|Ruby Crowned Kinglet in a Pussywillow Tree|
The last two days have been so beautiful out weather-wise, I couldn't help but get out there and take some photos. I have a new camera body and I'm still trying to learn its ways before May arrives. There will come a day where I will go birding without my camera but I guess for now, lots of pictures will be taken! :-) I think the reason I take photos was because when I started birding almost 2 years ago, I did not know one bird from another, so I would take photos then post-identify. I didn't even have binoculars or a field guide till about 1 year into the hobby. It started off with just a Camera and www.allaboutbirds.org. Blake Mann's blog as well as Paul Pratt's blog and nature tours really spawned my interest in nature. I thought about this question: "when did I start birding?" recently and the answer is the day I saw a Green Heron at Ojibway on May 2nd, 2009.
Birder or Photographer?
One or two people have told me that I'm a photographer, not a birder! One woman at Pointe Mouillee told me that without even knowing me! I found it odd that she said that because she had a white-bodied Canon "L" lens, and I was rockin' a Sigma! I think I'm a birder that loves to photograph nature. A photo-naturalist? But, I concede, I'm not an ornithologist. I would like to take the Ornithology course at the University of Windsor with Dr Mennill but I don't know if people working 9-5s can have the luxury of taking such courses.
Today I saw three separate pairs of Bluebirds in the park. I typically find them by first hearing them.Listen for a depressing sounding mur-mur like warble.
See the above photo in full size!
I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing these wonderful birds. Today, I just leaned against a giant Oak tree for 10 or so minutes watching the above pair sallying and flycatching in a beautiful meadow. I put the camera away and just quietly watched from a safe distance of 30-40m. Very cool!
In the Tallgrass Praire park of Ojibway, I saw/heard some really strange mating behaviors from three treetop Northern Flickers. The photo below shows the Flickers with their tails spread out and they were barking up a storm.(This photo reminds me of John James Audubon's drawings of them). I tried to take video of them, but of course, they were quiet by the time I started recording.
This was a beautiful Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker but it was foraging Aspen Catkins and difficult to photograph.
Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen several times on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I had my first Ruby Crowned Kinglet as well (see first photo in this posting).
Lastly, I finally saw an Eastern Towhee, although he was being shy in a thicket and refused to entertain my vocalizations. I also found a Winter Wren near the Milk Ponds of the Tallgrass area. Almost not worth posting. Almost! The Winter Wren holds a special place in my birding memoirs. I would almost say it is a better bird to see than say, a Painted Bunting. Sure the Painted Bunting is colorful and mind-blowing. But the Winter Wren is understated and tiny. It's local. Canadian. Hard to find unless you understand its habitat.
Winter Wren...Good birding!
Bonus Video: (sorry, its shaky... its at 500mm x1.6 magnification, handheld)