Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Common Grackle

COMMON GRACKLE, GREEN, MICHIGAN, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/160 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

A flock of about 20 noisy grackles invaded our back yard this morning, bullying all the songbirds into fleeing. I hope they don't return.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Female rose-brested grosbeak III

FEMALE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 11, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-f* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/3200 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

Turned up this one while reviewing old frames from a month ago. As with the female grosbeak in an earlier post, the camera was set for photographing in deep shadow when the sun suddenly came out.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Nuthatch II

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1/4x converter (420mm)
1/250 sec. f8
ISO 1600

This photo, more than any of the hundreds I've taken at our cabin's backyard feeders, best demonstrates the acrobatic appeal of the quicksilver little nuthatch.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Female rose-breasted grosbeak II

FEMALE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 11, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/3200 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

Another shot from three weeks ago. The lighting on this one was serendipitous. The high shutter speed comes from the camera being set to photograph in deep shade and the lens wide open. Had I thought of it, I would have reduced the ISO to 400 or even 200 for finer image quality, but this seems adequate for Internet use.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Rose-breasted grosbeak, first summer

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, FIRST SUMMER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, SEPTEMBER 1, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/320 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

We'd seen one or two female grosbeaks at the feeders regularly all summer, but not a male. Until today. This very young grosbeak looks almost like a hybrid of male and female, but over the winter its colors will change until its head is mostly black and the rosy red spreads almost all over its breast. I just wish I hadn't left the car in the driveway in the rear of the shot.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mr. and Ms. Downy

DOWNY WOODPECKERS, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 18, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with Pentax 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/500 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

I'd never before seen both female and male downy woodpeckers together in our back yard, let alone on a single suet feeder. Probably the little ones have left the nest so Mama and Daddy can go out on a Saturday night and have some fun. The camera was hand-held, lens wide open near dusk, and the image quality not bad for such conditions.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Downy woodpecker

DOWNY WOODPECKER, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 16, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax 1.4x extender (420mm)
1/500 sec f6.7
ISO 1600

We have a pair of Downys in our backyard, and both of them love the basketwork suet feeder Debby made at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School in 2017. This is the male, as attested by the little red yarmulke on his head.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 plus Pentax 1.4x converter (420mm)
1/3200 sec. f8
ISO 1600

This season we have nearly a dozen hummers crowding the three feeders on the property, so it's easy to sit down in the living room and shoot the birds through its optically flat picture window. I was lucky to stop the wing as it reached the end of its reverse stroke. I also used the handy free Mac app called TouchRetouch to remove the red nectar feeder from the left side of the frame.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Red-breasted Nuthatch

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 8, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pemtax-F* 300mm f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax converter (420mm)
1/320 sec. f6.7
ISO 1600

Capturing a good shot of these amusing little songbirds can be a challenge, because they are quick to grab a seed and fly off to a tree to consume it. We always have one or two of these around our feeders, and sometimes they gorge themselves on suet as well as sunflower seeds.

I was pleased with the lens combination, which gave sharp results even in dim light.


Male goldfinch

MALE GOLDFINCH, GREEN, MICHIGAN, JULY 29, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax extender (420mm)
1/320 sec. f8
ISO 400

The goldfinch community of the forest seems to have discovered our feeders once again. Its members flock to both tiny niger seeds and large sunflower seeds, filling our back yard with their song. They're an important reason we love to spend our summers on the shore of Lake Superior.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Female rose-breasted grosbeak

FEMALE ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, GREEN, MICHIGAN, AUGUST 7, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax-F* 300mm f4.5 with 1.4x Pentax extender
1/800 sec. f7.1
ISO 1600

We arrived at our Lake Superior cabin late in the season, and only now are the less common species coming to our backyard feeders. This handsome female grosbeak chose to feed on the ground, on sunflower seeds falling from a feeder high atop a pole.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Scarlet Ibis II

SCARLET IBIS, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/800 f8
ISO 1600

A fairly prosaic photograph at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia had a busy, distracting background. A little work in Lightroom to darken and obscure the distraction transformed the photograph into a striking one. Journalistically this technique is a no-no, for it alters the reality a news photograph is intended to capture, but artistically it's quite permissible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Indian Peacock



INDIAN PEACOCK, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018


Pentax K-3
Right: Pentax 55-300 at 300mm, 1/2000 sec. f8, ISO 1600
Below: Pentax 18-135 at 40mm, 1/500 sec. f8, ISO 1600

Native to South Asia (and the national bird of India), the Indian peafowl has been distributed around the world and has been found in the wild even in Canada.

