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Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2012,07:44   

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 26 2012,21:41)
Birdies.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron:



Northern Harrier:


White-tailed kite:


Tern of unknown species. I suck at terns.



Great Horned Owl:


Robin, have you read Understanding Exposure by Peterson? If not, I highly recommend it. The light in your photos is pretty flat. You can try flash with a better beamer or something along those lines to help a bit. Playing around with levels, curves, saturation, and the like in post would help a bit too.

Wow! Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' 'bout! Nice shots.

No, I've not Understanding Exposure. I'll have to pic up a copy because clearly color saturation is one of the things these shots are really lacking. Thanks for the recommendation!

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Albatrossity2



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Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2012,11:40   

Subkumquat - Nice shots. Thanks for sharing! Harriers are particularly difficult to photograph, I think. They never sit still.

Robin, I totally agree with Dave H's assessment. If your bird is in good light, you've got a chance to get a good image. If it is in the shade, in most cases, your odds of getting a good pic are much lessened. Pay attention to the light, go out in the early morning (most birds won't be very active in the late afternoon) when the light qualities are better than the flat overhead light of noon, and look for subjects that are in the light. Don't be tempted to waste pixels on a bird in the shade; when I do that I'm inevitably disappointed when I get back home and look at the results.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Freddie



Posts: 365
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2012,11:58   

Quote
subkumquat: Robin, have you read Understanding Exposure by Peterson? If not, I highly recommend it. The light in your photos is pretty flat. You can try flash with a better beamer or something along those lines to help a bit. Playing around with levels, curves, saturation, and the like in post would help a bit too.

I bought myself a Canon 550D with the kit 18-55mm and the lower-end Canon 55-250mm IS zoom at Christmas - my first SLR of any kind.  I was also recommended that book and bought it (it's not expensive).

After reading the first 40 pages everything I had once thought I kind of understood in my previous amateur and fuzzy knowledge of exposure settings became crystallized in my head and made complete sense.  Suddenly, I actually knew what I was doing when I adjusted a setting in Manual mode.  It's a great book full of quite excellent information and beautiful pictures and I would also highly recommend it.

Now, all I need is a day when the sun is shining in the UK and I can use the bloody knowledge.  I've managed to get out with the camera just twice this month as it's been grey and damp here for weeks.

--------------
Joe: Most criticisims of ID stem from ignorance and jealousy.
Joe: As for the authors of the books in the Bible, well the OT was authored by Moses and the NT was authored by various people.
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Robin



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2012,13:51   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 27 2012,11:40)
Don't be tempted to waste pixels on a bird in the shade; when I do that I'm inevitably disappointed when I get back home and look at the results.

Yeah, but the only ones that ever sit still for me are sitting in the shade.  ???

I believe you are both right though - it's forcing me to use a slower shutter and wider aperture that is leading to finer details being fuzzing (from my not being that steady) and graininess. I'll work on that and post some results.

Thanks!

ETA: emote

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we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



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Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2012,14:29   

Ok. Been working on this a bit over the last few days. The advice seems to have helped quite a bit:




Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Could not get him to go into the sunlight for anything. (sigh)... Still, I'm much happier with these than my previous attempts. Still need some practice though.

Shot with a 300mm at ISO 400 F8






Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus )

Pity about the stupid branch, but I didn't want to move too much and disturb him (her?). Also, the darkness of those two photos is, I think, because it was very cloudy the day I shot them and I tied upping the ISO and the shutter speed, so they are a little under exposed. Still, I like the clarity. I'm kind of surprised I got anything.

and...



Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) - sportin' a 'tude about the paparazzi during her lunch hour.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2777
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2012,16:24   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 28 2012,14:29)
Ok. Been working on this a bit over the last few days. The advice seems to have helped quite a bit

Nice! Woodpeckers are reluctant to get into the sun, in y experience too. Those are all better than anything I got in my outing this morning. It was sunny enough, but cold and windy as well. Birds were all hunkered down; clearly they are more intelligent than me...

Thanks for sharing those.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5374
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,16:40   

Yep, Robin, what they said. Really nice improvement in the shots, too!

