Whilst looking for one species of duck (which I did not find) I was greeted by a group of mallards that were very used to people and came directly to me in hopes of snackies. They were not pleased with just a photographer and her camera.
Thems the breaks, duckies!
But it did turn out well anyway as the sun was beginning to rise in the sky and bathed both the water of the pond and Lady Mallard here in glorious golden hour light. The water almost looks like it was painted, don’t you think so?
Spring is letting winter bully it about! One day we had 80 degree weather then the very next it was down to the 50’s. We’ve had wonderful sun followed by gloomy overcast skies – all in the same day. And this past weekend when I went in search of a particular duck at a park pond right at sunrise, it was 28 degrees.
This is ridiculous! There were even ice crystals on the poor daffodils but it is “supposed” to get warmer with sun next week. Weather is fickle like that. So here is a female mallard duck that posed for me in the dawns early light. Will share her in color next.
Still on the trail at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge we came upon another Egret that while not as close as the prior one, was still at a good enough distance for me to capture it standing on this nesting area. I didn’t know if it belonged to the egret or not but it did have the bright green breeding color around it’s eyes so who knows!
When I first started blogging I was shooting with a Canon 4D MIII. A few years back I switched to the Sony mirrorless system and have been a Sony shooter ever since. I’d like to share with you my first time being on a podcast.
I was thrilled to be interviewed by Sony artisan Tony Gale on the Sonyalphaphotographers.com podcast about how I got into photography, what equipment I use and so forth. Here is the link to my interview.
As mentioned in a prior post, I didn’t get deeply into bird photography until the year that wasn’t, 2020. Last year I my interest and skills in bird photography grew. I still have a lot to learn but it’s a fun learning curve. Last year we took a road trip up north in Ohio and did a drive through the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Some weekends during the year they allow cars to drive around the refuge and depending on where the birds may be, you may not even need to leave your car. While that has some benefits, a big problem I discovered is that no matter how smoothly you think your car runs, there will be vibrations which often transfer to you and your camera – especially if you have a long zoom lens even with image stabilization.
For that “problem” I suggest pulling over and turning off your engine and have something to rest your camera lens on over the door or window. A cut pool noodle can work or you can get a photo sand bag to use. I opted to get the sand bag which is actually a rice bag. Rice was cheaper than beans and both are lighter than sand.
One of the first images I got was this one of an Egret and his reflection.
This was taken from the back seat of my car. It was one of the closer to the road birds (besides the geese that were constantly rowdy) we came upon on our drive. There will be more coming next.
Alas, we had come to the end of our Scotland road trip. No more isles and no more being in the Highlands. We were now in the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. And a funny thing happened, after being such a city person and being in shock over certain things I took for granted as an American (by that I mean air conditioning, elevators, restaurants open all day…stuff like that) being in a big city again rendered me momentarily “uncomfortable”.
The restaurants still had limited hours but there were a couple within walking distance of our modern big chain hotel that were open all hours but I found having AC again to be cold and it was soooooo crowded. I had gotten very comfortable with open spaces and fewer people. Who knew!
A view of the busy every day Royal Mile, the tourism center of Edinburgh.
Billy had to adjust as well as there were no open fields to graze in and the ones we did see I advised him not to as many were public parks and I told him his nibbling might be frowned upon. That brought his spirits down a bit and he was afraid he might get lost in the big city. Then, one day when he ventured out with me onto the Royal Mile, he wanted to help a local busker by batting his big coo eyes at the crowd to help him make a few pounds.
Billy was missing the Highlands and his kin but he did come out every morning at breakfast for his bowl of oats and enjoyed visiting the other sites in the city where movies had been filmed like Waverly Train station here on the right where they filmed a bit of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity war.
And Victoria Street which was the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. You haven’t had a good chuckle until you’ve seen a coo try to wave a stick as a wand and say abracadabra!
The day before we were scheduled to come home Billy surprised me with a new friend. Nessie! He said he found her “lost” in the city and asked if he could keep her. I made him promise to take care of her and feed her so ever since there has been a Nessie in the house.
She’s a musical wee beastie!
We hope you have enjoyed Billy’s travels through Scotland. Hopefully one day soonish he will have a new travel journal to share.
Before 2020 and the lock downs I wasn’t much into bird photography; that was DH’s thing. But when being inside with DH all the time finally got to me I decided to venture out into nature with him to try bird photography.
And I was hooked!
I went from knowing the basics about birds to now being able to recognize a Coot from a Gallinule and a Red headed duck from a Canvas back duck. By the way, I never knew there were so many different species of ducks out there!
Last year was my first year to learn about warblers and their migration. Lucky for us, they happen to make a pit stop here in Ohio before heading off to Canada for breeding season. It’s such a big deal that there is an entire week devoted to it in May and it really is a big deal! Last year while the birders were there (including us for the first time) the big festival wasn’t. It returns this year, read about it here.
Only one potential issue. The boardwalk and area where the birds and birders all congregate was hit hard by a big storm last year with trees knocked down and lots of damage so things may be a bit different. But there are plenty of places along the Erie shore where the birds hopefully will be if not so much around the boardwalk. So what’s a butter butt?
Last year was a learning curve for me with photographing warblers. They are little, quick and tend to hide high in trees or deep in the leaves. But I did get some shots which I will share hopefully soon. Thanks to the app Ebird and many fellow birders on the boardwalk, I learned not only where the birds were (I was terrible at spotting them) but their names as well…and that’s where butter butt makes its appearance.
This bird’s real name is the Yellow Rumped Warbler, I’m assuming it’s because besides the yellow patch on the head it also has one on its rump. Birders have nicknamed it – you guessed it – butter butt!
Amazing how far behind one can get when out of commission for a couple of weeks. Plus, wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as I found myself scratching off things to do a few more thing popped up (two of which I am THRILLED about but cannot talk about just yet) which slowed me down again.
Such is life…
Billy is furiously working on the last chapter of his travels in Scotland (which is quite amazing considering he has hooves instead of fingers) and is beginning to ask me when he can go on another. One thing at a time, little dude, one thing at a time. So here is another sunny day sunflower photo with the bonus of a yellow swallowtail butterfly to brighten your Monday.