Friday, December 17, 2010

Artistic Bird Landscape-your impression/thoughts?

I love how this image has such an artistic look to it. I've added a slight vignette to it. I took this one during one of our beautiful Idaho snow storms. I'm so blessed to live in this gorgeous state.

Your comments are welcomed. I would love to hear some other impressions or thoughts about this may click on the title of this post to see it larger.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hawk in my backyard (FOY)

Two days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the first of the year (season) hawk in my backyard. They are so cool! He watched our bushes for a bit and then flew off to a neighbor's fence and continued looking for food. I just love the birds of prey! Welcome back!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gray Jay

This inquisitive bird landed in a tree near where we stopped for a picnic lunch, while recently at Jenny Lake, in Grand Teton N.P. in Wyoming. (USA)

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snatching Insects

This year I have really enjoyed watching the hummingbirds in our backyard. We have two feeders out and several hummers come to them, as well as to the flowers in our yard. We've had mostly females and young ones, making it quite hard to identify what kind they are. I know we've had some Black-chinned hummingbirds because of their distinctive habit of pumping their tails.

The bird in this image was snatching tiny insects out of mid-air, allowing me to capture it in full light. My feeders are in the shade so they're usually backlit and if I don't use a flash, good luck getting a good image. I added a filter in Adobe Lightroom 3 to this image and although the colors are not true, I love the golden look it has given this image.

If you can identify what kind of hummingbird is in this picture, feel free to leave it in a comment.

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the Meantime

I haven't posted lately. I've been on vacation, planning 11th grade courses for my homeschooled teen, having computer problems that proclude me from editing and uploading images, but hope to have some newer images up soon! Looking at getting a Macbook Pro. I hate change, but I may have to bite the bullet. In the meantime, I'm sharing this little vignetted image is of a young chipping sparrow that I took in the spring. Rather than remove the distracting elements in Photoshop, I added the vignette. I love the look of this image, how it looks like a painting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On My Own-An Independent Film

I know this post has nothing to do with birds, but I know what kind people you all are and that you wouldn't mind...

I took the stills for this independent film, last summer. The movie is by AKB Productions and premieres on August 21, 2010, in Boise, Idaho. This is the movie poster for promotion of the film. (The graphics were done by Media Ghost Productions.) Click here for more about On My Own, and to see the movie trailers.

For more about the film company or to see other films they've done, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested on working on their next full-length film, A Sweeter Song, click here for more info.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, WMA

Last weekend I went up to the Little Camas Prairie, near Fairfield, Idaho. I am posting a few of the images I took at the Little Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, WMA. These are some of the images with birds in them.
From what I've read, there are hundreds of birds there, in the early morning this time of year. I didn't get there quite early enough to catch the many many shorebirds and sandhill cranes, but still saw several and even a few of the cranes before we entered this WMA. The area had plenty of yellow-headed blackbirds! I hope to stay in the area overnight sometime to be there for the hours of great light, too.

A yellow-headed blackbird stands out amongst a field of camas lilies in bloom.
Camas County, Idaho.

Yellow-headed blackbird on fencepost in wetlands area.
More images from this shoot, HERE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Burrowing Owl Babies

For the past several months we've been making drive-bys, taking pictures of burrowing owls and hoping to eventually see some young burrowing owls, in the wild. Tonight we finally saw them! The grasses in the fields have grown so high, but I could just see their fuzzy little heads down in the the grass. I stood on the runner of our trooper to get up high enough to see these guys enough to get a photo. They were so cute and their parents were very diligent about watching over them. The most I counted was 7, but there are most likely more that were out of sight behind the bush, in the right side of the frame, where the entrance to their burrow is. It's my pleasure to finally be able to share these little guys with you all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My image=Honorable Mention

I recently entered the spring Idaho Birding Photo Competition, sponsored by Idaho Camera. Out of 94 entries, my burrowing owl image, below, took an Honorable Mention. I am quite proud of my image and the comments by the judges.

Judges Comments: "This is the kind of image I would see in National Geographic. The first thing that strikes me is the eyes of the owl that captures the viewer and holds them. It is an intense stare and you get a connection to the owl because of this. I like the way the creator of this image simplified the background through shallow depth of field, the background is completely indistinct and just becomes a lovely green backdrop to this image. I like the rim light that really make the bird stand out from the background, and the fact there is enough shadow detail for those eyes to grab you. I think the only thing I find myself wanting is a little more intensity in the eyes...not too much. That might be accomplished through a low-power fill in flash or perhaps some mild post-process. All in all, a great image."

