Category Archives: birdwatching

Bird Watching Vs. Bird Photographing

Last week, I did a bit of bird watching. Not so much bird photographing.

I have only one lonely bird photograph to share.  However, I do have some fun bird watching tales to tell. It makes me wonder about it all.  Do we call this sport (hobby?) bird watching or bird photographing?  I love trying to capture the bird photos and joining in this link up each week.

However, I also love simply watching the birds. Many weeks I’m simply too busy to go out and search for that elusive perfect bird photo. This was one of those weeks. Full time work schedule, home fairly exhausted each night.  School started for the boys this week.  Mad dash for school supplies on Wednesday. Saturday full of family and the high school marching band preview show. Errands and now, rain on Sunday.

So, only one bird photo to share this week. A simple picture of a goldfinch in a neighbor’s flower garden. A quick snap as I walked around the block with my youngest son. 

By far, not even a great photo of a goldfinch. However, seeing the flash of yellow go by us and then, pointing it out in their garden. Definitely, a great bird watching joy! That’s how my bird watching happened this week, quick stolen moments as I went about my days and evenings.

Other Bird Watching Moments From Last Week:

  • Heard, then saw a cardinal in the neighbor’s evergreen tree. Watched the neighborhood mockingbird fly over and perch in the same tree. And then, the little hummingbird zipped over to the tree as well. What a time to not have my camera! However, instead of worrying about the perfect shot. I simply stood and watched. Soon enough the hummingbird buzzed away. Then, the mockingbird. Lastly, the cardinal.
  • Things I need to research: Why do they call them turkey vultures? To preschool children, they look like eagles.  The kids look at me with wide eyes when I say, “I think eagles are a little bit bigger than those birds”
  • A group of geese just hanging out in the Target parking lot after a brief afternoon rain shower moved through our area.
  • Many swifts or maybe barn swallows flying about in the sky making their familiar calls.
  • Last night, a hawk or maybe a falcon (my husband thinks it was a falcon, I think it was a young Cooper’s hawk) flying to a tree in a front yard down the street. And then off, to another area.

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a small (forced) break from trying to capture all the birds with the camera. I still enjoy just watching them. What birds did you enjoy watching last week?

Joining in the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’


Looking At Birds In The Neighborhood

Most my birding took place at home last week.

We do have some interesting new neighbors to watch.

Two turtle doves survey the neighborhood each morning and evening from the poles and wires.

My favorite new neighbor is the Mocking bird who likes to hang out when I’m without my camera. I did get lucky a few times. 

Our backyard song star, the Carolina Wren returned to us. 

I’ve see a pair of them flitting about in the early mornings and evenings. And of course, our resident Cardinals and Robins still hang out with us. A little group of sparrows also flits about the neighborhood. Usually too busy to stop and pose for photos.

I did capture some photos after a brief rain a few weeks early. You can view those photos here.

Speaking of birds too busy to pose for photos, my son and I walked out the door one evening only to spot a hummingbird sitting on the wire! And probably the same little bird startled me as I sat on the front porch reading one night.

A Blue jay squawked to let us know he saw us as we checked on the garden another night. He was probably fussing at the cat more than us but maybe not.

And while not birds, I am super excited to see these creatures flying around the yards again:  My favorite, the Monarch butterfly!

Hope to see lots more birds and butterflies next week!

What birds have you spotted lately?

Linking up with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’. 


Bird Watching On The Prairie

Last Saturday, I took a day trip and drove down to visit fellow blogger, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home.  She’s a ranger at Prairie State Park.

You can read all about my rock star tour in this post.  Birding on the prairie is a bit more listening than watching.  You can hear the birds but spotting them is a bit more difficult.

Of course, we spotted the hawks easily but not easy to photograph.  Rebecca did help me spot and introduce me to a new (to me) bird: The Dickcissel.

We heard these birds before we could spot them.  The zoom lens and a bit of cropping happened in all my photos of them. 

I took the first set of photos while hiking on one of the prairie trails with Rebecca. As we returned to the nature center, I took the quarter-mile loop behind the building in hopes of simply capturing the vast expansive feeling of the open prairie.

