Friday, January 27, 2012

In Cambridge you expect to find night owls in Harvard Square, but the city is home to several other owl species. There is an Eastern Screech Owl that lives above a foot path traveled by hundreds of joggers and dog walkers with their dogs each day on the shore of Fresh Pond.
Since I was so close, I visited Mount Auburn Cemetery to see if I could get some more good photos of the Great Horned Owl. Unfortunately today it was hid deep in the branches.
So I started to investigate the wildlife in the rest of the cemetery. A Red Tail Hawk flew right in front of the car and perched in a nearby tree.
Down by the bird feeder I was able to get a few photos of typcial feeder birds & a Brown Creeper.

Downy Woodpecker near the suet feeder

Female Cardinal

Another female Cardinal, this one much redder that normal

Brown Creeper

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Looking For Owls

This morning found me bundled up in layers headed to Millennium Park in West Roxbury in search of owls with my buddies Roy and Bob. Roy has read a report on Massbird of someone who "saw" 5 Screech Owls and 1 Great Horned Owl.

Well Millennium Park is a wonderful place and is probably great for birding in the spring - fall, but today it did not yield the results we hoped for. Maybe that was because it was so cold. Maybe we were looking in the wrong area. Maybe we were just unlucky. We did, however, encounter a couple of cooperative woodpeckers which kept us from being totally shut out.

Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

This Downy Woodpecker flew into the reeds next to the path, less than 20 feet from us. He didn't seem at all bothered by people. I guess he was pretty low on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It was tough to get clean photos, but I attempted to get some environmental shots.

Downy Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker

Taking a detouring route on the way home, we stopped by Mt. Auburn Cemetery, looking to satisfy our longing for owls. We did find a Great Horned Owl in the Dell, unfortunately it was far away in pretty deep shade.

After lunch I was playing around with "The Photographer's Ephemeris" and discovered that the dell would be in the sun in the late afternoon. Hoping it hadn't moved, I headed back to attempt to get some photos. Thankfully, I was able to get a couple photos with its eyes open.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Snowy Day

With the new year, I have started to expand my photography beyond the boundaries of Great Meadows. Wednesday morning I met my friend and photography buddy Roy for a bit of nature photography at Crane's Beach. The day started interestingly as Roy spotted some Horned Larks on the beach. I got some spectacular shots...except when Nikon repaired my camera, they reset the settings. I thought I had reset them all, but I missed the one about not taking photos without a memory card in the camera.

A bit further down the beach, we started to look for a snowy owl. Amazingly as I lifted my binoculars to my eyes it was directly in my view! It was sitting on a pile of drift wood in the middle of the beach. We had to walk in a very large semi-circle to get on the correct side of the bird to not be shooting back into the sun.

While firing off a few "record shots" and checking my highlight warnings, I noticed the strange icon alerting me that I wasn't recording my photos. After inserting a memory card, the day got better.

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl, Cranes Beach

Soon it bored of watching us and flew to a decidedly unphotographic location. So we continued our wandering to see if we could find more subjects. Unsuccessful we wandered back. The Snowy Owl had migrated to a much more photographic location. It seemed to take a momentary interest in a flock of Snow Buntings that flew by. After a quick fly by it settled in again.

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl In Flight
Snowy Owl in Flight

With the sun high in the sky we began the long trudge back to the car. Thankfully along the way we encountered these Snow Buntings feeding. That kept their attention off of us allowing for some interesting photos

Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting Landing

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More Than A Nature Photographer

New Year's Day found us on the road driving from Rochester back to Boston. We were racing to stay in front of an impending storm front. Our goal was to reach a small town in upstate New York prior to the rain.

You see our friends Dan and Susan had shared the location of a wonderful old building and gas pump. Thankfully, we were able to arrive shortly before the storm. It was a race to capture the images and work the scene prior to the light disappearing and the rains arrival. Thankfully, with a subject this good the images almost take themselves.

With the camera gear safely stowed, we broke out the remaining Christmas cookies and set off for Boston. Nearing civilization we started searching for a radio station broadcasting the Bills v. Patriots game. Overall, it was a quite successful day.