I really enjoyed getting the judges' comments on my own image, as well as the others, as they help me improve as a photographer.

I knew when I saw the winning image that it would probably take first, and I agree with the judges' 1st. place pick. Personally, I would have liked to see a little bit more light on the eyes, though. See it here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

American Avocet-Camas County, Idaho

Saw my first American Avocet, at least since I've been trying to find and identify birds, a couple of days ago. It was at the Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, in the central region of southern Idaho. I was actually there to see if the camas lilies were blooming yet, but there were very few just beginning to bloom. I guess I'll have to go back in a few weeks. Yay!

This Avocet is wearing its breeding plumage. They don't have the rusty red color in the winter or when they are not breeding. It's pretty cool the way they dress to impress! LOL

I don't know much about these long legged birds, but I think they are quite pretty. According to the "Birds of Idaho Field Guide", they sweep their bills back and forth to find insects in the mud in shallow water. They migrate to Mexico and they nest in southern Idaho. They are also one of the few long-legged shore birds in Idaho.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How cute is this?

This cute little owl is a juvenile short-eared owl. Since I'm new to birding and am not really confident with some ID's, a birder friend helped me ID it.

We were driving home and saw this little guy by the side of the road and partially in it. We slowed and he flew and landed right in the middle of the road in front of us. The sun was just about down and I still had my polarizing filter on my lens causing a further loss of light, so it's a bit blurry. It was also taken through the windshield so that adds to the lack of clarity, but at least I got a photo that was good enough for ID purposes. He looked so lonely, I hope his family was close by. I'm not sure how old it is, but it is a young one.

This is the first time I've seen a SE owl in the wild, so it was quite exciting! I will add it to my life list. I've not gotten so in to birding that I'm competing with my lists; they are just for my own enjoyment and purposes at this point. My kids already jokingly or maybe not so jokingly call me the "Crazy Bird Lady". Oh well, they could be calling me worse, I suppose. haha Maybe I'm still more of a bird-watcher than a birder. Maybe one of you true birders can help me out with that one. :D

Falcon Cam Update-chicks have hatched!

I've been lagging a bit on the falcon updates. I've been too busy schooling my daughter, and watching and shooting birds to be on the computer much lately. Here's a quote from the Boise, Idaho Peregrine Falconcam website,

5/25/10: "Hatching has begun! Two chicks could be seen in the nest early this morning. The tiny birds are covered with white downy feathers. They are unable to regulate their body temperatures for up to two weeks, so they will stay under the adults for warmth. See our Facebook page for pictures of the chicks."

These birds are so gorgeous and it's such a great privilege to be able to view into this nest and watch what goes on and see the chicks. Fun stuff! Make sure you tune in to see the chicks and maybe even see an egg hatch!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Backyard Birds in the Rain

Today was an unusually rainy, cool day for this time of the year, in my neck of the woods. The birds didn't seem to mind too much, though. They were going about their winging, fledging, feeding, flitting, and generally seemed to be enjoying the spring rain. I thought I'd share a few of the photos I took today.
A young dove, on my patio.

These newly fledged house finches enjoyed hanging out on and around the feeding station.

A young female goldfinch endured the rain falling on her head.

More finches on the feeding station.

A male goldfinch awaits his turn at the feeder.

Mourning dove, hanging out on the trellis.

This Eurasian Collared Dove found a lovely perch in one of the trees.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Free Wallpaper Download-Broken Fence

I know there are no birds in this image, but I just love old barns, old structures and old fences, so I decided to offer this fence image as my latest free wallpaper download. This image was taken in Gem County, Idaho.

By downloading this file, you are agreeing to certain license usage terms. If you do not agree to the terms, please do NOT download the file.

If you would like to use this image as your computer background,
Please CLICK HERE and follow download instructions. Please also leave a comment.

*If you know someone who would like this download, use the share button; please DO NOT send them the file yourself.


Friday, May 14, 2010

New visitor, Lazuli Bunting

This little beauty is a Lazuli Bunting. I'm not even sure just how to pronounce it, but it was another first time guest in my yard this spring. He was soon followed by several others and visited on a daily basis. I assume they were just passing through since I haven't seen them in the past couple of days now. I'm still so new to birding and this migration thing, that I don't know if we aren't offering the right food now or if they were just fueling up to finish their trip. Which ever the case, I hope they return at sometime in the future. Their coloring is so pretty and it's only the second bird with blue that's visited my yard, the other being the brewer's blackbird. Until next time...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Snake River Birds of Prey Festival

Last year I attended a wonderful event! It's the Snake River Birds of Prey Festival, and it's coming up again! It will be held May 14-16 in Kuna, Idaho. It offers tours, lectures, and children's activities.

