Sunday, August 27, 2017

Up Up And Away!

 I took a ride out to Plainville this morning to catch the morning to catcch the 6am morning launch at the annual hot air balloon festival.
 There is some dispute as to when hot air balloons were invented. History indicates that the Chinese were experimenting with a simple form of hot air balloon technology back around 220 AD.  The first recorded manned flight took place in Paris France in 1783 in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers.
I was surprised by the size of the crowd at 6am and almost couldn't find a spot to park in time. 
 I arrived just as the first balloons were taking flight.
 I liked the elephant design on this balloon.It looks as though it could have come from a land far away.
 Don't worry, this balloon got past the trees without a problem.
I wonder what this red-tail would say about all the excitement if it could speak English?
Here's a video of one of the balloons taking flight.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Easy Birding Along Your Daily Driving Route

 Sometimes it's a struggle trying to find the perfect spot to find birds. The funny thing about it is that birds are everywhere we go. The tiny nature park above is right along my daily driving route. It is called Middletown nature gardens and is loaded with natural food for young summer birds.
This one looks like a young Indigo Bunting
On the same tree was a young House Wren.
As I drove back through town I passed by an old industrial pond that used to sit beside Wilcox Crittenden, a well known factory in it's day. I remember hearing the pounding of the machines from miles away. It provided jobs for a lot of people though.
The remains of the factory have been converted to apartments. This morning I spotted a Great Blue Heron there.

Sometimes the best birding are the places that are the ones that are most available.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Always Look A Gift Bird In The Eye 100x's

 I had a chance to get down to the shoreline this morning with a full agenda planned of where to go and what I hoped to see. I'm always interested in seeing new birds and hope to get some bird photos along the way. My first stop was behind the Clinton town Hall at a spot they call McCusker Landing. 
 I was pleased to see a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron. I only had an hour or so to spare so instead of rushing around I decided to just stay and watch this one bird and any others in the immediate area.
Juvenile birds will sometimes let you get closer. I've learned that when you can get close to a bird without  it taking off it is best to take advantage of the opportunity.
 I've also learned that just being close doesn't always mean your going to get a good picture. I'm not satisfied until I take at least 100 pictures in these situations but must admit that I get tired of sorting though all of the photos when I get home. It's a tedious process of deleting the bad ones and tweaking the good ones. Usually there are only a handful of good ones out of the 100 if I'm lucky.

I still use a point and shoot and only use settings like auto or sports mode. Since I don't know how to manually set the camera i have to rely on getting closer and getting the right lighting angle but once in a while even amateurs get lucky.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sitting Quietly On A Deck In The Forest

I spent 30 minutes relaxing on a deck in Highlawn Forest in Middlefield Connecticut. It was a very comfortable August morning with cool,dry air. Sitting still never comes easy for me but it paid off with a couple of interesting sightings.

I was expecting to see something on the smaller side like a warbler or chickadee but it was a Black Vulture, aka known as the Carcass Warbler, that came crashing in to the trees above me. I did a little math and figured it would take roughly 250 American Redstarts to equal the weight of one Black Vulture.
And on the other side of the deck was a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.