Sunday, January 9, 2011


click on photos to enlarge
The robins stole the show today but, they had some competition.  If they're going to pose; I'll take advantage of it.  This cardinal is a beauty.
He had a red berry in his mouth when he landed on that limb.  I couldn't react fast enough to get that shot.

I fully expected him to fly away in fright but he stayed and permitted me to snap shot after shot of him.  The dogs were below the tree he was in.

What a beautiful bird!  So innocent and pure both in beauty and presence.

It looked cold when I glanced out the window this morning.  I wasn't in the mood to struggle with the canoe today after being disappointed by the lack of nice weather the previous two days.  I looked over at the closet where I keep the big camera and decided that I would go to the old state park and practice photographing birds and whatever else might catch my eye.  I haven't used the long lens in quite some time and I needed to hone my skills.  Dogs and birds don't mix but, I couldn't leave them home.  Happy, Douglas and Shade would accompany me.  This effort is just as much for exercise as it is an effort to photograph birds.  The important thing is to be out there.
As usual, there wasn't any vehicles in the old state park.  We had it all to ourselves.  I parked the truck and off we went in the direction of the old mansion foundation.  The building above and below is captivating.  It is striking in its ancient look.  Nature is reclaiming it though.
A person could certainly get a case of the spooks out here in the dark.  I never visited this place at night because the gate is locked at the entrance to the park.  I'm not sure I'd care to come here at night anyway.

As we walked toward the old foundation I call the ruins;  I noticed scores of robins.  Scores of them.  There were no other species of birds intermingled with them.  Birds of a feather flock together?  Don't know.  But, there were sure a lot of robins out here.  I've never seen this many in one spot.

Just because robins are a fairly common bird doesn't mean they are any less important than any other.  They are beautiful and turn a gray, bleak day into a more pleasant, bright day.  They add cheer to an otherwise cold environment.

Their markings are very pretty and the orange and gray colors of their feathers are outlined by the edge of the under-wing. 

There are so many!  Robins eat insects, grubs and worms.  I can't imagine what they are surviving on out here in this weather.  Seeds are about the only available sustenance for them.  I guess they are opportunists.

I don't see any with anything in their mouths.  They must be foraging for seeds.

The little guy to the left presented a challenge when I tried to focus on him for the shot.  There are lots of sticks in front of him and I had to concentrate on focusing on the bird behind the sticks.  This required me to select manual focusing on the camera.

Again, the same focusing situation as that photo above.  Manual focusing is essential in cases where there are objectionable items in front of the desired subject.

How about some acrobatics?  Actually he has just launched himself into flight from his perch on the twig.  Notice the toes on his right foot curled in preparation to tuck his legs in for flying,

Below are a series of my favorite shots of the day.

One last shot in this series:
We decide to walk away from the ruins area to see what we can discover on the hillside bordering the lake.
You guessed it;  more robins.

The hillsides on this peninsula have a mixture of hardwoods and pine.  Hardwoods are the predominant species.   This diversity lends itself to be used by a varied community of birds.  Woodpeckers and songbirds alike forage here both Summer and Winter.  The occasional red tailed hawk can be found easily.  This is a beautiful place.  The irregular growth of the tree ahead would be a good place to sit and watch the lake and the trees.
I just like to photograph things that catch my eye.  I'll review these pictures later on in the Summer and remember this day and place and, all the robins I saw.
Oftentimes a bird is back lit by the sky.  This makes a difficult shot indeed.  There is only so much control one has with the camera.  These pictures are almost impossible to pull off successfully.  I got lucky here with the shot above and below.
There are, however, other species of birds about if one looks hard enough.
The picture of the butter-butt  (yellow rumped warbler), I think,  above was most difficult to capture due to the difficulty of focusing.  There's lots of stuff in front of that bird to fool the lens.
A quick walk down by the lake and we'll head straight back up toward the ruins and complete the morning.  There is always something beautiful to see out here.
Always something beautiful to see:
The old foundation area was alive with robins.  There were robins taking off, robins flying and robins landing.  They were everywhere.
There was a little sparrow chirping away while sitting on one of the old porch stair stones.  
Can you find the sparrow in the shot below?
We walk past that old log shack on the way to the truck.  Another morning has ended.  I hope you found something of interest from today's wanderings.
Oh;  here's a bit of color to brighten up a bleak Winter day: