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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

World Bird Wednesday LX

Color Me Brown

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.”
                                                                  Charlie Brown

This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.


#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.
#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. Nice post, Springman -- it's important to recalibrate the expectations for winter, that's for sure. Based on your gorgeous swan banner, white might be a good favorite color for the season as well. Love those graceful birds in front of the snowy marsh! Best of luck with the Gull ID's as well, that's one bird group I've barely attempted to learn.

  2. I like mine toasted with banana.
    but really my fav is P.B and Strawberry jam mmmmmmmmmmmm
    Never tire of the B.E.!!!

  3. i'm thinking charlie brown would have been shocked at your brother's peanut butter combo! wow!

    and poor you! overrun by bald eagles! sheesh! i've never seen one in person before!!! send 'em down! :)

    your gull snap is gorgeous!

  4. Brown is beautiful. It comes in so many shades and textures. I like it on sparrows.

    Speaking of textures, the perspective of that bark on which the creeper creeps is very interesting. On first glance it looked like a cave, but I know it is the stub of a branch, or is it?

    Wonderful post as usual!

  5. Enjoyed your post Dave. Yea, brown is good lol
    Thanks for the gull ID link; those and shorebirds, I have terrible trouble with. :-)

  6. I like the eagle photo with the branches and shadows...I think they add to it. And the catch light in the eye of the goose is awesome! I'm familiar with the creeper, but not sure about the gull ID. Great shots, as always!

  7. Another lovely post and awesome photos! Love that eagle shot! Mine's more of a gray post today!

  8. I love the bald eagle and his shadowy eye!
    I saw my first one in the wild over Christmas. It's what I posted today. My new bucket list is a shot as wonderful as yours. :)

  9. Springman, another great post! I'm deep in the browns too! Post a couple of summer flowers this week in an attempt to brighten things up a bit. Everyone seemed to get some relief from them!
    Great eagle shot. We are awash in eagles right now. I am thrilled at every eagle I see! They make the hair stand up on my arms!
    I have been attempting to learn to ID Gulls for a few years now. Don't think I'm any the wiser! There's just so many varieties and variances within the breed. I find my best hope in identifying is to shoot an image and examine it at home at my leisure!
    Cheers to you my friend!

  10. glad that you did get the brown creeper again. You probably will again soon. The geeze often mates between species. Where I live we often see canadian/greylag goose birds. And sometimes mixed with Barnacle goose. Your bird might be one of them.
    When I first tried to ID gulls I quickly realized it is very difficult and made a decision to save them for last.

  11. congrats on the creeper shot! Turned out great!

  12. Brown against blue sky looks perfectly beautiful to me!

  13. Wonderful images and another great read...
    I even know all about Charlie Brown...take care.

  14. Wonderful post, Springman! I love the eagle shot, very NICE! Great capture of the Brown Creeper.

  15. Yet another awesome group of pictures. You are amazing! Post all the BE's you want. I never tire of them.
    Well, as go the Yankees down the tubes, so go the Steelers, but I will remain loyal. There is always next year. Have a great week, and stay safe.

  16. love that header....nice photos...

  17. more wonderful photographs, and I love the buffy-coloured Canadian Goose; a great shot with grass in it's bill. Not only fabulous photos, but always great reading too.

  18. I'm always amazed that the big raptors can fly into such tight spaces.

  19. Dear Springman,
    As I have not yet acquired the necessary skill set for creating marvellous photos of animate, living, flying, breathing, hearts beating, feathered friends, I've gone back a ways into the archives of the Magic Lantern to bring you this pink bird of happiness, who flies eternally through the ethereal heavenly skies, carrying the soul of a departed human far from the surface of this earth... for this is a cemetery bird who graces a tombstone with his joyful presence...

    I trust you will pardon me this brazen intrusion into the hallowed halls of the wings flapping tails twitching wild birds between birth and death sanctuary, but I wanted to leave my calling card, and let you know that I am with you in spirit as you lie in ditches half soaked in the icy waters of mid-western winters hoping to get that timeless shot... and now that I think of it, I have another graveyard decorative bird to bring you one day soon.

    Hoping all is well with your good self, that the pyromaniacs have gone into hibernation for the winter, leaving you to sit by the firehouse stove, snoozing and dreaming of soaring falcons and swooping cranes. Very best to you in 2012...

  20. Beautiful photos, I especially like that odd Canada Goose.

  21. Cracking shots and post, as usual :-)
    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face with the 'peanut butter' :-D
    I love that little Tree Creeper. They are so fast and easy to miss!

