Saturday, July 28, 2012

One for the Birds

 Knowing that insect activity for the season is on the wane, I jump at every opportunity for interesting photography.  Not knowing how the day's nature hike would go, I started off by photographing an Ambush Bug on a daisy in my driveway.  I had seen it the night before when I didn't have my camera.  It cooperated by staying the night.  Same spot on the same flower.  I had to poke at it to be sure it was alive.  It was. 
Lots of people leaving camp for home today, so I didn't have any hikers.  On the way home with my two teenagers, I was wondering if one photo of an ambush bug was sufficient "material" for an interesting blog post when we saw a photogenic cluster of Canada Geese in a freshly mowed field.  They were feasting on the many seeds left behind by the baling machine.  Then, while trying to keep my eyes on the road at 35 mph, I thought I saw a large group of Ravens with downward-curved bills.  Not possible, so I figured I'd better stop.  It was a group of White-faced Ibises.  My son popped the telephoto onto my camera and I got a few shots from the driver's seat, then got out to approach the barbed-wire fence.  The birds decided to relocate, so I got some nice photos of take-offs and landings.  I pretty much ignored the geese, although a few managed to get into the some of the photos.

 When I hit the road again, Ryan tried his hand at some photos while we were in motion.  Got some interesting abstracts of blurry grass and blurry cows, then we came across another group of geese worth stopping for.  He got the next two photos, plus a couple others with a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the distance.  Since they were each the size of a single pixel, I left them out of this post.  Sure wish we had a longer lens.  We discussed how these birds were more or less the ecological equivalents of cows.  Also noticed the considerable difference in coloration of the Ibises from the ones we saw in Sierra Valley during the mating season.  A very good finish to the day.

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