A few hours exploring

Saturday promised to be a sun-filled day, I’ve spend the last 3 weekends packing and organizing and cleaning….and I was done with that.   Well still a lot more to do, but I needed a break.  Journeyed off to LLELA…Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area, one of my favorite spots and only 10 minutes from the house.  A quick explanation is likely due here to those that read my blog and do not live in the Dallas area.  Last spring resolved all of our drought concerns…Lake Lewisville was full so the dam was wide open allowing the water to rapidly flow down the trinity river and throughout LLELA.  Trails have been underwater since last spring.  I haven’t been there in about a month so I was pleasantly surprised to find the dam at a trickle and the trails emerged fully from the water.   I arrived around 7:30 and the mist was still coming off the many little ponds

early morning mist

As far as birding goes, it was not a fruitful day, rather quiet but the walk was wonderful.  I hadn’t realized how far I’d walked until I came upon the Bittern Marsh Trail, zig zagging along I’d probably gone 5 miles.   Wildflowers were starting to bloom and butterflies and dragonflies were everywhere.

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I ended up at the dam and heard one of my favorite fishermen….the Belted Kingfisher…they are sooooo fast and I was amazed when I got home to find I had finally captured an in-focus photo of one in flight…couldn’t resist the captioning🙂

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As I was about to head home there were two gentlemen looking up at a treetop,  knew there was a bird up there but couldn’t really tell what it was, thought perhaps an indigo bunting. Allen and George,  were trying to identify the little guy.  They asked if I would snap a shot and then zoom in so they could get a better look.  Well a lifer for me.   It was a blue grosbeak,an immature male so all the blue was not yet there.  They apparently spend their summers here and return south when it gets chilly

 

 

LLELA , Lake Lewisville, TX april 23, 2016 Juvenile Male

LLELA , Lake Lewisville, TX april 23, 2016 Juvenile Male

 

All in all a wonderful Saturday morning🙂

Home is Home

The title for this post is borrowed from the movie Brooklyn

We are making some significant changes in our lives over the next few months, very excited about it🙂  Shooting time will likely be cut to 0%.  BUT, I do have thousands of old photos that I can go back to when I have a little time at night…which is what I did last night.

Oh those significant changes…? We are relocating back to NY!  Yeah   We’ve been in Texas for 10 years and the time has come to go home.   Along those lines thought I’d share a few images from our homestate…

Chrysler building

I doubt this image needs an  explanation, The Chryster building and the Brooklyn bridge are my favorite structures in the city.

 

brooklyn Beer

A little artistic license taken with this one.  The Brooklyn Brewery Sign.  Took this photo in 2012 while visiting my kids.  Saturday at the Brooklyn Flea Home, great food vendors and flea market. Below is an image from inside the flea market, just loved all the vintage items🙂

Brooklyn flea market

 

This next image is from 2011, downtown when the Freedom Tower was under construction.  Love the body language on these guys, and I love the texture of the building

 

workers at WTC

Concluding this grouping with a world recognized icon, altho probably not seen often from this viewpoint

 

Lady Liberty Poster

Lady Liberty

Bobcat

As usual, if Saturday is predicted to be sunny, I will be out somewhere in search of that new bird.   This morning I decided I would visit VCDB aka Village Creek Drying Beds as I hadn’t been there for awhile.  The weather was beautiful and I was soooo enjoying the peacefulness.  Of course I also really want to take pictures🙂   This was just not going to happen today, the ducks where too far away and spooked whenever I tried to get close,  my favorite songbirds were just not singing…. Oh well still enjoyed the 3 mile walk.  I was going to head to the car when I decided that one more walk down this particular path that usually provides luck was in order….too early to go home.   As I made my right I saw something in the path, I don’t carry binoculars as I have enough weight with all the camera stuff, I use my 400mm lens as my binoculars.   So put the tripod down, took a peek and WOW, there she was.   Bobcat sitting in the path.  I snapped a shot knowing it was not going to be clear but figured I wouldFirst sighting get one of those “documentary” photos so my husband would believe me🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walked a bit closer and she layed down, that seemed strange.   Took another shot.

