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Category Archives: Bird Photography

Last weekend we drove through Crex Meadows. We were hoping to see Sandhill Cranes but we didn’t see a single crane. The flowages were frozen so most of the waterfall were gone. We did see quite a few birds of prey in the meadows.  Bald Eagles were perched near Phantom Lake and we saw more out in the flowages.

We also saw quite a few Rough-legged Hawks hunting. These are some of the best pictures I’ve gotten of Rough-legged Hawks.

As we drove past one of the lakes we noticed bear tracks going out on to the lake. I measured them and they were 4 X 6 inches.

We found one lone Trumpeter Swan hanging out on a small area of open water by one of the flowage dams.

As we drove toward home we did notice Sandhill Cranes in some of the fields. There was snow on the ground and it looked like most of the crops had not been harvested from the fields so there could have been many more cranes in the fields.

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After photographing early in the morning we headed back to Wall and had an early breakfast at Wall Drug. First place I’ve ever encountered that refused to make sunny side up eggs. While at breakfast we check the map and decided to drive back out to the park and drive the Sage Creek Rim Road. We have been driving through the badlands for years but have never driven the Sage Creek Rim Road  other that the first few hundred yards.  According to the map we would eventually end up in Hermosa which was our destination.

It was a beautiful early fall day and the color was nearing its peak.

We saw all kinds of wildlife on the drive. We hadn’t gone far before we encountered this Bighorn Sheep ram resting at the side of the road. He wasn’t about to move so we had to drive around him.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

As small herd of Pronghorn Antelope crossed the road in front of us.

Pronghorn Antelope

Of course there were the ever present Prairie Dogs. It seems like there are more and more of them.

Prairie Dogs

There are Buffalo in the park but they are rarely seen on the Badlands Loop Road. We see them fairly frequently on the Sage Creek Rim Road. At one point we found a large number of them in a pen. Apparently there had been a roundup but the bulls still seemed to be roaming the park.

Buffalo

We had gotten out of the car to take some landscape photos and noticed this Coyote walking along. I went back to get my long lens and, of course, he dissapeared. I went back and got my landscape lens and sure enough he reappeared in full view but he was too far away for a shot.

Coyote

While we were watching the Prairie Dogs we notice a large bird sitting out in the Prairie Dog town. It looked to be the size of an eagle but we knew it wasn’t an eagle. Later we found out it was a Ferruginous Hawk. Apparently Prairie Dogs are one of its favorite meals. They frequently sit by an active hole and wait for the Prairie Dog to emerge. We later encountered several of them flying.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

After exiting the Sage Creek Rim Road we ended up in Scenic, South Dakota.

We then drove through the Stronghold Unit of the Badlands. This place had been used as a bombing range. When we pulled over to take this photo I also took a photo of the warning sign.

Yesterday we drove up to Crex Meadows to check out the bird activity. Normally the Crex Meadows web site provides a summary of bird activity but the staff has been cut from five to two and they don’t always have the time to update the report. We had planned on spending the night but found there were not that many birds around so we just drove through the Meadows before heading back home. Almost none of the fields south of town have been harvested so it is difficult to find the birds in the fields although if you look hard you can find them in open areas.

This Meadowlark kept flying in front of the car and I was finally able to get a shot of it after three or four attempts.

Meadowlark

Grebe

There were a pair of immature Bald Eagles hunting along Phantom Lake road as we drove out of the Meadows.

Bald Eagles

We didn’t see many Sandhill Cranes. They could have been out feeding in the fields but as I mention it was hard to find them.

Sandhill Cranes

American Coots

It doesn’t look like the fall colors are going to be all that great. Many of the leaves seem to be turning brown and dropping this year.

As the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were leaving for the south the bird that was guarding my Red Prince Weigela Flowers remained to the bitter end. After I watched him for a while he decided to watch me and flew right in front of the camera for some photos.

In all the year I’ve been photographing birds around the farm I’ve never photographed Goldfinch fledglings. This year there were quite a few around at the end on the Summer. It seemed that the males were doing all of the feeding. This male was attacked by two fledglings demanding food.

I watched this fledgling for over an hour as he patiently waited to be fed. Every time a bird turned up at the feeder it would start fluttering its wings. I had to laugh when some Baltimore Orioles turned up and it wanted to be fed. Finally an adult goldfinch turned up and fed it.

 

Just before the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds leave for the summer they love to feed on my Red Prince Weigela flowers. This year it has been a problem photographing them because one hummingbird has appointed herself to guard the flowers. It is only when the guard is off chasing someone that I can capture another bird feeding.

In a typical summer I take hundreds of photos of Eastern Bluebirds. This year this is my lone photo and it was taken just before they headed south. Normally I photograph them building their nests and feeding their young but this year I was out of town when this happened. I also typically put up a birdhouse next to the house where they can raise their second brood. Unfortunately they didn’t nest in the house this year so I was left with one photo.

For some unknown reason I wait until just before the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds leave for the summer before I take a few photos of them. On this particular day I watched them approach one of my feeders.

This spring my wife and I made a three week trip to Scandinavia. This is the first of my blogs describing our adventures.

We left Duluth, Minnesota heading for Minneapolis  to catch our early evening flight on Icelandic Airlines. My wife took this photo of me with my new Osprey’s Farpoint 55 travel pack. We both used these packs for the trip and found them to be a great find. When I get some time I’ll write a review of them.

The Trip was uneventful. This is my wife’s obligatory  photo of Greenland. For some reason she insists on photographing Greenland every time we fly over.

When we reached Copenhagen We took the train from the airport to Copenhagen Central Station. From there we walked to the Cabinn Scandinavia where we were staying for a couple of nights. Unfortunately Google Maps gave us a tour of Copenhagen on the way to Cabinn Scandinavia. Once we were at our lodging and had acquired a map of Copenhagen we discovered the route we should have taken from Central Station. We checked in and then walked back toward Central Station to visit the Copenhagen Visitors Center and plan what we would be doing the only full day we had in Copenhagen. On the way to the visitors center we walked past Sankt Jørgens Lake.

We encountered a number of different birds at the Lake. My wife complained the entire trip that I was taking bird pictures when I should have been taking photos of the city. However, even she had to admit that the Great Crested Grebe was worth watching. When we first saw it we thought it might be ill because it had a very disheveled look about it. We soon discovered the disheveled look was caused by baby grebes hiding under her feathers. The male grebe was hunting for food and when he came close the young came out of hiding looking for something to eat. Every time we walked past the Lake we looked for the grebes.

We also saw a number of other birds on the lake.

Eurasian Coot

Black-headed Gull

Mute Swan

Eurasian Magpie

I should add that I was able to get these great bird photos because I decide to leave my Nikon Cameras home and take a Sony DSC-WX500 that has a 30X optical zoom lens. This is a great little pocket camera that also takes great panoramic photos.

It was spring time in Copenhagen and the tulips were blooming all over town.

After stopping at the visitors center we started looking for a bite to eat. It is sad to report that our first meal in Copenhagen was at Burger King.

We then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Just a few of the characters that have been at my bird feeders the past few weeks.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

House Finch

The Eastern Phoebe is rarely seen at the feeder and this is the first time I’ve seen a House Wren at the feeder.

Eastern Phoebe

House Wren

I occasionally have rabbits at the feeder and for a week I had a family of Raccoons visit the feeder every night.

Cottontail Rabbit