Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mississippi Backwaters

Ringed-billed GullThis busy sky looks like rush hour for these beautiful birds.

It was really just a short lived traffic jam caused by an American Eagle passing
over the backwaters of the Mississippi River behind lock and dam 14 in Iowa.

Within moments the Gulls had settled back down into their prospective places.

Below, the finger print left in the snow located near these backwaters
tells me some-birdy was not lucky.

I think this print shows the Eagles tail was dragging along the snow as the Eagle closed in on it's prey. The tousled snow tells me where the prey trembled in fear.
Maybe a Ring-billed Gull?
I wonder.

There were hundreds of Gulls hanging around the lock and dam during my visits.

The gulls and eagles share a common fishing area
during the winter months at Lock and Dam 14.

The seagull is another nice bird for practice photographing birds in flight.

And practice, I did.

The over head fly by.

The hover.

Yes, something looks good below, the breaks are on.

Eye on the prize and heading toward it.

Going in for the kill.

Success!

Eat and run (fly).

Life is good. Smelt apparently is too.

Photos in this series taken with the Canon 7D.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cardinal Rule

Feed the birds
Because the Cardinal is a non migratory bird it can be enjoyed throughout the entire year. During the winter months this fireball in snow really enjoys backyard feeders.

One sure fire way to see this beauty is to fill the feeders in your yard regularly.

One of the Cardinal's favorite foods is black-oil sunflower seeds.

Other good food choices are cracked corn and millet.

Safflower seed, fruit and nutty mixtures are a nice treat for Cardinals.

Illinois is one of the lucky states to claim The Northern Cardinal as our State bird.
Six other states declare the Cardinal as State bird they include Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
The female and male are equally striking.

If you feed them they will come.

And you will smile.

Feed the birds .... satisfaction guaranteed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mondays and Waking Up To Snow

Just My Opinion
A little humor for another snowy Monday.
I used the burst feature on my Canon 7D to capture this humor.
Happy Monday ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cloudy With A Chance of Eagles

Weekend Eagle Watching I spent another Saturday afternoon eagle watching.
It was a gray cloudy day in Iowa.


Weather conditions were not really favorable for photographing eagles today.


Didn't matter. The eagles, photographers and bird watchers
at Lock & Dam 14 were out and about looking for a catch.

Here is fine catch for the eagle and me.


Oh... the eagle and I each barley managed this capture.

The skies were gray or a cloudy, white today.
It was difficult to get "that shot" we all keep coming back for.

The water was dingy and gray also.
Many photographers were willing to share advice on settings and techniques
while enjoying the eagles today. I had my ISO set at 800 and was advised to lower it to 400. I had my flash compensation set at +2/3 and was advised to try +1 1/3 today. I am very appreciative of the tips I receive as I learn to use settings for the 7D.


This eagle caught a fish, transferred it from claw to mouth in mid air and ate it!
I really wish my focus was better for these shots.

Here it swallows the fish as it continues to fly.
I managed 4 shots per second of 8 allowed for the Canon 7D for this action series.
The two shots above are two of them.


Then two shots in a row of this juvenile.

I am working on allowing myself to use the speed the Canon 7D offers for birdwatchers.
A few weeks ago another photographer suggested I use the rapid fire 8 frames per second feature after noticing my waiting for the shot style. I have a tendency to click one shot, maybe two in a row while I listen to other photographers sound like a Tommy gun. This was a difficult transition for me because I was afraid that my pictures would all be blurry if I clicked so many frames in a row.
Five in a row. Hmm. I think I can get used to this.



Getting closer. Eye on the prize.

Places to go.

Visit my smug-mug gallery for more Eagle images
from this and last years visits to the Lock and Dams.