Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring's Magical Moments

Great Horned Owl

There were some truly magical sights this morning at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The female owls along the creek corridor were tending to their nests and young. Around a half dozen people (non-birders) asked me if I had seen the owl, but no mention of the seventy or so other bird species present. The owls are easy to see even without the aid of optics, but I do enjoy sharing my spotting scope with others and watching their reaction when they see these magnificent birds of prey at high magnification for the first time in their lives. I wonder what they would think of a Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, or Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Barred Owl

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Most of the Yellow-rumped Warblers I've seen so far this spring have been rather drab, but this particular bird really stood apart from the others. A common warbler during April to be sure, but they're still quite stunning and one of my favorite North American wood warblers.

Digiscoping any warbler can be pretty challenging. When a warbler is actively foraging like this one was, I note its return perches after it catches an insect. I'll practice moving my spotting scope from perch to perch and make sure the focus is true because it's totally manual with the setup I'm presently using. Then it's a matter of anticipating the movements of the bird. It's great when all the elements come together for a nice series of images.

By late morning the Bloodroot opened up for my second native wildflower of spring. Yesterday I saw Pasque Flowers in bloom on the west slope of the drumlin at the prairie parcel. I'll post those photographs tomorrow or Monday along with some Purple Finch images I was able to capture.


All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

1 comment:

  1. The thing about owls is those front-facing eyes, and other face-like features and 'wise' appearance -- makes them look much more like little humanoids, or at least space aliens, than any other birds. Love 'em!