Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Shot from the front porch (range approx. 25 yards), hand held using a a Canon T3 mounted with a Sigma 150-500MM Optically Stabilized lens.
I was puttering around in the yard when a sudden rain shower swept through and I took shelter in our backyard shed. This little guy, a male House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), landed on a nearby branch and I managed to shoot a few frames (My camera bag is ALWAYS close at hand!) before he spotted me and decided to find a more private branch to wait out the storm.
Rainy weather, memory foam cushions in my new La-Z-Boy and a general lack of get up & go have all conspired to keep my cameras idle for the most part but I have snapped a few frames.
These 3 wandered out of the tree line behind the house just as the light was fading yesterday evening. The one on the left is a doe and the other two are yearling bucks.
These guys changed from their winter gray coat to summer red awfully fast. It’s said that the redder the coat the hotter the summer ahead. Looks like we’re in for a scorcher!
The rain has knocked almost all the blossoms off the Granny’s Bonnets but there are plenty of buds ready to bloom at any moment.
Buddy, Lunatic Lab #1, “helping out” with the photography.
Doesn’t that look on Molly’s face just scream “I’m not doing anything….honest!” ?
Gotta have a burd in the mix. Now, to catch up on the backlog of blogs I’ve missed while
unconscious sawing logs testing my new recliner.
Don’t know the scientific name or even if Granny’s Bonnet is the right name. That’s just what I’m told they’re called and they’re my favorite in my wife’s garden. She has them growing in several planters around the yard.
Even though I’m mesmerized by THE BOSS’s Old maid’s Bonnets I didn’t start out to shoot them this afternoon. That said, I couldn’t resist getting a few frames.
Frankie spotted a new visitor to our feeders yesterday, a male Red Breasted Grosbeak, and I was soon at the window trying to shoot a few frames without spooking him. What I managed to get just weren’t good enough to post but I’ll keep trying.
When the grosbeak returned this afternoon, accompanied by a Red Bellied Woodpecker, I grabbed the cameras and slipped out the front door as quietly as I could. I didn’t make it into position without spooking them both but decided to sit quietly at the picnic table out back in the hopes they’d return.
The burds didn’t return while I was out there but I did manage to shoot several frames of another flying critter. I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed shooting them. These were all shot handheld with my Sigma 150-500MM optically stabilized lens from about 15 feet.
As the sun was setting this evening:
Seed pods in our maple waiting to join the billion or so already carpeting the lawn. When I was a kid we called these thing whirlybirds because of the spinning motion when they fall through the air. Those on the ground will really be spinning tomorrow when I run them over with the Dandelion Destroyer!
Mourning Dove on a power line
THE BOSS’s home world The moon
A Brown Shirted Ticket Scribbler (one of Wythe County’s finest) on the Idiot Strip
Frankie’s Old Maid’s Bonnets are growing like mad!
Today started out fine with beautiful weather and low pain levels. Then the madness struck THE BOSS and me simultaneously. We spent the day working on flower beds.
Now we’re both hobbling around moaning and groaning. My back is so bad I can barely walk WITH a cane! THE BOSS even had to help me get dressed when I got out of the shower which was an adventure in itself. We both have a nice dose of sunburn to add to the misery…….but it’s a good kind of pain, well earned and something nice to show for our efforts…..besides my ever growing collection of cuts, scrapes and bruises.
I should call Band-Aid and see if they need a spokesman…..or a crash test dummy. I easily qualify, either way.
Pictures of the project to follow…..when I can shoot again.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
…..to bring you the following public service announcement.
I hereby declare winter to be officially over.
Yep, sunny and 75!
If a broke down old geezer like me can get out and mow the lawn….
Hold on a sec…….I need to wet my whistle…….
Now where was I? Oh yes……if a beat up old fat boy like me can get out and do yard w….w….w…. mow the lawn you healthy folks ain’t got no excuse. Now turn off the computer, get outside and enjoy the nice weather. If the weather’s not nice where you are what better excuse for a road trip than to enjoy springtime in Virginia?
P.S. I haven’t been online much the past few days because I’ve been as messed up as a soup sammich. My back has been giving me fits!
