I’ll begin today’s birding tour with five pictures of my own.
Swan Lake The pictures below show the three North American Swans. Actually the Mute Swans in the first picture are actually a species introduced from Europe, but they have made their home in America for a long time and I just consider them now to be “legal immigrants”.
All swans present photographers with great artistic possibilities but I must admit those Mutes have never failed me. Notice the bump above the bill. This sets Mutes apart from all other swans. The Mutes are also the largest of the three swans.
My personal favorite swan type is the Trumpeter. They are native to my home state of Wisconsin but became completely absent from our waterways at one time. The reintroduction of the Trumpeters has been successful and I have been photographing them for 20 years. I have made more images of Trumpeters than any other swan. Here you see a happy family at Horicon marsh NWR.
The arrival in spring and again in fall of the Migrating Tundra Swans is something every photographer and every birder revels in. They take over the world when they get here. They are the noisy ones in the swan world. I have spent many a morning with goose bumps on my arms and cameras in my hands at places like Riecks Lake, Goose Pond and Horicon Marsh here in Wisconsin, observing and photographing these guys. They are the smallest of the three swans. In this picture you see an immature bird in the background. This bird would have been born on the year the image was made. Its birth place was the Arctic Tundra. Notice the little yellow marking in front of the eye on the parent bird. That is one way to tell a Tundra Swan from a Trumpeter.
There used to be a small wild population of Australian Black swans here in my home area of Racine, Wisconsin. They were imported for ornamental reasons just like Mutes. They are quite beautiful but they died out here without reproduction. They may have even all been males or all females. The answer is no, I never photographed them. I loaded up my equipment and left with picture making intentions one day for a bird that was living around a pond at a local hospital, but it was not to be as it had departed, never to be seen (by me) again.
Tiny Tim When you see Hummingbird photos they are almost always in flight. That includes my own pictures. Their helicopter type flight makes for wonderful in flight photography. When you see an image of a hummer that is perched, the pictures are usually of the clean and simple variety that I love so much. They are generally on a branch with a spotless background. Unfortunately that gives no clue to the minuscule size of the bird. My first image is of a Rufus Hummingbird and it does sort of have that “I think it might be a small bird” feeling to it. Just the same because of the perch and clean background, the information is inconclusive. The Prairie Coneflowers that you see in the second photo are a medium-sized flower. They seem like Giant Sunflowers next to the little female Ruby-throated Hummingbird pictured, letting all of us know that this is a tiny bird. Bird photography at its best can share natural history information, and then add a little art too. Of course the hummers themselves are the artists.
I hope you enjoy the fine bird imagery below, from this group of five different photographers. Whenever I include hot links to my “guest” photographers, please do follow them and enjoy their work. If you are in the market to buy images for a present or for yourself, consider these people. I have not necessarily personally visited all of the links I provide.
Paradise Facebook friend Steve Catt made this image of a Paradise Flycatcher in the Masai Mara area of Kenya, Africa. A special bird.
Art by Wind This image by wildlife photographer Charles Glatzer looks like an artsy image that might have been created with Photoshop. Charles simply recognized the artistic possibilities of a 50 mph wind. Charles is another Facebook friend.
Best Friends Another Facebook friend Jack Zievis brings us this artful composition of two Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage and experiencing a quiet moment. It is possible that this is a composite that is “joined” in the editing process, but it is a cool shot just the same.
Ghost Bird Another (you guessed it) Facebook friend Raymond Barlow made this shot of a Snowy Owl. I love the white on white effect here. Usually with flight shots of Snowies, you either have blue sky or snow with detail for a background. This gives a very ethereal effect. I should note that this is a captive bird. Raymond made sure to add that fact to his post. While game farm workshops are not my cup of tea, I would still rather see a photographer who tells you that the animal is captive, than ten photographers continually baiting a wild bird. Not only can that create serious issues for the bird, but that group of photographers rarely if ever takes into consideration the rights or desires, of other photographers who want to capture wild behavior.
Eagle Love We are in and around the time of year to find Bald Eagles who are trying to create the next generation of eagles. This is a very nice shot. We are batting 1,000 today as the photo comes from Facebook friend and wildlife photographer Marina Scarr.
I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
– Charles Lindbergh
Enjoy your day and may God Bless, Wayne