(ETA: One more thing - if you're looking up at a bird, and the only background you can finagle is a shitty gray overcast sky, just don't even bother. There's little you can do with it. Sometimes I'll take the shot anyway, but really only if it's a bird I don't already have on the life-list. Otherwise, it's not even worth deleting.)

subkumquat, those are some pretty sweet shots. The tern looks like a Royal to me, but don't try to take that to the bank. Where'd you shoot him?

Edited by Lou FCD on Jan. 29 2012,17:44

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,16:52   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 27 2012,12:40)
Pay attention to the light, go out in the early morning... when the light qualities are better than the flat overhead light of noon...

Yes. This.

This this this this this this this this this.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,20:09   

Sometimes you just get lucky, and some pretty bird like a Great Blue Heron is too busy hunkering down from the wind to care much if you get a little too close.











in which case you just keep shooting and playing until you get a shot or two you like.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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subkumquat



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Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,21:37   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 27 2012,11:40)
Subkumquat - Nice shots. Thanks for sharing! Harriers are particularly difficult to photograph, I think. They never sit still.

Thanks Albatrossity, the Harrier was a PITA to shoot. I was shooting those herons and the kite and some other birds in the salt marsh when he just came out of nowhere flying like a madman. I snapped off a couple of dozen shots in burst mode and that's the best of them, by far. Crazy birds.

Robin, those are looking better! Peckers do tend to the shady side of things as has been said, which is frustrating at times. Keep at it and learn to see the light as much as the subject.

Lou, nice shots! GBH are as common around here as bluej ays, but I never tire of them. There's a rockery about a mile from my house, as the heron flies. I'll try to dig up some old shots of it.

  
subkumquat



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Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,21:47   

This rookery is around 3000 feet from my house (as the heron flies)

There are probably 40-50 nests there.


Building and watching





Gathering nesting materials


A couple of months later. The kids are funny looking.


Just down the road from there.

  
subkumquat



Posts: 26
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2012,21:59   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,16:40)
subkumquat, those are some pretty sweet shots. The tern looks like a Royal to me, but don't try to take that to the bank. Where'd you shoot him?

Just noticed this, sorry. Thanks! I shot him in Galveston, TX at a place called Dos Vacas Muertas. I was thinking he was a royal tern, but I truly suck at tern IDs. Too many subtle differences on some of them for me to keep track of and get right. I think there are half a dozen or so tern species found there (Forster's, Caspian, Royal, Sandwich, Gull-billed, and maybe others?), which makes it tough.

  
Lou FCD



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,06:02   

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 26 2012,21:41)
Tern of unknown species. I suck at terns.



 
Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 29 2012,22:59)
   
Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,16:40)
subkumquat, those are some pretty sweet shots. The tern looks like a Royal to me, but don't try to take that to the bank. Where'd you shoot him?

Just noticed this, sorry. Thanks! I shot him in Galveston, TX at a place called Dos Vacas Muertas. I was thinking he was a royal tern, but I truly suck at tern IDs. Too many subtle differences on some of them for me to keep track of and get right. I think there are half a dozen or so tern species found there (Forster's, Caspian, Royal, Sandwich, Gull-billed, and maybe others?), which makes it tough.

Of the species that Peterson's lists there at some point in the year, the orange bill narrows it down to Forster's, Royal, or Caspian. Breeding plumage of the cap are pretty similar in the three.

In the second shot you posted, one side of the tail looks deeply forked, which would indicate Forster's or Royal, but the center and other side of the tail look barely forked at all, which would indicate Caspian. I really can't figure out what's going on with the tail in that shot.

Forster's and Caspian have black on the end of their bill while Royal doesn't, but the damned fish is in the way.

Neither shot really gives any sense of size, so the Forster's smaller size doesn't really help.

I wouldn't bet either way on the upper wing vs. under wing colors (they're apparently opposite in Royals and Caspians) because of the angle and shadows.

If I really had to take my best shot, something about the curl of the tail in the second shot leads me to think "forked", and I'd go with Royal. But again, don't bet the ranch on that.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Robin



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,07:29   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 28 2012,16:24)
Quote (Robin @ Jan. 28 2012,14:29)
Ok. Been working on this a bit over the last few days. The advice seems to have helped quite a bit

Nice! Woodpeckers are reluctant to get into the sun, in y experience too. Those are all better than anything I got in my outing this morning. It was sunny enough, but cold and windy as well. Birds were all hunkered down; clearly they are more intelligent than me...

