Altamira Oriole

12 03 2019

Spent a wonderful afternoon at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX with my high school friend, Vanessa. I was using my Nikon D850 for macro shots, my iPhone for overall shots, and my Nikon Coolpix P1000 for bird shots. There is such diversity of wildlife in this sanctuary that is adjacent to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. I wanted to see this sanctuary before “the wall” cuts through the middle of it. I talked at length with an employee of the center and learned quite a bit about the issues related to the wall, as well as the myriad water and environmental laws that are being circumvented for this project.

This is an Altamira Oriole, just one of the many unusual birds we saw this afternoon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Oriole

Advertisement




Nesting

30 04 2015

A Mourning dove has built her nest in a plant pot on the top of my gardening bench. You can see part of one of two babies to her right (black with white streaks). I can’t do my annual cleanup in that area until after flying lessons are given! Isn’t she pretty? (iPhone 6 with Snapseed2)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

DoveBabyLorez





Stretching

4 11 2013

Great Blue Heron stretching…loved shooting in this mid-afternoon light right before the rain…storm clouds covered most of the sky, but the sun kept coming through just a little bit here and there

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

GBH Stretching





Great Blue Heron

3 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Photograph of Great Blue Heron at Kingstowne Lake, Alexandria, VA

GreatBlueHeron1





Great White Egret, Cape Fear River

7 06 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me…

5 09 2011

I photographed this preening mourning dove through my kitchen window last week.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





American Goldfinch

25 07 2011

Finally—my first-ever shot of the elusive, quick-moving American Goldfinch (male), photographed at Green Spring Gardens yesterday morning. My friend Gina saw one of these in her garden yesterday too (perhaps he followed me home?) and thought for sure she had discovered something rare and exotic—much like a sighting of Bigfoot or even rarer, the Dodo bird. She even thought it was perhaps a flyaway pet looking for its home. That is, until she started a web search and learned what it really was. She was so excited doing the research that she is contemplating a career change from flight attendant to ornithologist. This morning her voice had morphed into that of the character Miss Jane Hathaway (the love-starved-pith-helmet-wearing-avid-bird-watching perennial spinster) from The Beverly Hillbillies. (P.S. I advised Gina to not quit her day job.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Male House Sparrow

12 04 2011

When I was sitting on our front porch photographing the potted Grape Hyacinths on Sunday afternoon, this little bird landed less than 10 feet away from me. I turned to get this quick “record” shot before it flew off. I did a bit of sleuthing and I think this bird is a male House Sparrow.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





WOW! Behind the scenes of the PBS film, Hummingbirds

14 05 2010




Goose and gosling

24 04 2010

While I was photographing the ‘Blue Moon’ Siberian Iris, a pair of Canadian geese waddled across a boardwalk near the Martha and Reed West Island Garden at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad were trying to keep up with their baby gosling, off exploring the world in all directions. I got this “record shot” (not award-winning by a long stretch) when the mother (I presume) and baby slid into the water and began grazing in the vegetation.





Requiem for a baby robin

1 07 2009

Not too long ago, a mama robin fashioned a beautiful nest at the top of the gazebo outside my office door. From my chair in front of the computer I could watch her come and go. I wasn’t sure if she was sitting on unhatched eggs or already mothering a hatched baby. Early this morning, after she left for her morning food gathering mission (I assume), I tapped on the gazebo and heard some faint chirping. I pulled out the ladder and climbed up to get a peek (camera in hand, of course). The gazebo has a grapevine growing over it and the area she had built the nest is well hidden by branches and leaves. We also put up one of those light nets that you put over bushes at Christmas so we could have mood lighting during parties. I wasn’t able to get up high enough to look down on the nest, so I just slipped my lens through the net, put the camera over my head, pointed it in the general direction, and snapped away. I got this not-that-great photo of her solitary sweet baby this morning.

