Nature Blog Network Wildlife Photography Blog Fatbirder's top 1000 birding websites

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, November 29, 2011

World Bird Wednesday LIV

Well Grounded

      I was grounded this week. Between cooking, cleaning, and making conversation with the good folks up visiting my Rio Pine sanctuary for the weekend, the chance to break away for several self-indulgent hours and take bird pictures wasn't in the cards. Being a good host took priority. To get even a few fresh shots to share this week, yard birds would be on the menu and I'd have to sneak them as deftly as a thirteen-year-old stealing beers at a Baptist wedding. Fortunately there is a ornamental tree in the front yard that holds it's red, cherry sized fruit long after it's leaves have dropped and makes for a colorful prop. With a feeder hung close by, you can count on the neighborhood birds to perch and pose in this pseudo natural setting. I lurk there, a cozy assassin in a chair blind built for rifle hunters that renders me invisible. It's a bait pile, a photographic trap with good production values. The planning involves taking a few test shots, about two or three hundred. Some of the early results are promising and I can't wait to delve further into the illusion. Even a plain old House finch looks pretty good given the star treatment.
   While my guests attention was other wise diverted, I took the few stolen moments to slip into the yard and play with shooting angles, trimming branches here and there that tended to block the good sight lines. When I sensed my presence was being missed, I would slip through the backdoor to reappear again like a good magician at exactly the right second armed with a pithy comment. 

Bird lovers are an odd lot and our way of seeing the world, while quite understandable to us, might be difficult to explain in a reasonable way to a normally configured brain. For instance, while showing a few of these pictures to a guest I tried to explain the interesting nature of avian foot structure and the difference good toe detail could make to a bird photograph. Who wouldn't want to see the microscopic crags and crevasses of a tiny birds feet, their grip and presence like that of a gnarled tree root that holds fast to the earth and keeps a towering tree upright, the very essence of fortitude and perseverance? I do not think, as my friend insinuated, that I have AFF, Avian Foot Fetish  issues that should be monitored by a licenced professional. However; like World peace, I can't understand why everyone isn't interested in such enthralling issues.
   It is a solitary life I lead in the softly lit room between my ears. It's central issues and themes are often at odds with the general pandemonium that swirls around me. I want to belong to and participate in the comings and goings of the dear people whose waves reach my shore. That tether of shared experience is important to me yet a sense of detachment remains.
  There is a danger in practicing and emphasizing your singularity of vision. True: The creative beast must be fed or it perishes quickly, but the time it takes to cultivate and construct the nuances of a richly imagined point of view often amounts to many lost hours and even days from those you love. They wonder what the hell your thinking about all the time, what it is that feeds your soul. There is no guarantee anything tangible will ever come and give credence to what is certainly the gigantic self indulgence of pursuing your vision quest.
   Like the balance between shutter speed, depth of field, and sensitivity to light that goes into making a fine photograph, finding an equilibrium between inner focus and family life, is a never ending struggle.

This my friend, is some good toe!

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 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. once again, you had me laughing! and admiring your view of the world! AFF, indeed! :)

    beautiful photos, even if your guests were not as impressed as they should have been!

  2. Your bird captures are just amazing!

  3. You've got some great little birds in your backyard. Love the titmouse. I'm sure your guests will understand when you tell them there's a tit flying around in your backyard.

    Love that camo blind. Does it come with air conditioning?

  4. Your discussion on bird's feet reminded me of something I learned long ago. Wondering why birds do not fall from their perch when asleep I was told that their feet contract when relaxed and an effort must be made for them to release their grip. Exactly the opposite of our hands for example. Great post and now I am thinking about sticking to my yardbirds for photos.

  5. beautiful photos - I particularly like the way the berries complement the colouring of the house finch. Oh and the toes too...

  6. to be grounded you got some pretty good shots. Have a great week. :)

  7. Springman, another great post. Your Finches are extraordinary, right down to their toes! I think we forget just how beautiful our "common" birds are until we are reminded by a birder!

  8. I have never thought about bird feet fetishism before but I guess I should see a professional too. From great blue webbed feet of pelicans, through two toes forward, two back of parrots and owls to tiny feet of the little birds or great talons of eagles. They are all fascinating and serve a definite purpose.

    Your photos are terrific and time needs to be shared according to the needs of one's family and one's soul without the nourishing of that, the family would really be short changed.

  9. A wonderful post... we have those little hides in the UK sold as nature hides for photography..
    Your garden (yard) birds are beautiful to see it would be lovely to see some more.
    Have a lovely week.

  10. I'm glad you took a few minutes away from your guests to provide us with beautiful photos of your yard birds. BUT please name them next time - for one living on the other side of the world they are all exotics!!

