May 27, 2015

  • Birds in the Afternoon

    Magee Marsh 3 1

    When we first arrived at Magee Marsh on Sunday (Mother's Day), we took a short cut through a roped-off area at the edge
    of the parking lot that we thought was simply restricting vehicle traffic.
    We were soon told by a conservation person to return outside the ropes!  :(
    This bald eagle's nest was nearby and they did not want people approaching it ~ we had no clue!

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    ~ a tiny nest ~

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    In the afternoon, as we drove to the nearby Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge,
    we saw purple martins near the visitor's center.

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    Canada geese and goslings were around every bend, it seemed.

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    At Ottawa, the marsh grass stretched for miles.

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    ~ great egrets ~

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    ~ greater yellowlegs ~
    At least, I think so!  I have an inquiry in with Cornell ~ haven't heard back yet.

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    ~ tree swallow ~

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    The tree swallow posed pretty as a picture for me.

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    ~ great egret ~

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    We started seeing these swans and I was puzzled as to what kind they were.

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    Their dark necks and heads were throwing me off ~ I finally decided they had to be
    juvenile trumpeter swans, since their necks and heads were not pure white.

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    But, we later learned that they actually were adult trumpeters
    which were simply stained from the tannin in the water.

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    This one was busily adding grass and reeds to its nest.

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    There were several in the refuge ~ my first sighting of trumpeters in the wild ~ exciting for me!

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    I guess this one was exercising ~ :)

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    He did strike a pretty pose finally, standing on one foot.

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    Next, we drove to nearby Metzger Marsh.

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    Clayton soon returned to the car ~ he was ready to rest a bit.
    I followed a trail into a small copse of trees along Lake Erie.

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    Several birders were spotting different warblers ~ I was able to see a blackpoll warbler through the binoculars,
    but was unable to get a clear shot with the camera ~ it stayed hidden much of the time.
    Another birder identified it for me ~ I needed lots of help, since this was my first time observing warblers.

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    ~ another small nest ~

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    This bird was really far away and in deep shade ~ had no clue what it was until I brought the photo up
    on the computer screen ~ was delighted to discover I had a picture of a black-throated blue warbler ~ another first!

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    Back near the entrance, I captured a couple shots of a semi-palmated plover.

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    I believe this was another greater yellowlegs.

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    ~ still waiting on reply from Cornell about this bird ~

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    We finally had to stop birdwatching for the day ~ a rain was coming.  We dined at
    a Hungarian restaurant that evening ~ I had stuffed cabbage rolls.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "And these are they which . . . shall not be eaten . . .
    the swan, and the pelican . . . the stork, the heron . . ."

    Leviticus 11:13, 18-19

May 18, 2015

  • Warbler Watching ~ Two

    Magee Marsh 2 1

    On Mother's Day morning, we arrived at the marsh very early ~ I could hardly wait to get on the trail!

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    The first bird I was able to get a good shot of was a female Cape May warbler.

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    ~ yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle) ~

    Magee Marsh 2 4 collage

    This crowd of birdwatchers was trying to catch sight of a mourning warbler that was out there somewhere.
    The guide was following it through the brambles and underbrush and fallen logs with a laser light,
    but I never was able to spot it ~ these birders were determined to catch sight of it, though!  :)

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    ~ bay-breasted warbler ~

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    I felt very fortunate to get this photo ~ I was trying to get another shot of the bay-breasted warbler;
    just as I snapped the photo, a yellow warbler landed right beside it!  :)

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    But this bird ~ a scarlet tanager ~ took the cake for me.  It was in a very tall (35-40 foot) tree
    which was at least 50 feet away from us.  With my small camera, I was very skeptical that
    I could even capture a shot at all.  But, wow, this new little camera continues to impress me!

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    He was beginning to wonder about me ~ by then, I had taken at least a dozen photos of him.

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    He decided to just move on ~ :)

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    The only glimpse all day that I got of a Blackburnian warbler.