This specimen at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia was utterly unafraid of humans and remained aloof even when Trooper, my service dog, expressed interest in sniffing him.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Great Egrets

GREAT EGRETS, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Both:
Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm

Above: 1/250 sec. f8, ISO 1600
Below: 1/6400 sec. f8, ISO 1600

The Great Egret, also called Common Egret, Great White Egret or Great White Heron, is one of 11 species of the water bird found all over the world.

It's distinguished from its fellows by its size and black legs and feet.

These reside in the Aviario Nacional de Colombia just outside Cartagena.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blue and Gold Macaws

BLUE AND GOLD MACAWS, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/800 sec. f8
ISO 200

This common species of South American parrot (this one was photographed at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia) ranges from northern South America up through Central America. Widespread, noisy and long-lived (60 plus years), it's frequently kept as a pet in U.S. homes because of its striking plumage and quickness to mimic human speech.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Scarlet Ibis

SCARLET IBIS, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/2000 sec. f8
ISO 1600

This striking specimen, photographed at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia just outside Cartagena, is a common wading bird in tropical South America and the Caribbean.

Its long bill probes for bugs and crustaceans in mud.

Some biologists think it is simply a color variation of the white ibis instead of a separate species.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sun Conure

SUN CONURE, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/4000 sec. f7.1
ISO 1600

There are so many species and subspecies of orange, yellow and green parrots in Central and South America that I was unable to find a photograph of an identical (and identified) parrot in either my bird books or on the Internet.

But a visitor at this blog identified it as a Sun Conure, or Sun Parakeet, a popular pet in U.S. households.

I photographed it at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Muscovy Duck

MUSCOVY DUCK, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/1250 f8
ISO 1600

Native to Mexico, Central America and South America, the big, homely (and spectacularly smelly) Muscovy duck is sometimes kept as an exotic species on farms in the United States. Its flesh tastes stronger than that of the usual domestic duck, and some locavore restaurants bravely serve it. This example lives in the Aviario Nacional de Colombia near Cartagena.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Northern Screamer

NORTHERN SCREAMER, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 300mm
1/1000 sec. f8
ISO 1600

Another of the curious birds at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia, the Northern (or Black-necked) Screamer is a gooselike species mainly native to the riverine lowlands of Colombia. Its numbers are small, and it is one of the loudest birds in the world.

That's probably why few zoos and aviaries feature them.



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Black-crowned Night Heron

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/1250 sec. f8
ISO 1600

One of the more interesting denizens of the Aviario Nacional de Colombia is this two-foot-tall, stocky, short-billed, short-necked wading bird that is common throughout most of the world but not often seen except at dusk or dawn, hence its name. Although it looks hunched when resting, its neck extends in flight or when hunting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

White-faced Whistling Ducks

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCKS, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/2000 f8
ISO 1600

These two apparent lovebirds are named for their clear three-note whistling call, which can be quite noisy. They are found in South America and Africa, and it is not known which continent they originated upon. They are denizens of the Aviario Nacional de Colombia, one of the great aviaries of the world.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Caracara

NORTHERN CRESTED CARACARA, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 28, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135 at 135mm
1/2000 sec. f8
ISO 1600

I captured this striking member of the falcon family at the Aviario Nacional de Colombia just outside Cartagena last March and am only now getting around to posting photos of the visit.

The aviario, an hour's drive to an island southwest of the city,  is worth anyone's trouble, and we were there on a morning's excursion from a cruise ship.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Booby aloft

BROWN BOOBY,  NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN OFF PANAMA, MARCH 30, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 120mm
1/800 sec. f9
ISO 400

Boobies, especially the brown subspecies, like to soar near and over the bows of cruise ships, accompanying them for miles and miles along the Pacific coast of Central America. It's hard to understand why, because they never get any table scraps. Maybe they just want to be companionable.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Interdiction

MEXICAN PATROL BOAT AND FISHING BOAT, CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO, APRIL 6, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 55-300 at 150mm
1/1250 sec. f8
ISO 400

We had a front-row seat on our cruise ship when this Mexican coast guard vessel approached a fishing boat off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to check for drug running, common in that area. The fishermen pointed to their lines and floats in the water, and after a brief interrogation the coast guardsmen sped away.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dawn in the Caribbean

DAWN IN THE CARIBBEAN, MAY 26, 2018

Pentax K-3
Pentax 18-135mm
1/500 sec. f8
ISO 200

When I swept open the curtains of our verandah cabin on the Holland America Line's Westerdam, bound out of Fort Lauderdale for the Panama Canal, this sight greeted me, and I rushed back inside for the camera. The ship is the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic, an aptly named 4,100-passenger behemoth with twice the capacity of our ship.