Thanks for sharing those.

Thanks Alby!

Went out to "my" preserve (well...) with the intent of practicing. When I left the house it was bright and sun, beautiful blue sky. During the half hour drive some clouds and haze rolled in, but it was still nice when I started my hike. 20 minutes later and it's suddenly that pale shade of grey you get in winter. (sigh).

And when the wind picked up a little, nothing stayed around to get my lens on anyway. Such is life I suppose.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,07:35   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,16:40)
Yep, Robin, what they said. Really nice improvement in the shots, too!

(ETA: One more thing - if you're looking up at a bird, and the only background you can finagle is a shitty gray overcast sky, just don't even bother. There's little you can do with it. Sometimes I'll take the shot anyway, but really only if it's a bird I don't already have on the life-list. Otherwise, it's not even worth deleting.)

subkumquat, those are some pretty sweet shots. The tern looks like a Royal to me, but don't try to take that to the bank. Where'd you shoot him?

Thanks Lou!

Yeah, I'm think I'm going to take your, Alby's, et al's advice and stop shooting grey-day/background birds. They just don't work for me. I'll work on shooting during sunny days instead. Though, as you noted, I'll still lug my camera everywhere just in case.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,07:39   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,20:09)
Sometimes you just get lucky, and some pretty bird like a Great Blue Heron is too busy hunkering down from the wind to care much if you get a little too close.


in which case you just keep shooting and playing until you get a shot or two you like.

Wow! Ok...I think I get it. Early morning, slanting light directly on the subject. I'll see what I can do.

Now, you didn't enhance with flash or anything?

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,07:41   

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 29 2012,21:47)
This rookery is around 3000 feet from my house (as the heron flies)

There are probably 40-50 nests there.

Awesome Subkumquat! Nice shots!

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2777
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,08:16   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 30 2012,06:02)
If I really had to take my best shot, something about the curl of the tail in the second shot leads me to think "forked", and I'd go with Royal. But again, don't bet the ranch on that.

Orange legs with an adult plumage (black cap) would rule out Royal Tern, so Forster's is the last ID standing.

What I want to know is, if these shots were taken recently, why is that bird in adult plumage in January? My experience in California would lead me to think that this black capped plumage shouldn't show up until March or thereabouts. And that suspicion is confirmed by what I read in various field guides. When were these photos taken?

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
subkumquat



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Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,08:38   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 30 2012,08:16)
Orange legs with an adult plumage (black cap) would rule out Royal Tern, so Forster's is the last ID standing.

What I want to know is, if these shots were taken recently, why is that bird in adult plumage in January? My experience in California would lead me to think that this black capped plumage shouldn't show up until March or thereabouts. And that suspicion is confirmed by what I read in various field guides. When were these photos taken?

I think I took those in April, if memory serves. I have other shots of these same terns that might help with ID, but I'll have to wait to get them uploaded this afternoon.

  
Albatrossity2



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Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,09:00   

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 30 2012,08:38)
I think I took those in April, if memory serves. I have other shots of these same terns that might help with ID, but I'll have to wait to get them uploaded this afternoon.

Thanks; that helps! I think that the combination of orange legs with orange bill pretty much clinches the ID as Forster's Tern. Royal Tern (or even Elegant Tern, for that matter) would have black legs as an adult, and those are definitely not black legs.

Here's a shot of a Florida Royal Tern by my friend and photographic mentor Mark Chappell.


--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5374
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,11:07   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 30 2012,10:00)
Thanks; that helps! I think that the combination of orange legs with orange bill pretty much clinches the ID as Forster's Tern. Royal Tern (or even Elegant Tern, for that matter) would have black legs as an adult, and those are definitely not black legs.

Oh, yup, good call. I totally spaced on the leg color. (I'm pleading senility.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2012,11:08   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 30 2012,08:39)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 29 2012,20:09)
Sometimes you just get lucky, and some pretty bird like a Great Blue Heron is too busy hunkering down from the wind to care much if you get a little too close.


in which case you just keep shooting and playing until you get a shot or two you like.

Wow! Ok...I think I get it. Early morning, slanting light directly on the subject. I'll see what I can do.

Now, you didn't enhance with flash or anything?