  22. Ah I like my peanut butter mixed with honey (not syrup or jelly) on an open slice of preferably white bread. I have heard of strange combos. A friend eats hers with slices of cucumber! What a stunning post with a brown theme, Springman. If I was in South Africa now, I'd be seeing many of the birds which have left you. However, I currently live in the Northern Hemisphere and although it's technically winter here, we live so close to the Equator (about 30km as the crow flies) that the weather is warm and sunny and the birds are still around, swallows nesting again on my front porch. Have a wonderful day and thanks for this meme. Greetings from Jo, Kenya

  23. Just excellent images and posts from you, Springman, and all the participants of this splendid meme. Looking forward to regular visits now!

  24. Hi there - peanut butter goes really well with vegemite - an Australia delicacy in the same flavour field as Marmite from the UK. I have yet to meet an American who did not declare this combination both inedible and a crime against nature - but there you go!

    I like seeing birds with a bit of variation in the them - it's also one of the good things about banding - you are looking at the raw material for evolution. The idea of "identicalness" is a bit of a myth set up by field guides I think.

    Cheers - Stewart M

  25. Toasted bread crunchy peanut butter and an overload of honey for me...jam if the 'honey pot' has been emptied. I love the not so same O cookie cutter Canada Goose and I also have a sort of Bald Eagle secret place, but I don't have that lovely gull~ Happy Birding~

  26. What a great set of images as always Springman! Always in awe of your captures and the amazing array of birds you have over there.

    And please don't think Stewart represents all Aussies - Peanut butter is definitely HORRIBLE with Vegemite! I myself prefer peanut butter with honey :)

  27. Very nice post. I also enjoy gulls and my entry was stimulated by your desire to ID - but I am not good enough to help with the ID on your shot.

  28. Brown is a lovely colour. Not only dark chocolate but also this great Bald eagle! Love the post, as usually:)

  29. I`m spellbound looking at the brown creeper against the bark of the tree.
    The bald eagle shot is awesome too.
    Just in case you ever make me a peanut butter sandwich,slither molasses on it please,phyllis

  30. So many interesting "browns". We have three identification experts in the family so I am free to try and take the photos while they identify and Google helps with the rest. I love being able to see the details better with a photo.

  31. Re Cuba. No, never thought of Cuba as a birding place. Or seen any trips. I think Cuba has a bad taste from politics, still. So, it never crossed my mind.

    Strange about commenting. On my own blogs I could now answer to a comment, but not here. Wonder what they do?

  32. I like mine with banannas and on WHEAT bread...yum. You have found some super birds in brown to share..Love the BE and the creeper of course is awesome. GULLS are hard its like there is math....then there is algebra!!
    Best of luck with those ID's.

  33. I've decided to ID gulls the same way my son does: "It's a damn sea gull."

    Super crunchy PB with apple jelly on whole wheat. With a glass of way too chocolate milk. Divine.

  34. Such a great post Springman. I love peanut butter (and using your analogy.. therefore, the brown birds)... In Oregon we once had a dentist whose office bordered a city park --brown creepers frequented the trees you could see outside the exam-room window. Only time I ever hated to have a dentist appointment end. But not a great time to take pictures!

    Thanks as always.

  35. Springman, glad to see the hangover did not dent your sense of humor! I love the eagle shot, the goose is cute but Brown creepers steal my heart, and since my last name is Brown, well, I think it is a FINE color! I thought of re-naming my blog "Brown creeper" but if you didn't know that was a bird, it would just sound too weird! I hope you are the one laughing now!

    BTW, thanks for all the comments on my blog. I have read them. Just been busy with my Mom's chemo. Sorry I have not been around quite as much.

  36. P.S. You are a brave soul to take on gull I.D.!

  37. Springman, your treecreeper, maple bark and shot are exquisite! They are so mobile that I understand your struggle completely. Lucky you to have access to those great bald eagles, our largest is so much smaller and just brown.
    Don't you just love the way geese feed? They bite off the grass and various seed-pods and tubers with their sharp teeth. The only bird I know of that has something resembling teeth.
    My birding interest evolved from a simple fascination with nature as such.
    Thank you for your kind comments, unfortunately I did not notice how unfocused my birds were until I cleaned my glasses!

  38. Great post Springman! I too am struggling with gull ID's. There are just so many subtle variations that even Howell and Dunn's Gulls of Americas can't capture them all. Thanks for the link to the Gull website! Your Thayer's Gull seems to be right on the mark. Those gulls are much less common here in the East and the only one I ever saw was at Lake Michigan. Looking forward to seeing more of your gull photos!

  39. Thanks for another great post Dave and the link to the gulls. I'm glad to see that someone knows gulls ;-)

    I feel for your encounter with the Brown Creeper. They are tough to get good photos of and you got an excellent one there.

    Beautiful shot of the gull. Good luck learning their many, many, many plumage variations!