Sunday, June 27, 2010


A few scenery pics that I liked from the photo drive.

I call them "grand sky" pics.
Fabulous ever changing cloud patterns that day.
Lots of rain, everything is lush green.
The gravel road really is that pretty reddish color. Scoria? It had just rained, so not dusty.

Belly Up

Photo Drive.
Blogged painted turtle previously.

This time I got a belly shot.

This little guy was sunning himself on the gravel road.
So took pics, turned him over for the belly shot, and moved him out of the way of traffic.
His coloring was faded, not dusty.

Here's some closeup detail:


Look at those claws:

Painted Lady Butterfly

Photo Drive.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Same Genus as Red Admiral.

Genus Vanessa - Ladies and Red Admiral
Species cardui - Painted Lady

"...the Painted Lady is perhaps the most widespread butterfly in the world, found throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and many islands, as well as in North America."

Butterflies of ND

Lark Sparrow

Photo Drive.

My first Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus).
I knew this one would be easy to identify. He's interesting to look at from different angles. Makes me think of candy cane stripes.

The Setting/View:

Horses grazing in the valley.

Groved flax blossoms below his feet and dotting the landscape.

New coneflowers bursting forth.

Lark Sparrow Links:

"With unusual courtship displays as well as plumage, it is like no other sparrow and is the sole member of its genus. "

"Song a melodius jumble of clear notes and trills, interspersed with harsh buzzes and churrs."


Oregon Birds
Topography of Lark Sparrow
Nice diagram.

And more.
GOOD informative interesting bird info/diagrams here.

Red-tailed Hawk

Photo Drive.
Outsmarting the hawk.
The hawks sighted were high atop the powerline poles along the gravel road.
They would stay there IF you just drove by as usual.
If we would stop within photographing distance (70-300mm tele), they would fly away.
You could not stop at a distance and slowly approach on foot either. Forget about it.

The second hawk sighted was more tolerant than the other one and stayed longer. If we stopped, he would fly down about 5 poles and land atop one again. He did this several times so we got several tries.


Our strategy was to drive by about 15-20 mph, and then stop right in front of the pole, with camera ready and focusing.

This strategy of the unexpected seemed to catch the hawk by surprise for a few seconds and I'd get maybe one or two shots in at full stop before he flew off.

(I tried fiddling with different settings on my camera, but that didn't really help much. Probably continuous shooting helped a little. The continuous focusing setting didn't seem to focus well in this situation.)

I ended up getting the best hawk shots ever, so far.
It was a fun challenge.

Red Tail:

I used Highlights/Midtones/Shadows Photo Adjustment in Paint Shop Pro 9 to lift shadows and bring out more detail.

Red-tailed Hawk Links:


Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
"This is probably the most common hawk in North America. If you’ve got sharp eyes you’ll see several individuals on almost any long car ride, anywhere."

Color Pattern
"Most Red-tailed Hawks are rich brown above and pale below, with a streaked belly and, on the wing underside, a dark bar between shoulder and wrist. The
tail is usually pale below and cinnamon-red above, though in young birds it’s brown and banded. “Dark-phase” birds are all chocolate-brown with a warm red tail. “Rufous-phase” birds are reddish-brown on the chest with a dark belly."

"Based on the size of their eyes alone, you might guess that birds see extremely well. Their eyes are much larger in proportion to the sizes of their heads than our eyes are.. In fact, some owls and eagles have eyes that are the same size as human eyes, though their heads are much smaller than ours.

Birds' sense of sight is much higher resolution than ours. Hawks, for example, see two to three times as much detail than people do. But most birds do not have the depth perception that we do because of the placement of their eyes. Depth is perceived when each eye provides a slightly different view of the same scene, when there is an overlap in the field of vision. This is known as binocular vision. Birds such as Owls, which have both eyes facing forward, have binocular vision similar to our own, but most nonpredatory birds have eyes whose fields of view do not overlap enough to provide this ability. Instead, their laterally placed eyes give them a wider total view, the better to detect an approaching predator. Scientist believe that to compensate for their lack of binocular vision, some birds bob their heads, thereby viewing the same subject rapidly from different angles. Dippers bob nonstop along mountain streams. Many shorebirds bob rapidly when a predator appears nearby. "

See also: Hearing.
And more.
GOOD informative interesting bird info/diagrams here.

