Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is it spring?????

Today it was balmy, spring-like. All the snow has melted and whole areas are muddy. The first sighting was a hawk on West 69th Street on the roof of the building next to St. Stephen's Church, bird obviously looking for a meal. I stayed for a while, but then headed into the park. The melted snow has created puddles. A group of goldfinches were peacefully drinking from the puddle until a pine siskin came along and usurped the puddle. Territorial little thing. I saw lots of the usual park birds- cardinals, titmice, sparrows, downy woodpeckers, my favorite nuthatch pecking grub out of bark. I was very surprised to spot a large flock of robins gorging in a berry tree, easily a couple hundred robins. In this same area I found blue jay feathers on the grass, so I know that a hawk dined on blue jay, alas. I brought the feathers home to add to my forensic collection. By far, my favorite for the day was the young mockingbird. The titmice, jays and cardinals snatch food and disappear, but the mockingbird appears and stares at me and listens as I whistle and talk to it, then pecks at the nut bits and doesn't fly away. I watch to make sure there's no hungry hawk overhead watching this intimacy. There's a young mockingbird in our garden. Does the same thing, comes and sits and stares at me while I sing and talk. If either of these birds ever talk back I'll probably go goofy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the prowl

It is so exciting to come upon a hunt scene. The hawk saw a mole or mouse under the leaves and logs and flew down to hunt, huge intensity. Then hawk spent time lifting logs, strengthening leg muscles. I didn't see the hawk catch anything, but did see the bird lift whole tree limbs. amazing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The cooper and the flicker

The hawk would dine on flicker. The flicker is an easy catch. It burrows in leaves, head down. An attack from above is swift and fatal. But for this one day and copper's hawk was bathing and the flicker was busy hole-ing around.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More from the junky lens

Pretty soon I'll get back to the wonderful lenses, but for now, while I'm busy on assignments, here are more junky lens friends- the "Skywalker" Nuthatch, the Really-Redbelly woodpecker and the I-See-You squirrel.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More junky lens pictures

I really liked this junky lens. It was very comfortable. If only there was a better lens in this same category, a comfortable lens. It helps to feel equipment-cozy when watching hawks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Many pixels ago

It's been a raining day, not good for birding. That got me to thinking. There's all this fuss about how many megapixels to a camera and what's the best quality lens. "He who has the most megapixels wins".

Wrong! I just went back into my files, the 6 megapixel camera body, the dinky lens that all the big boys sneered at. For the next few posts I'll show images taken with that "inferior equipment". The best equipment is the gear that lets you do what you want to do.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday feasting

It seemed that no matter where I looked food was being consumed. The titmice love seeds and acorns. The towhee loves acorns and blends into the dried leaves while dining. The squirrels are still gobbling up osage oranges, shreddng them apart and enjoying the fruit. The only one I didn't see eating was the hawk,... on the hunt....., the 30 second hawk, there and then off after ??????

Friday, November 28, 2008

Roaming and experimenting

It was relatively quiet in the park, surpringly so. I would have expected to see more titmice and nuthatches, but they were hidden maybe because the hawks were on the hunt, so this made it a good day to try and compare the performance of two different cameras. If these images "show" better than last five entries done with a newer camera body, then the new camera goes back. This is a birding experiment,- hermit thrush, cardinal, sassy mallard and a swarm of grackles- a test for camera resolution.

A different kind of bird

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