P.P.S. I probably won’t be online at least the rest of the day because the engine vibration from riding the Dandelion Destroyer around the yard triggered my back and THE BOSS just gave me a dose of pain meds. The cartoons in my head should begin any minute now.
P.P.P.S. The preceding is all THE BOSS’s fault. She knows I can’t be left at home without adult supervision. At least she got some good pictures of the crotchety old bear she’s been putting up with for the past 25 years! (That would be me.)
I wonder what’s taking the rescue squad so long. THE BOSS said she called them to come haul me off to the emergency room. Sure hope they get here soon. After dark the critters come out and the last thing I need is to get dragged off into the woods by a gang of raccoons………again!
THIS POST CONTAINS ADULT BIRD CONTENT.
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
If there is one thing I don’t need it’s to get kicked off Word Press for posting burd porn!
Spring is in the air and the critters is actin’ like wild animals!
This pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura ) landed in the maple just above me and the small horses this afternoon.
“You burds need to get a room!”
“You heard Buddy, get a room! He’s so embarrassed he’s blushing from head to tail!”
* Actually, Molly had a cat treed in this shot and that’s what she was staring at but the expression on her face seemed to fit the situation so…………….
I don’t speak Burd but I could swear this guy was saying “WOO-HOO!”
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web page for Mourning Doves it looks like we’ll probably have a few new additions to the flock in the near future………..and that’s all I have to say about that!
BTW: As most of you know I have been known to get into trouble when left without adult supervision. With that in mind I showed this to THE BOSS before publishing it and asked if I should publish it. She said “Yes, most assuredly!” ……so any complaints should be directed to her. I will be more than happy to provide her e-mail address and/or cell phone number upon request.
It was another nice day, sunny and mild, so I was out enjoying the fresh air and looking for something to shoot. There were plenty of birds chirping behind me but that was to the west, looking directly into the sun. Suddenly a flicker of motion in the trees caught my attention and I snapped this shot of a male cardinal using a 55-150MM zoom lens at about 55MM.
Switching to the other camera, which was already mounted with my long lens, I got much closer without moving and spooking him. This shot is at about 350MM.
This one is at 500MM, maximum zoom for this lens.
About 400MM just before he darted off into the trees.
I’ve spent a little time scouting the woods behind the house and have picked out a couple of likely places for shooting from a ground blind. Both are relatively open, easy to get in and out of quietly and not too far from 2 intersecting game trails a den tree with a large, active squirrel nest and several nearby trees with bird nests in the upper branches.
As spring approaches I’ll be getting my hunting gear ready, including a large spray bottle of odorless insect repellant. I hunt with a camera instead of a gun these days but the principles are the same; equipment, scouting, set up and most of all, patience. It’s too bad they don’t make Frontline Plus for humans……it works great at repelling fleas, ticks and other nasty critters on the dogs!
I spent this evening reorganizing my medium size camera backpack and making sure everything, especially my tripod, is ready to grab and go. Now all that’s left is to pick up a box of snake shot shells for my hand cannon and e-mail my wish list to THE BOSS and Mini-Boss. My birthday and Father’s Day are right around the corner and I have my eye on a pop up bow hunter’s blind and a new scent lock camouflage shirt and pair of pants!
You’ve probably heard me refer to THE BOSS, SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, my better half, the woman who has put up with me for the past 25 years. You may have even seen a photo or two of her winding up to whack me on the headbone with her trusty cast iron skillet. Sometimes I even deserve it but if she happens to read that last sentence I’ll deny any knowledge on the grounds that all that BANGY!, BANGY! on my delicate head has caused severe brain damage.
Today’s post is my attempt to prod her into processing her own shots and getting into blogging.
Last Christmas I gave her a point and shoot to carry around in her purse and she actually takes it out and uses it from time to time.
She’s also been known to take one of my DSLRs away from me on occasion and has captured some fine shots with it. I’m afraid that one of these days she’ll refuse to give it back, just as she did when she got over the fear of driving Godzilla, my beloved Ford Expedition. Now I’m lucky if she let’s me drive it a couple of times a month!
I have to be careful because that cast iron frying pan isn’t the only hardware she’s been known to have access to. I’m convinced that any day now the authorities are going to kick down the door and tear the house apart looking for that 16 inch shell she found when we toured the USS Wisconsin last summer. That’s no pea shooter shell…..THE BOSS is 5 feet tall and that’s just the projectile she’s posing with.
But I digress.
These are a few of the shots I found on the memory card in her point and shoot and I thought you might enjoy them. Oh yes, the watermark. Frankie was born and raised about 15 miles from here in a little mountain town in the New River Valley, or NRV to locals, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, hence the NRVGirl tag.
From the minute Molly laid eyes on Frankie she decided she belonged to Mama. She’s also my baby girl. Buddy, who adopted me from day one, has been replaced as my chair warmer.
At nearly 100 lbs. she’s a little large for a lap dog but you can’t convince her of that.
She sill allows Buddy to lay on the floor beside my chair and get his ears scratched.
When she’s not keeping my chair or my lap warm she likes to guard my side of the bed.
THE BOSS has also been known to take some outdoor shots. She especially likes sunsets.
THE BOSS says I’ve spent enough time fooling around online so it’s back to kitchen duty for me. Anyone know a good remedy for dishpan hands?
Oh man, my tree marking gear just thawed out after the last batch of white stuff! Sometimes having short legs is a definite bummer.
Mother Nature has lost her mind! The first significant snow of the year, nearly 10 inches, fell earlier in the week. Yesterday the high temperature was in the mid 60s and what snow didn’t melt during the day was washed away by the torrential thunderstorms overnight. Today started out warm and we had a few torrential downpours and a tornado watch until late this afternoon. Then the temperature started plummeting and we have a chance of snow showers overnight!
With the whacky weather in mind I decided to exercise a little common sense for a change and stay close to home. I still managed to get a few frames today. This Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) taking shelter in the brush along the edge of the tree line behind our place was shot through the bedroom window at a range of about 50 yards using a Sigma 150-500MM optically stabilized telephoto zoom lens.
……at least for a few days.
The weather guessers are calling for upper 50s and rain tomorrow followed by sunny and near 70 Thursday! After that, who knows! That’s a direct quote from the
meter….. metrol……weather guessing idjit on the 6:00 news!
I’ll leave the snow shovel standing in the corner of the front porch for a while longer……or forever. Not that I know how to use it, or am capable of learning…..ever, it just seems to me that as long as it’s easy to get to we don’t need it.
The d’hogs and I ventured outdoors for an hour or so today. That’s not a typo……you should see them eat!
THE BOSS had Godzilla so we were on foot and didn’t wander far. Don’t let this shot of the back yard fool you. This part of the yard only gets a few hours of sun each day, thanks to the ridge behind us, so this snow probably won’t melt until sometime in July. It’s still about 6 or 8 inches deep right along the tree line where the sun only shines for about 9 minutes every other day.
THE BOSS calls this shot “Through the Rabbit Hole”. I sure hope she hasn’t seen any rabbits big enough to do that….or if she has, I hope she shares whatever she was smoking at the time.
My burd watching chair is almost snow free. That’s a lot of melting since yesterday. I would clear the snow myself but this is part of a science experiment I’m conducting…….to see how long it will take it to disappear on it’s own. Besides, if you subscribe to the “keep the snow shovel handy and you’ll never need it” school of thought, clearing the chair myself will just make it snow again.
THE BOSS’s lilies are ready for spring.
My Irish Setter hunting boots are very warm and they’re also waterproof ……..especially if you lace ‘em up. Sharp eyed readers will note that I still haven’t bothered lacing them up.
DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!…..WHAT ARE YOU DOIN’?
CAN I PLAY WITH ONE OF THE CAMERAS?
WHY ARE WE STANDIN’ ON THE PICNIC TABLE?
MOM WILL KILL YOU IF YOU FALL OFF AND SURVIVE!
GIVE BUDDY ONE OF THOSE GRANOLA BARS IN YOUR CAMERA BAG?
MOLLY SAYS DITTO.
DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!……WHAT MEANS DITTO?
(You may have guessed by now that Buddy’s a little goofy. He sounds like Goofy, too. DUH HUH, GAWRSH!)