  11. Very very fine photos and words too.
    Time is most precious thing and the thing we know it surely will finish some day, using well this precious thing is most difficult thing even now, when I know that it will finish "sooner than later" :)It will be always dilemma as long as you have family ;)

  12. Your photos are a joy to see.
    Absolutely brilliant photography.

  13. Funny Post, the foot fetish sounds a little crazy. Your yards are pretty, great photos.

  14. Oh, Springman, I was so happy to be introduced to this site, where I could share my love of birds and photos of them! A little over a year ago, I had to twist the arms of family members and friends to share my blog. You host a wonderful community, all with a common interest in learning more about our feathered friends and the art of portraying them.
    Your photos of your yard birds are beautiful. I love the red berries in the scene with the House Finch.

  15. More awesome pictures. I even have these beauties at my house.
    Stay safe Springman.

  16. Excellent photos! Very, very detailed and such great portraits. I really like the first finch picture. I wish I could escape some family functions once in a while! LOL

  17. Great post! Even if your guests were not impressed with aviary feet, I so am! I also understand the balance of capturing the photo and balancing family. Nature Walks and drives can end up being this stop and go, stop and go, that do frustrate those with me. Just yesterday, I was left behind on our walk due to gazing around for shots. LOL! It is such an addictive hobby!

  18. amazing photographs yet again Springman and always accompanied with the best commentary around. Indelible in my mindset now, is that "feathers and feet" can make the photo; I'm learning...

  19. Hi there - interesting post. I really don’t know how people manage to get such good shots of finches and such like. Maybe I should start doing the "let’s wait" approach at a good location rather than try to "stalk my prey'!

    Sneaking out to take pictures reminds me of something I said to a lady at work who was just about to have her first child. I said you need to become "a thief of moments" - just brief times during the day when you can stand still, drink some coffee or simply take a few deep breaths. I think the a thief of moments idea works for photographers as well - if you don’t sneak out and take some pictures you would probably snap in some other way!

    Have a good week - Stewart M - Australia

  20. Every shot right on target from the feet up! Also right on target your description of the struggles in defending your contemplative solitude against the distractions of the outside world. I think that is something all birders have in common. To find the right balance is important, so not to end up as a hermit hermit.

  21. Great post as always, Springman! I would love to have the opportunity to photograph finches. I too "stalk" out the birds I photograph & I take far too many in order to ensure I have plenty of images I am pleased with.
    I don't have AFF, but possibly a feather texture fettish!!

  22. You are just downright halerious!I don`t know how you can get any better taking pictures,but you outdo yourself every week.Thanks for making me laugh again this week.
    I have a 20 plus year old African Grey parrot who uses his newspapers on the floor of his cage to make a "tent"to sleep at night.He was falling asleep on a perch & we would hear him hit the bottom of the cage ,so now he sleeps in his homemade nest.When I first saw him doing that,I thought he was dead or dying.After awhile we realized his feet can`t support himself on his perch when he falls asleep.Just thought I`d throw that knowledge into the mix...phyllis

  23. oooohhhh i really enjoyed this. if i were as clever as you, i could have written it!!

    thanks for giving me an audience. i usually have to pay people to look at my pictures, you have a great group here!!

  24. So thats where the house finches are hiding out!! WE have almost none here and normally we have flocks of them...
    Sweet PHOTOS as usual...I cetainly am guilty of this and Im an avid Bird/driver. As I drive I shout out the names of every bird I see and people who are riding with me for the first time give me a sideways glance and I can see they are making a new evaluation of my mental
    MY family is very used to it and they dont even ask.."what did you say" anymore they just ignore me. My friend drove me to pick up my car at a garage this week and there happened to be a LoggerHead Shrike on the wire at roadside...WHEN I shouted out..
    Loggerhead Shrike,...she said
    "Lovely,... wth is that?"
    lol opps

  25. Thank you for your comment. It is a long time since anyone made me blush . . . you did.

  26. Great post!
    Awesome photos of the beautiful birds.
    Here it looks like even the little Robin (European) has left our yard.
    With all the rain and wind we have I understand him.
    Have a great weekend.

  27. Once again Dave you have made my week a joyous experience. Like all of your followers, I look forward to reading your posts as well as seeing your beautiful photographs and joining in the fun!

    It seems that I always identify with your thought process and even though I can't put it into words myself, it makes me feel that I am NOT crazy ;-)

    I had to laugh at Mick's comment about you not identifying the species in your photos. Since he's from Australia, these are all exotic species for him. Mick, they are in order of appearance, House Finch, American Goldfinch and Tufted Titmouse. Beautiful aren't they? And just look at those toes!

  28. Good toes, great head, sharp beak, beady eyes... you've got it all here, with a cherry on top.

    What a pleasure it is to drop in here, indeed a rare moment to indulge in the joy of coming across an unbridled intellect, bursting at the seams with imagination and purely original wit... for goodness sake, who but Springman could have us marvelling at the form of avian toes ???

  29. Your shots are gorgeous, as usual!
    Since my lens usually doesn't produce such sharp details on the bird's feet, I cannot say much about the AFF issue, but I can relate to your interest and wouldn't send you to a Doc yet ;)