Monday, April 4, 2011

Odds and ends! - 25 Mar 2011

The following is a mish-mash of observations from last weekend (26-27 March 2011) in the yard and at Pt. Mouillee.

Last Saturday morning I looked out the back window and saw that our little fountain had frozen almost-solid overnight.  The sun was just rising and beginning to reflect off the frozen icicles.  A pair of American Goldfinches were drinking from the flowing portions of water and made for a neat photo-opp.  Unfortunately, I had to shoot through the back window and use relatively slow shutter speeds (1/125 sec. @ 400mm).  Although I liked the resulting images, they were a bit too dull for my liking.

So, I took the top image and applied the Watercolor Filter to it using Adobe Photoshop.  The resulting image (I think) has a bit more visual interest!  Apologies to all you watercolor artists who might call this cheating...

Saturday afternoon came and I decided to run down to Pt. Mouillee to see if I could refind the Short-eared Owl(s) that might still be around.  Skies were clouding up, temps were dropping into the teens, and winds were blowing 15-20 mph, resulting in a very cold ride on the bike.  Ducks were spooking as usual, so I was happy to get this pair of Northern Shovelers taking off from the west side of the Long Pond Unit.  Shovelers were the dominant bird in this part of the marsh, with only a few Green-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks observed this evening.
Mallard get paid little attention this time of year, but when one flies only feet away I can't ignore them.  Beautiful and unappreciated.
Tundra Swans seem to have left for more northerly breeding grounds, leaving dozens of Mute Swans to remain and take over the shallow marsh.  This bird flew across the Long Pond Unit and seemed interested in my presence.
This bird passed close enough for me to capture full-frame images.  The darkening skies help to provide some nice contrast in the early evening skies.
I reached the Middle Causeway and huddled down in the sunflower to keep out of the wind.  No Short-eared Owls were appearing, and the skies were darkening.  This Bald Eagle circled overhead and drifted close enough for some final images of the night.  Meanwhile, thousands of gulls were swarming over the Banana Unit, but it was too windy to bike.  So, I waited.  Strangely, as I sat in the field I thought I heard a pair of Greater Yellowlegs calling 'Tu-tu-tu!'  Too early, I thought.

The skies darkened, and no owls appeared, so I hopped on the bike and started back toward the Siegler Rd. entrance.  Soft ground, and a biting head-wind made the ride miserable.  However, a pair of Greater Yellowlegs flew in and landed in the SW corner of the Long Pond Unit.  I was too slow w/ the scope to digiscope them, but did get some nice looks at them before they took off for calmer waters.  These HAVE to be the first yellowlegs of the season in SE Michigan.

Sunday would bring cold rain all day, but the skies were bright enough in the early hours to capture this Dark-eyed Junco in the back yard.  Nice to still see them around.  A few Common Grackles also visited the feeders today!

1 comment:

dAwN said...

The frozen water shots are really cool!
Awesome photos all.

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