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Old 02-15-2015   #31
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Week 6 (February 5 - February 11, 2015)
A person I spoke with at the eagle nest site, sent me on this week's quest. He told me that some whooping cranes were wintering at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge about 70 miles from where I live. These cranes are endangered. Only about 600 exist - 400 of them are in the wild. Of those, 300 are in the only naturally migrating flock which is west of the Mississippi and 100 are captive born that are being released into the wild in hopes of establishing another migrating flock east of the Mississippi River. Thirty four of the released birds have been wintering in Alabama, 12 to 14 of them at Wheeler. Along with the whooping cranes, may other water fowl also winter at the refuge, including about 14,000 sandhill cranes. Hundreds of them can be seen from the heated observation building at the visitors center. I was told that a couple of the whooping cranes were with them in that area. Knowing that the birds would soon be headed north, I did not waste any time getting to Wheeler. However, when I arrived, I was told the whooping cranes had moved to another part of the refuge. I was somewhat disappointed, but seeing and hearing the hundreds, perhaps even a couple of thousand sandhill cranes in a field across a slough from the observation center was a treat in itself. As I was leaving, I overheard the lady at the information desk giving directions to where the whooping cranes were. A short ride, and a nice walk later I arrived at the location. No cranes in sight. But as I, and some others, were leaving, we met a party being guided by a refuge ranger. She told us they had spotted 11 cranes some distance up the river. After walking quite far along the river bank we could finally see them, white specks in the distance. Before we got very close, they flew off to join some sandhill cranes farther across the water. They are quite majestic in flight. Before they flew, I did manage one shot. Not the best, but considering how far away they were, I felt lucky I was able to get one in which they were somewhat discernible. Had I not lagged behind the others who were about 100 yards ahead of me, perhaps I could have gotten a little better one. If I really blow the image up, though blurred, I can see some of the leg bands. Each crane has a distinctively colored band. All the eastern cranes have life histories on the internet. When I have time I will try to find the ones I photo'd.


Whopping Cranes par Ceropegia, on ipernity

I took many shots at Wheeler, where I saw my first butterfly of the year. Here are some:


Sandhill Cranes par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Sandhill Cranes par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Sandhill Cranes par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Sandhill Cranes Landing par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Sandhill Cranes Flying par Ceropegia, on ipernity


American Widgeon par Ceropegia, on ipernity


American Widgeons par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Twins par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Mallard Duck (Female) par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Sleepy Orange Butterfly par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Pathway par Ceropegia, on ipernity

And an invasive species

Nandina Berries par Ceropegia, on ipernity
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Old 02-15-2015   #32
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Week 6 (February 5 - February 11, 2015 Continued)

On my way to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge I stopped to check out the bald eagle nest. All the eggs have apparently hatched and the eagles are busy feeding the babies. I only stayed a short time because I wanted to get to Wheeler, but I did manage to see one bring a coot to the nest for the babies and heard them chattering to one another - a charming sound.

Bald Eagle Delivering a Coot for the Babies

Lunch for the Babies par Ceropegia, on ipernity

Bald Eagle Stripping Feathers off the Coot

Bald Eagle on Nest par Ceropegia, on ipernity

Other photos from the TVA land where the eagles are nesting
The slough below the pine tree where they have their nest (on the right beyond the photo)

Slough par Ceropegia, on ipernity

A pond nearby

A Quiet Morning par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Morning Reflections par Ceropegia, on ipernity

The Dam

Guntersville Dam par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Cardinal par Ceropegia, on ipernity

And finally, actually the first shot of the week. When I saw it, I couldn't resist, in case it would be the only thing I got. Taken from my driveway.

Moon par Ceropegia, on ipernity
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Old 02-15-2015   #33
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Looks like you had a very productive day, Martha. Nice shots of the Sandhill cranes and (considering the circumstances) the Whooping cranes.
Looks like lovely park / bird refuge area. Nice shot on the second eagle image. Love the Cardinal. Very nice moon shot too.
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Old 02-16-2015   #34
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Default Re: Martha's First 52

The crane shots are great and the first Birds in flight is as well. Interesting series and it makes me want to go out and shoot but it is 12 degrees here and windy. More inside work for me this week.
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Old 02-16-2015   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfd View Post
Looks like you had a very productive day, Martha. Nice shots of the Sandhill cranes and (considering the circumstances) the Whooping cranes.
Looks like lovely park / bird refuge area. Nice shot on the second eagle image. Love the Cardinal. Very nice moon shot too.
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Originally Posted by Tinstafl View Post
The crane shots are great and the first Birds in flight is as well. Interesting series and it makes me want to go out and shoot but it is 12 degrees here and windy. More inside work for me this week.
Thanks, guys. I was so glad to learn about the cranes and get a chance to see them before they migrated back north. Next year I resolve to go earlier and more often when the migrations are at their peak. I have learned that white pelicans also winter in the refuge - another bird I would like to photo in the wild. I may go back next week with fingers crossed that they haven't left yet.
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Old 02-16-2015   #36
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Default Re: Martha's First 52

What a great series Martha. Like them all. But my fave would be the path oddly enough. It is screaming to be done in a high contrast B&W
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Old 02-19-2015   #37
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Week 7 (February 12 - February 18, 2015)

The cold, wet weather has not been conducive to excursions outside, so I took the easy way out this week - I sat in the kitchen and took photos out the window of birds in my yard.


Male Purple Finch by Ceropegia, on ipernity


Purple Finch Pair byCeropegia, on ipernity


Fluffy, a Goldfinch by Ceropegia, on ipernity


Pigging Out - Pine Siskins, Goldfinches, and a Male Purple Finch by Ceropegia, on ipernity


Cold and Wet, A Male Purple Finch by Ceropegia, on ipernity


Finches at a Birdbath par Ceropegia, on ipernity
A pine siskin and a goldfinch with an incoming siskin that managed to insert itself into the photo just as I snapped the shot. Would have been nice if it had been in focus, too.
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Old 02-19-2015   #38
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A nice variety of colorful birds outside your window Martha.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-02-2015   #39
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Week 8 (February 19 - February 25, 2015)

The last day of the week it began to snow. By the next day when it stopped, 10 inches had fallen at my house. Alabama simply could not let Boston have it all. But, fortunately, unlike Boston, two days later, it was almost all gone.

Before the snow


Drinking par Ceropegia, on ipernity


At the Birdbath par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Seeing "Purple" par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Goldfinch par Ceropegia, on ipernity

Birds in the snow


Mourning Dove par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Keep Away par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Feeding in the Snow par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Snowing at the Sunflower Feeder par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Hungry par Ceropegia, on ipernity


About one hour after the snow began


Snowing par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Snowy Woods par Ceropegia, on ipernity

About two hours after the snow started


Snowing par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Snow on the Garden Light par Ceropegia, on ipernity

Still coming down almost eight later


Snow on the Patio par Ceropegia, on ipernity


Deep Snow par Ceropegia, on ipernity
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Last edited by ceropegia; 03-02-2015 at 05:40 PM.. Reason: edit typo
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Old 03-02-2015   #40
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Default Re: Martha's First 52

Beautiful bird and winter shots Martha.
I'm glad you weren't buried by that white stuff.


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