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  Topic: Wildlife, What's in your back yard?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2012,13:54   

There have been many reports of Snowy Owls in the US this winter; over 30 in Kansas so far. This one was watching some bison on the Konza Prairie Biological Station around noon today.


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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: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 07 2012,20:47   

Sweet! Owls are very cool.

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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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Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 09 2012,07:57   

Cool! I want one!


Actually, we had a few here in Virginia/Washington DC about 4 years ago. One liked hanging out at Dulles and all these birders would gather at the airport to watch it sitting atop this one building. Very funny.

Nice pic Alby!

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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

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 14 2012,13:43   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 03 2012,09:15)
Still trying to determine the critter's ID. So far all the experts I've checked with (4 naturalists, 1 ornithologist, 1 preserve manager) either shrugged or (like rhmc's experience) edged away. Of course, I have not heard our little (big?) friend since I last reported it, so maybe we'll never know.

i was talking to a friend of mine who lives an island over and mentioned not only my tale of the noise but yours.
he said foxes made some noises you'd never believe could be made by a dog relative.
i said i could understand foxes in the okee but in DC?
he said he's seen red foxes in rock creek park so depending on what suburb, foxes are a possible source.

i dunno.  dang sure sounded like a bird to me.

  
Bob O'H



Posts: 1992
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2012,10:08   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 04 2012,13:54)
There have been many reports of Snowy Owls in the US this winter; over 30 in Kansas so far. This one was watching some bison on the Konza Prairie Biological Station around noon today.

Oh thank the FSM. Hedwig wasn't really killed.

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
subkumquat



Posts: 26
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2012,12:06   

Took these yesterday. Young red-shouldered hawk.





Light was pretty harsh when he got out in the open a bit. I kept hoping he'd snag a mouse, rat, or small child, but he just scanned the field the whole 30-45 minutes I watched him. I guess not much was out moving.




Saw this guy on the way home. Normally I don't like man-made perches, but since the loggerhead shrike impales prey on the barbed wire after severing the spinal cord with that hook on his beak I figured it was ok.


Other unnatural perch.

  
Kattarina98



Posts: 1255
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2012,13:35   

These are beautiful. Are you going to sell them?

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Barry Arrington is a bitch.

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2012,08:47   

Quote (rhmc @ Jan. 14 2012,13:43)
Quote (Robin @ Jan. 03 2012,09:15)
Still trying to determine the critter's ID. So far all the experts I've checked with (4 naturalists, 1 ornithologist, 1 preserve manager) either shrugged or (like rhmc's experience) edged away. Of course, I have not heard our little (big?) friend since I last reported it, so maybe we'll never know.

i was talking to a friend of mine who lives an island over and mentioned not only my tale of the noise but yours.
he said foxes made some noises you'd never believe could be made by a dog relative.
i said i could understand foxes in the okee but in DC?
he said he's seen red foxes in rock creek park so depending on what suburb, foxes are a possible source.

i dunno.  dang sure sounded like a bird to me.

That's not a bad bet actually, though the sound came from up high-ish and red foxes don't climb. Still, we do have a number of foxes in our neighborhood and they do make odd calls at all hours.

BTW, sorry for the late reply - been way under the weather for the last few weeks and have only occasionally peeked on the Intertubes. Thanks for the suggestion.

I've not heard my mystery critter in over a month now so I'm doubting that I'll be able to ID it.

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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

  
noncarborundum



Posts: 320
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2012,12:20   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 20 2012,08:47)

I've not heard my mystery critter in over a month now so I'm doubting that I'll be able to ID it.

Intelligently Design?

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"The . . . um . . . okay, I was genetically selected for blue eyes.  I know there are brown eyes, because I've observed them, but I can't do it.  Okay?  So . . . um . . . coz that's real genetic selection, not the nonsense Giberson and the others are talking about." - DO'L

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2012,14:50   

Quote (noncarborundum @ Jan. 20 2012,12:20)
Quote (Robin @ Jan. 20 2012,08:47)

I've not heard my mystery critter in over a month now so I'm doubting that I'll be able to ID it.

Intelligently Design?

Apparently...

;)

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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

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2012,19:15   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 20 2012,09:47)
That's not a bad bet actually, though the sound came from up high-ish and red foxes don't climb. Still, we do have a number of foxes in our neighborhood and they do make odd calls at all hours.

grey foxes climb and you're in the range for those, too.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2012,10:59   

Quote (subkumquat @ Jan. 16 2012,13:06)
Took these yesterday.

Nice shots!

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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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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2012,11:59   

Some shots from the last few weeks.

American Crow



A hawk on the roof across the street



He looks vaguely annoyed,



but hung out for awhile while I took his picture



Sadly, he never gave me a look at his tail.