I was standing on the table to get this shot of a male Downy Woodpecker……and I didn’t fall off! However, it was at this point that all the voices in my head were drowned out by:
“ROKET MAN, THIS IS GOD! LOOK UP!”
“I HAVE SENT THIS BURD AS A SIGN JUST FOR YOU!”
“YES, THAT IS A VULTURE CIRCILING OVER YOUR HEAD!”
“DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT THEM RIDING THERMALS.”
“THEY’RE WAITING FOR YOU TO FALL OFF THAT PICNIC TABLE……AGAIN…… YOU BIG DUMMY!”
“EVEN IF THE FALL DOESN’T KILL YOU KNOW THE BOSS PROBABLY WILL WHEN SHE FINDS YOU LYING IN THE SHRUBBERY WHIMPERING LIKE A BIG BABY………AGAIN!”
So I went back inside……..but I still haven’t laced up my boots.
Maybe next winter…….
That’s the tune that plays inside my head while I’m out wandering the roads with dogs in the backseat and a camera or two in my lap……..at least until I remember to turn the radio on.
We had the first, and most likely the last, real snow storm of the winter yesterday. The official total accumulation for Wytheville is 7 to 9 inches. On the ridge where we live, just west of town, we’re at a higher elevation and usually get a little more than the community college in the east end of town where the official measurement is taken. I didn’t measure the depth but I do know for sure that being too lazy to completely lace up and tie one’s 16 inch insulated hunting boots before venturing out our front door will soon produce cold, wet feet. You may quote me on that.
Anyhoo…….this is what my world looked like around 7:30 this morning:
Those spots on the pavement that appear wet are not. That’s what’s known as black ice during the night time hours. During daylight it’s just regular old ice.
It was at this point that I realized the unusually loud voice in my head telling me I should pull over and shoot pictures because I couldn’t stop in the middle of the road was actually coming from the car behind me…….the one with the blue lights on the roof. At least the lights weren’t flashing and he didn’t follow me when I took the next left turn. Maybe he was tired after helping to deal with the 350+ accidents reported in the county overnight.
When I we got home I turned the dogs loose and thought about clearing my burd watching chair off and shooting some burd photos.
I didn’t think about it for long because my left foot was turning into an ice cube so I took another picture of my burd watching chair and went back inside where it’s warm. The livestock thought that was a good idea, too.
Man, these dry socks feel great!
I sure hope my boots dry out before I have to go pick THE BOSS up from work.
What a way to beat cabin fever, especially after nearly 2 months battling a mean virus! We drove over to Foster Falls in the New River Trail State Park and spent a while sitting on a bench watching the Canada Geese.
Still no luck getting any shots of the Bald Eagles nesting across the river but we’ve spotted the nest and we will be back!
Still recovering from the nasty bug I’ve had for the past couple of months I finally managed to get out to shoot a few frames. These were made on a trip to town with THE BOSS and the livestock. I don’t know who was more excited to get out of the house, me or the dogs.
I actually worked up enough energy to wander outdoors today! The nasty virus I’ve been fighting seems to be letting up at long last. However, I am in still in no shape to wrangle wild animals so the leashes stayed in the house and the livestock were clipped to their cable run. They still had a lot of fun hunting cats, marking territory, barking at imaginary trespassers, climbing on the picnic table to lick my ear just as I framed a shot…….
The weather was beautiful and I was really enjoying the sun and mild temperature. Imagine……….shirtsleeves on January 24th! Why do I get the feeling Mother Nature is about to bury us in snow and ice? Maybe THE BOSS ought to stop by the store and load up on bread and milk……just in case.
Anyway, I settled for shooting some Goldenrod while it’s dormant and no threat to my seasonal allergies. It wasn’t until I downloaded the images from the camera that I discovered it was set to shoot in monochrome. I kind of like what I captured even if I didn’t mean to.
How many deer can you find in this first shot?
It gets a little easier as they graze their way out of the tree line.
No matter how many times I see it I’m always amazed at how effective natural camouflage is.
While I’m still battling this seemingly never ending virus I am feeling some better. At least I have something right outside my back door to keep me entertained . These were shot hand held at a range of about 50 yards using a Sigma 150-500M image stabilized lens.
