Saturday, May 30, 2009

Camera Critters #60

When I was young kid growing up in the Chicago area, I would look forward to our family's trip south to my grandparents. Farm life was so different from life in the big city. But there was something else farm life presented me, city life didn't.

Rain least that's what my grandmother called them. She called them that because whenever she heard them "cooing" she would say, "Rain tomorrow."

Rain Crows were nothing more than Mourning Doves, but for a good part of my life, I only knew them as gramma did. Mourning Doves were also the only doves I knew for a long time.

Mourning Dove

Then I moved to central Oregon and took up birding. I learned there were other types of doves, such as the Rock Dove, or Pigeon. I learned of different types of doves elsewhere in the country. These included several types, including Mourning Doves, found in Texas.

When I went there several years ago to visit my brother and his family, I was looking forward to some new birds. Right away, I started critters I didn't see in Oregon. Such as the White-winged Dove and Inca Dove. I made it goal to get good images of both.

White-winged Dove

Inca Doves

The more I learned about the birds around me, the more I realized there were birds I might never see.

However, on Memorial Day, I was at my house getting ready to head out on a safari when I heard a strange sounding bird outside. I walked to my screen door and didn't see anything right away. Then I caught movement on a telephone pole nearby and saw a couple of birds on the cross beams. They looked like Mourning Doves to me and I was just about ready to return to my preparations when one of the birds flew and I knew immediately it wasn't a Mourning Dove.

I quickly got my camera and walked outside. Both birds were again on the pole, so I lifted my camera and fired off several shots. When I went back inside, I uploaded the photos to my computer to verify my identification. Sure enough, the birds were Eurasian Collared Doves.

I had been hearing about these birds in this area for a while now. There were rare reports last Autumn, and a few more this Spring. When I looked on range maps for the bird, it is shown mostly in the southeast, Florida to be specific, but has been seen sporadically around a lot of the eastern half of the country.

However, they seem to be well settled in central Oregon now.

Eurasian Collared Doves

Misty Dawn's Camera Critter Meme is a great way to see critters of all types. Go to the Meme homepage here and check out more entries. Then join the fun and let the world see your critters!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Camera Critters #59

I have been bird watching in central Oregon for about 14 years now. In that time, I have seen most of the common birds in this area. However, there are a few I haven't seen.

One of those birds is the Black-headed Grossbeak. I have had my opportunities to see one. During my one of my early days, my mom and I went out birding. We were scanning the trees opposite of each other when she said, I see an orange bird with black on it. What is it? I turned in her direction, asked where the bird was and she said, "It just flew."

Another time, I was with some friends and one of them said, "Black-headed Grossbeak in the large pine." By the time I turned to focus my binoculars on that spot, nothing was there.

Earlier this week, I was sitting at my computer when I heard a bird singing in the tree outside my door. It sounded very unfamiliar to me, so I went to the door and realized the bird was higher than I could see. I stepped outside, circled the tree, looking upwards and there it was.

I quickly went and grabbed my camera, lifted it and fired off two shots. Just as I was ready to get a third image, my neighbor started her lawn mower, which startled the bird and off it flew.

But I finally saw a Black-headed Grossbeak. I even got a photo to prove I finally saw one. 8v)

If you would like to see more Camera Critters, just drop by the website here run by Misty Dawn and then join in the fun with an entry of your own.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Camera Critters #58

I love shooting the local reptile population. I'd probably love shooting these critters anywhere I was, but at least on the high desert, I know I can find them and I know they love having their photo taken...most of the time. 8v)

Moments after this photo was taken, this Great Basin Fence Lizard dove for the cover of a hole somewhere...which happens often after I a get a shot or two. I didn't notice it at the time, but he actually waved bye to me before disappearing.

If you would like to see more Camera Critters, just drop by the website here run by Misty Dawn and then join in the fun with an entry of your own.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Camera Critters #57

One of the most popular spots in central Oregon, is Smith Rock State Park, located about 10 miles north of Redmond. It's a favored spot for hikers and rock climbers, along with wildlife watchers.

I've gone to the park more times than I can remember. During the Spring, I have a special reason for going to there. I go to the park for what is on Monument Rock.

If you click on the image below (it may take a while to load on some connections) and look close, you'll see a Golden Eagle's nest on the wall. Draw a line to the right, from the spot where the sky meets the land on the left side. Near the center part of the rocks, you'll see the nest.

The best view of the nest is on the rimrock along the opposite side of the canyon from the nest. The nest is about a quarter mile away. When I visited the nest area Tuesday, I found a single adult on the nest. I waited around for the other to show, but it didn't while I was there.

Then Friday, I stopped by the area again, and this time I found an empty nest. Knowing the adults would not leave the nest for too long, I sat down on a basalt rock pillar and waited. Every once in a while, a Turkey Vulture or two would drift by and give me hopes of the eagles showing until I recognized what species I was looking at. Then, about 15 minutes after I sat down, I was opening my snack when from low below the nest, one of the adults swooped up and landed on the left side. I grabbed my camera and was in time to catch the second adult heading to the nest.

The eagle approaches the edge of the nest.

And lands with stretched wings.

Then both eagles stood on the nest. By this time, I had lowered my camera and was watching the nest with binoculars in an attempt to see what was going on. As I watched, the eagle on the left dropped into the nest and at the same time, the other dropped off the side of the nest and flew along the canyon walls for a short distance before gaining altitude and disappearing over the top on the opposite side.

I've been to the park many times to see the eagles coming and going. This was the first time I was actually able to see both birds go to the nest.

If you would like to see more Camera Critters, just drop by the website here run by Misty Dawn and then join in the fun with an entry of your own.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camera Critters #56

Last August, I came home from a long safari in the dry canyon and was looking forward to a cold drink and hot shower. As I unlocked the door to my place, a voice in my head yelled, "Look!" I swiveled my head from side-to-side, wondering where the voice came from.

Then I heard the voice again. "To your right, look" This time I backed up and looked to my right. There, 30 feet away in flowers of a hanging plant was a large, fluttering white object. I switched my camera back on and walked over to the object.

It was an Oregon Old World Swallowtail, also known scientifically as, Papilio machaon oregonius. It was the first I had seen in such a way I could photograph it. And even though its wings were a bit worn, it was still a beautiful critter to shoot.

I hope you agree.

If you would like to see more Camera Critters, just drop by the website here run by Misty Dawn and then join in the fun with an entry of your own.