Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher (M) (Megaceryle alcyon)

For the past few months, I have attempted to acquire a pleasing and clear photograph of a Belted Kingfisher. I had observed their perching and hunting circuit behavior, spent hours in a blind at various distances and, on most occasions, came away empty. Kingfishers routinely thwart photographic attempts by always seeming to perch with at least one random piece of vegetation or tree limb between themselves and the camera creating a line across part of the bird. During winter, Kingfishers need open water to “fish,” and survive the season. This winter has been mixed, so far, with local waters cyclically freezing and thawing . This morning I headed out before dawn to scope my intended area and initially came away empty, so I opted for another location. I intended to return to my original area after a short while. While plodding along on the road, I spotted a Kingfisher perched in a tree. As I slow to a stop, the bird flew away, as they usually do — they don’t like too much company. Understanding that Kingfishers will use a fairly defined hunting circuit, I decided to return to my original area assuming this to be the same bird I had seen previously. As I approached a line of fence posts running adjacent to a pond; there it was. I approached as slowly as I could. Being inconspicuous is not a typically assigned attribute of my vehicle. To my surprise, he stuck to his selected fence post. (Sticky birds are those that “stick” to their perch, do not immediately take flight, and are somewhat tolerant of viewing or being photographed if approached cautiously) I was able to watch as it dove off its fencepost into the pond and returned with small fish numerous times. Persistence and patience…

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Here I am…Good-bye Facebook

If you are reading this, it just might be that you wandered over here after my recent FaceBook post. I wish things were different. I will most likely lose contact with some folks. Anyway, I’m over here and this really is a better platform graphically — although, I suppose, big pages are considered “old-school.”

A couple of year ago, I headed to the northeast Nevada desert in search of Sage Grouse Leks. Unfortunately, I did not find any Leks. Leks, if you are not aware, are the breeding display grounds for Sage Grouse. Males display and strut about, some launching attacks on other males. Females sit on the sidelines and select the male they want to breed with — keeps the best of genetics in the flock. The only thing a found of interest was this skull of a Desert Big-horned sheep. Life is tough in the desert: not a lot of water, food is scarce, and predators wander about, including humans. Kind of how I felt recently after a stroll through FaceBook.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi. During this week, I have been catching up on cataloging and culling photographs from 202 and a few residuals from the past couple of years. During 2019, I embarked on a marathon drive across the county to Florida. On the  return, I was close to Vicksburg and not having any schedule of plans, decided to overnight in the town. Touring the battlefield was an interesting experience. One the scene of a siege of the town, which was occupied by southern troops and townspeople surrounded by Union forces; the opposing forces mere meters form each other as they exchanged fire. A peaceful place now in comparison to the carnage and hardship experienced during this battle of the Civil War. Visiting in February, I was almost alone touring the battlefield. Lines of cannon, from both sides stood as a reminder of the event. Ironically, prior to the impromptu visit, I had just finished reading a book accounting in detailing the lives of soldiers and townsfolk (A Chain of Thunder, Jeff Shaara). A much different scene now with the juxtaposition of an elegant East Bluebird peacefully sitting atop the wheel of an almost 160-year-old cannon.

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