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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, September 6, 2011

World Bird Wednesday XLII

The Fall of Summer

There came this week to Michigan, a little crack in Summers resolve to burn the world asunder. There is evidence everywhere that the issues separating summer and fall have turned chilly: Night comes more quickly now, the apples in our orchard are ripening, and Suzanne has already put up the first batch of jam from the early grapes.  The Harvest season is underway for the other creatures of the North country too. The thistle is blooming purple, and as it browns to seed, the molting Goldfinches are purposefully ripping the flossy pods to shreds. I am transfixed by their work as the white fluff flies. It is a messy job, a lot like being the Grape Jelly Master's humble assistant. 
   Getting a picture of the thistle harvest has proved to be more of a job than I would have anticipated. The first chance out I confidently gathered up a load of brightly illuminated, high sun shots, all defective it turned out by reason of poor resolution. Autofocus was useless, it's single minded electronics dithering with the high contrast, hodge podge tangle of sharp thorns and purple blooms. The twitchy yellow darts made a mockery of my high tech advantages for while I was seeing interesting pictures they were not in my camera at days end. Placing the focusing duties back into my own hands, on the third try, everything fell into place; in the fading light of a Canadian cold front, one of early Autumn's fanciful sights was preserved like the Concord grapes in Suzanne's Pine River jam!

   I was surprised to see a pair of Greater Yellow Legs poking their out sized beaks into the shallows searching for a good meal at Shiawassee Nature Refuge. A lifer for me, I debated as I rifled through my Audubon bird guide, was it a Greater or Lesser Yellow Legs? After much deliberation fretting through beak length issues, I finally settled my inner debate with a coin flip. Heads up determined it to be a Greater Yellow Legs. I did not practice science here.
   I have a new secret weapon in my camera bag. I bought a polarized lens filter. It makes pictures look like your seeing them through your best sunglasses. I have to long been suffering from incessant beak glare! My local camera shop guy was amused this reasonably priced piece of gear had escaped my attention. When I buy expensive equipment I find it hard not to jump on Internet deals but for just about everything else, I buy local. It's fun to have the ear of a professional to discuss arcane issues with. I, in turn, can give the shop bound counter folk a heads up on the hot spots out in the field. A good example of one hand washing the other!

Going postal?
This disgruntled Belted kingfisher could be wearing the classic blue uniform of the United States Postal Service. This is not the guy I would intentionally come to blows with but the Kingbird (below) is willing to test wits with him.

   Fred T. Jencks writes in his memories from 1881:  "The Kingfisher had poised himself several times to look for fish, and was just moving to do so again as the Kingbird approached and attacked him. The Kingfisher is not a troublesome bird, and always minds his own business. He was entirely unprepared, and acted as though he could not believe that the other had any evil intentions, for he tried to poise again. The second attack seemed to undeceive him, and show him his enemy was in earnest. He vaulted and turned, vainly endeavoring to rid himself of his persecutor. He soon saw he could not save himself by flight and tried diving. As soon, however, as he appeared at the surface he attempted to fly, but the Kingbird, keeping up an incessant twittering, forced him to dive again. Two or three times this was repeated, both birds making considerable noise, until the Kingfisher seemed convinced that escape in that direction was impossible, so he sat like a duck upon the surface, and as his persecutor would swoop at him he would go under. This lasted for some little time, until even the Kingbird seemed wearied and flew away."

Now it's time for World Bird Wednesday!

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.

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 Linky.

#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 compadres!

Please consider submitting one of your older "hall of fame" posts to a fresh audience.
Come on it's your turn!


  1. lovely goldfinches and muffed up kingfisher. beautiful kingbird too. :)

  2. Oh my goodness, Concord grape jelly, smashing bird shots and poetry as well. Is there no end to your talents? Very sharp shooting of the goldfinches and thistles also of all the other birds too.

    I really miss concord grapes, we once polished off a box of them while driving cross-Canada. We have been addicted ever since. It is just impossible to get either plant or product here.
    While in Melbourne, I found some Concord grape juice and promptly bought the lot but that won't last long.

    I wish I could show you my birdie too but the linky thingy isn't working yet again. Merde!

  3. Marvelous captures of such beautiful, colorful birds! I agree with Arija, there doesn't seem to be an end to your talents! I do love Concord grape jelly!! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!


  4. Beautiful captures Springman! Love those Concord Grapes!

    I couldn't post a link either. Linky not working.

  5. I so agree with Arija - always fabulous bird photography, well written prose often interspersed with humor and now poetry. A man of many talents. :)
    Wonderful shots of the finch and thistle. Amazing they can plant their little feet in just the right spot and I try to take a picture of a thistle plant and prick my finger every time. :)
    I've been into bokeh lately so I really like that Kingfisher shot!
    Be back when the linky shows up.
    Carletta@Round The Bend

  6. A wonderful post as always. (Can I have your throw-away shots? I'm pretty sure they'd be better than the ones I posted today ;>)

    I love all these birds in their Fall disarray, but the cranky Kingfisher just has to be one of my all-time favorites.

    And its fun to think about the grape jelly jars lining your pantry -- you'll have a taste of late summer when the snow flies!

  7. Springman, I'm totally in awe at your photos! I know this is not new but, actually, you never cease to surprise me. Outstanding work!

