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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, October 25, 2011

World Bird Wednesday IL

Out of Nowhere

The Green Wall
   It didn't take long for the hardwoods that line the Pine river to shed their leaves and reveal the tangled jumble of naked branches that hide beneath. Gusty winds blew rain storms through the Great Lakes region this week and even the mighty oaks, who usually hold tight to their dead leaves all winter long, had their heads tossed and littered the lawn with a chaos of brown confetti.
   The opposite bank from my riverside home is affectionately known as the Green Wall, an iron curtain of impenetrable vegetation that is quickly losing it's density. Beyond that flood plain is Pine River road and a few other homes that stay hidden all summer long behind the illusion of complete deep woods isolation. Soon I will see lights twinkling out there, a sure sign  there are others who share this boreal forest sancturary.
    My mind was immersed in raking up the leafy fallout and readying it for the mulch pile when I spotted an adult Bald eagle sitting on a rock in the middle of the river a ways down stream. Sprinting into the house I grabbed my camera on the outside chance the bird would hold it's position long enough to pose for a picture. I planned to capture a quick reference shot but as I approached the bank looking for the distant angle the eagle lifted off. Was she teasing me? Time would tell, from my vantage point it looked like the great bird took to a tree further down stream. The chase was on!
   The brush along the river is booby trapped with barbed seed pods that cling to clothing with a devilish Velcro ferocity. Already I resembled a human Chiapet. After an ankle bending hundred yards it was time to stick my neck out and see if the big bird was still in the neighborhood. There it was, perched in a tree and out in the open. I scooted back up the bank and moved further along until a flat opening presented itself. I was trembling, my nerves were juiced with adrenalin and the eagle bounced madly teetering on the long end of the 400mm lens. No way was I going to get a clear shot hand held, not at a decent ISO and the low shutter speed the dreary day called for. Finally I rested the camera on the ground with the lens propped up on my knit cap and turned on the LED display screen. It was exasperating fumbling with this primitive set up before the bird showed in the view finder and held steady aim by way of scrunching my cap in various configurations. I put the shutter on a two second delay and clicked. Blurred. I needed better focus. Increasing the LED's magnification I twisted the focus ring until the magnificent bird sharpened. I clicked again and at the count of two the deed was done.
   Now I got greedy. I had this angle in the bag, could I move to a better vantage point and improve the background? I slithered out of my hide and scrambled through the woods. About fifty yards further down the line there was a little rise by a utility easement. The Bald eagle still clinging to it's branch was now framed by White birch. What I wouldn't have given for my tripod and remote shutter release. The big bird held steady for a couple of nervous shots before taking to wing and just like that, the moment was over.
   I walked home with that triumphant glow every lucky bird photographer has shared, in spite of prickling with the million stubborn burrs clinging to my grimy trousers and shirt.
   What a wonderful world it can be!

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!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. awesome baldies! Love the banner too - it's perfect!

  2. Wonderful story, Springman! Kudos to you for acting quickly and getting these awesome shots. The eagle looks so majestic!

    I often find it funny (in retrospect) how I will rush to get off some documentary shots, and then when I find myself with the same subject a half hour later, I wonder why I was in such a rush in the first place to get those blurry shots with a tiny subject! Ah, the joys of wildlife photography -- you just never know how long a subject will cooperate, so you have to make the most of every opportunity!

  3. Wonderful photos! I love the eagle - what a majestic creature!

  4. You must not mind doing your outside chores when an eagle shows up. Great catch!

  5. I envy you. I have tried for 4 years now to get good shots or teh sea eagles that I know feed at a certain spot. I see them, but never close and not even once have I got them on the ground. :( You got some pretty good shots despite your adventure. :)

  6. LOL ... what we do for the shots! What a great capture. And that little one at the end is absolutely incredible with detail!

  7. All you effort was well worth while. The eagle is magnificent. Also, the leaf does not obscure the White-throated Sparrow-- It actually becomes one with it!


  8. Springman, wonderful Eagle shots. Well worth all you efforts! You're the consummate fireman, ready to go at the drop of a feather!
    That's a great shot of the Heron too!

  9. Wonderful! You need to have your camera attached to you with a 'velcro ferocity' -- what if you'd missed these shots while you went to get it? I'm so glad you didn't!

    The header shot is also wonderful. Green heron?

    Wonderful birds all around.

  10. What a thrilling story, it made my adrenaline rise just by reading it. You got two wonderful shot, that's definitely worth burrs all over one's clothes.