Oh, the shots of the GBH were with flash, yes. Note the overly bright vegetation in the foreground.

ETA: The sky was full of dark, puffy, low, fast-rolling clouds, and they'd have been very flat without a flash, I think. But note that I'm shooting from high ground looking down into the pond basin, giving me a background I can work with.

Edited by Lou FCD on Jan. 30 2012,12:12

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Robin



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2012,15:25   

Finally got a sunny day to try out some of the recommendations:




Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis




White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis


Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

I particularly like the nuthatch. While they don't mind me getting close, they seldom stand still, so I had to follow him around with the viewfinder until he paused long enough for me to get a shot.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2012,18:58   

Yep, I love the nuthatch shot, and yep, they're a PITA to shoot because the fuckers won't hold still.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Robin



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2012,07:51   

I do have a question - the cardinal pics seem to be a bit washed out. Is that because of the bright sunny spot foreground with the shade transition background? I tried playing with a few exposures, but I either got the ones above, or the cardinal just faded into shadow. Is there a way to get this shot that isn't so stark?

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2777
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2012,10:23   

Quote (Robin @ Feb. 16 2012,07:51)
I do have a question - the cardinal pics seem to be a bit washed out. Is that because of the bright sunny spot foreground with the shade transition background? I tried playing with a few exposures, but I either got the ones above, or the cardinal just faded into shadow. Is there a way to get this shot that isn't so stark?

Nice shots. Nuthatches are tempting targets, because they are so perky and have interesting behaviors, but they are jumpy, for sure. Not as jumpy as kinglets; if you want a real challenge, follow one of those around with the viewfinder sometime.

I wouldn't say that the cardinal shots are "stark". Cardinals, particularly this time of year, are just pretty bright birds when they get out into the sunlight. You might play with the contrast a bit with Photoshop or GIMP or whatever image software you have been using. That might give you an image that is more in line with your sensibilities.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Robin



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Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2012,11:56   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 16 2012,10:23)
Nice shots. Nuthatches are tempting targets, because they are so perky and have interesting behaviors, but they are jumpy, for sure. Not as jumpy as kinglets; if you want a real challenge, follow one of those around with the viewfinder sometime.

I wouldn't say that the cardinal shots are "stark". Cardinals, particularly this time of year, are just pretty bright birds when they get out into the sunlight. You might play with the contrast a bit with Photoshop or GIMP or whatever image software you have been using. That might give you an image that is more in line with your sensibilities.

Thanks Alby! I tried messing a bit with contrast, but the pics looked too washed out to me. I think my issue is more with the background rather than the shot of the bird itself. I think the seed shells just aren't a good contrast to the cardinal's color. I tried getting a shot of a male in a holly bush, but he'd have none of my tiptoeing around near him and vanished into the bush. Bastard!

And I can only imagine trying to shoot kinglets! We had a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets stop by our yard a few years ago and while I could walk right up to them and practically touch them (they made chickadees seem shy), they were bouncing all over the branches of these two crabapple trees and didn't sit still for even a second. Pretty birds though.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 13 2012,14:54   

Adding a few shots from last weekends outing at "my" preserve:



American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) . A verrrrry cooperative Kestrel at that.



Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) of What-Are-You-Pointing-at-Me.



A Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). Yeah...I seem to get that expression a lot.



Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula). I know most people consider it a pest, but damn...that's a pretty bird!



A female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). She just flew right up to me while I was shooting in my backyard.

And lastly, one for Lou to add to his "I disapprove of you!" file:



White Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)


ETA: Fixed italics coding

Edited by Robin on Mar. 13 2012,20:33

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



Posts: 1427
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 13 2012,15:03   

Oh...and because it's spring:

A beautiful morning shot:



And the obligatory butterfly:



A Small White (aka Cabbage White) (Pieris rapae) Butterfly


And as a bonus, some old bones I found on a walk:



I think they might be from a raccoon, but I'm not sure.

ETA: Fixed italics coding

Edited by Robin on Mar. 13 2012,20:35

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5374
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 13 2012,17:05   

Quote (Robin @ Mar. 13 2012,15:54)
And lastly, one for Lou to add to his "I disapprove of you!" file:



White Throated Sparrow (<i>Zonotrichia albicollis</i>)

lol, I have started a meme.

Excellent shots, Robin!

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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