Tufted Titmouse

Taking advantage of the few days where we have warm weather here in South East Michigan.  Backyard birding during this time of the year can be extremely rewarding.  You can put out a few feeders and wait until the migration towards Canada begins.  Once again, the Biggest Week In Birding has been effected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  I am going to have access to the Magee Marsh boardwalk for two hours next Monday.  I’m praying for dry weather.  Even though some of the area hot spots are closed, there are many park openings that will allow for great birding.  I am fortunate that the Toledo-Lucas County Metroparks system is within a few miles of my home in Ohio.  As the migration continues through the month of May, I will have more than enough opportunities to provide you with more images of warblers, shore birds, and others.  Stay tuned here on face book or follow me over on Twitter!  Enjoy!

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White Breasted Nut Hatch

White Breasted Nut Hatch.  The birding season has begun here in Northwest Ohio and South East Michigan.  As the bird migration continues we look forward to capturing many images near our parks, refuges, and even our back yards.  The above image was captured here in Michigan in a setup that my wife and I arranged on our Lake property.  Its just the start of the season and a handful of birds have arrived.  The Sand Hill Cranes are already settled in the area as well as geese, Great Blue Herons, and an occasional Swan or two.  My long lens and steady hands captured this Nuthatch around one of our feeders.  As the weather warms up, we can take the pontoon onto the lake and find even more photo opportunities.  Stay tuned as the season progresses, Enjoy!

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On the Way Home.

As we left South Florida for the drive north, I squeezed in a stop back at Ding Darling for a morning shoot.  I found many Pelicans, White Ibis, and Cormorants.  I grabbed some shots as the sun was rising and will post a few in the coming days.  I packed away all my gear and prepared to leave the refuge for the long day of driving.  As we wound our way to the exit, I spotted this Anhinga perched in a tree watching for a potential meal.  In addition, there were several Great Blue Herons also standing by with their eye on the water.  I quickly opened my pack, grabbed my tripod and slowly moved to the edge of the water.  Several clicks later and I was very happy for that last minute photo opp.  I was hoping to see this bird diving in the water for some food, but he was not cooperating and time was an essence as the sun was climbing into the morning sky.  The lesson for the day is always keep your eyes open for potential images.  You never know when one might sneak up on you while you are in a hurry to get on the road. Enjoy!

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It has been a while since my last post.  The pandemic has had an impact on our lives that we did not anticipate.  My photo opportunities have certainly been curtailed and when I tested positive for the Virus in early November, we were quarantined until early December where we traveled to South Florida to try to get away from the confines of our home up north.  South Florida has many photo opps.  From the many birding sites to magnificent sunrises, I have quite a few images to post.  This first image, recently posted to my website, is of a pair of Pelicans at Ding Darling wildlife refuge.  As we drove through the refuge it started to rain quite heavily.  I spotted a cluster of birds in one of the ponds located in the refuge.  I thought the drive was going to be a waste because of the weather, but as we exited the refuge the rain stopped and the sun was sneaking out form behind the clouds.  We opted for a second trip back through and found great photo opps until the sun popped out totally and cast a harsh light on our subjects.  This demonstrates the need for patience as a nature and wildlife photographer as you never know when the weather will cooperate and give you that golden light we always look for in the late afternoon. Enjoy!

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Shore Birds Galore

Spending time at the lake takes a little pressure off the confines of quarantine from CoVid-19.  In addition to all of the deer, muskrats, and ground hogs walking through our property, there are many shore birds calling the area around the lake their home.  The Sand hill Cranes seem to arrive on the lake about the same time every evening while the Great Blue Herons can bee seen throughout the day and on into the night.  Photographing from a floating pontoon boat on the lake is often a challenge for focusing on your subject.  As the sun goes down it becomes even more difficult so we try to get out on the lake during the late afternoon in hopes of capturing these birds in the golden light of evening time.  Since we share the lake with so many other people, the boat traffic often times send the birds off in various directions.  We try to be as quiet as possible to get close and a long lens on my camera helps to isolate the bird in my viewfinder.  I can’t use a tripod so good hand holding techniques are essential to capture these images in a sharp focus.  all of these factors lend themselves to challenging photo opportunities, the proof is in the results.  More to come I am sure, Enjoy!