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    ~ Tennessee warbler ~
    I only know what this one is because I sent the photo along with others to Cornell and asked them ~ ;)

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    ~ different partial photos of a Northern Parula ~
    At about this time, with the help of a fellow birder, I was able to see a black and white warbler through my binoculars.
    It was soooo striking ~ just a beautiful bird ~ but by the time, I raised my camera, it flew away ~ :(
    I'm adding it to my life list, though, because I truly did see it ~ :)

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    ~ Eastern pewee ~
    Just after taking this photo, a nearby guide spotted another mourning warbler.
    This time, I easily spotted it with my binoculars, several times, but was never able to
    capture a photograph, because it insisted on staying deep in the underbrush.
    But I saw it clearly, so I am able to add it to my life list ~ :)

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    ~ Baltimore oriole ~

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    After we left the boardwalk, we walked down to the shore of Lake Erie ~ still hazy out there.

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    On the way back to the parking lot, I found this tree swallow at the mouth of its nest.

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    ~ loved this shot ~

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    I was one very happy mama this Mother's Day ~ the only missing pieces were our children and grandchildren.
    We ate a bite of lunch in our vehicle before setting out again ~ more pictures next time!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ". . . the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young . . ."
    Psalms 84:3

May 14, 2015

  • Warbler Watching ~ One

    Magee Marsh 1 1

    Last Saturday, we drove northeast for several hours to the shores of Lake Erie.
    I was on a mission ~ for the first time, we were going to experience the spring warbler migration.

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    Our main goal was to spend time at Magee Marsh; a multitude of different warblers arrive there
    in early to mid-May of each year, on their way to their breeding grounds further north.
    They rest and rejuvenate for awhile before attempting the long flight across Lake Erie.

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    Magee Marsh lies right along the lakeshore ~ we arrived in mid-afternoon on Saturday ~ haze blanketed the lake.

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    Many interesting displays graced the walls of the visitor center.

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    Thousands of birders from all over the world flock to the area during the migration;
    we spotted license plates from well over half the states and some from Canada.

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    My first new sighting happened quickly ~ this is a prothonotary warbler, looking down into its nest.
    There was a glut of birders watching this bird hopping in and out of the nest ~ this was the best photo I could get of it.
    I should have been more patient, waiting on a better shot, but most of the birds we saw
    during the time we were there were so far away, as this one was ~ it was very difficult to get photos.
    Also, warblers do not seem to understand that they need to sit still for a bit to pose for photos;
    they are quite jumpy and flit here and there nearly constantly.

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    Because of the brambly undergrowth and dense foliage, many of my photos ended up
    looking something like this, with nary a bird in sight ~

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    ~ or this ~ by the time I clicked the camera, the bird would be gone ~ :(

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    Or one might spend a good bit of time trying to capture a picture of a bird that would not emerge
    from the underbrush ~ and when it finally did, it would just be another female red-winged blackbird.
    The birders were calling red-winged blackbirds "trash birds" ~ because there were so very many of them in the marsh.

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    There were several catbirds in the area too ~ I enjoy hearing their "meow" call.

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    Sometimes, I just shot in the direction of a bird, hoping when I brought the image up on the computer,
    it would be wonderful ~ but many times, it was like this ~ just a small part of the bird I wanted ~ :D

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    And then, when I actually did capture a photo, it was many times just the blurred underpart of a bird,
    making it unidentifiable, although this may be another shot of the prothonotary.

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    This rose-breasted grosbeak was easily identifiable.

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    As my eyes eventually adjusted to the environment, I was excited to catch sight of a veery ~ a first for me.

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    I would hear a fellow birder say, "Ahhhh!" and start gazing at the place they were watching;
    then I would wonder, "What is that one?" while aiming the camera in that direction.

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    It was a magnolia warbler ~ okay, this was really starting to be great fun ~ :)

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    There was quite a crowd on the boardwalk watching this Eastern screech owl.

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    Since we arrived in late afternoon, and we kept having to wait out little showers of rain,
    our time for that first day on the marsh soon came to an end.  But just before we left, I spotted a morel mushroom.
    We couldn't pick it, of course, but it was fun to find anyway.  I could hardly wait for the next day to arrive.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    " . . . the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest."
    Isaiah 34:14

May 2, 2015

  • Dressed in Blue

    BJ at M 1as

    Last weekend, we visited our oldest son and his family;
    lots of blue jays were visiting their backyard on Saturday morning.

