Thursday, August 31, 2023

A Happy Bird Day

Sorry, I am late getting around to processing this week's photos. The past several days have been eventful and busy. I celebrated my eighth "double digit" birthday, which has occurred every 11 years since I was 11 years old. 

Sadly, my dear Aunt Jean passed away at the age of 96. She was the last of my father's siblings as well as the youngest and last of the second generation of descendants of Jeremiah Patrick "The Dam" O'Shaughnessy of Columbus, Ohio. (More about him below). I am the first and still eldest of Patrick's Great-Grandchildren.

My Aunt Jean was an educator and a loving person who kept her sharp mind until her death following a major stroke. She liked to tell how her schoolmates would not believe that she was an aunt at only eight years of age. I am so sad that my medical condition does not allow me to travel to her funeral in New Jersey.

I did get out to the back yard on my birthday and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of interesting birds. A male Scarlet Tanager had traded the bright red in his plumage for more subdued yellow:

It was difficult to find him in the Chestnut Oak, as he blended in with the acorns:

An American Goldfinch visited the Black Cherry tree, where only a few ripe fruits remained:

Two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in dull winter plumage also appeared in the cherry tree. This one was either a female or a juvenile:

The second had a reddish tint to its chest and was likely a mature male:

A Red-eyed Vireo had molted into fresh plumage...

...while a Chipping Sparrow was evidently in transition:

While I was processing my photos, our granddaughter Graci dropped by and helped me pick out favorites among the large number of sub-optimal shots. She was accompanied by her pet Cockatiel and took a birthday "selfie" with me:

Graci also insisted that this out-take would be an ideal "Where's Waldo" photo of one of the grosbeaks. Can you find it? (answer in header photo):

Graci's younger sister Cari just started college in Florida. She had to leave behind her very large pet rabbit, a Flemish Giant :

In the back yard, an adult Eastern Cottontail rabbit licked his toes:

Sunset over Hartford, August 30, 2023:

Once again I failed to obtain a reflection photo for my meme, so I reached back ten years into my archives and found a favorite, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada in July, 2013:

More about Great-Grandfather "The Dam".

Jeremiah Patrick O'Shaughnessy was Superintendent of Waterworks for the City of Columbus, Ohio from 1896 until he died in 1921. During his long tenure as Superintendent, Columbus realized a wealth of modern waterworks improvements, including a storage dam and a water purification plant that helped to reduce dramatically the number of deaths from typhoid fever. A new dam was in the planning stages when he died. Two weeks later, the Columbus City Council unanimously named an additional storage dam the O'Shaughnessy Dam, in appreciation of "one of the most faithful servants this city ever had." The bridge which spanned the dam was also named after him. On August 22, 1991, the new O'Shaughnessy Bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Jerry O'Shaughnessy. 

This Week's Header: Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Where's Waldo crop)

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Camera unfreezes for the gnatcatchers

Preparing to ship my "frozen" Canon 90D for repairs, I began to remove the battery and it suddenly woke up.  For a week I had charged and exchanged batteries as well as memory cards several times during troubleshooting, as there are sensors in the doors which can malfunction and freeze the camera, but all I did this time was just touch the door to the battery chamber and the screen lit up! 

Luckily, my muscle memory had not been reprogrammed during the week I had to struggle with the weight and differing controls of the older 5D Mark II. Now it felt like putting on the old pair of hiking boots after developing blisters trying to break in the new ones.   

Good numbers of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have migrated in. They are present in low numbers all summer, but I found the locals tended to be more reclusive than the visitors. I'm afraid that I overdosed on these cute little feathery "Birbs" (See: Birbs, Borbs, Barbs and Floofs):  "...Rule 1: Birbs are often (though not conclusively) small; Rule 2: Birbs are often (though not always) round; Rule 3: Birbs appear cute"

The wild Black Cherry trees are bursting with fruit. Last year they put out very little or none. The gnatcatchers visit the trees to feed on the insects attracted to the cherries:

The mast crop also failed last autumn. A heavy production of seeds and nuts takes a great deal of energy from the trees, so it is common to see alternating years of  paucity and plenty. The gnatcatchers are nearly dwarfed by the acorns of a Chestnut Oak: 

Resident Black-capped Chickadees eat mostly insects during the warm months and appeared not to eat the cherries. They joined the gnatcatchers to look for caterpillars and other bugs:

A small flock of Cedar Waxwings appeared briefly, but did not partake of the cherries:

A highlight was this male Indigo Bunting which attracted my attention by attacking the goldfinches that foraged in the clear-cut acres in the property out back. He is molting into drab winter plumage before migrating south:

Mourning Doves experienced a successful breeding season and have been very common back yard visitors:

An Eastern Cottontail rabbit hid nearby, almost out of sight:

A White-tailed Deer fawn frolicked on our side lawn:

The Hibiscus is now in full bloom:

Our kitchen porthole window framed the sunset:

There was a weird cloud formation over Hartford which suggested the approach of an alien space ship:

Clouds reflected on the surface of the swimming pool:

This week's header: Sunset on August 20:

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A frozen camera #1075

The week started out badly, as my trusted Canon 90D suddenly refused to power on. All troubleshooting suggestions failed. I will need to ship it to Canon, out of warranty, of course. Luckily, our son-in-law had recently gifted me with his Canon 5D Mk2 after he replaced it with a newer model. Now I am giving myself a quick course on the settings menu as they are quite different from those of my newer 90D. Weather has also been dreary, further limiting photo-ops.

While I was tinkering with the unfamiliar camera, a Cedar Waxwing landed in a nearby shrub. It remained in place long enough for me to capture its image, the first of this species to provide such a splendid view since we moved to Connecticut:

A Red-shouldered Hawk flew in to check out the bird feeders. It seemed to be more interested in the squirrels and chipmunks and made a hasty exit when I pointed the camera for a fuzzy image:

An Eastern Wood-Pewee offered me the opportunity to fire a few more test shots:

Another larger flycatcher, an immature Eastern Phoebe, perched briefly on the fence. It is paler than the adults and has tan wing bars, absent in second year birds:

This Ruby-throated Hummingbird is probably an adult female, but the faint throat markings could suggest that it may be an immature male. Most of the adults migrate away during the first two weeks of August, while young birds may linger a few more weeks. These remaining photos were taken before the 90D camera crashed:

I liked the way that the weed stem curved into a shepherd's crook. The rich forest foliage is in the background:

A Black Swallowtail looked brown in this exposure:

Although it was shot through the  window, I was lucky to get this photo of a doe and her fawn as they moved along the wooded corridor next to the house. The white stuff is actually a seam of quartz in the granite rock face:

This iPhone image is about the busiest "street scene" I could obtain:

Up close, the two Mallard ducklings are followed by their parents in dull "eclipse" plumage. They are flightless during this molting stage. The drake is to the far right. Note the hint of red in his chest:

For my reflection muse, I had to reach into my Florida collection for this buttermilk sky, back in November, 2018:

This week's header: Hartford Skyline, 11 miles away, AUG 9, 2023

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display

Thursday, August 10, 2023

A fawn on the lawn

Although it is technically only a few days from the middle of summer, the season actually starts to wane after the summer solstice. Purists would argue that this is the true "Midsummer," celebrated in far northern latitudes when the sun shines most deeply into the night. Indeed, the birds are letting us know that daytime is decreasing. 

Most of the the male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (which arrive ahead of females in spring), have already dispersed into the valleys and to the south. Males do not participate in rearing their chicks and really have no need to linger when the best blooming time is shifting southward. We now have a preponderance of female and immature hummingbirds at the feeders, but very few adult males.

This adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird posed nicely in subdued light:

Many species are going through a post-breeding molt. This Red-eyed Vireo is changing from juvenal to adult plumage:

House Wren songs have been more subdued:

Immature Chipping Sparrows outnumbered the adults, whose undersides are un-streaked :

Eastern Wood-Pewees will soon be migrating away:

Looking down into the clear-cut from the back fence, I saw a doe with two fawns: 

The twins suckled together. A smaller doe was associated with them, very likely a yearling offspring:

One morning a fawn peered out from behind a patch of ferns. I left it undisturbed:

On August 5, we were surprised to see a doe and a spotted fawn on the side lawn of our home. From the windows, I obtained poor photos of the active fawn as it briefly appeared in spaces between the shrubs:

Around the yard with an iPhone-- The Black-eyed Susan is in full bloom... are Orange Daylilies:

A Tiger Swallowtail rested in the catmint:

Just as the daylilies are waning, the hardy perennial Hibiscus put out its single large flower. It is said to only produce only one flower each day, so judging by the large number of buds, we should be seeing blooms into the autumn:

View of sunset from main floor patio on July 28:

On August 6 we had another colorful sunset:

Our granddaughter caught me taking a photo:

She called out to me and I turned to find her in the kitchen window:

On our morning walk it was warm and humid with a bit of haze. The wind was calm over the lake:

This week's header: Sunset over Hartford, August 5, 2023

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display