Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘bird

What a 400mm focal length is good for

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Even at 400mm I had to crop the resulting picture quite a bit to close in on this northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos, that I spotted atop a bare poverty weed bush, Baccharis neglecta, in Cedar Park on December 1, 2017.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 3 and 18 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s picture.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2018 at 4:10 AM

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More than I bargained for

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On October 27th I was driving east on Louis Henna Blvd. in Round Rock when I caught a glimpse of some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) way up at the top of a tall mound of earth at a construction site. After parking on Roundville Ln. I walked around to photograph the sunflowers, as shown here:

I’d barely taken any pictures, though, when I noticed a raptor perched on a highway sign not far away. I put on my longest lens and managed to get two pictures before the bird glided down to the ground in a place where I couldn’t easily photograph it; then it flew away altogether.

Knowing practically nothing about birds, I checked with Shannon in Houston, who said she thought it was most likely either a “Red-tailed hawk (all season) or Swainson’s Hawk (immature, migratory),” and that she was leaning toward the former.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2018 at 4:46 AM

American crow

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Two years ago today on our way down the California coast we stopped at the Marina State Beach and Dunes Preserve. Where the parking lot meets the beach I photographed this obliging American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos (thanks to Shannon for the identification). Beyond the crow you can barely make out the Pacific surf, which will come into focus next time.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 3, 2018 at 4:45 AM

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More from Schoodic

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As we drove south into the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park on June 8th, it was the forest that first called out for attention.

But the forest had a way of creeping out onto the shore.

From then on, the coast made its claim on me.

Near the end of our visit to the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park I slowly made my way close enough to a gull (perhaps Larus argentatus) to get some decent pictures. I’d have taken more, and probably from even closer, if a guy hadn’t come by with his dog, paid no heed to what I was obviously doing, and scared the bird away.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Owl feather

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As I began heading back from the farthest point on my April 17th outing under the power lines west of Morado Circle, I noticed a feather on the ground. Picking it up, I held it in front of me and took pictures of it in several positions. Chuck Sexton, a local expert on birds, says the feather is likely from the right wing of a great horned owl, Bubo virginianus. That’s the same species you caught a glimpse of, and only a glimpse of, in a recent post. Here’s a closer look at one part of the feather:

This feather proved to be the first of maybe half a dozen I found scattered at intervals along the trail. Seems likely the owl met its demise near by.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 3, 2018 at 5:00 AM

Now you don’t see it, now you do

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This sawtooth-edged plant is sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri). If you don’t see what else caught people’s attention at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on March 14th, you’re welcome to take more time looking. If you still don’t see it, or if you want more information about it, click to enlarge the explanation on the blackboard below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2018 at 4:37 AM

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New Zealand: the gull below and the gull above

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Here are two portraits of gulls from Cathedral Cove on March 7, 2017. The first gull was down at the level of the cove drinking from a shallow pool formed by water falling from the top of the cliff high above (the second picture in yesterday’s post gives you a sense of how high up that was). The bird was near the edge of the pool, away from the heaviest falling of water. Notice the ripples spreading from a drop’s point of impact, along with a few droplets that had splashed up.

I took the second picture after we’d made the arduous hike back up to the carpark, where I couldn’t help noticing that several gulls were walking or standing on the roofs of cars parked there (no, not ours). This gull was on top of a white car, whose roof largely blended with the clouds when I hunched down a bit and aimed slightly upward to avoid details in the background.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 9, 2018 at 4:50 AM

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