The first serious cold snap of the season is bringing us a little snow and sub-zero wind chills so the cardinals are stocking up.
I guess this is the bird version of running to the store to stock up on bread and milk.
Lately I’ve been on the sick, lame and lazy list as we called it when I was in the service. Okay, I’ve just been plain lazy and haven’t been out with the cameras much. However, while backing up all my files, cleaning up the hard drive on the laptop and transferring all the photos over to my dedicated portable hard drive I decided to go through some of my better shots from 2011 and share them with those of you who haven’t already seen them.
Buddy LOVES snow!
Did I mention that Buddy LOVES snow?
Even though we had snow on the ground Frankie’s daffodils were gorgeous.
Milder spring temperatures meant Buddy could hang his head out the window and take full advantage of the wonderful smells passing by.
The apple and dogwood blossoms were a welcome change from winter’s ice and snow.
May brought our baby girl’s 19th birthday. Where do the years go?
Of course, EVERYBODY got a piece of birthday cake.
June brought a trip back home to Virginia Beach to visit Mom. This is the stretch of beach, known to locals as Chic’s Beach, where I grew up and spent a good portion of my life when I wasn’t deployed by the US Air Force. Even though I love living in the Blue Ridge Mountains I have to go back to the beach at least once or twice a year to recharge my soul.
Now you also know one of my secrets; I usually shoot with two cameras and I shoot a LOT! Thank God for digital cameras or I’d be sticking up gas stations to pay for enough film and processing to feed my shutterbug!
Buddy taking his first dip in the Chesapeake Bay. Since we adopted him up here in the mountains we’re pretty sure he’d never seen this much water before but he’s a Labrador Retriever and followed me right in as soon as he figured out the foot high waves wouldn’t hurt him..
What can I say?
These folks will sell explosives to anybody…..even me!
We saw our first white tail fawn while out for a ride one warm July evening.
A couple of weeks later this guy stepped out of the tree line right behind the house.
He brought the family along with him.
August also brought the annual re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of Saltville, Virginia. THE BOSS (my wife, Frankie) has been a Civil War buff since participating in re-enactments while she attended East Tennessee State University so we gathered up her sister and her husband, piled in Godzilla and headed down to Saltville for the action. Catching the muzzle flash of a musket firing was a real accomplishment considering she had just appropriated one of my DSLRs. You may have noticed the NRV Girl (New River Valley Girl) copyright,
“You’re not getting it back, either! Just be glad that long lens of yours is too heavy for me to handle!”
September was when we rescued Molly from the shelter in a neighboring county, just a couple of hours before she was to be put down..
Buddy quickly got over his jealousy for the most part and they are now the best of friends…….and partners in crime.
Autumn here in Southwest Virginia can be spectacular if the weather conditions have been just right and this year they were perfect!
One good reason for not carving your Jack-O-Lanterns is they last longer and make great autumn decorations…….unless you happen to mention to the teenaged kid who lives in this house that they also make great targets for that new rifle he just bought. This idea is so popular that I sometimes half expect to have to chop my way through pumpkin vines to get to the target line at the county range.
That big guy is back in our yard and he is BIG! Folks say that darker winter coat is an indication of the winter to come while the redder the spring coat is will tell you how hot the summer will be. I’ve seen the deer a lot darker than this in years past and hope we’ll have a mild winter.
Well, that;s it for this year. Time to give the cameras a good cleaning and get ready for what the new year brings. From me and mine to you and yours we hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Y’all play nice now………Bubba Claus is watchin’! Scary, ain’t it?
Captured while sitting on the foot of the bed, shooting through the window this evening.
Taking advantage of what may be one of the last warm days this year the dogs and I spent some time outdoors watching the local wildlife at my wife’s feeders.
I was about to put the cameras away after doing some much needed cleaning, especially the sensor on the camera mounted with my long lens, when Frankie called me to the bedroom where Molly was laying on the foot of the bed intently studying something outside the window. The sun was setting fast but there was just enough light to get a few frames of these whitetails grazing in the back yard.
No words, just burdz.