I failed at that. However, I did spot more Dickcissel birds. So attempted a few more photos of them. They were mostly sitting in short shrubs blending in a bit with the small branches. One little bird did cooperate a tiny bit. 

The camera not so much. 

Have you spotted any new birds lately?

Linking this post up with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’

Killdeer Nest in the Flint Hills

More accurately, the title should be killdeer nest on the scenic overlook right off the highway.

Last weekend, we took a trip to Oklahoma to visit family. Our route takes us through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Pretty but hard to photograph at 70 mile per hour. This time, however, we were driving through them during the sunset hours.

My husband agreed to stop at the Bazaar Cattle Pens overlook so I could take “just one photo of the sunset.”  Of course, one is a relative number to the person holding the camera.

I could hear the Killdeer calling as I took my “one” photo.  After spotting one down below near a pond, I turned and saw the one sitting on the rocky viewing area.

Must have a nest nearby, I mentioned to a woman as I glanced over toward it. She informed me it was sitting on it! Suddenly, one photo of the sunset became a few photos of the Killdeer sitting on the nest. Using the zoom lens as to not disturb the bird too much.

Although, she certainly chose a rather high traffic nesting site!

Killdeer Nest

The photos probably could be better. Working against the light and with worries my impatient family might leave me stranded on I-35 didn’t help my concentration.

The nest stood maybe 2-3 foot from the overlook rail. You can faintly see the nest to the left of the rail (Look closely, that black “rock” is the bird) in the sunset photo: 

The above photo gives a good idea how close people were to the nest. I doubt most of them knew it was there. I’d have missed it as well if not for the brief conversation about it. Then, the best part of our stop:

Killdeer attempting to distract us from the nest.

Watching the bird’s partner feign injury to get us away from the nest! A woman worried the bird had a broken wing. Happily, I told her about the act to get us away from the nest. (Knowledge I only recently learned from reading Anni’s I’d Rather B Birdin’ blog. She’s got great Killdeer pictures over there, much better than these!)

The Killdeer nest along the interstate was definitely the highlight of my birding adventures last week.

I’m linking this post up with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni of I’d Rather B Birdin’. Be sure and visit her site for truly amazing bird pictures!

Gentle Summer Rain

I love the summer rain.  We’ve not had much lately. It’s been August heat advisory HOT most of July. Almost ALL of last week, yesterday included.

Today we had a lovely summer rain. The pleasant temperature arrived first. Then, the rain started with a slight thunderstorm, nothing serious. And turned into a steady downpour.

I went outside and stood in it for a bit.  First in the backyard on the deck under the roof overlap. However, I moved out and the raindrops fell on me for a few minutes. I returned to the house and decided to go stand on the front porch for just a few more minutes.

During the majority of the rain, we stayed inside (the cat included for a change!) and watched movies (or did our own thing). First, I watched Spiderman 2 with G, a nice treat. And then, my husband decided to watch Jurassic Park 3 so I sat and watched it as well.

Again, I found my way outside. Our little gray cat tagged along with me. The birds chirped happily.

I spent a few minutes watching a little group of sparrows eating seeds on the neighbor’s driveway.  Jumping up to pull them down off the weeds. The camera came out for the show.  With the little gray cat complaining about the lack of attention, I turned back to check out the garden (and yes, give her a bit of love).  No need to water the garden and the flowers looked happy.

Why Summer Rain Is Better

(than the other seasons, my opinion)

  • It smells good. The scent of hot pavement cooled off by summer rain, surely there’s a fancy word for it?
  • The best of refreshments after sweltering heat
  • Not freezing cold, doesn’t turn into any serious road hazards (thinking of ice, snow, etc)
  • Provides a good reason to sit inside and watch movies or read
  • Saves on the watering of the garden and refreshes the flowers (I think my flowers prefer rain water. I know they’d verify it for me if they spoke.)

I’ll end my post with one of my favorite songs about rain:

Do you like summer rain?

(Including this post in the 30 Days of Summer Series)

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