Archive for May, 2014

Its’ hard not to love these guys ! Last evening, while filling a feeder, they were so anxious to get to the nectar they were landing on the feeder in my hand and finally on my hand. They’re were so many (about 50 at one time) that the only sound I could here was the buzzing or humming of their wings, which, by the way, even drowned out a few bullfrogs in the pond by the road. It has rained constantly for 4 days in a tropical fashion. It pours about 10 times per day with lightning thunder and even small (pea sized or less hail) and 10 minutes later the hot sun is back out. We have only received about 2 inches of rain over the four days but it is in tenths at each shower.

I took my camera out today and set it facing a sugar maple tree in the yard; as soon as one of the male hummingbirds landed I got off about 50 shots with a Canon 70D with a Lens and Teleconverter that, along with the crop factor of the 70D measure about 1000mm at f/6.7; now its going to rain again.




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This was an experiment for bird closeups. I used a Canon 70D (1.6 crop factor) with a Canon EF 300L f/2.8 IS and a Canon 2X Tele-converter at f/5.6 and ISO 400 on a cloudy day; my distance was approximately 14′ or just 3′ outside the focal length for this Lens and TC; so I do have a low DOF (depth of field). These photos a very large and were taken in RAW and converted to JPGs; so you may click on them to see them in a native size, my focus point was the eye:







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Taken a few minutes ago with a 960mm Lens @ f/5.6 (no depth of field) in the muted light of late morning with storms coming in soon. Notice the pollen on his head from probing flowers:





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Photo amen near Parthenon, Arkansas. Everyone, have a nice memorial day !!




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It is getting a little dry. This forecast depends on a lot. The storm moving East from Texas to Arkansas. This 7 day map is starting Last Friday.


Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 11.52.30 AM

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This is sort of funny ! This young male (probably un-mated) Summer Tanager spent an hour stealing freshly woven nesting material from a hardworking female American Redstart. Each time she would leave the nest to gather more nesting material, the pilfering Tanager, watching from high from the next tree over, would fly down and steal the materials she just brought to the nest. She made no headway in 20 trips during that hour. She never caught him stealing but you have to wonder what she was thinking after all that work ?

and ON and ON it goes !!!








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A have a huge number of Painted Lady butterflies in the yard today. They have big blue eyes, presumably to scare of predators (taken with a Canon 70D with a 300mm f/2.8 lens with a Canon 2X Teleconverter = 960mm):



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I ran into the male Blue-Winged Yellow Warbler very early this morning; and had to use a high ISO setting to photograph him while he was gleaning insects from leaves. The high ISO setting leaves the photographs grainy.   Not only does this guy have pronounced blueish-gray wings but he also wears a black mask.

They forage mostly in upper half of trees and shrubs and probes dead leaf clusters in winter. Often hangs upside down.

NW Arkansas is the southernmost section of their breeding grounds.

Brightly colored but easily overlooked. A bird of shrubland and old fields, the Blue-winged Warbler expanded its breeding grounds northward throughout the 20th century. They have a make a nest that is an open cup of grasses, bark and dead leaves. Leaves may form cap over eggs. Usually on or near ground.








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Born in the last 24 hours or so, then stashed by Mom in what she thinks is a safe place. She will be back tonight to nurse, preen, and move her beautiful new baby.  You can bet she’s watching him/her from a distance now !!!




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I watched her, a female American Redstart (a wood warbler) on what looks like day 2-3 of building her nest. She was relentless for the entire 2 hours I watched. I knew photographs would be difficult. There was shade and sun behind, she pulled bark of the vine inside the a bushy Box Elder. I had a slow lens at f / 5.6.  Autofocus was nearly impossible. It was a  last season dry vine and she instinctively knew how to strip the off strings from the  shell of the old vine. Mouthful after mouthful she flew to a nest she was building about 25 feet off the ground in an Elm tree 75-90 feet away:
















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