Archive for March, 2010


Waving the Flag

I had wanted to post some more photos from last years EAA Airventure air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but one of my programs isn’t cooperating which is preventing me from posting the pictures I wanted to post.  It’s a simple program that does one thing very well.  Dust gets inside the camera, especially when at an outdoor event with a lot of whirling propellers and thousands of people milling around, creating dust spots on the images.  The program that is giving me problems today has a useful tool I use to edit out those dust spots.  I very rarely use the program because those dust spots only show up in the background of photos with a nice blue sky, like air show photos.  I’ll work with it later in the week when I have more time and post the photos I wanted later this week.  So instead, today, some photos of “Old Glory” taken at Oshkosh in 2009 and Boscobel in 2008.


Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Boscobel, Wisconsin


Boscobel, Wisconsin


Sandhill Crane

One of the noisier residents of the marsh rookery.  Sandhill Cranes can be heard from miles away.  Large impressive birds whose coloring offers them excellent camouflage in Wisconsin’s cattail marshes.



Ring-necked Pheasant

On the drive home Saturday, I had just passed a group of hunters getting ready to go out in a field.  Hunting birds has always been popular in Wisconsin, so I didn’t think I would get any photos without disturbing the hunters. 

About a mile from where I saw the hunters, I spotted a Bald Eagle circling a field.  Bald Eagles prefer fish, but this time of year with the eaglets now hatched, they will bring in anything to feed their young’s growing hunger.  I guess that eagle had been searching for field mice.  When it spotted my car it flew off toward the Wisconsin River and landed in a tree.

When I first spotted the eagle, it had been about thirty feet off the ground and circling, so I slowed way down in case it had spotted some road-kill or was after something close to the road.  When it landed in a tree, I decided to stop the car and try to get some shots.  With the overcast conditions it turned out the bird landed too far away to get a decent shot.  It stayed in that tree for a couple minutes and then flew off toward the Wisconsin River which is about a mile away.

That’s when I heard a cackling sound – similar to a chicken.  The cackling got my attention though I couldn’t see it.  I began scanning the field where the eagle had been circling and eventually I noticed a pair of Ring-necked Pheasants.  Apparently the Bald Eagle had spotted them and had driven them into a clump of trees.  They emerged from the trees and headed back toward what I assumed were their nests.


This male slowly walked over to a nest and sat on it.


That’s when I noticed the second male emerging from the trees.


With the hunters less than a mile away and an eagle having identified their nesting area, these birds have probably become someone’s lunch.


Bald Eagles: Live Eagle Cam

I have a new favorite television channel.  It’s called the Duke Farms Eagle Cam.  The live stream is from their website, you can find a link to the website below.


Bald Eagles: Empty Nest

I know the location of several Bald Eagle’s nests.  With all the leaves gone, spotting one is pretty easy.  One of the nests is located on private land and is very close to a farm road, so during early spring I always check to see if the eagles have returned.  I’ve watched this pair of eagles raise two sets of eaglets over the last two years.  Imagine my disappointment when I drove over to the nest on Friday and discovered an empty nest.


Not only could I not see any eagles, but a Red-tailed Hawk circled ominously over the nest.  Surely a bad sign because no self-respecting eagle would ever allow a potential competitor so close to its nest.  When I got home and uploaded my photos from the weekend into the computer, I decided to use the computer to zoom in on the empty nest photos just to make sure it was empty.


Look closely and you’ll see the tips of an eagle’s wings sticking up in the center of the nest.  They have returned and one of them diligently guarded the eggs.


Black-capped Chickadee

Trying to get a photo of something as small and energetic as a Black-capped Chickadee can prove as futile as trying to photograph the wind. 


I thought about different ways to convey the sense of how windy and cold it was here yesterday.  The way the water rippled in the marsh?  Maybe, but that didn’t convey the coldness of the wind-chill.  Taking a picture and composing a picture are two very different critters.  Technically, I’m fine with the pictures I get, but not fine with their composition.  How do you convey a sense of cold?  of windiness?  when dust or leaves or snow isn’t being blown around?  The picture below doesn’t show the windiness but it does show how an animal reacts to the windy cold.  When I think of Canadian Geese I think of a hardy animal capable of enduring biting cold and bitter winds. 


Normally, a goose will sleep with their head on their back so they can keep an eye on potential predators.  This goose is resting with its head underneath to keep it out of the wind.  The constant wind at about fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour, pushed already low temperatures in the forties to below freezing with the wind-chill.  When I finished taking these pictures my fingers were numb with cold and I was there less than a half an hour.

March 2010

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