Archive for February, 2012

Great Blue Heron high in a tree

February 29, 2012

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) spotted high in a tree during a photowalk along Great Marsh Trail, Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The following gallery shows two versions of the same photograph, cropped differently.

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Tech Tips: The photo in the preceding gallery was shot using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the camera was able to autofocus on the bird, given the extremely “busy” environment in which the the bird was spotted. Apple “Aperture” was used to adjust and crop the photos in order to highlight the bird.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

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Great Egret redux

February 27, 2012

A Great Egret (Ardea alba) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual has an injured leg; it flaps its wings a little in order to walk more easily.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Northern Cardinal (female)

February 25, 2012

A Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult female. She appears to be foraging on tree flower buds.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Ring-billed Gulls

February 23, 2012

Several Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. According to All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ring-billed Gulls

are the gulls you’re most likely to see far away from coastal areas—in fact, most Ring-billed Gulls nest in the interior of the continent, near freshwater. A black band encircling the yellow bill helps distinguish adults from other gulls—but look closely, as some other species have black or red spots on the bill.

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Don’t be fooled by the difference in appearance among these three birds: the individual shown in Photo 1 of 3 is a mature adult; the birds shown in Photo 2 and 3 are immature juveniles. Adults have yellow and black eyes and a yellow beak with a black ring around it; juveniles have black eyes and a pink beak with a black ring.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-bellied Woodpecker redux

February 21, 2012

A Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) spotted during a photowalk along the “Blue Trail” at Pohick Bay Regional Park.

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Tech Tips: The photos in the preceding gallery were shot using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. Apple “Aperture” was used to adjust the photos. All of the photos were cropped in order to highlight the bird.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-tailed Hawk redux

February 19, 2012

Two galleries featuring a few more photos of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Gallery 1

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The preceding gallery shows the hawk stalking a small rodent hidden in the ground cover below the bird’s perch. The hawk looked at me (see Photo 2 of 2) moments before it pounced on its prey. The hawk spread its wings, dropped to the ground, and grabbed the rodent with either its talons or beak. The attack was sudden and nearly silent. I shot some photos of the strike; regrettably all of them are poor quality.

Gallery 2

The hawk flew to a nearby tree with the rodent in its beak. The bird used its talons to pin the rodent to a tree branch and used its beak to eviscerate the animal. I used “burst mode” to shoot photos of the hawk eating the rodent, some of which are quite graphic. Relax, the photos in the following gallery are “G-rated.” The title of Photo 1 of 2 is, “Finger Lickin’ Good!” Yep, that’s blood on the hawk’s beak. ‘Nuff said about that photo. The fierce look on the hawk’s face in Photo 2 of 2 is frightening! Can you say, “Velociraptor?”

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Tech Tips: The photos in both galleries were shot using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. All of the photos were cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

The eagle flies on Friday

February 17, 2012

A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The following movie shows the eagle in flight for approximately 10 seconds, including a few seconds in slow motion.

Editor’s Note: “The eagle flies on Friday” — meaning payday is Friday — is a line from “Stormy Monday,” a blues-rock song on the live double album, At Fillmore East by The Allman Brothers Band.

Tech Tips: The preceding video was shot on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera. The “raw” AVCHD video was post-processed using Apple “iMovie,” a consumer-grade tool for organizing, editing, and sharing video.

Video Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Nesting pair of Bald Eagles

February 14, 2012

A nesting pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The following gallery shows both birds.

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“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” One eagle was out of sight deep in the nest when its mate landed on the upper rim of the nest. Eagles mate for life. Happy Valentine’s Day, eagles!

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Tech Tips: The lens of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera was set on maximum telephoto (600 mm). The photos were cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Hawkeye in focus

February 11, 2012

Three versions of another photo of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Notice the sunlight focused upon the hawk’s face by its eye. Talk about a piercing stare!

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Tech Tips: The lens of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera was set on maximum telephoto (600 mm). The photo was cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-tailed Hawk

February 9, 2012

A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

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Tech Tips: The lens of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera was set on maximum telephoto (600 mm). The photo was cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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