A Song Sparrow



Carolina Wren in the hedges out front



Female Northern Cardinal. Oddly, I didn't have a decent shot of a female before this. They're kind of shy, though. I was trying out my new flash yesterday (Canon 580EX II), and I think this shot is a little hot.



...and experimenting with higher ISOs for stop-action shots.



such as wing fluffing



This Muscovy Duck always seems willing to pose for me, and lets me get pretty close.



A Cedar Waxwing from about 15m away, in the Croatan National Forest.



American Robin, no flash.



Carolina Chickadee, ISO 1250, with the flash set at 1/4 or 1/8 of full power, as I recall. He was about 3m away, and just hung out and let me stick the camera pretty much right in his beak, and play with the settings and keep shooting. He wasn't even a little bit shy or skittish.



It'll take some more playing to really get the hang of using a flash, but I'm sort of figuring out how to balance it with ISO and shutter speed.

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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

Work-friendly photography
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fnxtr



Posts: 2153
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2012,12:48   

Oh, for...

(looks at own camera)

(throws in Puntledge river)

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"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2012,10:59   

Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 22 2012,12:48)
Oh, for...

(looks at own camera)

(throws in Puntledge river)

This... (sigh)


Very lovely shots as usual Lou. Just wish I could figure how to get that quality.

--------------
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: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2012,16:15   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 23 2012,11:59)
Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 22 2012,12:48)
Oh, for...

(looks at own camera)

(throws in Puntledge river)

This... (sigh)


Very lovely shots as usual Lou. Just wish I could figure how to get that quality.

Well, a few thoughts.

1. Buy good glass. It's worth every cent you pay for it.
2. Carry your camera everywhere.
3. Shoot everything.
4. Shoot it again.

In the 2.5 years since I bought my first "real" camera (that Rebel XS, which seems like a toy now...), I've easily squeezed the shutter button 100,000 times. Easily 100k.

It helps that I'm a full-time college student, of course, which means I have a very distinct advantage when it comes to scheduling time to take pictures.

But I carry my camera even to class. Just this morning, I shot this Eastern Towhee in between classes.



--------------
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
NSFW photography

   
khan



Posts: 1484
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2012,17:57   

The wonderfullness of digital cameras.
20 shots, delete 19, no problem.
High end: 100 shots, delete 90, no problem.

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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2153
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,01:05   

Quote (khan @ Jan. 23 2012,15:57)
The wonderfullness of digital cameras.
20 shots, delete 19, no problem.
High end: 100 shots, delete 90, no problem.

Have they reduced that annoying shutter delay to a reasonable interval? I have some great pictures of the tips of orca dorsal fins disappearing into the sea...

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"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,09:13   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 23 2012,16:15)
Well, a few thoughts.

1. Buy good glass. It's worth every cent you pay for it.
2. Carry your camera everywhere.
3. Shoot everything.
4. Shoot it again.

In the 2.5 years since I bought my first "real" camera (that Rebel XS, which seems like a toy now...), I've easily squeezed the shutter button 100,000 times. Easily 100k.

I do use Nikkor lenses, so I'm pretty sure the glass is good. Pretty sure, but not positive.

I think part of my problem is I haven't figured out the optimal settings for my camera (Nikon D3100) for shooting birds. I feel like I've gotten pretty close to your level of quality and clarity on a a few of the butterfly shots I've gotten (I've posted a few here), but I haven't figured out how to do that for birds for some reason.

As an example, my wife and I were hiking a few weeks ago at this preserve and we encountered this chickadee that was picking at sweet gum seeds. The chickadee - like the one you mentioned above - was not shy at all and did not care one bit when I shoved my camera lens up to it. I shot ten pics of him/her from different angles with slightly different settings, but I feel that none of them came out well at all. Each shot was just not sharp and didn't...'pop'. Really not sure why, but something is off.

--------------
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: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,10:18   

Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 24 2012,02:05)
Quote (khan @ Jan. 23 2012,15:57)
The wonderfullness of digital cameras.
20 shots, delete 19, no problem.
High end: 100 shots, delete 90, no problem.

Have they reduced that annoying shutter delay to a reasonable interval? I have some great pictures of the tips of orca dorsal fins disappearing into the sea...

I get instant response, and can shoot something like 3 frames/second.

--------------
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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Lou FCD



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,10:26   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 24 2012,10:13)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 23 2012,16:15)
Well, a few thoughts.

1. Buy good glass. It's worth every cent you pay for it.
2. Carry your camera everywhere.
3. Shoot everything.
4. Shoot it again.

In the 2.5 years since I bought my first "real" camera (that Rebel XS, which seems like a toy now...), I've easily squeezed the shutter button 100,000 times. Easily 100k.

I do use Nikkor lenses, so I'm pretty sure the glass is good. Pretty sure, but not positive.

