Saturday, December 28, 2013

NC Zoo - R.J.Reynolds Aviary

Scarlet Ibis
My friend and I decided to do something a bit different today.  She had not been to the zoo here and it had been more years than I can remember since I went.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon

We focused mainly on the North American animals with the exception of the aviary.  Both of us being birders were drawn to that exhibit.  Unfortunately it was more crowded than we anticipated and the shooting conditions were a bit of a challenge but still got some nice shots.

It was pretty cool that so many children there were excited about seeing all the birds.  Although some quiet would have been nice, I would rather see the kids out enjoying and appreciating nature versus sitting in front of a TV playing a video game.  Bravo to those parents who brought them out.

I could not find the name for this one but absolutely loved the eye!

Mandarin Duck

These are only a few of my favorite birds we saw today. Nice to see some color. Some I really wanted a shot of I didn't get.  Just an opportunity to go back!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Red-shouldered Hawk Hunting

Get set.....


Subduing prey....

Whoops...I dropped it.....

Beak clean up....

After meal ummm, pardon....

More waiting and watching.  When the hawk flew to this tree, I was standing no more than 15 feet from it.  I stood for the longest time just watching it as it was checking out any movement and activity around it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trail Cam Shots - 25 Dec 13

It is a cold. dreary. misty morning.  I went out early to retrieve the trailcam curious since I have not set it out in a while.  I set it out on Christmas Eve only to realize when I looked on Christmas morn the batteries were dead.  I thought there was enough juice left for one night but I guess the cold quickly zapped the energy.  I was excited because I had looked out at the edge of dark and saw a large buck and was anxious to see the shots.  New batteries in I set out late yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately he did not show back up, only the does.

The fox are still around and give wide berth to the raccoon.

The entire raccoon family also showed up looking for a  meal.  They too like the extruded pellet food that I feed the deer.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rain Drops

Same subject, similar objects.  Color or lack of color definitely creates the mood.  The day feels  as gray and colorless as the top photo.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Wren

It has been a very strange feeling day weather wise.  While it has reached 77 it has felt a bit cool with the steady breeze.  Still, you can't complain particularly this time of year.  The morning started off very gray and a bit misty.  I only went out for only a bit with the warm temps were just too good to pass on.  I got a killer shot of a Red-tailed Hawk going after something but the high ISO made for a very speckled looking shot.  Oh well.

I saw my first Winter Wren for the season.  Funny that I was just thinking to myself a few days ago that I had not yet seen one this year.

The cooking marathon will begin tomorrow for our extended family get together on Christmas Eve.  The weather is going to be quite messy tomorrow so a good day to have something to do inside.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Day Trip Down East

Well, my trip today was a bit disappointing.  I had actually intended on going down east yesterday but woke up not feeling the best so waited until today.  My plans were to stay over tonight but said the heck with it all and came back home.  My one bad ankle I turned again while walking trying to find that dang Snowy Owl that had been hanging around the Hatteras lighthouse.  Unfortunately after a looong drive, no luck.  I procrastinated going too long and lost out.  I was originally going the day after the Bonner Bridge was closed and cancelled the trip because of the uncertainty of getting there with the emergency ferry situation.

Trying to salvage the day, coming back home I went by Mattamuskeet.  Definitely wrong day to go.  I wanted to go yesterday when there were no hunters.  The back part of the refuge was closed until 1300 and by that time, all the gunfire had spooked most of the waterfowl away.

There were the usual shortage of Great Blue Herons

and lots of Great Egrets.

The cutest little Cattle Egret kept coming right up to the car.  I had just pulled over and it would come up and look at me.  Not sure what it was thinking.

An American Bittern came flying by and I watched hoping it would land close by but I lost sight of it behind some trees.

One bright spot were lots of Northern Pintails.  Although they are not colorful ducks, their markings are quite attractive.  They were a noisy lot but enjoyable to watch.

On the way out of the refuge I spotted a Red-Shouldered Hawk that kept flying down trying to get something in the marsh area.  I never saw it get anything but it got a bit wet trying.

Time for a hot shower, a couple of ibuprofen, a cold pack on the ankle and sack time.  Tomorrow is suppose to be beautiful weather before another cold front comes in.  With tomorrow being the winter solstice, temps here are going to be around 70.  Love it!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gray Fox

A Gray Fox was hunting among the blackberry brambles this morning.  Although it moved with great stealth, barely moving the brambles, you could watch the progression of its travels by the numerous sparrows flying up.  Hope it finally found something to eat.

It was a beautiful morning out with a bit of coolness in the shade or if you hit a spot where the wind was blowing but for two days before the winter solstice, you could not have asked for much nicer.  Tomorrow should be even better before the next cold front comes through.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bluebird Baskers

Yes, the sun felt good today.  Out only for a little while today as I took the morning to finish Christmas shopping then later in the early afternoon, took my aunt out to finish her shopping.  Hopefully headed to Mattamuskeet this Thursday.  My last three attempts have been foiled by either weather or family obligations.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Playing with Ice

Having to wait for a delivery today I had to hang around the house.  I decided to get out the macro lens and play around with some ice that had formed in a saucer I keep filled with water for the little birds.

Some of the bubbles and striations look almost like something alien.  After several shots I decided to put a CD behind the ice.  Pretty cool effect looking almost like some distant nebula in space.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Good-bye to Piggish Squirrels

After several frustrating days of continually chasing the squirrels away from the suet feeder, enough was enough.  They were going through one suet cake in no time.  The dog was tired of being sent out to chase them away.

I started looking around at several designs for squirrel proof/resistant suet feeders.  I finally decided on the Stokes feeder as the hanging loop screwed down making it also resistant to the raccoons.

With the rain and cold today, it has been interesting to watch the birds becoming accustomed to the new feeder.  Some were quite hesitant at first and each bird has it's own approach.  After successfully navigating for the first time or two their confidence built and soon were no longer hesitant.

The squirrels have crawled all over it trying to get to the suet but no go.  They have finally quit trying.  Yeah!

The Cardinals tried several times but could not hold on.  I finally took a bamboo stick and placed through the outer cage.  This gave the Cardinals and Bluebirds a place to perch first.  They have been the most hesitant of all but surprisingly, so were the White-breasted Nuthatches.

Yes, the cage does work.  While it inhibits some photo ops, it does what it is supposed to do which is keep the squirrels out.