Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mid-winter Blues

I don't know about you, but I've had about enough of winter. Spring has been on my mind lately. Ice covers the ground and the lake. Well, almost all of the lake. The neighborhood fish pen stays unfrozen, as they keep the water moving inside the pen. So like I've said before, there is a Belted Kingfisher that hangs out at the fish pen, and catches a snack or two every day. Now the last couple of days, we have a new visitor to the fish pen... a Great Blue Heron! It's an unusual time of year to see one of these magnificant birds here on the lake. I am loving the added wildlife and birds that have been attracted by the fish pen. If you haven't already, check out the otter that visited before the ice took over the lake in my earlier blog. This Great Blue Heron spends hours patiently waiting on the ledge of the fish pen. And I have spent quite some time patiently waiting for the heron to do something exciting like catch a fish! I have seen it about to strike, but then doesn't. I couldn't get quite close enough on my balcony to get a decent shot, so I decided today to get my boots on, and some warm clothes and head outside with my camera and tripod. Now this is quite the feat, because it is very icy around my house, and now we have a new cover of snow, so it's hard to see where exactly the ice is. So I grab my ski-pole, and head out with my gear. Unfortunely, the little dog gets out when I open the door to get my tripod through. Darn it, I didn't want the dog to scare the bird. But I continue on my task, and head across the icy ground and sneak behind the bushes and hide behind a boat house on the beach. Here I set up my tri-pod and get all focused in on my special winter visitor. I snap a couple shots. Maybe half a dozen, and our big dog comes to see what's up. Oh hello! I see you are trying to photograph that big bird over there... Let me help by running out on the ice and scaring him off! Do you think I might have been lucky enough to get a flight shot? No, no, no. I was in the middle of saving a 7-shot series, and missed the window of opportunity. Thanks doggy!

Well, at least the shots were a little better than the ones way up from my balcony. I still plan to stalk this fella to get a better shot. Would be nice if the weather wasn't quite so gloomy!

After the dogs had scared away my chances of getting any more heron pictures for the time being, I still wanted to take advantage of being out in the snow in the woods. So I set up my tripod on the patio and decided to get a few shots of the Red-breasted nuthatches that were at my suet feeders. There were 4 of them there at one time, how fun! Do you think I could get a shot of them, before little dog, and his Unlce kitty ran over to the tree and off went the nuthatches. Next time I will have to be more careful about the pets getting outside! But hey, they were excited about the bird visitors too! Little dog barks at the birds when he sees them outside. All is not lost, there is a Song Sparrow that has been in the gang with the nuthatches, and it is still in the bushes. I take a couple of crappy shots of it, before I hear a Raven overhead bickering at it's partner. This causes the Song Sparrow to freeze and hide behind the branches for a couple of minutes or more. The Raven takes off, and down the tree comes a Downy Woodpecker. They seem to hang with the nuthatches and the sparrow, all of them coming to the feeders at the same time. I am happy to be on the patio, with the tripod and the camera all ready to go. Didn't last long with my friends the pets outside. Oh well, it was an adventure that I enjoyed. Got me out of the house, and was good for the winter blues.

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