Welcome to my Blog. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoy taking them!

All photos on this blog are for your personal viewing pleasure. They are copyrighted with all rights reserved. These images may not be used without express written permission.

Thanks for Dropping By and Have a Great Day, :)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Birding Day of 2010

My Son-in-Law (Thomas Maddox) and I made a brief run to Lacassine Refuge on the last day of 2010. It was our first trip there this winter.

On our way down Illinois Plant Road, Thomas spotted a female Northern Harrier sitting in a field alongside the road. He was preening his feathers, looking about and seemed oblivious to us stopping on the road, watching him and taking his picture. He remained there as we drove away.

Left-Click to enlarge all images.

We came upon some geese a little further down Illinois Plant Road. The white Snow Geese immediately caught our attention but what were the darker geese mixed in with the Snows? As we got closer the Specklebellied Geese (Greater White-Fronted Geese) came into view and much to our delight there were about twenty Cackling Geese mixed in. We haven't seen many Cackling Geese and it was indeed a treat to see these guys.

As we entered Lacassine Refuge a peculiar looking Red-Tailed Hawk with a dark bib perched in a tree next to the road flew off and landed in a distant tree. Fortunately we were able to get close enough for a picture. The black looking blotch of feathers under his chin and on his neck looked different from the typical Red-Tailed Hawks we have seen. Red-Tailed Hawks seem to have so many variations one never knows what they will encounter with these guys.

We saw the usual waterfowl at Lacassine (no Swans) and nothing really out of the ordinary. It was great just being out in good company, taking a few pictures and enjoying good ole Mother Nature for the last birding run of the year.

Year 2010 was an excellent birding year with some outstanding finds by some persistent and talented birders. What will 2011 bring?

Stranger Danger

Some movement caught my eye while observing shorebirds on the beach. Three Black Skimmer Chicks were scurrying about. "How cute!", I thought.

The chicks spotted me as I eased a bit closer, immediately hit the dirt (sand) and froze. Their cryptic resemblance with the sandy beach enabled them to blend perfectly with their surroundings.

One of the chicks lay flat in the sand facing me. A second chick lay sideways to me. A third chick was tail to tail with the second chick facing away with his head in the grass. They watched my every move as they lay motionless in their 'survival mode'.

Using my long lens I was able to capture their exquisite behavior from a distance. After retreating but a short way, they rose to their feet, scurried into the grassy area and disappeared from sight.

It was a treat capturing this experience to share with others. It is not as good as experiencing it yourself but it is the next best thing. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed taking it. I put a bit of an 'artsy' twist on this image and hope you like it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great Blue Heron Portrait

This large Louisiana wading bird is certainly a favorite of mine. It looks enormous in flight with its slow wingbeats and large wingspan. You just never get tired of watching this bird with its assortment of contrasting colors.

It usually feeds in shallow water or at the water's edge spearing small fish with its sharp beak. Where would we be in Louisiana without our Great Blue Heron?

Left-Click to Enlarge

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sherburne Bald Eagles

Two of my sons-in-law, my brother-in-law and two of our grandchildren ventured east to Sherburne yesterday to see first-hand our majestic National Bird. The Bald Eagle's distinctive brown body and white head and tail made it easy to identify even from a distance. One of them appeared to be feeding a youngster in the nest as the other perched on a limb nearby keeping a watchful eye.

(Left-click to enlarge)

How long do you suppose it took the parents to construct / engineer such a nest? This fortress will serve the needs of the chicks as they grow and eventually one day take off on their own.

We look forward coming back in the near future to see how the youngsters are growing and faring. Perhaps they will be visible in the nest.

(Left-click to enlarge)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buff-Bellied Hummer

Sandra Lewis in Sulphur waited thirty years for a Buff-Bellied Hummer and the wait was worth it. This gorgeous hummer with its metallic olive green above and buffy below was stunning as it flew about stopping occasionally at the feeder. Hopefully if will be around the entire winter for her to enjoy.