The lectures are very interesting and informative. There are falconers on site with live raptors as part of some of the lectures and in the vending hall. You can view them up close and ask questions about them.

I went on one of the tours last year. It was the Burrowing Owl Tour and it was an awesome experience! Below is one of the pictures of the owlets, just over a week old, I took on that tour. Click here to see more of the photos and read about my experience.

This year I plan to attend again, and I hope you will, too! Next year I will probably be a vendor there, but in the meantime, you may purchase my photography as fine art prints, framed or unframed, as well as greeting cards.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"New First-time Visitors"

I've had some new visitors to my backyard recently. One, pictured below, is the Brewer's Blackbird. He and a female showed up recently. I love the beautiful coloring of this male. The metallic-like sheen of the colors in the sun are amazing! The variety & creativity of God is so astounding, & I am always delighted when a new one shows up in my yard.

I think this guy knew it,too! He must have seen his reflection in the sliding, glass doors, because he came right up to it until he was too close for my camera to focus, with the lens I had on it at the time, and appeared to be quite taken with his own good looks, or perhaps mine. haha

After a nice long look, he turned and strutted away as if to say, "Oh yeah, I'm lookin' good!" Too funny!

I haven't seen them in the past couple of days, so they may have been just passing through. From what I've read, they usually hang out with a group of other blackbirds of their kind or even with red-winged blackbirds, but perhaps this changes in the spring when they pair up. If you know, maybe you can enlighten me. Thanks.
Another recent first is the White-crowned Sparrow. These guys are just plain cute, especially with they're in my deeper grass and you just see their little heads popping up and being lit by the sun. (no pix of that, yet) At first I noticed only one or two, but in subsequent days we've had as many as 6 or more at a time.

They seem to arrive in the trees and then land down on and around the rocks of our island, over to the pond and all through the grass. They also like to feed on the deck, under the hanging feeder and get what drops to the ground from the finches feeding above.

When you open up your yard up to feeding birds, you just never know what might show up. Until next time...

To see more of my backyard visitors, click here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Song Sparrow

I had a delightful day at Zoo Boise Thursday. Trees are budding, birds are chirping and singing, the grass is green again. It seems like the winter was extra long this year, but it could just be me. I first heard this sparrow before I spotted it, it was singing so beautifully. I made a guess that it was a song sparrow. When I got home I checked my bird ID books, and my guess appears to be correct.
It's the first one I've identified and also photographed, since I began birding, so it will be added to my life list. I consider it to be wild since it was not in an enclosure, but free to go wherever it wanted.
I'm also creating a Photo Life List gallery, where I'll put identifying photos of the birds I have seen. They most likely won't all be great photographs, but at least good enough to confidently identify the birds. I will probably post on it with a link when I have it up and going. If any of you experienced birders see that I have a bird mislabeled in any of my bird galleries, I would appreciate you emailing me to let me know, and I will make the correction.

Boise Peregrine Falcon Update 3

Here's the latest update, April 23, 2010, from the falcon webcam! 4 eggs! So exciting!

"The female laid her fourth egg at 3:18 p.m. She rested for about 45 minutes and then the male stopped by for a close look at the newest arrival. See more pictures on our Facebook page."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boise Peregrine Falcon Update 2

Update from the Boise Peregrine Falcon Webcam: "21 April 2010 The female laid a third egg this morning. Observers believe it was laid between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m. The male brought her a meal at 8:45 a.m. and when she stood up to eat it, the third egg was visible. If she lays a fourth egg, it will arrive Friday or Saturday...." Click here to see it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boise Peregrine Falcon Update

This was posted this morning on the Peregrine Falcon Webcam...

"19 April 2010
At first light this morning, observers saw a second egg in the nest! The female occasionally leaves the eggs for short periods to eat but often the male is in or near the nest box while she is away."

Exciting, now there are two eggs. We will look for another possible egg in a couple of days. Go Boise Peregrine Falcons!