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Walked closer and she decided she’d had enough of me and scooted into the brush.  So I continued to walk but as I did I realized that where she ran off to was water….didn’t think she would swim away so as I walked I kept an eye on the bushes, sure enough she was hiding behind some reeds.

untitled-50-EditI didn’t know if she had babies in there so didn’t want to put her in a defensive mode so I walked past her and then stopped.

BobcatAs I turned around she came out of the bushes and scurried down the path away from me.

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Love the white stripe on the ears.

What a thrill!  I’ve seen many a photo of bobcats at VCDB but figured I’d never get one.

UTSW Rookery

I’ve heard about a rookery in downtown Dallas for a few years now, gone a few times to try to find it but never could.   My son-in-law starting working there a few months ago and I finally asked him where the heck it was…..  Sunday promised to be a beautiful spring day in Dallas so decided I would try once again to locate this special place.  Well damn, so easy to pass it by, because it is between 3 major roads and who would have thought!   There are hundreds of Great Egrets and hundreds of nests!!!  I walked without the camera for a bit just to take it all in…Egrets are monogamous  and then there are those males that are trying to find a mate.  They do this fantastic ritual, poof out the feathers, shake their heads and reach for the sky.  Totally captivating!

Engaged in the mating ritual

Engaged in the mating ritual

Those that already have mates tend to the nest.

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They rarely leave the area, and when they do they return with twigs.  I didn’t see any returning with food, but I have to imagine at some point they must.

 

Great egret BW

The entry to the rookery faces east and the early morning light provided an opportunity to silhouette some of images….added a little text here, but otherwise a straight shot against the morning sun.

 

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had to convert one to B&W…while you lose that green facial breeding coloration, the contrast is striking.

So according to the information posted at the Rookery, the Great Egret is the first to arrive, after their chicks hatch and can fly, the Snowy Egret then comes.   I will be visiting again and share the latest update

 

New Neighbors

When we moved into our current home 9 years ago it was a new community, hence no trees….   Now 9 years later NOBODY has trees but us  :)   We have 2 maples, another large one that I have no idea what it is and an oak.  I also have 5 feeders with assorted menus and 3 birdbaths.  Each year I get more new visitors, besides the regular sparrows, finches, cowbirds, hummingbirds, doves, cardinals and redwinged blackbirds this winter we had a resident ruby-crowned kinglet and yesterday a new surprise!!

I was playing Tom Sawyer ….endless feet of fence that needed whitewashing…OK not whitewashing, staining.   I started at 7:30 am and by 3pm I was covered in stain, feeling quite exhausted and ready to go lay down somewhere.   I was finishing the last part, being stabbed by rosebushes, which are under that tree that I have no idea what it is….I heard an unusual sound, not one of my regular songbirds….I looked up and there they were, 10 cedar waxwings coaxing me on to finish that darn fence!!!  :)   like I said, covered in stain I thought about getting the tripod and camera but figured for sure by the time I set it up they would be long gone.  So I enjoyed their visit and hope they will return again.

This image is from a few years ago, in fact it was one of my first images with my long lens.  Since I didn’t capture one yesterday I thought I’d share this one.

 

Cedar Waxwing

The Bridge

There is a story behind this bridge… This is the bridge that connects the “mainland” to the barrier beach in Suffolk County on Long Island.  There is another bridge that then connects to the other barrier beach known as Fire Island…for  those of you not familiar with Long Island…this can get confusing  :)    So way back when I was in grade school and God was a child, I lived on Oak Beach which was a bridge ride to school every morning.  There were 3 families (with kids)that lived year round on the beach, it was myself, the McCroddens, and the Lynch’s. While the Lynch family had like 13 kids…the rest of us combined were 4.  The school bus came every morning…it was a full-sized school bus by the way….picked up the beach kids and drove us to the “mainland” to school in Babylon.  The original bridge that connected Babylon/Islip to Jones Beach was built back in 1951,   however the need for more lanes to the beach required a second bridge be built.  I cannot remember exactly how long it took, but we rode that school bus and watched the second bridge being built…It is hard to see in this photo, but there are 2 bridges side by side here.

This photo was taken at the Babylon Dock last year when I had my annual visit home, lots of stories at the Babylon dock too…but perhaps another time.40 x 13.5 pano bridge