Saturday, April 19, 2014

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta Carolinensis:
Horsecove; Gurley, Alabama
Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4,  1/60 second @ f8

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pic of the Day

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus:
Horsecove; Gurley, Alabama
     had a good afternoon in the blind today, and finally got a male Red-bellied Woodpecker that I am happy with.  I also shot the female red-bellied, male and female downy, pine warbler, chickadee and white-breasted nuthatch.  As far as this image, I love the pose, as it show the bird's stripped back and the red-tinged cheek feathers.  If you like this image, and others on the blog, please send a link to your friends.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/60 second @ f7.1, ISO 800, Natural Light

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pic of the Day

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis:
Horsecove; Gurley, Alabama
     While I was photographing Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers over the past few days this White-breasted Nuthatch flew in numerous times.  Usually nuthatches spiral down from the top of a tree to bottom, pointing downward as they hitch down the tree.  That was the image I wanted, an upside down nuthatch.  But this nuthatch was totally uncooperative.  Perhaps in time I’ll get the image I want, but until then I hope you enjoy this shot.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/60 second @ f7.1   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pic of the Day

Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
Horse Cove; Gurley, Alabama
     I was shooting from a blind this evening but for some reason there was little activity.  The only thing to show up was a nuthatch and this male Downy Woodpecker.  Though I sat for an hour with nothing to shoot I was really happy when this little guy showed up, and I am really excited with the results of the shoot.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4 lens,  1/125th second @ f8, Natural Light

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pic of the Day

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus (female);Horsecove; Gurley, Alabama
     I caught this guy in my backyard this afternoon.  I have been shooting the female for a couple of days and finally got the male this afternoon.  I'll post those images as soon as I get them processed.  I have also got shots of male and female Downy Woodpeckers as well.  More to follow!

Just a note:  Notice the red tinged feathers on the belly between the birds feet.  This where the Red-bellied Woodpecker gets its name.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4,  Exposure 1/80 sec. @ f7.1

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pic of the Day

Greater Sandhill Cranes, Grus canadensis; Near Kearney, Nebraska
     A small flock of cranes gliding on outstretched wings as they approach a sandbar on the Platte River near Kearney, Nebraska.   The cranes roosted on sandbars during the night, and flew to grain fields during the day to feed.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/80sec. @ f4

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pic of the Day

Greater Prairie-Chickens, Tympanucuhus cupido; Calamus, Nebraska
     This week I was in Central Nebraska to view and photograph the great congregation of migrating Greater Sandhill Cranes.  For almost a month the cranes stage on the Platte River, and feed in the surrounding grain feels before continuing northward.  The spectacle was amazing, thousands upon thousands of cranes concentrated along the Platte.  But that is for another post.
     I also had an opportunity to visit the ranch of Bruce and Sue Ann Switzer of Calamus, Nebraska.  Bruce and Sue Ann are conservation ranchers, managing their ranch for both livestock and wildlife.  Their ranch contains about 30 active Greater Prairie-Chicken leks, and I was fortunate enough to be in a blind this past Wednesday to photograph the courtship ritual of these beautiful birds. 
     I cannot adequately describe the experience of watching these birds on their leks.  They were amazing!  Males confronted each other, rapidly stomping their feet on the ground, and filling the golden air sacs on their necks with air to boom a deep oo-loo-woo sound.  The National Geographic guide to the birds describes the booming as a sound created by “blowing across the top of an empty bottle,” a description that is very accurate. 
     At the height of the confrontation, a pair of males would jump into the air with feet and claws toward each other.   But the spat was brief as the birds fluttered back to the earth.  All of this activity started before sunrise and lasted until the sun was an hour above the horizon.  With little warning the birds one by one flew from the lek to feed among the prairie grass.  The next morning the birds returned to the lek, and began their dance all over, with the hopes of attracting a hen.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, Exposure 1/2500 @ f4

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pic of the Day

American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus: Blue Heron Wetlands; Titusville, Florida
Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/500 second @ f7.1

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pic of the Day

Clapper Rail, Railus longirostris: Bolivar Peninsula, Texas
     Back in November, I posted photos of Clapper Rails that I had photographed on the Bolivar Peninsula, Just east of Galveston, Texas.  I recently found this image in the lot.  I took this shot just as the rail had finished preening and then raised its feathers.   I love the look of the ruffled neck feathers and the slightly raised wings.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/800 second @ f7.1

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pic of the Day

Green Heron, Butorides virescens: Blue Heron Wetlands; Titusville, Florida
Green Heron, Butorides virescens: Blue Heron Wetlands; Titusville, Florida

     Green Herons are one of our smallest herons at eighteen inches in length.  Its habitat preference is swamps, marshes, lakes, ponds and streams.  It has an affinity for a wet habitat with trees and shrubs where it can remain concealed.  Green Herons are often seen perched motionless on a lower branch just inches above water awaiting a passing minnow.
     Of all the herons, the Green Heron is the only one known to use lures to catch fish.   Green Herons often use bread, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers and brightly colored leafs to bait small fish and lure them within striking distance.
     Green Herons are a widespread species.  They range from the tip of Florida to southern Canada, and from the eastern seaboard to Colorado.  They are also found along the coast of our western states.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 second @ f6.3