We are solidly into the new year now and rolling at full steam. My 2011 hangover is finished. I am content with the fact that the summer birds have gone south, who needs 'em anyway! Let the folks in warmer climates gaze lovingly at the pretty plumage's and take their Technicolor pictures. Now that I think about it, maybe I was a little to enamoured with the sexy egrets and herons of last summer that until recently crowded my dreams. It's a fresh year and Brown is my new favorite color. "Yes," You say, "It's easy to be pragmatic when there's no other choice." Perhaps so, but let's see what brown has to offer besides peanut butter. First on the agenda is this very alert Bald eagle that was perched down a certain dead end road, a location I frequently get good soaring eagle captures from. It's where abouts has yet to be discovered by the riff-raff and remains my own secret honey hole. Here I was able to coast up to this lovely bird and prop the camera lens on the window ledge. It was a stick infested view and all of the shots were cluttered. Even with the harsh contrasts from the bright sun working against it, this particular take fascinated me with the odd shadow play across the eye. Michigan has become absolutely besieged with eagles. I was at the point last summer where I felt apologetic about posting Blue heron pictures so often. The same could be said now for the once rare B.E. sightings. Expectations have now risen for Michigan' bird photographers to capture something extraordinary. A run of the mill Bald eagle just doesn't do it anymore.
Canadian geese are such cookie cutter birds. If you've seen one you've seen them all. How odd then to be confronted by this strange buff cheeked variation. It's like finding out your Mom put mustard on your peanut butter sandwich as a joke, somethings are just wrong. I like mine plain and folded over. You can tell a lot about people by how they like their peanut butter sandwich. My brother ate his with Mayo and cheese! You don't get to pick your relatives.
I became a dedicated "Birder" just a couple of years ago and though I liked knowing what I was seeing, I was more taken with the challenge of photographing our fine feathered friends. Now that I know the difference between a Northern Cardinal and a Blue Jay, my New Years Resolution is to become familiar with the Gull family. Shame on me for not being able to instantly recognise Michigan's common varieties. I found this deviant goose at Metro Beach Park on Lake St, Clair, a new and exciting patch for me. It is gull city.
I am going to go out on a limb and declare this bird a Second Winter Thayers Gull, but I wouldn't bet the house note on it. How did I come to this profound conclusion? I found this wonderful gull ID page. It even has cool quizzes to test your knowledge. Like learning a new language, this skill is hard won. There is no shame in getting it wrong, it's not like anyone's getting paid to know, we're just here for the cookies and milk, right?
Lastly I have for you a Brown creeper. I saw this awesome little bird for the first time a couple of weeks ago and completely blew the photo op. I was crushed. My second chance came a few days ago.
My camera, set up with the super fast shutter speed I was using earlier in the day, was sitting by the window when I spied the creeper making its way up the trunk of a Maple tree. I slid open the window and started firing away. Ten shots in, I reviewed my captures and there was blackness. Yikes! I adjusted quickly for more light and took another ten or so till the bird fluttered away. This set was blurred miserably except for a single shot where the tiny bird stood still and the 1/60th shutter speed didn't muck it up.
That's how close my heart came to be broken again by the Brown creeper, and as we know...
"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”
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