Backyard photography

Backyard Birding from my Blind

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I have to make a confession.  I bribed some birds today. I had a few free hours (gasp!) and I decided to do some backyard birding.  I confess to waiting to refill the bird feeders until it was prime photography time – after the household chores were done, the camera was outside, and the light was right!  But the birds didn’t mind my manipulations.  They were just happy to see fresh birdseed. The first birds who noticed the refilled feeders were the goldfinches.  This scout flew into the yard and sounded a happy “Potato Chip!” to alert the neighborhood.  Free nyger!  Come and get it! Rich had noticed a goldfinch doing a tail-spread this morning.  I was surprised to photograph the same behavior.  The goldfinches are starting to get into their breeding plumage.  This one was sporting a yellow head and a starting-to-be-black forehead.  In a few weeks he’ll be all yellow and ready to impress his mate! It’s that time of the year when the Brown Thrasher pair shows up in the backyard.  I think they like the free birdseed while they are nesting.  Today I saw both of them scavenging in the mulch, and then they took turns in the […]

Beyond the Backyard

Migrant Birds at Fort De Soto

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Summer Tanager (male)

Two weekends ago I had the most amazing morning photographing the migrant birds at Fort De Soto.  The trees were literally dropping with colorful birds.  Red tanagers, orange orioles, blue buntings and grosbeaks, and warblers everywhere.  It was a birder’s paradise. Good birding isn’t always good for the birds.  Most of these birds spend the winters in South America.  In April, they fly north to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.  Many cross the Gulf of Mexico, flying nonstop across the ocean in an incredible journey.  They take advantage of the winds to make their flight easier.  But when they encounter a front, their tail winds suddenly become headwinds, which can be deadly for the birds if they are still over water.  They land as soon as they can in what is called a “fallout.”  Fort De Soto is a place where such fallouts sometimes occur.  It offers the birds land, trees, fresh water, and a food source – mulberries. If you’re like me, you may have visited Fort De Soto several times and never known where the famous “mulberry trees” are.  Well, they are by the ranger’s house.  When you pull into the park, turn right […]

Backyard photography

Yard Birding

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Ruby-throated hummingbird

Sometimes it’s great just to bird in your own backyard.  Like on a gray, drizzly morning when you’re stuck at home waiting for a workman to show up.  This morning I had several Painted Buntings (both males and greenies), a pair of American Goldfinches, a couple of House Finches, and an Eastern Phoebe (an occasional visitor in my yard, although quite common elsewhere).  I heard my first-of-fall American Robins fly overhead.  I heard the little chips of Palm Warblers as they flitted about, and I’m pretty sure I was hearing our Yellow-throated Warbler (“Bow Tie”) too.  Our Mourning Doves were fighting each other at the feeders.  They really love the Wild Birds Unlimited decorative perches!  The doves were really going at it, flapping their wings to knock each other off the perches. I wished I had my camera.  Yep, silly me, I locked my camera in the room where Goldilocks was waiting while The Strangers did work in her house.  So it was just me and my binoculars….and then the hummingbird flew in!!!!  Regular readers of my blog will know that I landscaped our backyard all in hummingbird plants just to attract my favorite little birdies, who seem to grace […]