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Parent and Child

I seem to be captivated by Sand Hill Cranes recently. We have several pairs near our home in Michigan.  Usually early morning and late afternoon to the evening is when they return to the lake for respite.  Previously I posted some images of the cranes as they nested near the shore.  We did not see the young one after they left the nest, so we thought they might have lost it.  But two nights ago, while trans-versing the lake, we saw the three cranes along the shore line.  The first night I was without my camera so we went back last evening and found them in the same place.  This images shows the male and the juvenile together in the weeds.  Capturing the mother along with them was difficult as she was a bit farther away.  Since the virus keeps us closer to home, I am glad to be fortunate to have the wildlife come knocking on my door.  Some of you best photographs can be taken right outside your door, or near your neighborhood.  So grab your camera, go for a walk, and see what you can find in your area of the world.  Enjoy!

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Early Morning Visit

I woke up early yesterday morning and noticed a visitor outside the house feeding on the vegetation along the side of our property.  I grabbed my camera and went out the opposite side of the house.  I moved slowly along the front approaching the corner thinking I was in stealth mode.  I raised my camera to my eye and moved past the corner only to find the deer was now watching me.  A few quick clicks and she was gone into the bush.  She paid us a visit again last night after the sun went down.  I was able to watch her slowly snack on our grass as she moved across the front lawn and then slid quietly into the trees.  The wild life in the area has been very active this week.  We had a small fawn last week and were able to get a glimpse of her recently to see that she is growing up quite fast.  Our cranes arrive about the same time each evening, and the swans are still on the lake.  Enjoy!

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Swan Lake

Spending time at the lake this week and were surprised with the arrival of two swans.  It was late yesterday morning and the sun was high in the sky.  Photographing these beauties would definitely be a challenge.  But patience ruled the day.  A late afternoon pontoon ride located the swans on the western side of the lake. It was still too bright to capture any images.  After our evening meal I looked out the window to see the swans swimming toward our dock.  The light was much better as the sun was coming down.  I did not need to move the pontoon out on the lake as I was close enough with my long lens to capture quite a few great images of these magnificent birds.  In addition, in the last two days we have seen Deer as well as Great Blue Herons and Sand Hill Cranes.  Great to be lakeside Enjoy!

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Lake Life

Although its been a while since my last post, getting out and photographing during a pandemic can be quite a challenge.  I really enjoy photographing Sand Hill Cranes.  I have been to New Mexico several times working in and around Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge where the Cranes migrate during the colder months.  Recently, most of my images have come from an hour away from my home in Northwest Ohio.  This image is from our lake property in south east Michigan.  I captured a few images of nesting cranes over the past month or so, but last night two cranes found their way into my front yard near the lake.  Since I always have my photo gear handy, I was able to capture a few images before the sun  went down.  Shooting in the evening light just enhances the images of these cranes.  There were two nesting in the area and I think this is the pair that hatched a couple small ones recently.  It realy is interesting when some of your best birding opportunities occur right in your own backyard.  Enjoy!

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Early Morning

Typically, we would be in the middle of the “Biggest Week.”  I am talking about the International Migratory Bird festival held each year in Ottawa County here in Northwest Ohio.  Since these are not typical times, the festival has been cancelled and the Magee Marsh boardwalk and surrounding areas are closed due to COVID-19.  Fortunately, the area Metroparks are still open and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is allowing people on site provided we are social distancing.  In addition, the wildlife drive area at the refuge is still open allowing many of us to seek out the migratory birds and shoot from our cars.  Cars do make a natural blind for photography as long as you don’t scare off the birds.  I took an early morning cruise to the Refuge yesterday morning and found quite a few photo opportunities.  Towards the back of the Refuge I came upon two Sand-hill Cranes foraging among the grassy areas near the water.  I had my long lens in place and was able to spend several minutes photographing these large birds in their habitat.  Since I was out early, there were not that many cars on the drive so I could take my time and not block the trail from other vehicles.  Sand-hill cranes are some of my favorite subjects.  You can find many of them in my Bosque del Apache gallery here on my web site.  Check them out and share on your social media with friends and family, Enjoy!

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