Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 15, 2017 . Falcon 9 CRS-13 launch

While not a great day, in terms of photo productivity, I've made a check list to make sure I don't make the same mistakes again.

The SpaceX Video of launch and recovery (totally awesome)

Showing stage separation with earth in the background

And the Russian coverage 

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017: Watching behavior around the "heron tree"

This morning -  they left for feeding - so photos of takeoff and landing and catching fish
Here is the "Great Blue Heron Tree" :  a pine tree with at least 2 nests and perhaps 4.  Two moms here: one on the left and one to the right mostly hidden by pine needles

Two of the nests

Mom (1) departs to meet dad for breakfast

Mom(2) caught a small fish

Mom (2) (Great blue heron) with breakfast (a small fish)

Mom (2) flying over the lake (fortunately close to me)

Mom (2) fishing

Great blue heron plunging her head / beak to catch a fish

Great blue heron (mom (2)) withdrawing her head, hopefully with breakfast

Sure enough, a small fish in her beak

A closer view of great blue heron with fish for breakfast

Carefully carrying breakfast to the pond bank

Another view of mom (2), Great Blue Heron, with her breakfast

Now flying 101 -  Takeoff (lunging forward)

Leaving a trail of water droplets

Gaining altitude trailed by water drops

Flying over the pond

Reflections of flying over the pond

Great blue heron, landing . (gear down)

Flaps down to stop her forward progress

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5, 2017, Great Blue Herons: Home Construction

After courtship, serious construction starts.  Usually the male flies away into the forest, usually looking for a suitable pine tree, somehow tears a small limb and returns to the nest.

Flying into the building supply depot

Returning with a small twig

Interior Cleanup -  Harvesting small nearby pine branches

Showing off

December 4, 2017: Great Blue Heron: Courtship

Its December, early as I remember, for the mating game to start.  By chance, I noticed a tree filled with Great Blue Herons sort of squawking at each other and prancing around.   I went to last year's tree and there were 3 Great Blue Herons, standing at attention and waiting (I suppose for a partner).  These observations triggered a new series about mating behavior of great blue herons.  This starts a series about Great Blue Heron mating, nest building and raising kids.

Colony of Great Blue Herons

I call this kissing.  They touch beaks and close them rapidly that makes a very loud snapping sound.

The pulmage is erectile.  The male (right) is being poked by the female (below left) 

Male from a nearby nest flies away

Flying into the forest

The male and female engage in what seems to be kissing

An intruder (left).  The female rears back while the male (right) watches

The female lunges at the intruder, who displays all his makeup

Onlookers watch this back and forth

The female is back to kissing her boyfriend

There is a disturbance below and the male looks down

And flies away

I think this is the female returning

Always on the alert.  Here a red shouldered hawk flies over the colony

In another tree, a heron seems to be the lookout

There is a changing of the guard - with the old guard departing (right) and the new guard arriving (left)

New Guard

Displaying plummage

Returning with building material

Flying off "in search of ..."

An intruder approaches the couple - and so the story repeats

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 18, 2017: Birds in flight

I'm trying to figure out ways to capture well focused images of birds in flight.  Here are some results (a few not in flight):