Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

The Worst Day Birding…

…is better than the best day at work. I actually took these pictures on Monday, but got caught up with a bunch of stuff the last couple of days and never posted them. I went by the Oso Creek waterway, spaces shown to me by Bill Mays, who’s published a couple of my short stories. I asked him about the amazing pictures he gets, and he showed me his secret spots. I go there occasionally, but I don’t see as much as he does. On my way there, though, I gained sympathy for people who commit one of my pet peeves: turn or change lanes without using their signal. I was getting into the lane from which I’d need to turn, eventually. There was no one in the lane I needed, so, I turned on my blinker and started to move into the lane. When I did that, I realized the person that had been about twenty car lengths behind was ten car lengths behind and was speeding as if he was hoping to close the gap so I couldn’t change in front of him. (And then, later on, he turned before he ever caught up to me.) Our society seems to value courtesy far less every year.

Now, for the birds. Didn’t see many worth taking pictures of. The waterway is beautiful, though and I took a pictures in one place. I thought I had a few more, but I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I walked toward my first stop, I saw a black, duck-like bird flying. When I looked at the picture later, I realized that he was a double-crested cormorant. When I got to the place, I saw a bird that I thought might be the same one. Examining the pictures later made me realize it was. So, here you have a picture of a double-crested cormorant in flight, and then at rest….ok…fishing. I missed the shot of him diving into the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll show the picture later, for reasons that will become obvious, but I heard the call of what I thought was a gull. Now, gulls are not one of the birds I get excited taking pictures of, but, given how few birds I had seen or heard, I decided that a good picture of a gull in flight would be nice to have. So, I snapped that picture and moved on. I kept looking into the foliage on the side, not seeing anything. OK, as I walked, I must admit that I was disgusted by the amount of litter left in the area. How hard is it to take your trash back out with you when you’re in the woods. (Hint: if it’s too hard to take out, then don’t bring it in with you!) One spot I looked at had a stalk of celery left on some branches. I decided that someone had done that to draw some kind of animal to the area, hopefully for a picture, and chuckled at that. Then, I looked up and saw these birds. At first I thought they were loggerhead shrikes, but I found out later that was some kind of trick my imagination was playing on me. Just sparrows, but since it looked like they were the fruit of the tree, I still snapped and am posting the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I looked for that picture, I saw one that I had thought about posting, but decided not to. It was a fuzzy female cardinal, because my autofocus looked at the trees instead of the bird. Now, back to the “gull” earlier. But first, I walked across a flood plain down to another prime picture spot and there in the trees was this beautiful osprey. It was hard to decide which shot to use and decided on this one because it showed so much of the beauty of the bird. When I got home, I realized that what I thought was a sea gull, was, in fact, this same osprey. i haven’t see many of these beautiful birds, but I love seeing them when I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I’m returning to my picture taking, I’m getting hungry for a new lens. I currently have a lens that adjusts to 250 mm. I’d really like one that extends to 600 mm for much clearer shots, especially on birds in flight. My wife isn’t excited by the idea. How can I convince her that this would be a great investment? I’d love your suggestions!

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 9 – Birding and Fishing About the Same

I grew up doing a lot of fishing. When you asked the guys in the bait shops about the fishing, they’d be sure to give one of two answers. “Well, good luck to ye. You shoulda been here yesterday, though.” or  “This ain’t exactly the best time to go fishing, next week is when the fish start running here.” I thought of that today when I decided to make Wednesday my “Wandering Wednesdays” where I travel a bit farther away from home than normal. I went to Indian Point Park which is on the bay between Portland and Corpus Christi. I’ve talked with guys who’ve gotten amazing pictures there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by there and looked at my wife, wondering why I didn’t have my camera. So, today I went expecting multitudes of birds and great picture taking opportunities.

 

The first bird I saw was this sparrow. This feisty little bird saw me trying to steal his soul with my camera and skedaddled across the path and out of the way, but not before I got a few good shots in. Then, I walked down a boardwalk that’s set up to allow you to view the wildlife without harming the ecosphere. There are lots of little “pond” type areas, perhaps large tide pools, that draw the birds in. On normal days. But today was not normal – I was there to take pictures. I saw a flock of gulls a little beyond decent picture taking range and snapped a few shots to see if I could find something worth editing later.

 

 

 

 

As I was walking along though, this beautiful bird flew in. I don’t normally do two pictures of any type of bird on this blog, although they can all be seen in my Facebook Photo album, but after doing a few minutes of fashion modeling after he landed, this tri-colored heron  began hunting. While this was just my observation from this one tri-color, they spread their wings before grabbing at the critters in the tide pools that they see. Perhaps this is meant to strike fear in the hearts of their intended prey. I just thought it was kind of cute. I had high hopes for the day when I saw this tri-colored heron.

 

 

As I walked farther along, I saw an egret off in the distance. I took a shot, but it was too far away for it to  be much of a shot. I walked back, took a few more shots of the heron, and then looked around this park that I’d never visited before. There was nothing interesting in the pier area so I tried to walk down the road past the pools of water, hoping to see something. I saw one bird that was so far away that for awhile I wasn’t sure it was a bird! I’ve decided it was a heron of some kind, great blue or (more likely) a tri-colored. It was so far away that even enlarging it with Photoshop didn’t help. Walking didn’t yield any good shots, so I walked back and decided to drive further up the road.

 

 

I did see another tri-colored heron as i was driving so I pulled over and took shots through the open window. They came out ok, but I liked the shots I showed earlier better. After taking those shots, I tried a different place in this area, but those areas that are normally full of birds were empty. I still wanted a few more pics, so I headed back to the T-heads and my go to spot when I absolutely have to get some bird pictures. I didn’t take any pictures of the grackles, but there were some cormorants, seagulls (surprise!), pigeons, and brown pelicans. Most of the pelicans were sleeping, as if they were enforcing the Corpus Christi siesta. The guy in the pic below, I call him Peligandolf. He’s telling us that we will not pass. I’ll just leave the other types below the last paragraph without any further comment.

Even on a low volume day, Corpus Christi has a wide variety of birds and I love the opportunity to see God’s creation here.