Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: May 2012

“Cat Call” (Gray Catbird, Adult Male, Dumetella carolinensis) Nikon D300, 490mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 320

After the silence of winter, the chirping of birds in the spring is a welcomesound!

When you’ve been listening for as many years as I have, you can’t help but learn the different bird calls and, after some time, can instantly identify what birds are around just by the prevailing sounds.

Since it is mating season, the songs have been abundant! Many will sing for hours on end, desperately trying to entice a mate. Once a mate is found however, the songs do not end but rather, turn into chattering between the males and females.

Oh, wouldn’t you love to understand their conversation? 😉

The male Gray Catbird returned time and time again to this particular branch to sing out his melody. I spent quite awhile photographing in order to achieve a well-composed, well-lit shot of him in full song, his beak wide open. Another must-have was to capture an image where that tiny spot of red under his beak was exposed as he sang. Not an easy task, as I soon found out! Persistence, however, does indeed, pay off. 🙂

During his song, a House Wren joined in on a lower branch and began to sing along. Not one to pass up an opportunity, he now became the focus of my attention.

“Sing to Me” (House Wren, Adult Male, Troglodytes aedon) Nikon D300, 490mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 320

The wren’s song was different as he was already successful in finding a mate who was busy making a home in the large yellow bird house for the inevitable wren brood to come. Still, their voices blended and harmonized and I enjoyed the free entertainment on that warm, sunny day.

Eventually, both birds flew off to other tasks and I called out a “Thanks, guys!” for the private concert, knowing that it wouldn’t be my last.

“Soul Patch” (Bearded Iris) Nikon D300, 420mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/8, 1/100s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

One of the perks of having a garden is the opportunity to share plants with other gardeners. Many perennials benefit from being “split” and it is a great way to achieve a diverse landscape that is also, rich in history.

Prime example – the bearded irises shown here came from my good friend and next-door neighbor, Nancy, and have a 100+ year-old lineage! Imagine that! 🙂

Here’s the story as told to me by Nancy:

“They were in my mother’s grandmother’s yard and were transplanted to my aunt’s (my mother’s sister) yard in Hanson, Massachusetts. She shared them with me twenty-five years ago when she moved to Florida. I planted them in my mother-in-law’s garden in Beverly Farms and then moved them to this house in 1988. Whew! Since then I’ve shared them with many people who love irises”.

“Drawn” (Bearded Iris with Hoverfly) Nikon D300, 550mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/11, 1/50s, ISO 640, Slightly Cropped

Aren’t I a lucky, lucky girl?And so are all of you since now you get to enjoy them as well! 🙂

I hope to split and pass some of these “heirloom” rhizomes onto some other lucky gardener(s) one day. Just the thought of them growing and blooming long after I’m gone is somehow comforting to me. My link in the “proverbial” chain of life, so to speak, albeit a teeny-tiny one.

Aside from irises, other transplant “gifts” I’ve received (as well as given) include: rhubarb, daylily, peony, hosta, azalea,  rhododendron, monkshood, balloon flower, rudbeckia and butterfly bush. I’m sure there are more but this is all I could think of! 🙂

It’s that time of year where all the birds have one thing on their minds… makin’ babies! 🙂 The wrens have taken up residence in the large yellow bird house, the chickadees are in the bellows bird house and the sparrows (both the English and house varieties) have found spaces in the gutters (despite our attempts to discourage them. Sigh).

Looking down from one of my office windows, I can see the large arbor that extends over our garage. Two weeks ago, I watched this female robin tirelessly gather building materials for her nest.

“Material Girl” (North American Robin, Adult Female) Nikon D300, 420mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G lens with 1.4x Teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 640

The nest is lovely and she barely fit inside of it when it was finished. However, with all the rain we’ve had in the last two weeks, I didn’t get a chance to scope out a spot where I can get a good camera angle on the actual nest itself (it is tucked within the trumpet vines just below the garage eaves…a very tricky spot, indeed). Sadly, this week the nest has been empty. 😦 (I am hoping this is merely a temporary situation and that it hasn’t been abandoned even before being utilized for its intended purpose). Stay tuned.

“Orange Crush” (Baltimore Oriole, Adult Female) Nikon D300, 550mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 640

 
 

Over the weekend, a flash of orange streaked across the sky and I knew in an instant it meant the Orioles were back!! I immediately cut an orange and filled the rind halves with sweet jelly in the hope I could entice the little beauties to stay around.

I have no idea where the nest is being built but this morning, I spied two males and a female flitting about the yard. Good enough reason for me to haul out the large lens and tripod, dontchathink? 😉

“Getting Ready” (Baltimore Oriole, Adult Female) Nikon D300, 550mm (VR 200-400 F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/100s. ISO 640

 

 
 
Now, while the brightly-colored male eluded my lens (must be related to the male cardinal, eh?) I was able to capture the female as she took 5 in a nearby tree, a tuft of freshly picked grass clasped in her beak.

Folks, I did my best paparazzi moves to capture these images! Even so, I was eventually spotted by the orange girl and she then decided the photo shoot was over.

Seeing that these are my first ever Oriole photos, I’m okay with that! 🙂

You can say it with flowers

or breakfast in bed,

“Say It Sweetly” (Iced Sugar Cookies) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/5, 1/20s, ISO 640, +0.3EV, Built-in Fill Flash w/Gary Fony ‘Puffer Diffuser’, +0.7EV, Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette Border’

but I choose to say it

with COOKIES instead! 🙂

 

♥ HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM! ♥

I love you!!!

%d bloggers like this: