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Posts Tagged ‘Tamron 150-600mm’

A small flock of large black-colored birds was noisily moving about the marsh at Huntley Meadows Park one morning last weekend and if I were better at identifying bird calls, I probably would have know what kind of birds they were—I considered the possibility that they might be crows or Red-winged Blackbirds or starlings or grackles. When I got closer and the sunlight illuminated their bodies, I realized that they were probably Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), because of the way that their black color became iridescent, with colorful highlights.

I spent quite a while watching the grackles as they energetically pecked about, presumably looking for morsels of food. Their heads were pointed downwards most of the time, so it was a little tough to get good shots of them.

Here are a couple of my favorite shots that help show both the beauty and the personality of a grackle.

 

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Great Egrets (Ardea alba) always seem to me to be a little vain and self-centered—maybe if comes from being so beautiful and graceful. This one did not like being ignored, so it decided to photobomb my shot of a deer this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park .

Great Egret

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) seemed curious about the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) perched on a log, but the heron remained impassive and did not react as the deer passed behind it early Saturday morning at Huntley Meadows Park.

Peaceful co-existence—we could all use some more of that in our daily lives.

peaceful co-existence

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This little Green Heron (Butorides virescens) somehow managed to find a perch in the midst of the thick vegetation growing out of the water yesterday morning at Huntley Meadows Park. From this higher vantage point, the heron was able to scan the area better for potential prey, though I never saw it catch anything.

Was the Green Heron imagining how much easier it would be if it were as tall as a Great Blue Heron?

green heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Female Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) at Huntley Meadows Park have been caring for their ducklings alone, so I figured the males had all departed. This morning, however, I spotted this male Wood Duck when he climbed out of the water to groom himself.

I captured this image when he gently shook himself to dry off. The moisture flew easily into the air, like water off of a duck’s back.

wood duck

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Every spring, Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) build a nest on the underside of a raised observation platform at Huntley Meadows Park. It is always  a lot of fun to watch these energetic little dynamos flying about, catching insects in mid-air. Fortunately this one came to rest for a moment on the metal railing of the platform and I was able to capture this image of a colorful Barn Swallow.

 

Barn Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In the early morning light at Huntley Meadows Park last week, I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of an Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus). The colors and lighting were subdued, which helped to draw my attention to the details of the bird’s feathers when I captured these images.

Several other photographers had posted photos of a kingbird on the park’s Facebook page and I was hoping that I would see one when I set out that day. When I first saw this bird from a distance, I thought it might be some kind of swallow. Once I got a little closer, I changed my mind and considered the possibility that it might be an Eastern Phoebe. It was only when I got home and was able to look at my birding book that I realized the white-tipped tail of this bird meant that it was almost certainly an Eastern Kingbird.

I studied Latin for a couple of years in high school (a long time ago) and I am always curious about the origin of the Latin name for different species. This one—Tyrannus tyrannus—really caught my eye.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website explained the name in these words. “The scientific name Tyrannus means “tyrant, despot, or king,” referring to the aggression kingbirds exhibit with each other and with other species. When defending their nests they will attack much larger predators like hawks, crows, and squirrels. They have been known to knock unsuspecting Blue Jays out of trees.”

Eastern Kingbird

 

Eastern Kingbird


Eastern Kingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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