Click here to go to see the webcam now!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Night Birding-photo

Here is a photo I took the other night when we went night birding. My previous post tells about the experience. I basically aimed my camera at the tree, where I knew the nest should be in the shot, and took this photo. It was very dark out so I used my flash. Due to the shallow depth of field in this image, the tree limbs are clearer than the owl, but I still think it's a pretty cool shot. If you want to see it larger, CLICK HERE.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Night Birding

We went out just before dark tonight and checked on the burrowing owls. Nothing amazing to report. Just after dark we saw the GHO (Great horned owl) sitting in the nest, but no sign of the other. Most likely out hunting. We then saw a male barn owl on a post as we drove by. It had prey. On our way back home, another male barn owl flew right across and in our headlights, again carrying prey, and boy was he beautiful! We feel so blessed to have seen him. So close and so awesome! It was especially fun because I've been watching Molly & Magee on Ustream at The Owl Box, which I've previously blogged about. We also saw two foxes. What a cool night.

Tomorrow morning I will get to see the Long eared owl. I will add this bird to my life list, and hopefully get a couple of photos to share with you all.

Happy birding!

Downtown Boise Peregrine Falcons!

This age of webcams is so awesome! You may already be watching Molly, the barn owl and her four owlets, I mentioned in my other post with embedded webcam. There are webcams for just about any bird you could possibly want to see nesting. There are some great Bald Eagle nests on Catalina Island and the Osprey nests. Too much fun! Just remember that this is raw nature and anything can happen; even tragic things.

Our local Peregrine pair has their first egg of this year, as of 9:19am. local time this morning.(MST) Two or three more eggs can be expected, generally every other day. This is so exciting! HERE'S THE LINK for the webcam so you can stay updated and see them for yourself. You can also become a fan of the Peregrine Fund on Facebook.

Here is an image I took last summer of the Peregrine pair perched on a downtown building, where their nest is located. Enjoy your viewing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Burrowing Owl

I just had to share this cute little burrowing owl with you. Near our house, there are several pairs of them. They nest in burrows underground, as their name suggests. We can drive up and stop and take pictures from the car, and even use the car as a blind. I think I got out and stayed behind the car to get this shot. We will keep going by to see if there are any little owlets.

This is my current free wallpaper download. If you would like to have one, CLICK HERE.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Owl Box

Video streaming by Ustream

I know that some of you may already know about the owl box, but for those of you who don't, here's some basic information. The Owl Box is a live streaming (Ustream) of a mother barn owl, named Molly, in San Marcos, California. Her mate is named McGee and he comes around mainly at night and brings the food to her. Don't be alarmed when he gets on top of her as he arrives. They say it is like a hug, just bonding...but I'll let you decide.

She originally laid 6 eggs, but one was infertile, so she ate it. Of the remaining 5 eggs, 4 have hatched. The first was Max, then Pattison, then Austin and now as of 12:02pm pst Sunday, Wesley. One egg to go and thousands of people tuning in to watch. Many of them were camped out all night last night awaiting little Wesley's arrival. (I was not one of them, I went to bed...finally!)

Disclaimer: Warning! Watching The Owl Box is incredibly rewarding and unsuspectingly addicting. I take no responsibility for any such addiction and shall not be held responsible for the information in this post or embedded video stream, leading to such addiction, nor any subsequent job, sleep loss or other negative outcome as a result of viewers and followers watching the link provided herein. :D

(If you want to watch the birds with the chat going on, use the link or the large arrow in the middle of the video screen above this post. To just watch the video stream in the current window, click on the small arrow.)'ve been warned! :D

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nesting Pair of Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

Had a very cool experience recently, thanks to my wonderful husband. He had noticed a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls in our area, as he was driving one day. He took me back to the site, to see if I could get some photographs of them. It was fun shooting these images as the owls were quite relaxed, in spite of our presence. Several other people stopped to see them while we were there, including a group of cyclists, and they still weren't bothered.

One owl was in the nest the whole time, most likely incubating, and you could only see the ears and every once in a while, the eyes. Too cute! The other owl was sitting perched near the nest, but outside of it. I believe it was the male sitting outside, although both the male and female incubate, because he looked smaller, and the males are smaller than the females and have a deeper voice. They could be sitting on 1-5 eggs. We'll have to be careful when their youngin's arrive as they are very protective parents and could attack us if we get too close. Yikes! Don't want that to happen. Might need a longer lens. :D

I have learned that these owls have a 5-15 year lifespan. They weight 2-5.5 lbs. and have a wingspan of 3.3-5.8 ft. They are carnivores. They eat a variety of animals such as rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, birds, falcons and even other owls. They also have a habit of eating skunks and may be the only animal to have such a desire. Better keep an eye on your domestic animals, too, if there are Great Horned Owls in your area. These owls are mostly nocturnal and hunt at night. They have a wonderful digestive system. They often swallow their prey whole and then the "left-overs", mainly bones & fur, come back up in the form of pellets. You can disect these pellets to see just what they ate for their last meal, if you have a desire to know. LOL Oh, by the way, those are not ears on top of their head, they're feathered tufts.

