Although the bird photos I post here were taken back in March, I have to stop today, May 18, 2012 (the day of this post), and honor a very important man in my life–my father-in-law, Max Horrocks. (I’m writing this in the early wee hours of the 18th). The last few weeks have been particularly trying for my wife, Kathy, as she watched her Dad decline and pass away on May 10th. Today (May 18) is her Dad’s funeral. I’m so lucky to be married to a woman who is so tender hearted yet amazingly strong.
Max was a master carpenter and Jack of all trades. His work ethic was top notch and he taught me things about carpentry, plumbing, sheetrocking, etc., that I never dreamed I would learn. Afterall, I was an accountant—not a laborer! Max would always be there to help us with household projects, big and small. He was kind, friendly, proud, and a super dad, husband, grandpa, and great-grandpa. He had a reasonably long life, reaching the age of 91. He will be sorely missed by friends and family. This is a photo of Max taken in November of 2010 by my daughter, Kimberly Orth of Kimberly Orth Photography. Here is a link to a memorial page for Max: In Memory of Max W. Horrocks.
[Please click once on all photos to see larger more detailed shots].
Moving now to my shots from March 26 at the Ridgefield NWR.
First up is a shot of the mother Great Horned Owl in her nest. She has made a nest in this same snag for the last several years. Because I’m so far behind in posting my photos, this is old news and a shot that most local photographers have gotten. Today, May 18, the owlets have long since fledged. But I wanted to show these two images–both of the same shot. One shows what the flash on my camera does to her eyes and the other shows the eyes restored (in Photoshop) to a near natural look. I’ve taken many pictures of this owl over the years with flash and her left eye always reflects light in a much different way than her right eye. You can see her left eye is almost all white where the normal right eye reflects red. I’ve always wondered if she is blind in that left eye as you can also see where part of the pupil appears to have bled into a small dark pocket. This owl is easily identifiable by this abnormal spot on the left eye–flash or no flash. Whatever her challenges, she has learned to live with them and is successful in surviving and reproducing at the refuge. (8:36 a.m.)
Here’s the shot with the eyes not repaired.
And here is the same shot with the eye discoloration repaired.
As I make the turn prior to post #13 I notice this frisky male goose using the lake to show his affections to his lady friend. But, upon closer inspection, he appears to be biting her neck while almost submerging her head in the water. This is not only rough–it’s dangerous! When he’s finished, he gets into a scuffle with another goose. It all happened so fast I couldn’t keep track of which bird was upset with which bird, and why! Heck, maybe the lady goose turned on him for biting her and almost drowning her! (8:55)
Here’s a shot of one of the most abundant birds at the refuge this time of year–the Savannah Sparrow. (9:03)
Here’s a Killdeer that had just finished mating and was giving me the old “look at me I’m injured,” routine. I did not get there in time to photograph the birds mating. (9:34)
Here’s a shot of a young Bald Eagle that looks as if he is saying, “I’ll get you my pretty…and your little dog, too!” (9:56)
I’m now about a thousand feet past post #12 and notice this Kestrel perched on a natural perch! It actually allows me to approach in my truck to a fairly close distance (after I flushed her a couple of times!). I’m shooting into the sun and use some flash. Love these birds! (11:26)
A little later I spotted a pair of Bald Eagles doing some synchronized flying. Spectacular to watch! (11:41)
In the Ash tree forest, I spot a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk. (12:02 p.m.)
And, lastly, these Spring visitors are always fun to watch–the Yellow-rumped Warbler (aka Butter-Butt). (12:52)
Thanks to all my readers for visiting my site and The Blog! Looking forward to next time!