Finally! The gigantic backlog of photos from the past year and four months is finally up on my blog. I may have missed a few here and there, and I’ll post any good photos I find as I find them, but the bulk of my bird, wildlife, macro, and other nature photography for 2012 is up. Everything from here on out will be new, stuff recently photographed. Aside from a damaged lens that can’t take sharp photos, I hope there will be a visible difference between the photos I take going forward, and the photos I took a year before…from an artistic, aesthetic, and overall quality standpoint anyway.
I have a number of photos of shore birds from last week to post. I managed to get a few good series, including one of a couple fighting Avocets! It sounds, and feels, like spring finally hit in full force yesterday (mark it, April 28, 2013)! The average daytime temperature jumped by at least 8-10 degrees, average night temperature seems to have settled around 60, where as before it was usually in the mid 40s and low 50s. A couple new birds showed up…I can’t seem to get a clear photo of them from an average distance (only good backyard photos I’m getting these days with this lens are near the minimum focus distance of the lens, so around 6 feet from the camera.) One of them is very small…looks even smaller than a Black-capped Chickadee…darkish gray on top/wings, lightish gray underneath…but with a little bit of brown around the face. Very short bill, similar to a chickadee. Not sure what it is, haven’t had luck looking through bird identification guides online. I’ll see if I can clean up one of the shots I took and post it, in case anyone has better identification skills than I do (which is quite likely, I still have the ID skills of a noob!)
A fairly wide variety of birds in my yard yesterday and today. The ever-present House Finch, in all forms…and they all seem to have coupled up at this point. The American Goldfinch is back. They are a year-round resident here in Colorado, but they seem to hang out elsewhere through the deepest part of the winter. I haven’t seen any of them since November. A couple showed up yesterday, happily eating my Nyjer. It looks like a few of the Juncos are still around, although for the most part it looks like they have moved on. They were by far the most prolific bird during the winter…a group 25-30 strong spent the bulk of the winter in my yard, outnumbering all other birds on a daily basis. House Sparrows as well, and they have definitely coupled up…saw several carrying nesting material to my pine trees, as well as the pine trees of my back neighbor. I think I saw a couple of other types of Sparrow…wasn’t able to get any good shots, so I am not certain of the IDs. I am certain I’ve seen one of the varieties late last year, and I’ll see if I can get an ID. The Black-capped Chickadees are out in force…they also seem to have coupled up, or at least, they seem to come and go in pairs. 😉 They have been scouting my bird nesting boxes a LOT. Poking their heads in, tapping the wood (they do that a lot…seems the quality of the wood is rather important!) Not sure if they will actually nest in any of them…to both sides of my yard are families with several kids. Behind me, they have a yapper of a dog. Not sure of they will be willing to put up with all that commotion or not. Maybe once the trees start growing again, that will create enough protection that they will stick around and nest.
Two types of dove are here…Mourning Doves are a staple here, however we also seem to have a number of Eurasian Collared Doves. I was chatting with some other birders last week, and one of them mentioned they were an invasive species, with the capability to push out the Mourning Doves. They might be problematic in other ways as well. I haven’t researched/confirmed that yet, but if it is true, it’s sad. Too many invasive species these days, and they rarely seem to be benign the the endemic populations. A number of Northern Flicker are here as well. I saw only one of them last year, there are at least two couples, and maybe a few extra males hanging about as well. I suspect the suet I’ve been hanging out is the draw…I just hope they don’t start pounding out holes in my house, or kill any of my trees!
Blue Jays showed up today. I did not see any of them, but I heard several…the unmistakable “Jeer!” call. I really love the Blue Jays…amazing mimics! I’ve heard them mimic the Northern Flickers, I’ve heard them mimic eagles and hawks. I’ve even heard them making sounds I didn’t even know a bird could make! They are apparently one of the more vocal bird species. Not quite as prolific and verbal as the chickadees, which have over 13 different types of calls, but generally more than most other birds. I never really captured the Jays very well last year. All of them, Blue, Scrub, and Stellar’s are all rather sneaky, stealthy birds when they want to be. Baiting them definitely draws them in, but they know a camera when they see one, and can be in and out before you have time to focus, let alone get a nicely composed shot. (I’m not one for just posting photos…its my artform, and I’m pretty picky about the quality, both technical and aesthetic, of my work.) I hope to get some better shots of the Jays if they stick around.
In addition to the Jays, the Grackles and RWBs are back. Red-wing Blackbird are year-round residents, however they seem to move to other locations in the state during winter. They are back at Cherry Creek in force, and apparently so in my yard as well. Not really sure how I feel about the Grackles and RWBs. Last year, first year I put out any seed, they pretty much dominated. They get feisty, they eat EVERYTHING, and eat it in HUGE quantities. I don’t think I really want to have 50+ grackles and 50+ RWBs in my yard all summer…not sure how to combat that, though. I prefer the more delicate songbirds…and I would like to attract a greater variety of them (and this year, there seems to be two new birds I have yet to identify…maybe tits or warblers…very tiny birds either way.)
Well, once I’ve finished working up my last two shoots, I’ll start posting galleries. Nothing printable, but the detail is better than it was before, and I have quite a number of shots that can be made web-ready with a little work. Till then!