About an hour ago, while we were watching a movie, Michael heard a bird chirping loudly and since birds don’t normally make much noise at night, we knew something was dreadfully wrong. Had the baby fallen out of the nest? Had Indie, a neighborhood cat, come into the yard and seen the baby? We ran downstairs, turned on the porch light and watched the mama bird hopping from branch to branch under the gazebo, chirping away. As soon as we opened the door, mama flew to the fence. We looked on the ground; no fallen baby. I looked up—and gasped—was that the curvy outline of a SNAKE? Yes, it was. I hollered to Michael. He went to grab a flashlight and grabbed the (black) snake by the head and pulled it out of the nest, banishing it (unharmed) to the woods nearby. Had we known the baby was already gone, I would have taken the dead bird and the snake out to the woods. I’m not a big fan of snakes, but I would never kill one (unless it was attacking me, that is) and I always discourage my snake-fearing friends from doing just that when they encounter one. I respect them but really…go feast on something else…and not in my yard!

I climbed the ladder to see if the baby was still alive. It was too late. I pulled its still warm but lifeless body out of the nest and started crying. Michael came back and we gave the baby bird a proper burial in the garden. Just 12 hours ago I was photographing an almost-ready-to-leave-the-nest baby and now we were burying it in our garden. I realize snakes need to survive, too, but it’s just such a sad thing to witness so soon after photographing it. Of course, when you build a paradise in your backyard, you’re bound to attract all sorts of wildlife, including the predators. I wish I had a better photograph to honor this sweet baby who lived such a short life. A short life, long remembered.

Speaking of snakes…a few years ago Michael was driving home through our neighborhood and noticed a U.S. postal truck that had stopped in the middle of the road. There was a group of kids on a nearby curb watching our postman beating the crap out of a harmless black snake! Michael gave him a lecture about black snakes and promptly rescued it, taking it to the woods to release it (although I’m sure it didn’t survive the postman’s wrath). The snake was simply slithering into the woods (as snakes are inclined to do) and the postman turned into animal control. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Michael came home from work, then walked across the parking lot to get the mail from the communal post box. The mailman came running over, shouting “do you have a shovel?!” Michael asked him, “what in the world do you need a shovel for?” He said, “there’s a snake over there and I ran over him a couple of times with the truck but he’s still not dead!” Michael walked over and looked at the snake. Once again, it was a harmless black snake. And guess what? It was the same damn postman, too. When Michael came back in to the house, he told me what had transpired. He was mad, which in turn made me mad. I called the local post office to register a complaint. The man who answered said he would be the one to report to, so I told him both stories. I gave him our address so he was able to pinpoint exactly which mailman I reporting. He said, “that is so not his responsibility nor his job. Plus, doesn’t he know that snakes keep the rat population down?” He apologized for the man’s behavior and said he would speak to him about the incidents.

Obviously Michael is the calm one in this relationship. It’s a good thing I didn’t encounter the postman either time!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Baby Robin





Chewk chewk chewk

6 04 2009

Melodious mockingbird at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

mockingbird1





Cracker Barrel bird

2 04 2009

Sunset, March 26, Cracker Barrel parking lot, Harrisonburg, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

crackerbarrelbird





Baby Chickadee

1 06 2007

I have a newly-hatched family of chickadees in my backyard garden. I have a metal and wood bird feeder that I never even noticed had a bird house built into the top (and I’ve had it for four years!)…an observant Regina pointed out a chickadee had gone into the hole a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I was looking through the patio doors and saw a “miniature” chickadee on one of my plant stands (and you know how tiny an adult chickadee is), and realized it was one of the babies (there are at least two of them).

I got some “record” shots of him through the window yesterday, but this afternoon, as I was watering the garden, one of the babies flew up about two feet away from me and just sat watching me…I slowly went to get my camera (which was near the patio door) and went back to the basket where he was perched. I sat there for at least 15 minutes on the arbor bench, just watching and photographing him…at several points I was less than two feet away from him…so I was able to get some beautiful shots. Momma (or Dad) and the baby were chirping back and forth….I’m sure they were telling him to “be careful, that’s a red-shirted-frizzy-haired human about to pounce on you!”

Learn more about these beautiful birds at the links below:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Black-capped_Chickadee.html 

http://library.thinkquest.org/5078/Wildbirds.dir.chicadee.html

baby-chickadee.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.