Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ducky Down Days at the Pond

While water birds are not usually what I see, I did have a lot
of fun watching and photographing these guys at a nearby pond.

While Mallards are the most common of domestic ducks
it does not diminish their beauty.
The male's coloring ranges from the iridescent green head to
purple in the feathers and blue when they fly. The
Female is mottled brown. Look for these colors in the pictures
to follow.

Put your left foot out and turn yourself around....
and let the games begin.
The Master of Ceremonies Solemnly surveys the pond's
participants as he gets ready for the day

Let the Story and the Fun Commence!
Two Mallards are having a race with a Pie Billed Grebe.

Hey! I'm bigger and faster .... Come back here.

A new comer has arrived on the red eye Late Express.

I can do it , I can do it, Yup! Ducks can hop up like this.

Meanwhile on the other side of the pond the
'Get Your Ducks in a Row' parade is forming.

I see we have a member of the Royal family from England
wearing a Queenie type feather hat.

The Grebe looks on happy to have won the first race.

Looks like more than one member of the Royal Family is here today.
Uh Ohh! There is a 17 Duck Pile up at the far end of the

The parade continues.

Get up there Mama, they're leaving us behind.

Oh My Gosh! We are graced to have Mrs. Wood Duck here today.

She knows she is the most beautiful Duck on the pond.Right and Left side views are equally as pretty.

Okay Okay!! I won't take anymore pictures. I don't want to be the Paparazzi.As Mr. Mallard contemplates the afternoon he is more
than happy that everyone had a good time
and looks forward to another event soon.

Look for Ducky Down Days at a Pond near you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eagles Near and Far

On the Trip to Raystown Lake we were in the town
of Huntingdon when I saw a bird soaring overhead.
We pulled into an alley and started shooting.
An Eagle far up above us was circling.

When we got to the lake we could see the nest but no
Eagle within. Although she could have been there.

It looked like the male was standing watch in a tree
several hundred yards up the mountain from the nest.
Like a sentry he stayed there for a long time.
It was incredibly far away and the white of the
Eagles head was all that gave it away. These pictures
are cropped to death.
I can remember when we used to take trips to Little Pine Creek
near the PA Grand Canyon and see an Eagle across the Creek.
It would be a white dot in a tree and we would try to
capture it with our 35mm cameras with the zoom lens. When
the pictures came back we would have to use a magnifying
glass to see the bird. The new digital cameras and
editing abilities of the computer gives us an edge we never
had before with film cameras.

We left Raystown and went to Shawnee never expecting to
see another Eagle. But we did!!

We looked up and there were two mature and one immature
flying above us. Circling and soaring through the air.
I tried to keep the Sony H9 on them as they flew. Not
an easy feat. The immature was easy to spot without
the white on the tail and head.

It looks quite different.

At the end of this day I felt quite privileged to
have seen these Eagles near and far and to be
able to get some photographs of them.

To God be the Glory - Great things he hath done.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Amazing, The Wonderful -- Great Blue Heron

On our week end trip we visited two lakes.
One in Huntingdon County, Raystown Lake.
One in Bedford County, Shawnee Lake.
Both places and ponds and streams in between seemed
to be alive with Great Blue Herons.
Below you can see how hard they are to spot as they stand
in the water along the shoreline and fish. Their color
blends right into their surroundings.

  • White crown and face
  • Black plume extending from above and behind eye to beyond back of head
  • Brownish-buff neck with black-bordered white stripe down center of foreneck
  • Blue-gray back, wings and belly
  • Black shoulder
  • Shaggy neck and back plumes in alternate plumage
Length: 38 inches Wingspan: 70 inches
The largest and most widespread heron in North America,
the Great Blue Heron can be found along lakes and
streams at ponds and bogs.
They can be problematic at fish hatcheries.

Great Blue Herons are the largest herons in North America.
Average life span of Great Blue Herons is 15 years but more than half (69%)
of the herons born in a year will die before they become one year old.
Information gathered from and

The next few pictures really took us by surprise. We were
visiting a bog in Huntingdon County and saw something
standing in a cornfield behind the Canadian Geese.

We took pictures and zoomed in .... could it be??? Herons?

We counted 24 of them.
As we walked closer they took flight. Wow! What a sight that was.

I still don't understand why there were in this cornfield.

Back in Bedford County this Heron was next to the
road by a stream that ran through some farmland. He
had caught a fish and was standing on a log.

He stood still watching. His feathers were blowing
in the wind and he appeared as an 'old man'.
He seemed determined to wait us out as we snapped
picture after picture he just stood and glared at us.

If you double click and look closely you can see the fish in
his mouth. I think it was a fish.

Finally he did fly and I tried to get some shots of his
very large majestic wings.

When he landed it was half way up in a tall tree. I think
these birds look silly in trees, but that is actually where they
build nests and have young.

The Heron will stand straight with his head pointing
towards the sky. They look like a stick and often you
will miss seeing them, unless you have a trained eye.

Other times they will tuck their neck in and appear
to be a shorter heavier bird.

Geographic Range:
The great blue heron breeds throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean and Greater Antilles, and the Galapogos. Some populations migrate to the S. America during the winter months.

I'll leave you with perhaps one of the best pictures I have
taken of a Great Blue Heron. Shawnee Lake last year.
He has a cat fish in his mouth.

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