Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food Fighting Squirrels

The BirdCam 2.0 captured a food fight between two squirrels. What is so surprising is the winner is a diminutive Red Squirrel I have nicknamed Speedy, which is nearly half the size of its opponent a Fox Squirrel.

The Winner By A Throw - Speedy The Squirrel

I May Be Small, But I Can Stick Up For Myself

Back Off, Or Face My Squirrel Wrath - Notice the nose of the Fox Squirrel on the right side of the photo.

One Of The First Photos From Last Winter - A Fox Squirrel

Birdwatching and nature photography are passions of mine and when I learned of an affordable remote control camera specializing in motion sensitive photography, I knew I had to have it. I discovered the BirdCam 2.0 from Wingscapes, first through looking at a friend's BirdCam photos on Flickr and then through advertisements in birding magazines.

I had first started using the camera last winter just after receiving it as a Christmas gift. The instructions were fairly simple and easy to follow. I set up the camera as instructed and focused it on a shallow seed tray placed on a table on the backyard deck. I didn't have to wait for long before the birds and squirrels discovered the "new" seed tray and I was soon capturing photos that were of good quality. I was so tickled after seeing the first photos I couldn't help but keep running out to the camera to take out the SD card and download them onto my computer. I felt like a kid again with a new toy. After a few days, I learned from viewing the photos that the location was not optimal for well exposed photos because during the majority of the short winter daylight hours the camera was set up in a very shaded area. After some experiments with placement, I discovered you need an open area with good lighting for the best photos. I also found out that squirrels, when given unrestrained access to a feeder, will clean out the food supply in very short order. That is okay with me because I really like squirrels, anyway.

Over the winter I had moved the camera to various spots looking for the best places for optimal exposures and non-distracting backgrounds, but lighting was always an issue with shade or shadows caused from being mounted on fences or trees. The winter came and went with some good photos, but I was on a mission to find a new spot for the bird camera. This summer, I have hopefully settled on an open spot with good light and also where the birds could have access to shrubbery cover for protection from sudden lurking predators. We shall see how this location works out, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I will keep adding seed to the tray and watch the occasional food fight or delightful dove that smiles for the camera. Enjoy the show and thanks for viewing.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding My Blogging Voice - A New Title & New Beginnings

After many thoughtful moments, I have decided to change the name of my blog to Nature's Feather Music. When I began this blogging adventure, I hadn't found my voice and didn't know where I wanted to take this photo blog. I knew I wanted to share through photographs my outdoor nature/photo walks, but I couldn't decide on a unique title of my own. Back then, I hadn't found my voice, but I had a vision and wanted to share it with the world. I chose Some Birds Aren't Meant To Be Caged as a salute to my daughter who loves that quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption. The quote resonates with me and it inspires me to seek out nature and rejoice in it.

The quote goes as follows: "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend." - Morgan Freeman

The time has come for me to celebrate this quote but to move with my own feelings and change the blog name to one of my own creation based on my own life experiences.

I have chosen the name - Nature's Feather Music. A title that encompasses an experience I had last September, with a family of Sandhill Cranes at Kensington Metropark.

I have often encountered the resident family of Sandhill Cranes while walking the trails at Kensington, but that day was an life inspiring event. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but it truly was a moment that will be etched in my mind, forever.

I had the opportunity to observe and photograph, up close, the Sandhill Cranes on the Aspen Trail at Kensington Metropark. For 90 minutes, I photographed them as they preened, rested, and explored the late summer marshland trail. The cranes, an adult mated pair and their two colts obliged me with numerous photo opportunities. During this encounter, I was within an arms length of the cranes. They showed no hint of aggression or fear of me, which was quite astonishing.

The salient moment of that day was the sound I heard as the bird preened its feathers. The feather preening produced a type of sound or music I had never heard before. It sounded like satin fabric being rubbed together, only prettier and more musical to the ear. This may seem corny, but that encounter is what inspired me to seek out the cranes whenever I visit Kensington. I relive that memory when I see or hear the Sandhill Cranes. The Sandhills inspired me and provided me with my voice and vision for a new title to this blog. Nature's Feather Music is what I think of when I walk the nature trails seeking birds and living creatures in beautiful southeast Michigan.

Thanks for reading and visiting my blog, I appreciate your friendship.