Thursday, May 29, 2008

Black-billed Cuckoo!

I was birding at Baxter's Hollow today and found this Black-billed Cuckoo! The bird was soo nice, it sat right out in the open:

I also heard a Connecticut warbler call. I sure wish it had sang because ID by call is a little shaky but I've ticked it anyway.

It's looking like one of my WI year list nemesis birds will be Worm-eating Warbler. So far I've dipped twice on it.

I then stopped at Bakken's Pond. They have drawn the water level down quite a bit and there are a good number of mudflats showing. Aaron H and I are rather ecstatic! I found around 100 Least Sandpipers, ~50 Dunlin, and several SemiP Pipers and Plovers. There was probably more out there but it was raining pretty hard and visibility was poor.
I did see at least 30 Great Blue Herons though!! That's more Great Blues in one place than I've ever seen other than at a rookery!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Which Warbler?

Ok! Quiz time again!

Which Warbler is this:

Leave your answer in the comments section.

Good luck.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Cuckoo day

Yes, it was a Cuckoo day. Literally. I heard, and saw both species of Cuckoos today!

First I heard the Black-billed as I was listening to a singing Canada Warbler.

Then, I was sitting on my front porch when I heard that characteristic "knocking" sound coming from the maple tree next to my house! I ran and grabbed my camera and managed to get some shots of this Yellow-billed Cuckoo:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Light Painting

I do a lot of bird, nature and scenery photography. I've recently been experimenting with a different type of photography though. It's called light painting. It has to be done either at night, or someplace dark and has to be a subject that doesn't move.   Something like this barn:

It's pretty fun if you have other colors to use. I just used white for now because it was easier than figuring out how to make colors quickly interchangeable.  

What you do is set up your tripod and point your camera at your subject. Then set the shutter for as long as it will go (the longer the shutter, the more time you have to "paint") then you can adjust the aperture so that it doesn't get over exposed. 

Then, take a bright, powerful light (I used a spotlight), trip the shutter first of course, and shine the light on your subject anywhere that you want lit up. 

It's a pretty neat way to play with light and shadows. 

Here's a golf ball I was playing around with one day:

I used white, Red and Green light:

Here's in black and white:

So have fun with your "painting"! 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Catching up

Man, I am waay behind on posts these days.  It's only likely to get worse too.  Since I'll be gone so much this summer, I be able to post only when I have a chance. Who knows how often that will be.  So while I'm catching up here......

I've gotten through the state birds I got at the convention. Here's some random pictures from the convention:
First this N  Parula:

I managed to catch him flying:

Yay! A Black-throated Blue Warbler!!


You guys know this one right? 



And again!: 

Lastly, this Magnolia: 

The WSO's 69th annual convention was a blast!  I'll be posting the rest of my pictures on my website soon. I'll post the link when I do.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More state birds! Mocker, Godwit and Phalarope!

Well, here's a few more state birds I added at the convention.  First was a N Mockingbird!! 
Not a write up species like the Grosbeak but it's a good state bird just the same!  We found this one while looking for Lark Sparrows and other grassland birds. 

State bird #2, lifer #1! 
Yes, it's a Phalarope. Actually, without the picture, I wouldn't have been able to add this bird. I mis-IDed it the first time around.  After a 2nd look, I quickly noted the field marks that made this bird different. I was quite pleasantly surprised!  Anyone know this one? 

Now on to state bird #3 and lifer #2!!  I knew this bird was there and was looking for it. It took me all of 2 mins to find it. When I did I said "Bingo, there's the bird"!!!  

Can anyone ID this bird?  

It's a large shorebird with a Long, straight bill

If you know large shorebirds you should be able to.  Post your answers in a comment!  

Monday, May 19, 2008

A new state bird!

Anyone know this bird? ID anyone?: (Very good to those that did!) 

This was one unexpected bird. It was Thurs morning on the WSO convention field trip and the leaders had just picked out an Orchard Oriole. Except, they did it by song. No one expected what came next. We were all searching the tree looking for the "Orchard Oriole" that Daryl and Noel had pointed out when Joan Sommer, finally finding the bird, said "But it's all blue with rusty wingbars".   
6 or 7 of us (including me, Daryl and Noel) all yelled at the same time "BLUE GROSBEAK"!!!!!!!!!!!

We all got fantastic looks at the bird and I got some decent pictures.  It was fantastic!!  Not a life bird, but still a state bird all the same. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

WSO Convention!

I just got home from the WSO's annual convention. This year it was in Mequon WI. 

I added 4 lifers, several state birds and a good number of year birds and state year birds. 

The most unexpected bird of the weekend was a Blue Grosbeak!!  Then a Mockingbird! 

The best birds of the weekend were: 1 Ruff!!!!!!!!!! 1 Hudsonian Godwit!!!! 

More details as soon as I've caught up on sleep! I'm beat. 4am wakeup for 4 days is a killer. 

I've updated my lists so check them out on the right side of the blog. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hunting for a nemesis bird

Well, there's the habitat. Brushy lowland that is perfect habitat for the bird I'm looking for.
What nemesis bird do you think it could be? No, it's not a WI bird. I've already seen every WI bird that frequents this habitat.
Not a WI bird you say? yep, it's rare here. It's a southern bird, a bird that's normally found in the southeast. Any guesses yet?
No, it's not a duck, nor a goose.... No, it's not a rail, not even a warbler. Got it? Here's another hint, it's a passerine. More? alright, it's not a sparrow either. Still not have it? Here's the last hint: it's a bird that I've been after for a long time. A bird that I've missed countless times. A bird that I've missed only by hours and sometimes minutes. If you know me, then you know now which species it is. You're probably on the edge of your chair right now waiting to hear if I found it. ;)
You can stop the suspense, I haven't seen it yet. This time I dipped by about 24 hours.

Instead, this BC Chickadee posed very nicely for me:

I'm trying again at 5:30 tomorrow morning. Hopefully the bird will be there. I soo want that bird!!