It was a pleasure to see such a hummer. Hopefully other species of hummers will winter in SW La so they can have their picture taken as well. Thanks for sharing your hummer for all to see Sandra.

(Left-click to enlarge images)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wood Storks

This large, white, prehistoric pteradactyl-looking bird with his scaly naked head, his outstretched neck and his legs extended flew by taunting me to take his picture early one morning. This is the by far one of the ugliest birds I've witnessed. Additionally, he wasn't delivering a baby. :)

An interesting fact about these birds is they hunt by touch. When prey touches their bill it closes on them in 25 milliseconds which is an incredibly fast reaction time. Also, these guys might fly as far as 40 miles per day in search of food.

Wood Storks are listed on the Federal List of Endangered Species and are also protected under the US Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

(Left-Click to Enlarge)

We are fortunate in Louisiana to have such a diverse population of birds for all to see.

(Left-Click to Enlarge)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Black-Legged Kittiwake

It was a pleasure seeing the Black-Legged Kittiwake that was sighted by the Cameron Ferry during the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge CBC on Sunday, December 19.

Fortunately, he was here today sporting about the ferry. He was following the ferry, gliding about with the rest of the terns and gulls collecting little fishies.

At times it would plop in the water and fool around until the ferry returned.

This is my favorite pic. Left-click to enlarge.

Do you reckon the chaps in the truck on the ferry realize just how close they are to the rare Review List Black-Legged Kittiwake? If they only knew. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Common Moorhen

(Left-click to enlarge image)

These two Common Moorhen seemed inseparable. It was hilarious as both were standing on one leg, side-by-side on the only available piece of real estate in the shallow marsh. "Are these two having visions of becoming Flamingos?", I thought.

I was curious as to why they were sticking close together and what they were looking at. The answer was apparent when a couple of juveniles emerged from the reeds making their way down the bank. I suppose dealing with issues of adolescence can be trying even for adult Common Moorhens.

Their short yellow-tipped red bill coupled with their red facial shield provides a remarkable contrast against their slate gray body. Their bill color makes it easy to distnguish them from the ivory-billed American Coot.

Here comes the adventuresome teenager. The juvenile Common Moorhen was heading their way exploring his new world as his parents kept a watchful eye.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

White-Eyed Vireo

My first exposure with this bird was at Peveto Sanctuary (pictured). This small, secretive migratory songbird's eerie look with his luminescent white iris appears almost paranormal. Be sure to carry your gris-gris bag to ward off any evil spirits.

For a small bird don't you just love this guy's enthusiasm as he belts out his energetic, raucous song? (Is it Ella or is it Memorex?) As a result this guy is usually heard before he is seen.

What do you think of the White-Eyed Vireo's bill? Its slightly hooked bill reminds me of a Shrike. The White-Eyed Vireo is next to Shrikes in my field guide so perhaps they are somehow related.

Did you know that fledgling White-Eyed Vireos lack the white iris? I read the white iris usually develops by February of the next spring.

The White-Eyed Vireo is a visually interesting bird with its assortment of colors. This coupled with its vociferous song provides for an intriguing bird.

(Left-Click to enlarge picture)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ferruginous Hawk

The rare Ferruginous Hawk was an outstanding find by James Beck in Johnson Bayou. This rather large raptor caused quite a bit of excitement among Louisiana birders.

Robby Bacon and I were fortunate to locate it and to acquire some pictures. It was cool the way he balanced on one foot with his feathers ruffled up. This Ferruginous Hawk is by far one of the most remarkable Raptors I've witnessed.

I read, "Due to the decrease in grasslands and prairies, its numbers are on the decline. It is possible that it may end up on the endangered species list in a few years." I surely hope such a magnificent bird proliferates in the days to come.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Groove-Billed Ani

This Groove-Billed Ani seen last year at Peveto in October is still one of my all time favorite birds. How do you like that hairdo? (Left-Click to Enlarge Photo)