Monday, August 14, 2006

A Week in Upstate New York

I was visiting family in upstate New York over the last week. Since we've returned I've been catching up with work and feverishly trying to sort through all of my latest photos. Rather than holding off until I've had time to compose a narrative for my week of exploring I decided just to post the images. I may add some links later this week, otherwise, if you have any questions, just post them in the comments. Enjoy.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Taking these two hummingbird photos was nearly impossible. After waiting patiently for five days I was finally able to capture two decent images.

Years ago my mother had a cable installed at her upstate home that stretched from the corner of her house to a willow tree across the yard. There is a pulley connected to a leash that rides along the cable. The simple apparatus allowed her dog lots of room to run but still remain on their property. Her dog eventually passed away but the cable remains. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and other birds that nest around her home frequently perch on the cable and my mother enjoys the birds so she left it up. A short section of cable passes close to a large spruce tree. The hummers always perch in that area so, if they feel threatened, they quickly hide within the dense branches of the conifer.

The lighting on that section of cable is perfect early in the morning and late in the day. After breakfast and dinner I would sit with my camera pointed at the spot for about 90 minutes. My camera is not a high-end model so there is a slight delay when I depress the shutter. For every exposure where a hummingbird was in the frame there were approximately a dozen more that showed an unoccupied branch or cable. As luck would have it, the above photos were taken in succession on my last evening in the Catskills.

Chipping Sparrow perched and at nest


(Photo credit - Rob J)

Black-eyed Susan, furled

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Butter-and-Eggs

(Photo credit - Rob J)

House Finch

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Scarlet and Green Leafhopper

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Jewelweed

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Garden Phlox

(Photo credit - Rob J)

New England Aster

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Monarch Butterfly (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

6 comments:

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Glad you didn't wait to post these, Rob--they are staggeringly beautiful. I was gonna say, "How the hell did he get not 1 but 2 shots of hummers stock-still?"...and then I saw the picture of the skunk underfoot...so I won't even ask!
PS We had 2 downy woodpeckers on low, slender branches of our silver maple today...but last week's Parrot Extravaganza seems to have moved on...

Rob J. said...

Thanks, Brenda. I just added a few paragraphs of how I managed to capture the hummers. And the skunk...

Pamela said...

Housefinch? The belly looks right, but the red is so brilliant. The house finch here are no where near that red. Some are coral and apricot. Plus they have some brown on top of their heads as well. Of course their color depends on what they are eating.

I got a great picture of a juvenile rufous about two weeks ago. With my little digital camera. I don't know how to link
... but heres the post if you are interested http://thedustwillwait.blogspot.com/2006/08/flowerbeds-finches-and-hummingbirds.html

Rob J. said...

Pamela,

When I saw the brilliant red patch across the yard I was certain it was a Purple Finch. There were other male House Finches around but none as deeply colored. Looking at it in my scope I still tried to make it into a purple. The brown streaking on its belly and head, however, convinced me it was a "lowly" House Finch.

Xris said...

Beautiful shots. Thanks for these.

What do you use for the macro shots? You mention using a "digiscope". I'm going to google that; I'm guessing it's a telescope (or binos) with digital imaging capabilities. Is that correct?

The "unidentified flower" is Chelidonium majus, Greater Celandine, native to Eurasis and invasive here.

Rob J. said...

Xris,

Thanks for your kind words and the celandine ID.

I'm using a small Canon Powershot S50. It just has a really decent close focus. Digiscoping is merely holding (or using an adapter) to shoot through a spotting scope. My camera's lense just happens to be the same diameter as my scope's eyepiece. I made an adapter from a $3.00 hose coupler. It's not the best quality but it does the job until I can afford a better rig.

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope