Wednesday, September 27, 2017

end of Yellowstone

This is what a bison thinks about 90 degree September days:
 Can we get that again with feeling this time?

A 300mm lens at 10 feet might be a little too much lens for a bellowing buffalo.

Some of the cows appeared to be entering estrus as the bulls were cordoning off single females when we visited back in August.

There were good numbers of calves around too.

One last pic of the "American Serengeti," hopefully it heralds a few more pics in the near future

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Black-bellied's can look golden

especially in early morning light.

I managed to miss both large plovers this spring, and then have had one of each in about a 16 hour period.  The golden-plover at 3 Oaks yesterday was distant and in terrible heat shimmer, but a Black-bellied at Tiscornia this morning was in nicer conditions.

The sun wasn't quite hitting it yet and honestly the fresh young Black-bellied had more yellowish tones than the faded adult Golden did yesterday.
 The heavy bill and relatively bland face pattern eliminate Golden however.

I couldn't quite tell what the prey item is here, I think it may be a bit of roe.

There were a few other shorebirds around this morning.

If you don't want to make a judgement call on bill size or facial pattern you can always wait for the bird to fly; Black-bellied has black axillaries, Golden doesn't.

Eventually the sun crested the dune and the bird was in nice morning sun.

Finally, you know I've been hard up for photos when I'm turning a series of photos of one cormorant into a montaged fake flock...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

a Knot and a Cal Gull

not bad for a quick evening chase.

Both birds have been around in the county.  Tim's had a couple knots at Tiscornia and Kip had one at New Buff earlier this week.  Two different California Gulls were photographed in the last 2 days at New Buffalo and Warren Dunes respectively.

I thought about checking New Buff earlier today but heavy winds made me wonder if there'd be much on the beach so I held off until the evening.  I didn't see the knot on the way out and walked up the beach to scan the Herring Gull flock after passing a monoculture of a Ring-billed flock.

I'd almost given up when a smudgy-headed, dark-eyed, pale-billed bird poked its head out from behind a Herring.  It walked into the open a moment later showing off grayish-yellow legs.

I tried to doubt myself when it stretched its wings; it seemed like it had less black than I expected in the wingtips.

Closer examination of the spreadwing shows that P9 is barely out of the primary bases which probably accounts for this.

I was happy to see that the Knot had re-appeared as I headed back to the car.  This is the 5th year I've had Knot and the 5th year I've had Cal Gull in the county.

Finally a shot of a bird that's a little less uncommon here; one I would expect to probably get as opposed to probably not get, a distant Little Gull that flew by Tiscornia earlier today.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Yellowstone Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye is not a bird that I expected it to take over 10 years to find in Berrien.  In fact, I don't know that I've ever seen one except in Yellowstone.

That vertical forehead and peak of the crown in front of the eye is very different from Common's triangular head.  I've always thought the goldeneye have bigger shape differences than do the scaup.

A Western Grebe appeared in a small pool on our first day.

This young Gray Jay was the first one I've seen with an SLR.

Finishing off a few other folders are a few more small mammals, first Yellow-bellied Marmot

Next a Chipmunk which is either Least or Uinta (I need to track down the mammal book I had as a kid)

And finally the kids' second favorite animal of the trip (behind the pikas), Uinta Ground Squirrel.
I think they named this one Mushroom, though I believe Stumpy was considered as well.