  11. Good Morning Everyone and welcome to World Bird Wednesday IL.

    We are off to a rollicking good start and fortunately for me I have plenty of time this rainy day in Michigan to breath deeply and enjoy all the contributions. I can't wait to dive in, but first a huge thank you to the early birds!

    I think the bird in the header is a young Night heron taken on Belle Isle in Detroit. I'm not 100%on IDing young herons. Green and Night herons are difficult to differentiate but those are the two choices here given the adults I have spotted on Belle Isle. There are better minds than my own at work around here and I'll bet the mystery is solved one way or the other shortly.

    I fell very fortunate to live where I do and be able to practice photography on such interesting subjects. It's fun to share pictures and experiences with you who understand the excitement of capturing the natural world be it eagle or sparrow. Mountain or mole hill, it's just as fascinating and beautiful isn't it? I can't wait to see what Nature has brought to your eye this week so without further ado, to the blogs!

    Cheers, Dave

  12. Hey Springman,

    Love the header shot as well -- a great leafy setting! Based on the red eye and the black & yellow bill, I believe this is a young black-crowned night heron.


  13. Your post is always a great read, Springman! I could vividly picture in my mind your tribulations in getting the Eagle shots. The wonderful results show all your effort to be worth it. Also, I love the photo of the White-throated Sparrow cloaked in autumn finery!

  14. Great photos and I am glad you persisted in your chase through the thick brush!

  15. Great Bald Eagle shots after what sounds like an exciting chase. Glad you got your bird in the end!

  16. Great shots of the Bald Eagles, Springman! Well done! I love the cute sparrow too.

  17. That Green Heron is marvelous! They can be so difficult to capture! Boy, oh boy, how lucky to get the Eagle. I see them around here, but most of the time they are too far away. Great job!

  18. the eagle shots are magnificent - as was your description of the successful chase. but i LOVE the soft and rich colors in that sparrow! it's just so beautiful! :)

  19. Dave, You live with Bald Eagles?You must be in great shape to run though the woods after those super shots!

  20. What an adventure to capture those beautiful photos of the Bald Eagle. Is the last bird a type of Bunting? I've not been able to link to your meme for ages, and fortunately I'm here again today. Hope you have a wonderful day. Greetings, Jo, Kenya

  21. Hi there - good story! I spent a lot of time for my Hooded Plover shot - for much less return I have to say!

    You may be interested to have a look at a post on my other blog - the posts called "Long Distance Travel" (2/26/11 as you would say!). It’s about a morning spent watching and banding Godwits. Now that’s a bird that can really fly!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

  22. Love the little sparrow with his dapper leaf-vest. Amazing. :)

  23. Beautiful shots Love,well done my little Chiapet

  24. I was sitting on the edge of my chair reading your story! :) fantastic that you captured that eagle. The little sparrow is wonderful!

  25. Springman, you paint a picture that I have experienced on many occassions(but not enough occasions!), the pounding heartbeat, the adrenaline rushing through.... sometimes you forget to breath... or hold the breath too long and once its all over you are left to review your catch and catch your breath... its a magical moment every time it happens

    Superb thought provoking post.

    I am with you all the way on this experience you have shared

    Awesome final picture my Friend

  26. I am so glad I remembered it was Wednesday!! I just love it when I have a birdie to show off!! I have never seen such a winsome image as the one of the leaf curling around the white capped 'something or another' :) I wish I could identify everything. Blessings!

  27. Wow, loved reading your story behind the photos. Well worth the effort, the photos prove this. You write so well too.

  28. Your story was so full of suspense,
    you got my adrenalin going.Great shots of the eagle,and the little
    sparrow is just adorable.

  29. wonderful shot's and's so funny that each and every one of us could have written that story....maybe not as well but the content would be the same. i will risk it all to get the shot, i become obsessed...."the chase is on" haha

    awesome shots of the bald eagle!!

  30. Dave, what a great story! One I can totally identify with. But that's what you have to do to get your best shots.

    I agree with Pat, your header shot is a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron.

    The Bald Eagle shots are awesome dude! I must say, with all the energy expended getting those photos, I like the first shot with the dark (oak?) tree background the best. This Bald Eagle is also a sub-adult, probably a four year old bird. The head is not totally white yet, it has pale yellow eyes and still has gray on its beak.

    My favorite photo in your post though, is the White-throated Sparrow. The autumn leaves setting off that beautiful golden mantle and the one leaf caressing that sweet little bird, accented by the yellow over the eye. Definitely the best shot of a White-throated Sparrow I have ever seen! Bravo!

  31. Was with you in spirit every step of the way...