  8. Springman, Great post, as usual! I love your Goldies! I'm still waiting for a decent shot of them, though I do have a couple of favs!
    Congrats on the lifer Yellowlegs. An ID trick I picked up somewhere suggests that the Greater's beak is slightly upturned! Don't know how much validity but hey!

  9. All the thistles are grey or black in my area now. No blooms left whatsoever. Theat first shot looks more like a christmastree decoration. So colorful. :) And the yellowlegs really looks determined to whatever they set their minds to. :)
    Have a great week.

  10. Wonderful images of your lovely wildlife... I really like your Goldfinch.. a beautiful little bird.

  11. Great photos as always Springman. The seasons are changing here in the UK as well with the first autumn storms well and truly making their mark. I look forward to seeing the results with your new filter. I know people who swear by them.

  12. Fantastic and amazing photos, love the coulors in the first ones! All "your" birds are so beautiful. Here it is also fall now and allmost every bird are on their way or are allready gone to a warmer place...The lakes looks so cold and empty now, but soon they are here again :)

  13. What can I say? Terrific photos:)

  14. Fantastic shots, the Goldie is beautiful on the thistle and you got a great shot of the Kingfisher. Them seem to spook easily around me. Wonderful collection of birds and photos. Thanks for hosting and I hope the rest of your week is great.

  15. Hello everyone, Welcome to WBWXLII...
    Thanks for the kind compliments, I'm pleased you like the Goldfinches so much. We have so many terrific submissions already! Wonderful to experience.
    I am at the firehouse today and hoping our dismal overcast weather will keep the fire bugs home. The other unit had a bunch of fires last night so maybe we'll get lucky and I can spend the evening watching baseball and visiting blogs.
    Thanks for the good reviews on the poem. It was written way back in the early seventies. I was very proud of it at the time and was surprised I still remembered it so well. Your kind indulgence is appreciated!
    Okay then,on to those beautiful blogs. See you there!

  16. Beautiful photos of the birds on the thistles. I'm sorry for you that summer is almost gone - BUT - that means it's coming to us in the southern hemisphere. Don't know that I could manage much more of this miserable winter!

  17. I really love your Goldfinch and thistle shots! We used to have an empty field behind us, full of thistles - but development came along and now it's someone's backyard. Your post is a beautiful ode to summer's end.

  18. Oh, I LOVE that first shot of the goldfinch!!! Even if the second is much more classic!! I have photos of a field of sunflowers, too, but yours have petals, and are MUCH nicer!!!

  19. Hi there - splendid goldfinches. We have ones down here that were brought over from the UK - different species to yours - but they love thistles as well. Not managed to get even a poor shot of them yet!

    Like the way the post shows both sides of technology - sometimes it helps, sometimes it gets in the way! The trick would be to work out which situation was which beforehand!

    Cheers SM - Australia

  20. The goldfinch photos are really gorgeous, their yellow feathers make a nice contrast with the purple flowers.
    The Yellow Legs look like birds that mean business. Somehow I'm reminded of the video to Pink Floyd's The Wall (I'm weird that way).

  21. Excellent post, and pictures.
    I love those shots of the Goldfinch.

  22. Spectacular shots of the Goldfinches feeding off the thistle, Springman! I know what a difficult achievement it is. I tried it myself this summer, was no good. As always a stimulating post and a lovely inspiring poem.

  23. Outstanding photos and thoughtful words = a great post. Thanks for sharing your talents!

  24. Oh! The Goldfinch photos are stunning! They look like they belong in a magazine or as beautiful framed art!
    Beautiful post and photos!

    Thanks for hosting WBW!

  25. wow....these are just wonderful, yours as well as the others.

    thanks for hosting!!! i am so pleased to participate!!

  26. springman....i am grinning from ear to ear!! thank you so much for the very kind comment!!

    and a great tip as well!!!!

  27. IT just gets better and better!! WTG on the Goldfinch a great shot...I got 9 pints of wild grape jelly resting comfortably on my shelf..tucked away to please me and give memory of myself and mom picking them off the back property line---Fun stuff-
    LOVE Mr Kingfisher...he was still for a change eh? Such busy birds they remind me of workaholics...back n forth back n forth..
    Amazing Eagle with wings widespread--
    Congrats on the filter! Once again Im empty handed but never fear Fall is here--almost time for the changing of the guard!

  28. HI Springman ...your first and last photos..GREAT..
    That Goldfinch is a winner!!
    Did you write that lovely poem?? It is beautiful!!

    I will be back!! : }


  29. Love love love that first goldfinch! And the poem is great!

  30. Your bird captures are so crisp! You must have a good camera set up.

  31. Am ever so late getting here, but better late than not at all, and anyway, one can't help but return here, once having been tempted to rise to the surface by the brightly plumed lures that lurk here...

    I only wish I had more bird photos to offer, but they always seem to fly off when I'm around, or I don't have the 70-300 on when I need it, by the time I change it's too late... mostly shoot with the 24-70, birds appear ant size on such images...

    Speaking of birds, there's a place you may want to take a quick look at, Karine's Un Jour Une Vie, her yellow nest weaving bird from the Indian Ocean Island of Marice is simply phenomenal, imho of course, she is here :

    Take care, may the firebugs stay well hidden in their dark lairs. Couldn't help but think a thought for fire people everywhere on yesterday's sad date. May your wild birds be plentiful. Oh, and keep on writing... it's good for the soul.