Last week I went birding with the Audubon Group and we were treated to a sighting that not only was a new to me bird, but a rare bird to this area too. Lifer number 6 for 2021 is the Pine Grosbeak. This is a female.
This was a “lifer” for about half the group and there were only 9 of us birding that morning. It was quite exciting!
Pine Grosbeaks eat a lot of plants, but it can be tough for their nestlings to eat and digest all that vegetation. Instead of feeding plants directly to their nestlings, they regurgitate a paste of insects and vegetable matter that they store in pouches at the lower part of their jaw on either side of their tongues.
Not all Pine Grosbeaks are the same. Not only do they differ in the amount and intensity of red across their range, they are also different sizes. Body size and wing and tail length generally increase from Newfoundland westward to the Yukon Territory. But birds on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Island) in British Columbia, Canada, and in California are among the smallest of all Pine Grosbeaks. Wings and tails of birds on Haida Gwaii are around a half inch smaller than birds in Alaska.
Pine Grosbeaks aren’t just in North America. They also breed in subalpine evergreen forests from eastern Asia to Scandinavia.
The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak prompted locals in Newfoundland to affectionately call it a “mope.”
Winter flocks may stay near a tree with abundant fruit until all of it is consumed.
The oldest recorded Pine Grosbeak was a male, and at least 9 years, 9 months old when he was found in Quebec in 1970. He was first captured and banded in Connecticut in 1961.
I was pretty excited to see the Great Conjunction as I’m sure most of you were too, so I hoped for clear skies to be able to photograph it. On the 16th of December the crescent moon, Jupiter, and Saturn were fairly close to each other and it was a clear sky so I photographed it from my patio. It was cloudy all day but cleared pretty well but the wispy contrails and remaining clouds made the sky a bit more interesting. Can you spy the ski runs at Heavenly Ski Resort? X marks the spot.
It was clear on Monday the 21st so I went out with my long lens to get a closer look at the conjunction. I had to crop it in for it to be a good look even at 400mm, but I was able to see 3 of Jupiter’s Moons too. The 3 tiny dots are the Moons.
Saturn’s rings are not defined which is disappointing, but I saw the Great Conjunction! Did you look for it?
I wish all those celebrating Christmas a very Merry Christmas, and those who aren’t I wish you a very Joyous Week!
Nikon D810| Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 and Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.1
Here are a couple of images I created for the Shooting for the Season’s course I’m taking.
Cozy dining table-
This week is lighting. I hope I can come up with a couple more creative and cute compositions for that!
Last week I went to Baby Girl’s for a few days and early one morning I had my morning tea on her deck, and had my camera handy. Out in the poison oak I spied a little bird so left my tea to cool on the deck and headed down to the field and sat on a little lichen covered rock and waited to see if the little bird would return to the poison oak bush. I didn’t have to wait too long.
It was a Ruby Crowned Kinglet Female.
Baby Girl and family are settling in nicely in their new home, and the boys love the space and freedom the land affords them, and number 1 Grandson is thrilled to be back in a live classroom making new friends, he likes his teacher, and he had a huge surprise on his first day in class. A classmate of his from last year has moved to the same town and is in his class! Small world!
It’s supposed to warm up today which will be nice since we’ve been having highs in the 50’s and lows in high teens lately.
I hope you’re all having a great week!
Nikon D810 w/ 50mm f/1.8G Nikkor lens and Fuji X-T3 w/ 100-400mm XF lens| PS CC 22.0.0
The end of March and through yesterday has been for me, a time of looking up to the night sky. Starting at the end of March I was looking up to see the Moon, Venus and the elusive star cluster called the Pleiades in conjunction. This was a practice shot because the night I was hoping to see Venus and the Pleiades closer together on April 3rd we had rain and snow so the sky was too cloudy to see them. That was a once-in-an-eight year event! I’m just glad I practiced so I saw this conjunction.
Nikon D810| Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G|f/2.8|2.8s|ISO 400| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.0.3
Last night was the Supermoon. It appears just a bit larger than normal because the Moon comes the closest to Earth in its elliptic orbit called perigee.
We’ve been having light rain and snow and it was overcast all day but, we got lucky last night and the sky to the east was clear! I went down to the golf course with my next-door neighbor to photograph the Supermoon rise over the Pinenut Mountains.
Nikon D810| 24-120mm at 70mm|f/10|1/6s|ISO 250| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.0.3
Then I switched cameras and made an image of just the Moon. Our moon looked more golden than pink, but the Belt of Venus wasn’t very deep in color around us either so…golden.
Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF100-400mm LM OIS at 386mm| f/11| 1/100s| ISO 250| SunDisk Digital Film|PS CC 21.0.3
More things that are looking up is that we’ve had 8 people who had the Covid-19 virus move to the recovered side of life! There are still 17 active cases in our Quad county region. There have been no deaths yet. Knocking on wood that continues and that all move to the recovered column soon!
I hope you’re doing well and keeping busy.
I’ll leave you this thought today.
““Bad stuff does happen sometimes, always remember that but remember that you have to move on somehow. You just pick your head up and stare at something beautiful like the sky or the ocean and you move the hell on.”
― James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas