Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Grand Bird Day (for a short while...)

There was not a bird in sight for a while this afternoon, so I thought it would be a good time to clean the feeder ledges. On my way, I caught sight of a hawk perched in a very tall pine and stopped dead in my tracks. “Oh, my!”, I thought, and dashed to the house to get the camera. Have you ever run, while feeling you were in slow motion? Just look at that hawk! No wonder the feeder birds fled. Click to enlarge the photos.


Camera in hand, stomping through mud puddles, my eyes were fixed on the handsome creature. He was perched waaaaay up there.

My Stokes Field Guide helped me to call this one a Cooper's Hawk. I love this guide...


Oh, let's see another...

After taking several photos the camera died. Kaput. No reviving. Impatiently, I fidgeted with it, mumbling words of disbelief… This happened when the bird was starting to spread wings and show off. “%$^*)(*&^$%!!!” My fault. The battery died. Now I know to charge the battery at least once a week. Another lesson learned.

One last photo of Mr. Cooper...

So, I stood in the middle of the yard, defeated and frustrated. He spread his wings, swooped overhead and disappeared behind my neighbor’s house. He’ll be back, probably to fly away with one of the doves like he did last week. I was name-calling the doves this week and now I feel bad...


Earlier in the day, I was tiring of vacuuming and looked through my bathroom window to find a nice little surprise.


I jumped when I saw a Carolina Chickadee fly by the feeder. This little bird is quick and darts to and from the feeder in a bat of an eyelash. I was nervous and had a hard time focusing on the action at the feeder but I did manage to catch him in a tree during a pit stop before the last leg of his journey for some sunflower seeds.

I have learned when using full zoom that you must not breathe, belch, cough, or sniff while focusing. Your feet need to be planted firmly. As time goes on, I'll learn more things about photography. I had a hard time because I was probably too excited to keep my hands and balance steady. Even with image stabilization, the operator needs to keep herself in control!


Still having problems with my focus, but here’s a male House Finch that came to visit today.

It was a good day that ended too soon. For three hours, I walked past the battery charger, looking for a green light. Sigh...


Need more feeders! All over - north, south, east, west. I should have let the dustballs accumulate and went shopping today.

A 75 degree day. I heard a lawn mower.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mary, those are some PICTURES! I'm not a passionate birder (though I seem to be drawn to bloggers who are!) but I love God's artwork. That blue sky canvas behind the hawk is unbelieveable North Carolina blue!

I loved this line: "Even with image stabilization, the operator needs to keep herself in control!" Good metaphor for my life....

Mary said...

Beth, yep. The power comes from within. Not an easy thing to master :)

Susan Gets Native said...

I have learned the same thing about full-on zoom. It magnifies every twitch your body makes. And watch out in a strong wind!

Those are awesome pictures, Mary.
I loved your comment about needing more feeders. You are a birder.
*Susan does the Snoopy dance*

LauraHinNJ said...

Great pics, Mary. Glad the new bird book is coming in handy already!

Anonymous said...

I keep a tripod handy for high zoom and low light pictures. But your shots are great, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures Mary!

A LAWN MOWER???

Anonymous said...

BEautiful Mary!! You know I love the Cooper's! And a chickadee... girl, you are soon going to be known as The Bird Lady on your street. ;c)

NatureWoman said...

Wow! Great photos Mary! I love the Cooper's Hawk. Don't you just hate it when you're about ready to get some great shots and the batteries die - grrrrrr! Yup - zoom and don't breathe, or anything. That's my problem - I still breathe and the camera moves all over the place.
Susan's got us both birding!

Mary said...

Susan - Wondering, what does the Snoopy Dance looks like?

Laura - It's a great guide. Good illustrations!

Ruth - I'm so new at this and have little equipment. I've been watching birds for at least a decade and didn't know what I was looking at... It's great to see their faces.

Lynne - Yes, the grass is greening up. I guess someone down the street decided to give their lawn one last trim.

Jayne - I know my neighbors see me outside looking like a lawn ornament but I don't care :)

Pam - The full zoom is so nice when you can handle it!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures, Mary! Lovely find on that Coopers Hawk! Coolness!

I recommend getting a second battery pack for your camera. It is so nice to just whip out the new battery and slam it in! :)

Mary said...

Great idea, Liza Lee. Good grief, that would save me from cussin'.

KGMom said...

At least you had your camera handy. I have a peregrine that regularly visits my neighborhood, so much so that I stopped putting out bird feed since the spot made too easy pickings for the peregrine. BUT I have yet to have my camera handy when it stops by! The most recent sighting, the peregrine was 10 feet from me on a low tree branch. And, I with no camera!

mon@rch said...

such wonderful hawk shots and did you have the temp right? can you believe its January!! BTW: What are people out mowing their lawns already?