As Promised, Bird Photos

My friend and I were roaming the back roads last Sunday in an attempt to find a snapping turtle. We saw turtles in the lakes, but none on the road.

The first bird we spotted was the sand crane. I’ve taken photos of them before, in Florida. I sat in a park and a pair of them moved around me as they ate. They were totally unafraid. Here’s a pic of one of them.


Imagine being so close to these gigantic birds, you can almost reach out and touch them. The birds are a good three to four feet tall. I took lots of photos; the place was Moon Lake.

Here’s a photo of the sand crane I took last Sunday.

Sand Crane 6.17.13 sm

I was a good distance away this time, shooting from the road while the crane moved deeper into grass. The coloring of the birds are different, depending on location. The ones in Minnesota are distinctly brown and a bit smaller. Eye color is different as well. I was maybe fifty-sixty feet away. (Love the super zoom on my camera!)

The next bird we spotted was the swan. I took many photos of them, floating on the water, but it was the nesting swan that captured my attention. Source here.Β Trumpeter SwanΒ Cygnus buccinator, is a special concern bird in Wisconsin. Adults have all white plumage, a black bill with a narrow, salmon-red stripe along the base of lower bill, and a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. Most Trumpeters weigh 21-30 pounds, although large males may exceed 35 pounds. Individuals can live to 20-30 years of age. Juvenile Trumpeters are sooty gray with black-tipped, pink bills. They do not become all white with a black bill until about a year old. Trumpeters are often confused with other white waterfowl, especially Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus). Trumpeter Swans are migratory birds that arrive in their breeding grounds in late April soon after ice melt in early spring and leave for their northern wintering grounds in September shortly before freeze. Trumpeter pair bonds mate for life and normally choose their 6-150 acre nesting territory near where the female (pen) was hatched. If a pair uses the same nesting location two summers in a row, they form an almost unbreakable attachment to the site. The pairs begin building their 6-ft diameter nests in mid-April on top of muskrat or beaver lodges or on mounds of emergent vegetation. The pen lays her clutch of 5-9 off-white eggs between late April and early May (they were late this year, due to the unusually cold weather). She incubates the 4″ by 3″ eggs for about 33-34 days while the male (cob) defends the nest. The cygnets hatch in June and fledge at about 14 weeks of age. They spend the rest of the summer preparing for migration with their parents to ice-free streams and ponds.

Again, I was on the road and shooting through foliage. I was at least sixty feet away, perhaps more.

Nesting Swan 6.17.13 sm - Copy

The last photo was a special treat. We stopped by to say hi to my friend’s neighbor, and he invited me to take photos of baby chipping sparrows who were only a couple of days old.

Baby Chipping Sparrows 6.17.13 sm - Copy

My Canon camera has a twisting view screen, and so I was able to stand next to the bush their nest was in, hold the camera up over my head, and shoot down into the foliage without disturbing them. The view screen is one reason why I stick with Canon.

I find nature endlessly fascinating. I never tire of taking photos of the creatures that cross my path. It reminds me we share this planet with a beautiful myriad of beings who have much to teach us.

See you Friday!


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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18 Responses to As Promised, Bird Photos

  1. Helle says:

    Lovely photos πŸ™‚
    I live next door to huge wildlife reserve. Public access is limited to a couple of paths, but the big owls and eagles visit occasionally. That is amazing as well as dreaded, because my dogs are just the right size for a big bird of prey. One of my neighbours had her papillon snatched by an owl recently. The dog survived but needed surgery.. Nasty business..
    But still, I’m very fascinated by the big birds and love it when I get close enough for some good photos. I’m deeply attached to my Canon as well..

  2. Allison says:

    The Sand Crane is gorgeous, I would not be surprised to see that in a wildlife magazine.

    The picture and information about the Trumpeter Swan reminded me of E.B. White’s book. I was endlessly fascinated with them after reading it as a child.

    • Thanks! It really was the most amazing experience, sitting in the park while these two gigantic birds strolled around me. Florida is known for birding. When I move back, I plan to spend a lot of time taking pictures. πŸ™‚

  3. What beautiful photos. I’m jealous. ;-). I find birds very difficult to photograph well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Birds are a great test of one’s patience, I find. In “real life,” I’m horribly impatient, but when I have a camera in my hand, I calm down, find that center of stillness inside me, and sometimes amaze myself by getting some terrific captures.

  4. Valerie says:

    You have incredible talent to be able to tell stories not only with pictures but words, beautiful photos.

  5. diannegray says:

    Oh! Those sparrows are just adorable! Great set of pics here, Theo πŸ˜€

  6. Valerie says:

    Is it possible to still get the passwords for Lavender Rose? Already liking Tristan πŸ™‚

    • Email me, tell me what format you need, and I’ll send you the story. πŸ™‚

      • Valerie says:

        Okay I find this really really embarrassing and it shows you how select my computer skills are ( I really DO want to join the 21st century, said in a whiny voice,but its so hard!)
        1. How do I email you?
        2. Format?
        I know seriously…..?! Sorry the word nerd will never ever be applied to me! πŸ™‚ if I didn’t want the story so bad…..grin.

        • email: fenraven at gmail dot com. We don’t type the actual address because the web bots pick them up and send us spam.

          Format: what you need to read it easily. PDF, mobi (for Kindle), ePub (for Nook).

  7. I love love love all your bird photos, but that swan pic is my hands down favorite. I would so love to see a nesting swan. The swans only migrate through our area in January/February. I can enjoy it through your amazing photos. You really are very talented. Your composition is amazing. I know you might say some of that is being in the right place at the right time for the bird, but there is a fair amount of skill involved. You have it.

    • Wow, thanks for the compliment! Photography has been a hobby for ten years. I think I’m getting better. I do know I love taking pictures. I never know what awaits around the next corner.

      • I have a gazillion photos of swans that I’ve taken and none of them compare to yours. I always go search them out when they migrate through our area, along with the snow geese, as they congregate in the farmer’s fields about 45 minutes north of here every January and February.

        Clearly, I’m not a photographer. πŸ˜‰

        • I have quite a few nice shots of swans, but the nesting female was an unexpected surprise. My friend and I were driving along a gravel road when I screeched, “STOP!” πŸ™‚ He did. He backed up, I got out, and positioned myself to get a clear shot. I’m absolutely sure she was aware of me there, all that distance away, but mothers never waver. I took three pictures. This one was the best.

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