Bartholomew's Cobble

10 August 2020

Apparently, Bartholomew's Cobble is known as a great venue for birding. I hadn't heard of it before—but if my trip last week is any indication, I should certainly head back.

Northern flicker

August 01, 2020
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 180, 500.0 mm

Red-tailed hawk

August 01, 2020
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 560, 500.0 mm

Turkey vulture

August 01, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 200, 300.0 mm
August 01, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 250, 300.0 mm
August 01, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 110, 300.0 mm

Pileated woodpecker

August 01, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 4000, 300.0 mm

Dragonfly

August 01, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 200, 300.0 mm

Tripds, Timers, and Hummingbirds

4 August 2020

Almost all of my pictures are taken “by hand”. That is, I spot the bird, point the camera, adjust assorted settings, and take the picture. (Yes, there are lots of useless shots that way, but pixels are cheap.) Sometimes, though, I “cheat”. There's a rose of Sharon bush I know of that ruby-throated hummingbirds like to visit in August, but I can't easily predict when. Accordingly, I set up my camera on a tripod, aimed it broadside at one flower, and set the interval timer to take a shot every 15 seconds. 400 pictures later…

I didn't want to examine 400 pictures carefully, though. Accordingly, I wrote a small script that turned them into a short movie. Any time I saw something dark flicker through a frame, I noted where, and went back and reviewed those pictures by hand. (Technical details: I used a high shutter speed, to freeze wing movement, and I used a relatively small aperture to get the entire bird in focus. If you look closely at the picture, you'll see that even 1/1000th of a second exposure wasn't fast enough—I should have gone to 1/2000 or even 1/4000. To make the “movie”, I used ImageMagick to rescale each picture to 25% of the original, converted it to a GIF, and wrote the filename and timestamp in the upper right of each one. I then combined all 400 GIFs into an animated GIF, with each frame lasting 40 ms. That's long enough that I can see the flicker of a hummingbird, and since most of the characters of the filename don't change between frames I can see the approximate point in the sequence. I have to view ~15 shots quickly to pick out the ones I want.)

Ruby-throated hummingbird (female)

July 31, 2020
1/1000, f/16.0, ISO 1400, 120.0 mm

Of course, there are many insects who like flowers, too. And the flowers don't mind that much—look at how pollen-coated they are.

July 30, 2020
1/1000, f/9.0, ISO 500, 120.0 mm
July 31, 2020
1/1000, f/16.0, ISO 1800, 90.0 mm
July 30, 2020
1/1000, f/9.0, ISO 280, 120.0 mm

The Central Park Pond

26 July 2020

I had a great time this morning at the Central Park Pond: a black-crowned night heron, an egret that found some prey, a turtle that decided it wanted to be under a bench instead of in the water, a wood duck, and a great blue heron perched in a tree. I should note: that bird showed why one should not park a car under a tree in which a heron perches…

A Red-Tailed Hawk, Grooming Itself

25 July 2020

A red-tailed hawk was grooming itself. It apparently heard the click of my camera shutter, stopped what it was doing, and lookeed down at me. I suppose I'm anthropomorphizing to say that it was glaring at me…

Red-tailed hawk

July 24, 2020
1/1000, f/8.0, ISO 110, 700.0 mm
July 24, 2020
1/1000, f/8.0, ISO 280, 700.0 mm
July 24, 2020
1/1000, f/8.0, ISO 220, 700.0 mm

Peregrine Falcons

23 July 2020

A pair of peregrine falcons have a nest high up on Riverside Church; the church very kindly installed some 2x4s for them to perch on.

July 20, 2020
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 400, 500.0 mm

The other day, I saw several falcons—at least two, more likely three or four—circling around the Interchurch Center across the street. Speculation I've heard is that this was the parents teaching the fledglings how to fly well.

Peregrine falcon

July 20, 2020
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 500.0 mm
July 20, 2020
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 500.0 mm
July 20, 2020
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 500.0 mm
July 20, 2020
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 500.0 mm

Catch Up: Great Egrets

9 July 2020

Great egrets are such beautiful birds!

Great egret

June 18, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 2800, 410.0 mm
June 23, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 3600, 500.0 mm

Watching Great Blue Herons

6 July 2020

For the last few months, I've regularly visited the Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. As a result, I've been able to track particular nests. Here's a sequence, mostly of one nest, of two chicks from conception to about ready to fledge.

Great blue heron

Here is a shot of two great blue herons mating, on April 12. Note the shape of the trunk of the tree.
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
Apparent nesting behavior, by other herons at the rookery, a week later.
April 19, 2020
1/320, f/8.0, ISO 160, 700.0 mm
Several herons apparently tending their nests.
May 03, 2020
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 160, 500.0 mm
Nest-tending or possibly feeding.
May 14, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 200, 500.0 mm
Note the cute, fuzzy chick! This is the same nest as in the first picture, about seven weeks later. Incubation is 27–29 days.
May 30, 2020
1/320, f/8.0, ISO 400, 700.0 mm
Two hungry chicks, with a parent.
June 02, 2020
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 160, 500.0 mm
The chicks have gotten big. They may be about to fledge, or may have already done so.
July 06, 2020
1/1000, f/8.0, ISO 800, 700.0 mm

Catching Up: Herons

5 July 2020

I especially love the two great blue heron chicks, at the Tracy Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. And of course, the black-crowned night herons in the Central Park Pond are very photogenic.

Great blue heron

May 14, 2020
1/1250, f/9.0, ISO 200, 500.0 mm
June 02, 2020
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 160, 500.0 mm
June 21, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 180, 500.0 mm
June 21, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 200, 500.0 mm
June 21, 2020
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 250, 500.0 mm

Black-crowned night heron

June 23, 2020
1/160, f/16.0, ISO 1000, 300.0 mm

Landing and Take-off by a Red-Tailed Hawk

2 July 2020

I've been remiss in posting to this blog for the last few months, and while I hope to be doing some make-up posts soon, here's are two sequences from tonight: a red-tailed hawk landing in a tree—note the pine needles flying in the second picture, and the small bird fleeing its new neighbor in the fourth—and then it taking off.

Red-tailed hawk

July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 640, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 800, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 800, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 800, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 800, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 900, 500.0 mm
July 02, 2020
1/640, f/11.0, ISO 1000, 500.0 mm

Great Blue Herons Mating

12 April 2020

There's a wildlife sanctuary run by Mass Audubon in Richmond, Massachusetts. I don't know how big the entire property is; what's available is a small pull-off from the road from which one can observe a beaver pond with more than twenty nests for great blue herons. I went there this morning, and although the light wasn't great for seeing or photography—the nests are well to the east of the road, so they were backlit—there were a number of birds visible. I wasn't certain what I was seeing at one point, when one of two birds in one nest started flapping its wings, but I figured I'd photograph it—display behavior, I guessed. Well, yes, it was mating related…

April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm
April 12, 2020
1/250, f/8.0, ISO 200, 700.0 mm