Sunday, May 31, 2009

Common Grackle

Common Grackle, I think.

This guy's coloring looks different depending on how the sun shines on him. Interesting.

Google images

Song Birds of North Dakota

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher?



The ever elusive pheasant.

This is the sharpest, clearest pic I have of him, but ugly setting/background.

The next one is too soft/blurry, but nice composition, and shows the female.

I've taken dozens of pics of this guy and his mates, but seldom get anything good enough to post. One day we just sat in the car on our road with our coffees and cameras chatting and waiting. (Might as well be comfortable.) The pheasant never moved and too far away, so I drove in the field and beeped the horn trying to get him out of the tall grass. He jumped straight up. It was so hilarious, we sat in the car laughing. Him and his mate ran far far away after that.

The Ring-Necked Pheasant in North Dakota


Can't believe I haven't posted a robin yet. Probably cuz the pics are always slightly disappointing. But hey, this seems to be the year for bird pics, cuz I'm getting a lot of them, so I'm going to post all the different ones I have.

I call him "Portly" although "Paunchy" is probably more accurate.
I think his big tummy is cute.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just a Few Fun Fonts

You know how there are always these "awesome fonts" lists circulating the Net.
Well here are a few to play with that I thought were nice, fun, and different.
I pulled them out of my font folders.





A Walk in the Park

On a nature walk with my little point and shoot S3 Canon.
The park was bursting forth with spring...

New life!
New beginnings!
Hope shines anew!
Etc, lol...

Spring is late and it is still peaking around here.

New Leaves

And the lowly dandelion's beauty goes largely unappreciated.

Look at those intricate little curlicue things on the blossom.
Did not notice them when I took the pics.
I've posted the fuzzball things already before so won't post any more of those.
I got a few with very nice blurred background this time, though.

Here's a flowering Choke Cherry Tree--love the composition on this one.


To complete the picture, there was a chorus of birds singing in the background. A beautiful variety of sounds. I wish I would have had something to take a *good* recording of it. I didn't even try with my mp3 player or camera video. Maybe I should have.

Yet another flowering crab. These are all over the place. I loved the composition on this one. It is my gorgeous desktop wallpaper at the moment.


I don't think I sharpened any of these. I liked them better as is.
My little point and shoot S3 can perform very well yet, so no way have I abandoned it in favor of my XSi DSLR. The S3 is easier to take along on walks. Less bulky.

Mystery Item

It's a sponge....

A crust of raisin bread...

Nope, it's...

mushrooms in a tree...

Tree Companion

Yet another flowering crab. Trying to catch a good photo of one of the bumble bees buzzing around in it. The blossoms are much darker than others I've been taking pictures of and the blossoms turned out too fiery. I turned down the color a tad in Paint Shop Pro with a screen layer blend.

No Sharpening on these. I liked as is.

Taken with my XSi Canon and Tele, so I get some very pretty blurry background stuff too.

Decided to try using some of that bokeh as an abstract backdrop...with a touch of texture. I like it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In The Trees Again

See notes below for tree id.

This one is good for leaf id.

Like a cascading bouquet (leaf id again):

While I was taking these pics the sun started to shine on the white flowers and then I got a distinct yellow cast on them. I definitely like my white flowers "cool". So I ran a Color Balance on some of them in Paint Shop Pro. Red tones down and Blue up equal amounts, green down slightly makes it "cool" toned.

Warm sunny toned:

Cool color balance corrected:

For tree ID, records show my choices are ash, plum, possibly elm.

ND place (not my county) says white blossom trees:

1. Princess Kay Plum (Prunus nigra)
showy white double flower clusters in early May

2. European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
white flowers in spring

Googling tells me neither one looks quite right. If I id for sure, I'll update this post. It's kinda fun investigating things I take pictures of.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In The Flowering Crab

In the flowering crab...

Google it to see what the tree looks like.


It was just so dang picturesque...


Previous kingbird pics


My first bobolink pic! Not the best, but still exciting.


Got a better pic on 31 May 09.

Will keep trying to improve. We have at least two very active bobolinks around here this year, so should get more opportunities.

UPDATE: Sun 28 JUN 09 - More Better

This was a bobolink couple guarding their nest, I think, thus I got closer than they usually will allow. We have a lot of bobolinks this year.

Male front:

Male back:



MORE - Same couple, I think. Pics taken Fri, 3 Jul 09.

"Hi Sweetie, How are the kids?"

The bobolinks are gone. Sometime between 8-11 Jul 09. I miss them. I got many photos of them. Some of the best are posted here. They were ever present in the field in at least 2 or 3 locations. I got used to their different sounds as I walked around out there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Western Meadowlark

We have a meadowlark that sings very LOUDLY and aggressively in the early mornings. Hard to ignore. It makes me laugh.
I caught him/her singing on the fence one day...

That was an awful back lit problem that I tried to improve on, so do a silhouette. It was a flat allover blue/gray color and I added a gradient of colors to it and a dash of lighting so it looks like the sun is about to rise on the horizon.

Mr Meadowlark likes to hang out on our lawn...

With this pic I tried softening the background by layering and masking with a very soft airbrush. It's a little too strong, but I kinda like the effect anyways.

On 31 May 09, I got a good back view shot of the meadowlark.

Meadowlark is one word.
There is an Eastern and a Western Meadowlark and enature showed both when I searched for the plains area.
However, it definitely sounds like a Western Meadowlark.

Cornell is a little clearer on the map and shows North Dakota would be a Western Meadowlark.
Eastern Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

UPDATE 22 Jul 09
*Finally* got a good front view pic of a meadowlark. Yay!
Not on our land, down by the river.

Blue-Winged Teal Duck

I think this duck is male (drake?) Blue-winged Teal.

Ducks at a Distance
A Waterfowl ID Guide - Blue-Winged Teal

Red-Winged Blackbird

My camera was struggling to focus on this red-winged blackbird out in last years corn field, so the bird is out of focus and lacks detail. However, I just loved the stuff unraveling down along the corn stock and couldn't bring myself to delete it.

I softened the background with masking.

And what do we have here?

I thought this was a Song Sparrow maybe, but after more research, I think it is a *female* red-winged blackbird. This surprised me. I did not know that the female and male look totally different. There were male red-wings in this area, so could very well be one too.

I did quite a bit of brightness/contrast work to lift the bird out of the scene. Layering and masking to soften background.

UPDATE: July 2010, more/better, I'll just add these here with the older ones.

Male, photo date 19 JUN 10:

Female, photo date 9 JUL 10 (speckled belly like above, here's the back view):

Another female blackbird front view photo here.

Chasing a Hawk, photo date 9 JUL 10:

(Post-processing note: I moved that bottom bird closer to the hawk so I could post a bigger cropped photo view.)

UPDATE 28Apr11:

Nice rich colors on this one. Good detail close up.