Friday, February 25, 2011

Six Years!



This blog is six years old!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Great Backyard Bird Count



Did you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count over the weekend? What was your best bird? I tallied 15 species with a Rough-legged Hawk flyover. Typical winter birds, including a Northern Cardinal that began singing at 2:45AM – crazy bird!

Canada Goose
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Northern Cardinal © 2011 Mike McDowell

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Amazing Winter Wren video!

Check out this incredible HD video of a singing Winter Wren by Lang Elliott and Bob McGuire:



Though they're fairly common at Pheasant Branch Conservancy during spring and fall migration, I can count the number of Winter Wren digiscoping encounters I've had on one hand – they're a very challenging bird to follow when they're not on breeding territory.

My best Winter Wren shot (below) was captured at the Ridges Sanctuary in Door County, WI a few years ago in late May. This particular bird was defending his territory by returning to the same perch to sing his amazing song. Unfortunately, the images of him singing were blurry from his quivering body and beak – it's just too fast to freeze in poor lighting. I was lucky to catch a few frames when he paused between phrases.



© 2011 Michael McDowell

Monday, February 07, 2011

Winter Bluebirds


Eastern Bluebird

Scenes of natural beauty abound after a fresh snowfall, especially in the dead of winter when those of us living in Wisconsin crave any sort of change. The wooded snowscapes are picturesque; silhouetted trees rendering blue shadows over the countryside, but seldom are they decorated with anything as striking as a flock of Eastern Bluebirds – they were like ornaments when perched together. When Dottie Johnson and I came upon the bluebird flock at Rowan Creek on Saturday, we were stunned how bright and glowing their feathers were; the light reflecting off the snow illuminated every blue plume.

A mixed flock of other birds foraged with the bluebirds along the edges of the creek, including an American Robin, Song and Swamp Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatch, and a Downy Woodpecker. We followed them for several minutes, pausing briefly when I thought I heard the chatter of a Winter Wren. Further down, we finally caught up with the little brown ball of feathers. The energetic wren kept favoring a particular spot of exposed tree roots with access to the open ground and water. We were on our way out of the park after snowshoeing for several hours, so we decided to let the birds do their thing without disturbing them any further.

Location: Rowan Park
Observation date: 2/5/11
Number of species: 23


Canada Goose
Mallard
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
 
© 2011 Mike McDowell


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Vortex PS-100 P&S Attachment



I recently addressed the problem of today's point & shoot digital cameras and popular DCA style digiscoping adapters. Because newer point & shoot digital camera models typically lack any kind of filter thread, they won't connect to a DCA. The Vortex Point & Shoot Attachment (PS-100) should eliminate this problem.



A type of platform adapter, the PS-100 will give just about any point & shoot digital camera a filter thread so it can be used with any of the various DCA adapters on the market. It's super easy to configure - the small platform attaches to the camera via the camera's tripod thread and the adjustable sight is centered with the camera's lens. This attachment will work with the Vortex Razor DCA, Swarovski DCA, and both Kowa DCA adapters (DA10 and DA1).

Note: The PS-100's thread size is 37mm.

Link: Vortex Point & Shoot Attachment