Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Beauty of 4K - 16 Jul 2017

I'm finding that I can get some wonderful frames from the Sony a6300 when I shoot in 4K Video mode. At 30 fps and ultra high resolution, individual frames of 8-12 Mb can be grabbed inside Photoshop.

This male Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched near the feeder for a few seconds and allowed me to put the scope on him. If only he had turned his head just a touch more my way I would've been rewarded with a stunning shimmer of ruby-red gorget feathers.

 I kinda like how its eye spot created this streak as it flew off.

My buddy Tim and I went out to Crosswinds Marsh and found a Marsh Wren singing just a few feet away. When it popped into the open I turned the scope and video on it.

A Willow Flycatcher was also in the same patch and was chasing the wrens and Common Yellowthroats as they came into the open. We both knew that someone had a nest nearby!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Downpour! - 07 Jul 2017

Late this afternoon a quick storm moved through the area. Heavy rain lasted for only a few minutes, but managed to soak everything.

Just as it ended this Skunk came out for a quick forage below the feeder.

Then the birds came out to dry. This male Northern Cardinal was particularly wet.

Eastern Towhee - 07 Jul 2017

We've had a pair of Eastern Towhees singing out back of Brownton Abbey for the past few months. Calls of "Drink-your Tiiiii" and "Zreee" have been heard daily since early May, but its only been a few days that I've started seeing them. First the female, and finally the male. They tend to show near the end of the day.

She looks a bit angry...

Bullfrog - 05 Jul 2017

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). Pt. Mouillee SGA, Monroe Co., MI 05 Jul 2017. Digiscoped. Swarovski STX85, 20-60X Eyepiece, Sony a6300, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Digidapter™. Distance 30'. Note the dorsolateral ridge wraps around the large eardrum. On a Green Frog the ridge extends down the back.

Oak Openings Metropark - 03 Jul 2017

After last night's downpours the day was supposed to be nice. It was. I arrived at Oak Openings Metropark shortly after 7 am and enjoyed a nice morning watching Lark Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Chipping Sparrows.

Good start! A brightly-colored male Scarlet Tanager was a nice find as I drove slowly along Girdham Rd. toward the Metropark. It was far back in the field and I felt uncomfortable driving on the two-track where it was perched. So, as I back up another pair of Scarlet Tanagers appeared just outside the car window to my left. But, wouldn't you know it - the camera jammed. Dead batteries. Switched batteries, and still had a frozen shutter. Not a good start. But, the Girdham Rd. corridor was a gem of a habitat, and I could see why its so popular among birders.

I arrived at the Lark Sparrow nesting site and spotted several birds on the road ahead of me. But, they were uncooperative and would remain so for the rest of the morning. However, the Red-headed Woodpeckers were out and I would enjoy some nice digiscoping from 300' away.

This image of the Red-headed Woodpecker is almost identical to the one Paul Jacyk posted on Facebook yesterday. Same bird, same tree, same branch, and almost the same pose. Wild.

Baby birds were about. A fledgling Chipping Sparrow was foraging on the road ahead of me while an adult Chipper was foraging nearby. A short time later I'd find a fledgling Field Sparrow near the cemetery fence. Note the white eye-ring.

I then drove by the Lodge and headed back toward the airport to look for Grasshopper Sparrows. I wasn't disappointed. From a side road I was able to digiscope several birds at fairly close range, but they didn't stay around long.

Another loop through the Metropark kicked up a pair of Common Yellowthroats, and another attempt at the Red-headed Woodpeckers.

I was happy to see this juvenile Eastern Phoebe singing "Fee-BEE". It helped me verify identification of not only it, but the exact same-looking bird that was in my yard late last evening. The cinnamon wing bars and dark beak, grayish chest,  and light tail pumping are also nice clues.

Other highlight birds seen or heard included Wood Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Red-tailed Hawk, Summer Tanager, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, and Indigo Buntings.

Yard Highlights - 02 Jul 2017

The raccoons made off w/ the orange jelly feeder this morning. So, Robin gave me a yogurt container of jelly and a small stand for us to put the dish. Timing was great as the Baltimore Orioles came in by the half dozen. A couple of males, and a pair of fledglings looking for jelly from mom and dad.

One of the birds has a damaged left eye and is having trouble flying. After buying new hummingbird and oriole feeders today the raccoon got them and emptied the jelly and nectar. I found this male stuck to the hummingbird feeder covered in jelly and trying to drink the (lack of) nectar. I was able to approach very closely before it fluttered off to nearby bushes, where I realized it was in trouble.

So, I took the feeders inside, cleaned and freshened them up, and brought them back out just as the little male fluttered back in. I took off one of the yellow plastic flowers from the hummingbird feeder so it could drink easier. It found the hole and spent 30 minutes drinking and resting. He came back a bit later after I took the feeders down for the night.

Later in the day an Eastern Phoebe appeared. It appears to be a juvenile as evidenced by the cinnamon-colored wing bars that are normally absent on adults.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Henslow's Sparrow - 01 Jul 2017

While Robin went for a run I decided to hang out and look for the Henslow's Sparrow that appears to be nesting at Willow Metropark's Washago Pond field just west of the far parking lot. Not more than two minutes after setting up the tripod did the sparrow appear atop its usual perch. It was late in the morning and the winds were blowing, so focusing was difficult. But it stayed for several minutes before flying out farther into the field.

I then walked over to the north side of the field where a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers were singing. I managed to see them fly off, but was unable to get any pics.  So, I turned the scope on the gorgeous little Grass Pinks at my feet.