Monday, June 21, 2010


This hawk was bigger than usual, but I'm not sure what it is.
I think it might be a tad over exposed.
I added the border fade post-processing and liked it.
He was far far away, this is a crop of 300mm and then a closer crop.
That is a mouse in his claw.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cottonwood Road

"Cottonwood Road"

Another road/trail pic I like.
Big old cottonwood trees.


My companion saw it, I didn't, so I handed him the camera with tele and he took the picture.
Nice one too.

For ID,
I got it drilled down this far:
Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
Class Insecta - Insects
Order Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies
Suborder Zygoptera - Damselflies
Family Coenagrionidae - Narrow-winged Damselflies
Genus Enallagma - American Bluets

Species carunculatum - Tule Bluet
Species civile - Familiar Bluet
Species clausum - Alkali Bluet
Species exsulans - Stream Bluet
Species praevarum - Arroyo Bluet

All things considered (area, photos, etc.) my guess would be:
Alkali Bluet

Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of the United States
Odonata of North Dakota

(Dragonflies and Damselflies of West Virginia Site - GOOD diagrams)
Damselfly Anatomy

Dragonfly Anatomy

Upland Sandpiper

Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) formerly known as Upland Plover.

Juvenile? standing along side of gravel road on the prairie.

Mama to the rescue:

I could HEAR her coming before I saw her pop up out of the grass onto the fence post on the other side of the road.
Juvenile ran towards Mama.
That is my guess at what was happening.
The juvenile does not look very young, but the scene and behavior made me think it was probably a juvenile.


A shorebird of grasslands, not shores, the Upland Sandpiper inhabits native prairie and other open grassy areas in North America.
Juvenile similar to adult, but with pale edges to back feathers.

Sound at Cornell link has a good sample of this bird's wolf-whistle.
I always wondered what kind of bird made that sound! Now I know.

Breeding Birds of North Dakota
Family scolopacidae
Upland plover (Bartramia longicauda (Becchstein))

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Clouds

Different days.

These are sunrise clouds, but to the North:


How about some land with that, heh—our land/place.


I loved the cup shapes of these leaves.
I "dropped" some of my round button tubes in them just for fun. Maybe I should have added a drop shadow to them? Nah.

Okay, here's more yummy green leafy stuff.

Looks good enough to eat, but I think it's some kind of flower.

Sunrise With The Tele

I like to zoom in with the tele on sunrises sometimes.
I did some layer masking so I could lighten, but still keep that nice round sun.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dramatic Sunrise

Pretty Flower

Iris, I think.

Snow On Water In June

Snow on water in June:

Not really.

This is why you don't want a cottonwood tree that produces cotton.
Kind of a mess.

Even the flowers got dusted with it.


Let Me Take You Out, Class Actress

1901, Phoenix

You've changed, Sia

Marching On:

For those days we felt like a mistake
Those times when love's what you hate
Somehow we keep marchin on
For those nights when I couldn't be there
I've made it harder to know that you know
That somehow we'll keep movin on

There's so many wars we've fought
There's so many things we're not
But with what we have I promise you that
We're marchin on, we're marchin on...

UPDATE 25Aug11:
Changed/updated dead links so all work now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blogger Template Designer

I'm testing Blogger Template Designer on a test blog, if anyone is interested in that.

At first, I couldn't figure out how to use my own header image and make it work:

But then I discovered that the problem was Picasa automatically making my images thumbnail size when I went to copy the link info.

Have to select the original size from the drop down menu, THEN copy the link.

Seems to work okay in Blogger now.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010



(Soft Focus in Paint Shop Pro 9.)


I liked the morning sun shadows on these photos.

Cedar Waxwing


I cloned out the branch across his face. Turned out pretty good, I thought.

The rest were soft feather detail:

This is an improvement over a previous pic I posted.

I love the look of these birds. The black mask, that puff of hair that sticks up on the back of his head.
I hope to get more/better photos.
There were three of them in the tree, but could only get so close.

google images

"...waxwings tend to nest late in the summer when there is a good supply of berries."
"These social birds have the amusing habit of passing berries or even apple blossoms from one bird to the next down a long row sitting on a branch, until one bird eats the food."

(NOTE: Year Round in North Dakota.)
"...a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers."
"The name 'waxwing' comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates."
"Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet."
"Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol."