Bill’s Day Nature Log 12/15/2012

  • Slept in a bit after reading the unpromising weather forecast.  Was out the door at 9:00 heading to Shaw Nature Reserve.
  • I was a bit concerned with arriving at SNR so late, but then I remembered, if the conditions are anything less than perfect the majority will stay away.  I saw only a few folks on the trails.
  • Weather conditions were quite poor for bird photography: very windy, mostly cloudy with fast moving clouds causing constantly changing light.
  • Not very birdy.  Even usual favorite spots were quite slow. Looking for winter sparrows and BRCR, but finding neither.
  • Officially one of my favorite things: walking through a recently burned area.  Love the smell of the wildfire, the still-smoking embers, watching the Flickers pick through the ashes, assuming they are picking up half-cooked grubs and other goodies.
  • I would love to take a year off of everything and follow the Flickers.  So many questions that I would like answered: Why does it seem that whole groups or population? move in and out of areas.  One week, I’ll see dozens, then I won’t see a one for a month.  Why are they so often seen on the ground, even in turf?  What is the nature of these relatively large groups they seem to stay in?  Are they closely related?
  • I did see a few Wild Turkeys plucking around a recently burned section of new savannah.
  • Water in creeks!
  • Spring Peepers being quite vocal.
  • Kentucky Coffee Tree seed pods were dropping.  Of course I took one.  Ate a bit of the resinous and sweet goo that covers seeds.
  • I noticed the large river bottom prairie has been planted with trees!  Something in the red-oak family.  I’m sure the expert habitat restorers know what is best, but I enjoyed this area and the habitat edges it provided.  Usually overflowing with birds and one of the best spots for insects I know of.  We’ll see what it will turn into.

“Eastern Bluebird, SNR, Autumn 2012”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/6.3, 1/1600 sec
  • Left for RMBS and arrived with a couple hours of light left to photograph the Trumpeter Swans.  Lighting and background clouds were quite nice.
  • A distinct Tundra Swan could be heard constantly in the larger group.  It never did come close enough to take that “species distinction” shot.


“Changing Skies”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/7.1, 1/2000 sec
  • First good workout with complete gear package of 500mm and the new Sidekick mount.  Worked beyond expectations.  So glad I decided to get the Sidekick, although I hated to make another expenditure so soon following lens.  So much better than trying to use ballhead alone for lens support.
  • Worked great on monopod and BH-30 ballhead for ~4 mile hike.  Very stable support for monopod.
  • Also worked great on tripod with BH-40.  I can’t imagine a much better support for this combo.
  • Many thanks to Iris Dement for the lyrics to use for the title of the pic below.  These are a pair of obviously worn birds.  Most of the birds today came in with muddy feet, being out in the fields feasting on “wasted” grain.


“I Never Dreamed Today Would Come, When Love Was Young”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 800,  f/5.6, 1/1600 sec

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