Mindin' my business
When out of the orange colored sky..."
|Travels With Linda||
I do not always have a post to write, but I want to share my photos - so I started this weekly photo page.
Just one photo each week. The photo may be new or it may come from my pile of favorites. A different photo will be posted every week. Drop by and check it out.
Weekly has become a bit more erratic, hence the new – more accurate name.
"I was walking along
Mindin' my business
When out of the orange colored sky..."
Nat King Cole
When Nat King Cole sang about an orange-colored sky, this might have been what he had in mind. This is a sunset on Fairfield Lake, a small lake south of Dallas. The lake was originally created in the late 1960s for the Big Brown power station as a cooling pool. Because the water stays warm in the winter months, it has weekly fishing tournaments from November through February. We sometimes stop here on our way home from a road trip.
This guy is intently studying something. I don't know what, but methinks it is a potential snack. Perched on a branch rather than wading gives an good look at the characteristic snowy egret yellow feet. The photo was taken in late April and the bird's breeding plumage has almost completely gone away. He was apparently pretty far away when I took this picture as the photo file tells me I caught him with my lens extended to its full 500mm. Even so, I cropped the image to give you a closer look.
Few of you showed any love for the vultures photos post last week. So how about some eagles?
Here are a four eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary. Captain, the Bald Eagle is 5 years old and has a congenital eye disease making it almost blind. The Golden Eagle, Buchanan, was hatched in captivity in 1999 which prohibits it from living wild. The two Bateleur Eagles are native to Africa. Shadow has been at the sanctuary since 1987, making him at least 31 years old. And Tsavo was hatched in 2002 in Cameroon and captured as a chick.
Like the vultures, these birds were all in big wire cages that presented some problems for getting the photos – mainly shooting through the wire mesh of the cages so that it would seem theses are awesome photos of birds out in the wild.
I don't think anyone will ever accuse the Turkey Vulture or the Andean Condor of being cute. in fact, these birds are really downright ugly, hence the title which is a phrase I remember my mother using – probably when talking about me,.
Both of these guys are large birds. The Turkey Vulture which is common across the U.S. has a wingspan of up to 6 feet. The Andean Condor, the largest flying bird the world, makes the Turkey Vulture seem small with its wingspan of 10 feet. Both birds are scavengers, cleaning up the habitat. That's why they have bald heads – they stay a lot cleaner than if they had feathers when they are feeding and sticking their heads in places that are less than salubrious.
These photos were taken at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, MO, about 25 miles west of St. Louis. All the birds in the sanctuary have suffered some malady or injury that prohibits them from living in the wild.
Our visit gave me an opportunity to grab some really close-up shots of birds typically seen only from a distance. Unfortunately, since the birds are in cages, all the photos must be taken through the grid of wire fencing. While a bit of obstacle, this was not as problematic as the photo backgrounds caused by the cages.
This Great Egret still has most of her mating aigrettes (long plumes) while the green at the base of her bill has already faded away. You can see two chicks here but I think there were actually four chicks in the nest. In this photo mom is tending to the chicks after feeding is finished. Great Egrets will lay anywhere from one to six eggs, and the chicks will fledge and leave the nest in about 24 days.
While walking to a lake at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge we saw this guy in a little pond along the side of the trail. He was tucked in at the back of the pond under the shade of some bushes on the bank. He was content to just sit there and stare back at me, making absolutely no effort to move away. While it looks like we were pretty close to each other, the photo was taken from about 25 feet away with a rather long telephoto lens.
Brown pelicans are gregarious and often seen flying in groups – called squadrons – along the shoreline of Galveston Island. I was fortunate to happen to catch this squadron at just the right moment with the birds in an equally spaced formation and with every bird's wings in the same position.
.. and lookin' for love. The bright red on this White Ibis is signaling that it is ready to breed and looking for a mate. Many birds have a plumage change during breeding season, but the feathers of the white ibis do not change. Instead it is the non-feathered parts that change. By mid-June, all of this bright color will have faded back to the bird's normal salmon pink color. But come next spring the red will return once again.
We saw these two magnificent looking fellows while riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway back in the summer of 2015. The attendant on the train told me they only see the bighorns about once every two weeks or so. This means we were pretty fortunate to have a few moments with them. The photo was taken through the railcar window at 300mm.
The birds below are waders. They like to wander along in an inch or two of water looking for food. If you are near shallow water or wetlands you have a good chance of seeing any of these guys.
On the left is a snowy egret at Elm Lake, the lake in the previous photo post. I waited and waited for it to move – stand, grab for a tasty, fly off, anything – but it just sat there. Oh well, it is a nice profile. We'll see snowy egrets in their breeding plumage this coming April at the birding festival.
The black and white bird in the middle is a black-necked stilt. This is an elegant bird that looks delicate but is pretty tough; in fact its range and numbers are increasing. Stilts have the longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird except the flamingo.
On the far right are two common gallinules that seem to be getting friendly in the spirit of the coming spring. Often called moorhens, these birds have incredibly long toes to allow them to walk over mud or atop floating vegetation. You can also see the bright red bill which extends up to become a forehead shield.
Now we are off to see whooping cranes, one of the rarest birds in North America.
Remember to click on the pictures to see them full sized.
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TRAVELS WITH LINDA
Iter est perpetua celebratione in saecula
DON & LINDA SIMMONS