Friday, June 24, 2011

Foto Friday . . . has gone to the birds!

This week's photos have literally gone to the birds, 
but before they did we went to the seawall in Galveston to watch the sunrise on Father's day.
It was quite hazy that morning and very cloudy, but I waited . . . patiently!
And finally, some of the clouds cleared. It always amazes me how differently it looks
from minute to minute.

(Don't forget you can click on any photo to view larger)

It's always a hard choice to choose a favorite, but since I chose a bird one last week, I'll go with this one...
(And I excitedly add, that my photo last week was chosen as one of the top 5!)

And then on Tuesday, I loaded the car and headed for the beach. Well, okay actually we never really unload it because we're there so much. So camera and sunscreen in hand I'm on my way and what do I run into? RAIN!! Yes, a downpour with the wipers on high - I think I had forgotten how to drive in it since we had only seen an inch of the stuff since January. It stopped, it started, and I had to make a decision - nope not turning around and boy I'm  glad I didn't . . . I would have missed all of this . . .

This is a Double-crested Cormorant and he was sitting and watching the surf right where I parked my car. Yes, how cool is it to be able to drive right onto the beach! To my amazement he let me get quite close, close enough to capture his brilliant turquoise eyes. After swimming and diving for food they need to spend time drying their wings since their feathers are not waterproof. Often you will see them sitting and stretching their wings to let them dry.

Oh, and then one of my favorites (I do have many) the Black Skimmer. It's pretty breathtaking to watch
them work a beach as they gracefully float across the water. They are known for their very low precision flying with their lower mandible in the water in hopes of catching small fish and crustaceans.
In the photo below you can see how the lower mandible is longer than the top which aids in their hunt for food.

This day didn't just go to the birds, but some dogs too. Some very sweet dogs. As I was walking I was admiring how these dogs actually get the concept of fetch! You see my dog, he doesn't get it much.
And I was honored when the little one brought me over his frisbee to throw for him! A thank you to
my new friends both human and canine for letting me play too.

And then to my amazement (yes, more amazement) was this Reddish Egret, who was so focused on his breakfast that he didn't seem bothered by the dogs. And the dogs, so focused on fetch didn't seem to notice.
It's quite entertaining to watch one of these hunt for food as they run in circles, darting about doing the egret 'dance'.

They spread their wings to create shade, to reduce glare so they can better see their prey.

And then as I was playing in the water catching little fish in my net, this bird just appeared. He floated ashore on a large wave and plopped himself in some seaweed. I had no idea what is was. At all. I've never seen a bird like this before. And it was by no means a small bird. I very slowly approached it, he didn't seem injured and was very alert. I could not believe he was letting me get so close!

After doing some research, I found that this is a Northern Gannet and that this one is immature. After their first year they gradually acquire more white until they reach full maturity which is usually after 5 years when they become mostly white with black tipped wings.
(And I have to add, he allowed me within a foot of him!! WOW)

They have the most beautiful light blue eyes and a light bluish bill. They have an incredible 6 foot wingspan and are known for being great divers being able to plunge into the ocean at high speeds.

And although very strong fliers, pretty clumsy at take-off!
But as I found out, he did have his limit's . . .

Wow, what a day! To be able to capture so many different birds . . . This last picture is of probably my most favorite, the Brown Pelican. I was there all day, and the only reason I knew it was time to go was that the sun was setting. I didn't want the day to end, but then again I never do! 

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet.
A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life....
The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes,
and knowing no bounds -- how many human aspirations
are realised in their free holiday lives -- and how many suggestions
to the poet in their flight and song!

- John Burroughs

Let's all master that of the beautiful vagabond that knows no bounds
and let the world hear our song.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

Love, Kim

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Michelle said...

wow - these are some amazing shots!!!! beautiful :)

Dyche Designs said...

Wow, wow, wow, spectactular shots. I so miss the sea.

Angi said...

Wow! very awesome shots!

Sylvia said...

I love what you see through your lenses ! Simply wonderful ! Thank you for your visit and kind comments !

Susan said...

These are some AMAZING photo's. Loved each one...

Hope you have a great weekend!

L said...

Beautiful Kim! Every time I look at your photos I am blown away at the beauty that you capture, and your writings say so much. You not only capture the beauty with your lens , but with your words. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel so lucky that you were brought into my life, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Stunning! Thank you for the wonderful bird lessons-we really need to go to the beach together someday--

diane cook said...

Your photos are breathtaking Kim =)
The Red Egret being my favorite!!

andi said...

beautiful shots--i especially love the ones of the clouds with sun! makes me miss the beach (i was there a week ago). thanks so much for linking up at photo friday. i'm so glad we are blog friends :). have a blessed week

Kim Stevens said...

Following splendor, we would have a blast together!

Andi, I'm glad we are friends too!

Kim Stevens said...

Thank you to everyone!

Rosemary Aubut said...

Absolutely beautiful shots. Especially the bird shots!

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