Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘bird

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

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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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New Zealand: Matapouri

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I took so many pictures on our 2017 trip to New Zealand that I never got the chance to show a lot of them here, especially because we bounded off on a couple of other big scenic trips last year. Over the next four weeks I’ll make amends and fill in some of the gaps with more than two dozen posts. While most of the photographs will show things for the first time, in a few cases you’ll see a different take on a place or thing that appeared here last year.

On the way from the Auckland Airport to Paihia a year ago today (going by the calendar and ignoring the time difference between Texas and New Zealand), we detoured over to Matapouri on the east coast of the North Island so we could get our first good look at the ocean on this new adventure.

At one point I noticed a young gull hunched down on the sand. As I slowly approached, the bird flopped around a little but didn’t fly away. It was injured, as you can see here. Fortunately for it, I wasn’t a dog, cat, ferret, weasel, or stoat. Ah, the benignity of the nature photographer.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2018 at 4:49 AM

New Zealand: Red-billed gull

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In the last year and a half we’ve taken five trips averaging a little over three weeks each. It became common for me not to have finished showing pictures from the most recent trip before we launched into the next one, whose photographs then clamored in their turn to be shown as soon as possible. The result is that some worthy pictures never appeared in these pages. From time to time I’ll spring one or several on you.

Today’s first photograph, taken on February 13th, shows a somewhat put-out juvenile red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae) in the village of Mangonui, on New Zealand’s North Island. Below is a sub-adult of the same species. Colin Miskelly of the Te Papa Museum, who identified these birds for me, pointed out that “It is common for gulls and other shorebirds to stand on one leg, mainly to conserve body temperature.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 20, 2017 at 4:34 AM

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New Zealand: shooting two birds

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Shooting* not with one stone or several, but with a camera, of course. The other bird that I managed to get a picture of at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th proved to be a juvenile bellbird, Anthornis melanura. It was head guide Sue Hensley who once again provided the identification, adding: “The bellbird looks to be a young one with a dark rather than a red eye. I love the feet and the position you have photographed it in.”

If you’d like to see an adult bellbird, you can check out a picture of one I took on our previous trip to New Zealand.

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* Speaking of shooting, this was a difficult picture to get because I had to shoot up toward an area that was much brighter than many of the bird’s parts that faced me.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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New Zealand: South Island robin

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When we walked along a shaded trail at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary on February 27th we came upon a bird that hopped about and flitted around close to us without seeming afraid. I later learned from head guide Sue Hensley that the bird was a South Island robin, Petroica australis. The behavior we observed is confirmed (and much more information is added) at New Zealand Birds Online: “Where robins are regularly exposed to people, such as along public walking tracks, they become quite confiding, often approaching to within a metre of a person sitting quietly. Juveniles will sometimes stand on a person’s boot.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 29, 2017 at 4:56 AM

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