. It’s often impossible to isolate a specific vocalization from the background noise of a confident, cheerful Dickcissel sharing his joy with the world. That’s not to say that I don’t find them very attractive birds which do tend to be quite photogenic as they remain in one place to belt out their raspy tune.
I know I just published a post about the Purple Martin chicks. But, while going through the files from the past couple of weeks, I saw this one and wanted to share it. Our Purple Martin colony sits less than 100 feet from my office patio, so I am frequently privy to their aerial feats, their happy chortling and their atypical social behavior (most of the other species are territorial – so it’s nice to observe the PMs welcoming home a neighbor.) This image is a common sight when I step out the back door.
This was one of the first birds that I spotted when I began my journey of traveling the property and discovering all of the bird species that visit. I have a great fondness to this dapper and melodic species.
I captured this image just before sunset in a small cutout near the pond, surrounded by mature trees and thick undergrowth. I am aware that a Gray Catbird couple has a nest in that thicket because, once you learn their vocalizations, it’s impossible not to be impressed anytime you hear them. It’s a good, final image of this series – soothing to the eyes and emotions.