Tuesday, January 5, 2010

DUCKS, DUCKS, GULLS & MORE



click on photos to enlarge

The frigid weather is still clinging on here in East Tennessee and I am reluctant to unwrap the tarp off the boat for a short run on the lake.  It is a chore to reapply the tarp back onto the boat at the end of the day;  especially in this cold weather.  I don't mind forty degrees but 26 degrees is a bit much to deal with out on the lake.  My 400mm lens stopped auto focusing and I had to box up the lens and mail it back to Sigma Corporation for repair or replacement.  It is practically impossible to manually focus and press the shutter release of a camera with a long lens on a flying bird.  I do, however, have a 300mm lens that I am using today.  I stopped at Lenoir City Park on the way back from UPS to photograph ducks and anything else that may be about.  I wanted to test this lens anyway and this is a good opportunity to do it.  There is no real challenge involved capturing these birds on film as most are patiently waiting for humans to toss out a bite of bread or dog food.  But they are many and varied.  Some are cross bred birds (domestic and wild) as can be readily seen.  Here comes one of the inhabitants now:





Then there are the cross breeds.  They are genetic misfits.  Some folks find them humorous.  I find it shameful that "we" allow this situation to persist.  Remember the pet duck you took to the park to release?  They breed also.


Coots are a super bird to watch.  They are constantly chasing each other about and diving for food.  Some can be seen paddling at top speed across the water for no apparent reason what so ever.  Others bob about with their rear ends in the air.  I never saw a coot on the land until today.  Their feet are like no other bird I am familiar with.  They are beautiful and fun to watch.


Check out this pair of feet.





Now, here's a motley looking crew:



The coots are diving and chasing each other.  One can not watch these little birds and not smile

Dive, dive, dive!!







Now, here's a fine looking pair of mallard females:



A lovely girl:


A male and female mallard:


Look at that beautiful green color of his head feathers:

The gulls were present on the dock also.  They were hanging out together, probably waiting for a handout.  Gulls are impressive birds both on land and in the air.  Their aerobatics are amazing and it's wonderful to see them dive for fish.  I have never seen one miss his mark when fishing.  I did not see any fishing displays but I got some fairly decent shots of these super birds.







And then he flew:







And then we have the cast out, thrown away Christmas or Easter gift duck that had lost it's cuteness and appeal:


I left the ducks and took a walk down a little trail that leads around the parking lot to a secluded little thicket.  I noticed  Towhee and tried to photograph it. 


These aren't the best pictures of the Towhee.  I need my 400mm lens for consistently acceptable pictures of birds.  But, this lens does alright.


It's cold, cold!  I believe I'll go home and light a fire in the torpedo heater and waste kerosene.  Till next post;  be considerate of a dog please.