At the beginning of March, I travelled to Costa Rica with McDonald Wildlife Photogrpahy to photograph volcanoes, hummingbirds and other rain forest creatures. We had no luck with the volcano as El Ninio was making its impression on the Costa Rican dry season. The rainy weather did madi it possible to photograph birds most of the day, when they would typically avoid the heat of mid-day. One of our first stops was at a small nature preserve known for its boat-billed herons, large birds with very large bills. Other birds visited a feeding station. Shown here are Boat-billed Herons, a Collared Aracari, White-collared Manakin displaying, and Tent-making Bats. The tent making bats chewa small section in the middle of the large leaf causing it to fold over, making a tent for them to sleep in. Also shown are Pasarini’s Tanager, Summer Tanager and a Blue-grey tanager.
This week the weather forcaseters imagined a big storm hiting the Northeast; however, it only brought a few inches of snow. The windblown snow that did arrive stuck to everything. The first image is from the side yard, before the turkeys got to tranpling through the snow. I also drove to some locations in town where streams pass under the road to see if I could find any good scenes to photograph. Then I went into the back yard to photograph the birds coming to our feeding stations. The scenic images were taken with my new Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-105mm IS lens. The the birds were photographed with my Canon 7D, and the 500mm f4 with a 1.4X converter on it. I cropped the images after that. It’s amazing how small a crop can be made and retain the details of the feathers.
This spring the male turkeys that visited my yard spent a lot of time displaying. Well, it must have worked (at least for one). A female started visiting to feed her nine poults (turkey chicks) at our bird feeders. The little round birds were so cute when they first arrived in early June. They were very skittish and the mother did not allow any approach, even when we went out to throw some seed on the ground, so the first few photos are from the kitchen window. Normally, the adults stay within six to eight feet when we walk about the yard, especially if we are bringing seed. As the poults got older, the mother did get comfortable with us bringing seed and rarely moved more than six feet out of our way, and would start running for the seed before we’d finished throwing it. The image of the single poult was taken on August 1, and is just about two months old.
When young, the poults would occasionally hide under the mother’s belly for warmth or protection. You can see a couple sets of small legs. There are five poults under the mother.
On December 20, 2008 we had a snowstorm that dropped 10 inches of snow in our yard. Since we feed the birds a variety of foods, we attract a large variety of birds that say over the winter. Not only do we get the typically wintering birds such as Blue Jays, Chickadees, Cardinals, Juncos and Titmouse, we also have a resident Carolina Wren and a Northern Oriole which stay for the winter. I believe the oriole is the same one that stayed last winter as it has learned to eat the variety of food we put out; peanuts, bread, and seeds from the feeders. Orioles are insect feeders and have a soft bill so cracking seeds is not an option. This one has figured out, or learned by watching the others, how to perch on suet feeders as well as the tube feeders hanging in the yard.
The day after the storm, I went into the back yard to photographs birds while it was still snowing a bit to make the images shown here.