Backyard photography

Knock, Knock!

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Juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Our cats were enchanted by a guest visitor to our front trees last week. A juvenile Downy Woodpecker flew in and tried to find food. You could tell from his behavior that he was a juvie – the poor little guy was wearing himself out, pecking at a live tree, trying to extract sap from it! He hopped from branch to branch to no avail. Finally he found a dead branch and seemed to have some luck pulling insects out of it. We rarely see woodpeckers in our neighborhood because we just don’t have enough mature trees to support them. I bet this guy’s nest was nearby. Look at the cute red feathers starting to come out on the back of his head!

Beyond the Backyard

Frogs and Snakes for Breakfast at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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I spent my off-Friday morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve.  I arrived at 6:30, about 20 minutes before sunrise.  I hiked down to Lake Hancock and was on the dock for the sunrise.  It was pretty cloudy this morning, so the sun was a little late peeking out from behind the clouds.  It was pretty though.  I spent some time photographing birds flying over the lake, then hiked the Alligator Alley trail.  Then I went up Marsh Rabbit Run and up Wading Bird Way before retracing my steps back to Heron Hideout.  It was cloudy and breezy and just a great morning to be outside! I tried some HDR with my sunrise shots, but I didn’t like any of the results.  The HDR created unnatural edges around the edges of the sun and clouds.  Usually I leave my over-the-shoulder camera set to bracket exposures +/-2 EV stops when I have my wide angle lens on.  I’ve found that sometimes 2 stops isn’t enough for good HDR images with images with lots of glow, so today I tried 7 images, metered at 2/3 stops.  Even that didn’t give me good HDR results today, though. :-p So here’s a Great Blue […]

Beyond the Backyard

Quiet Morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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The Circle B Bar Reserve is my favorite place to be at dawn. The landscape is so beautiful with the sun just peeking out over it, and the critters all waking up to a new day. We were treated to an early-morning view of the Black-Bellied Whistling Duck family. They are usually not out until later in the day. It’s fun to watch how the adults take care of their brood together. It’s very rare to see a single Black-Bellied Whistling duck, and both parents are never far away from the babies. We (and several other photographers!) had some hopes that the Marsh Rabbit Run trail would be open today, but it wasn’t. The sign says that it will be closed until the end of September. :( Some of the Wood Storks have shifted their roost trees away from the lake to the marsh between Wading Bird Way and Heron Hideout. The Double-Crested Cormorants are roosting in the same trees. Two Belted Kingfishers chased each other up and down Heron Hideout as we watched. On Heron Hideout, past the Marsh Rabbit Run, we saw several baby Purple Gallinules (half-baby, half-juvenile plumage) darting around in the vegetation. I didn’t get a […]