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    BJ at M 3s

    For some reason, they were intent on examining the old stone birdbath, which was empty.
    I kept wondering why they were so interested in it.
    The feathers on a blue jay's back always remind me of a stained-glass window.

    BJ at M 4s

    At one point, our grandson saw about a dozen blue jays on and near the bath.
    Sadly, I missed that delightful sight ~ and the photo op ~ :(

    BJ wpr with verse s

    Our son wanted me to turn that last photo into wallpaper for his computer;
    this was the result ~ he said he liked it ~ ;)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white . . ."
    Esther 8:15

April 28, 2015

  • Eatin' Good

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    It has been years since we've sat at a hibachi grill ~ last night, we decided to splurge a bit.

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    ~ onion volcano ~

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    We both ordered hibachi shrimp.

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    It was fun to watch the artistry.

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    But, believe me, it was much more fun to taste all the results!  :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "O taste and see that the LORD is good:
    blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."

    Psalm 34:8

April 24, 2015

  • Baby Doves

    BMDvs 1r

    ~ baby mourning doves ~

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    They were right below our office window, under the feeders;
    the two babies were not getting very far from their mama,
    but she gently tried to put a little distance between them after a bit.

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    "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?"
    Isaiah 60:8

April 12, 2015

  • Red-Winged Blackbird

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    Yesterday afternoon, this handsome gentleman paid a call to the feeder outside our office window.

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    He squawked quite a bit ~ I'm not sure why ~ no one was paying attention except me.
    His scarlet epaulets were quite striking ~ brilliant red in the bright sunlight.

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    Every time he opened his mouth, his red shoulders flared out to better show them off.

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    He made quite the racket ~ very distracting ~ they actually have a trilling song
    that is much more pleasing to the ear, but he was just all about squawking yesterday ~ ;)

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    These harbingers of spring don't come to the feeder often ~ they feed
    mostly on insects ~ although in winter, they switch to seeds and grains.

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    I think, on this particular afternoon, he just wanted to be noticed ~ and he was ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them . . ."
    II Samuel 3:36

April 5, 2015

  • Happy Resurrection Day!

    Lunar eclipse 040415rs

    I took this photo of the lunar eclipse yesterday morning with my old camera
    since the "sensor debris" would not show up on a dark photo.
    My new camera does not do as well with photos in the dark, it seems like;
    but that could just be because I don't yet know HOW to operate it correctly ~ :-/

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    Just thought I would share a few house sparrow photos with you;
    these nuisance birds can still be entertaining and sometimes even pose a bit ~ :)

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    This one was exploring one of my wren houses ~ the hole is supposed to be
    too small for sparrows, but they have chiseled away at it until they can now get in ~ :(

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    Hoping your day is especially beautiful ~ have a blessed Resurrection Day!
    "Fear not . . . ye are of more value than many sparrows."
    Luke 12:7
    Hallelujah!  He is risen! He is risen indeed!

April 3, 2015

  • Pileated Woodpeckers

    LL PW 1rcs

    This pair of pileated woodpeckers has been visiting my aunt's home nearly every day this spring.
    They can measure over 19" in length ~ enormous suet-eating birds
    which can peck humongous chunks out of fallen logs or rotting trees.
    They especially like to find carpenter ants in those dead trees.
    I think they look almost prehistoric ~ such a striking look about them.
    She gave me permission to share the photo which was taken by her husband.  Enjoy!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
    Pslam 126:3

March 30, 2015

  • New Camera Tryout

    My camera ~ which I dearly loved ~ developed a "sensor debris" problem which could not be fixed ~ :(
    So, I'm experimenting with my new one here ~

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    This chap is looking for spring ~ hope it is just around the corner ~ :)

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    So, what do you think?  Will this camera do okay?

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    Since it is a different "brand" than I have had for my last three cameras,
    it is going to take a bit of "getting used to", but am hoping to figure it all out soon.
    Give me your opinion ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth . . ."
    Isaiah 43:19