Although Vienna is best known for the classical music of composers like Mozart and Strauss, there is music everywhere at Christmas time, from the carols of a brass ensemble at a Christmas market to the softer sounds of a Swedish choir celebrating Sankta Lucia.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Lights come on in Vienna

As the sun went down on my last full day in Vienna this trip, the lights started to come on, illuminating some of Vienna’s beautiful buildings, including the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum).

Vienna Museum of Natural History

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


Foggy morning in Vienna

It was a really foggy start to the day in Vienna yesterday and the photos I took looked almost like they had been taken with black and white film.



© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

My daylight hours have been fully occupied during a short work trip to Vienna, Austria, but I have managed to visit a couple of the Christmas markets after dark. I took these shots at the one at the Rathaus (City Hall) with the small point-and-shoot camera with which I travel.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Still chasing hawks

Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees, I have a much greater chance of reaching one of my goals for this winter of capturing some better shots of hawks.

One of the biggest challenges at my local marshland park is that most of the trees on which hawks seem to like to perch are inaccessible—the trees are surrounded by flooded swamps on one side and dense vegetation on the other.

This past week I took my best hawk shots in quite some time when a fellow photographer pointed out this Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) on the limb of a distant tree. We were able to move a little closer to the hawk, because it was facing away from us, but when the water started to get ankle-deep, I had to make do with the conditions I had.

I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for the sights and sounds of these magnificent birds and hope to get a bit closer to one in the coming months.

Red-shouldered HawkRed-shouldered Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Squabbling ducks

Canada Geese are often loud and aggressive in their interactions with each other, but ducks seem much calm and restrained. I was therefore quite surprised when I saw these two male Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) get into a minor dispute.

Northern Shovelers

I am not sure why these two ducks were squabbling, but I got one possible indication when I looked at the edge of the frame. A female Northern Shoveler was nearby and appeared to be watching the action out of the corner of her eye. Were the two males vying for her affection and attention?

Northern Shoveler


After a short period of wrestling, the two males separated and swam off in opposite directions, having settled, at least for a short time, whatever issue prompted the initial dispute.

Northern Shovelers

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


Hair Club for Herons

One of the Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) that has been hanging around the boardwalk at my local marshland park was amazingly cooperative yesterday morning and posed for this portrait. I think the white background was caused by the very cloudy sky—it makes the shot look almost like it was taken in a studio setting.

I really like the way that you can see the wispy feathers on the top of the heron’s head. I can’t help but notice, though, that this heron has the same kind of growth pattern on the top of his head as I do.

I wonder if he would consider shaving his head (and I really hope that he does not opt for a comb-over hairstyle a bit later in life).

Is there a Hair Club for herons?

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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