Female Northern Cardinal posing

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Female Northern Cardinal posing

This beautiful Female Northern Cardinal landed and presented herself on this flowering branch just so I could photograph her! I see lots of Northern Cardinals in my backyard in North Carolina, but this girl’s color looks more intense. I took this picture in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas, and I wonder if the Northern Cardinal is more vivid in Texas?

Male Wood Duck

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The Male Wood Duck is a brilliant bird with his green crested head and bright red eyes. These beautiful ducks like nesting boxes because they don’t make their own cavities for nesting. I would sure like to have a pair nest in my yard, but I suppose I would also need to build a pond for them, which is not possible because I have bears roaming through my backyard most all year. I don’t think that would work out very well for the little ducklings since they jump out of the nest just a day after hatching and can’t fly!

Belted Kingfisher with fish

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I enjoy the challenge of photographing Kingfishers in flight. They fly rapidly, darting around over the water as they hunt for fish. They dive headfirst into the water and grab the prey with their dagger-like bill. I have learned by watching and waiting, that they often will come back to the same perch with their bounty. This Female Belted Kingfisher rewarded me as she returned to the dead palm stump she was hunting from with her fish.

Ruffed Grouse

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This Ruffed Grouse took me for quite a hike while I followed behind struggling to get a photograph. I could see the movement of the wildflowers and weeds, but no creature as it made its way slowly along the forest floor. These birds are well-camouflaged. I was in Moose Horn National Wildlife Refuge searching around for opportunities to photograph. This Ruffed Grouse finally presented itself in this clearing and allowed me to snag a quick image. I thought it was a partridge until I consulted my bird book. It looks like a chicken. The name Ruffed Grouse comes from the display that the male makes as it erects neck feathers to create a “ruff” around its neck like a collar. The male also fans their tail and produces a drumming noise to attract a female. When they are not displaying the male and female look the same so I don’t know if this is a male or a female

Female Lesser Goldfinch

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This lovely little finch has just touched down on this thistle seed head when I discovered her. I took pictures, thinking it was just a small American Goldfinch. Afterward, when I studied the characteristics in my bird book, I realized it was a Lesser Goldfinch, the first one I have ever seen. They move and feed in small groups, but I only saw one male on another thistle seed head. The Male was too far abroad to photograph and busy eating seeds. The female darted through the plants at high speeds, and these were the only two that I could find.