Hopefully, I'll soon have some owlette images to share! To see more of my Great Horned Owl images, CLICK HERE.

Isaiah 34:13-15 (New Living Translation)
"Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles and thistles will grow in its forts.The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for owls....Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas, their howls filling the night.Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins, and night creatures will come there to rest.There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs. She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings. And the buzzards will come, each one with its mate."

Field Trip Images Update

Here is one of the images from the birding field trip I went on, to Malheur County, Oregon. To view the rest of them, CLICK HERE!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Downy Woodpecker

Saturday, February 27th. 2010, my husband and I went on our first birding field trip with the Southwest Idaho Birders Association. We met at 8am at the Marsing Island Bridge. This was an all day trip to Malheur County, Oregon and the Owyhee River. I will be writing more on this trip, but for now I will just post a few of my favorite photos from the day.

Near the Owyhee Dam, a pair of Downy woodpeckers was spotted among the Mullein plants, near the water of the Owyhee reservoir. This was my first time seeing one of these beautiful little woodpeckers in the wild, and it was quite a thrill. I was able to get pretty close to the male to take these images. The female was a little more flighty and I only got her from further away.

These few images are of the male. The male has a red patch on the back of its head, as you can see in these photos. Enjoy...

To purchase fine art prints of these images, CLICK HERE!
To purchase folded greeting cards of these images, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bald Eagle Day 2010

My husband and I recently attended an annual birding event, Bald Eagle Day 2010. It is held at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival each January. I had wanted to get there earlier than we did, but we ended up getting there around 12:30pm. They had scheduled events from 10am-4:30pm. We had already missed some great things, so next year we will have to get there at 10am.

We went inside the tent where they had ample information on all sorts of birding things, for instance, the Idaho Bird Observatory and the Golden Eagle Audubon Society; our local chapter of the Audubon. (see my photo on their January 2010 newsletter) It was fun to see Heidi, whom we met during fall migration, working the IBO booth. They had educational activities for children as well, like color sheets, information, a check off sheet with 100 things to do outdoors, stickers and the like.

There were falconers located in different areas on the grounds holding various birds of prey. It was a great opportunity to learn about each of these birds as well as about how they are taken care of by their falconers.

There were the American Kestrel, a Short eared owl, a Great Horned owl, a Gyrfalcon, a Peregrine falcon and a young Red-tailed hawk. I was able to get several nice close-up photographs of these gorgeous birds.

Great Horned Owl

Immature Red-tailed Hawk

Peregrine Falcon

American Kestrel (female)

See more in my Raptor Gallery.

We walked along the path that borders the Barber Pool Conservation Area in search of the Bald Eagles that nest in the cottonwoods nearby at this time of the year. We did see one through one of the spotting scopes they had set up, but it was not close enough for me to get a shot.
We did see some Canadian Geese swimming by. You can see more images of this area HERE.

The highlight of the day for me, was the 1 hour lecture where we went to an indoor venue. We had run into fellow Christian birder, Val Lee, and we sat together as we were awed by the up close and personal experience of the birds shown to us by Jane Fink Cantwell of Birds of Prey Northwest. These birds were all injured or otherwise imprinted by humans and could not be returned to the wild. We saw, a pair of American Kestrels, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Swainson's Hawk, a Great Horned Owl and finally, Liberty...the female Bald Eagle. Boy, was she ever impressive! Jane had a gentle way about her, but you knew she meant business when she said to that it was very important we all sit very still and quiet and sadly, we could not take pictures in this setting. Even the children did a great job of controlling themselves.

I'm looking forward to attending this event again next year. If you'd like to go, you can watch for updates on next year's event HERE.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bottoms Up!

I just had to blog about our Northern Flickers that keep visiting our feeders. I've had so much fun watching them. They are so funny how they feed from the hoppers meant for the finches and sparrows. The hoppers are filled with a mix of seed and thistle that's tailored for birds in our area, along with black oil sunflower seeds. I hope you enjoy these humorous images...

It's so cute to see him flick his tail up on the other side to help him hold on and steady the feeder. This is now what we refer to as, "bottom's up!" We all know when someone says that in our house, that a flicker is at the feeder; of course, we usually know they're in the yard before that since they let us know vocally before going to the feeder.

I just love how the little bird is waiting in the wings for his turn.
**You can see more of my backyard birds by clicking on the title of this post.


Related Posts with Thumbnails