I think part of my problem is I haven't figured out the optimal settings for my camera (Nikon D3100) for shooting birds. I feel like I've gotten pretty close to your level of quality and clarity on a a few of the butterfly shots I've gotten (I've posted a few here), but I haven't figured out how to do that for birds for some reason.

As an example, my wife and I were hiking a few weeks ago at this preserve and we encountered this chickadee that was picking at sweet gum seeds. The chickadee - like the one you mentioned above - was not shy at all and did not care one bit when I shoved my camera lens up to it. I shot ten pics of him/her from different angles with slightly different settings, but I feel that none of them came out well at all. Each shot was just not sharp and didn't...'pop'. Really not sure why, but something is off.

Well, without seeing the shot, I'm not sure what you mean or how to help. And I know fuck all about Nikon gear, so I'm useless to you there.

My suggestion from afar would be to keep posting them here, and ask each time "What do you all think I could do better with this shot?"

I'll bet you get some good feedback, especially if you post along with the picture the camera settings and lighting conditions when you took it. (The ISO was X, the shutter speed was y, the aperture was z, for starters.) I'll give you my thoughts, but remember I've pretty much just learned by winging it, and at the end of the day, I'm really still a newb.

--------------
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
NSFW photography

   
OgreMkV



Posts: 3335
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,10:59   

Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 24 2012,01:05)
Quote (khan @ Jan. 23 2012,15:57)
The wonderfullness of digital cameras.
20 shots, delete 19, no problem.
High end: 100 shots, delete 90, no problem.

Have they reduced that annoying shutter delay to a reasonable interval? I have some great pictures of the tips of orca dorsal fins disappearing into the sea...

Since I only have orca shots from Sea World, I quickly figured out that when the trainers raise their arms, something is about to come flying out of the water.

I got some decent shots with my $100 instacam.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2012,11:36   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 24 2012,10:26)
Well, without seeing the shot, I'm not sure what you mean or how to help. And I know fuck all about Nikon gear, so I'm useless to you there.

My suggestion from afar would be to keep posting them here, and ask each time "What do you all think I could do better with this shot?"

I'll bet you get some good feedback, especially if you post along with the picture the camera settings and lighting conditions when you took it. (The ISO was X, the shutter speed was y, the aperture was z, for starters.) I'll give you my thoughts, but remember I've pretty much just learned by winging it, and at the end of the day, I'm really still a newb.

Good recommendations Lou. I'll post some of the recent bird shots and get some feedback.

--------------
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: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,15:55   

Examples of a few bird photos that I feel just are not sharp:





This one of the Robin isn't bad, but it still doesn't 'pop':






--------------
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: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,16:02   

On the other hand, there are a few photos I'm kind of proud of because I think they do 'pop':


Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

It helps when the subject is reeeeaaally cooperative and lets you place your camera lens right next to him (or her).

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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



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,16:05   

A female wolf spider with babies:



And a grasshopper from this summer who let me get really close:



--------------
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

  
DaveH



Posts: 48
Joined: July 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,16:41   

Quote (Robin @ Jan. 26 2012,15:55)
Examples of a few bird photos that I feel just are not sharp:


I hesitate to say anything with Lou in the house, but I think I can make a few observations (plus I use Nikon kit).
The first thing I notice about your chickadee, here, is the grain. It looks like you have used a fairly long zoom with the aperture wide open and you still have had to set a high ISO. Lower that, or close up the aperture for a greater depth of field, and you'd start to get camera shake. There's maybe even a hint of that here, anyway.
If you look at Lou's excellent photos, you'll see that (apart from the flash ones) all the birds are in full direct sunlight.

I think you've probably got about the best shots you could manage, given the light (Unless you have a spare $10,000 for a top-end zoom lens). Trying to get a good shot of any bird in a Scottish winter, even when I'm not on a forest trail, is well nigh impossible, so I feel your pain!

One thing I would do is go to 'Set Picture Control' in the shooting menu, and increase the saturation and contrast a bit. Adds a bit more life. Sharpening is best done on the computer.
I hope some of that helps. Love that grasshopper, by the way!

  
DaveH



Posts: 48
Joined: July 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,16:50   

I think the answer generally is keep taking photographs; sometimes, when the light is great, you can get lucky!
Puffin

Kingfisher

;)

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2012,17:15   

Quote (DaveH @ Jan. 26 2012,16:50)
I think the answer generally is keep taking photographs; sometimes, when the light is great, you can get lucky!
Puffin

Kingfisher

;)

Thanks for the recommendations Dave.

And yeah...see, both the puffin and the kingfisher have that 'pop' that I'm talking about. They aren't washed out or grainy; your eye is drawn to the vibrant color and details. Granted chickadees don't have that much color, but some pics of them seem to 'pop' out of the background noise better than mine, nevermind that - as you noted - they are grainier/less detailed.

--------------
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

  
subkumquat



Posts: 26
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: 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.

  
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