The Sacrifice

I buried a raccoon pup at dawn
Found him by the steps
Heartless and emptied
Secretly sacrificed
Under half-moon? Rose at two
Such a mystery

With last rites fitting any innocent soul
Tucked in under spadefuls of sandy soil
Laid to rest, secured for eternity
A spark of life lit
Snuffed, sacrificed
So much misery

The poem above was inspired by a poor baby raccoon, gutted and left near our doorstep. I don’t know what killed it, but it seemed very sacrificial. I’m packing several day’s worths of photos into this post because of the possibility that other things will come up, and many of the photos not get posted.

Click on the galleries below to see a slideshow of the photos in their correct aspect ratios.

Grosbeaks, Hummer, and Towhee the Line

I am Wood Duck hear me roar!

Got Your Goose and Goslings with Cormorant

Cooper’s Hawks’ Hanky Panky

Fuzzette, Major Tom Peppers out of the nest with Mona Lisa and Sleeping still in the nest, Mama Owl, Daddy Owl, Daddy Owl, Mama Owl, Daddy Owl

Turtles, Doves, All In The Family

Shelly Snapper

Doves on a gopher mound

Freddy Fly Catcher

Cinnamon Quacker

Harry Headbanger

Shirley Snapper, Shelly’s sister

The other side of Shelly Snapper, Shirley’s sister

Fish

Fish fart

Barney Bullfrog

Bob Bullfrog’s Back

Bethany Bullfrog, Barney’s sister

Peter Porcupine sleeping

Doris and Diesel Duck checking out the ducky looking grass.

Gabby Grebe in hiding

Spring Walk

After spending five hours dismantling desks, tables, and chairs and moving them to our new office building, I went on a walk to check on Nora Owl. On the way, I saw sparrows, a muskrat, an echelon of cranes, a cinnamon duck. No owlets popped their heads, up and Nora Owl gave me “mad dogs” when I called to see if any owlets were around. One good sign that the owlets might have hatched is Osric Owl was watching over Nora Owl from a nearby cottonwood. On the way back I saw a Flicker, a squadron of crazy Cormorants, a bluebird of some type, and another sparrow feeding on buds in Marina’s pear tree. The clouds were beautiful in the low sunlight about 30 minutes before sunset.

Muskrat nibbling on grass near its den.

Muskrat swimming with its mouth full of grass.

Nora Owl giving me “mad dogs”.

Osric Owl on his lookout branch.

Cinnamon Duck.

Sandhill Cranes still hanging around.

Intermission: My desk we moved from the office downtown to the new office. I build the desk in 1990. That is a light table on the left-hand side I used for sorting slides and transparencies before digital cameras. The desk on the floor is Dede’s desk that she designed and I built for her in 2007, I believe. it will go in the corner to the right of my desk. I will build Bruce’s desk in the corner to the left of my desk.

Flicker

A squadron of crazy Cormorants.

A hover dove.

Barney Bluebird

Jack Sparrow

Clouds over the Sandias.

Wood Duck Daze

When I went out on a walk this morning, I found Daddy Owl in the tree he sits in when he watches over the owlets. Mama Owl’s ear tufts barely stuck up above the edge of the hole in the tree. A few cranes flew over close to the tops of the cottonwood trees. Most of the cranes have headed north. Only a few cranes are holding out.

Then I saw something moving in the cottonwoods. It was a female Wood Duck hopping and flying around between branches. A male Wood Duck soon followed. That was the first of three pairs of Wood Ducks I saw in the cottonwoods as I walked in the bosque this morning.

A couple of months ago there were some birders looking for the elusive Wood Ducks. I told them they were too early. They looked at me like I was crazy. The birders acted like the Wood Ducks are rare. Well, they were quite rare in the middle of the winter, but they are not rare now.

I took a lot of photos of the Wood Duck pairs. I was thinking about the best way to show a lot of Wood Duck photos and decided I’d write a song and put the photos to music. The song is not very polished, but I had fun doing it. I hope you enjoy Wood Duck Daze and the all photos of the Wood Ducks.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day From The Birds

 The pTerodactyl posed perfectly in the Tangle Heart Tree for Valentine’s Day.

Miss Stripy Sparrow

Mama Owl

Sparky Sparrow

Daddy Owl snoozing at sunrise.

A congregation of cranes at dawn.

Tommee Towhee

Cranes celebrating the frosty sunrise.

The other side of Miss Stripy Sparrow.

A pTerodactyl takeoff.

A silly duck on takeoff.

“¡Hasta la huego you silly goose!”

As a thunderstorm blew in this evening lots of crows were flying all around us.

Quick Change Skies

Looking west @ 5:31 pm February 10, 2021

Mama Owl @ 4:23 pm February 10, 2021

Looking south @ 5:42 pm February 10, 2021

Cranes @ 5:44 pm February 10, 2021

Looking east @ 5:45 pm February 10, 2021

pTerodactyl with ducks doing vespers prayers. 5:53 pm February 10, 2021

Looking west @ 6:01 pm February 10, 2021

Spunk Approves

Murder over the bosque

Lavinia asked if I had used a telescope to photograph the moon last night. Lavinia never lets me down on being observant and asking questions when something seems different like a whole lot of detail in the moon photo. As I answered her, I did not use a telescope, I used a 400mm lens that is equivalent to a 640mm lens on my Canon 7D Mark II body. I have been considering getting a long telephoto lens for quite some time.

I was originally looking at the Canon 100-400mm lens, which is one of Canon’s best telephoto zoom lenses for mere mortal photographers, such as myself. However, the 100-400mm lens is ƒ/4.5 to ƒ/5.6, which is a little slow for as much low light photography as I do. I really needed a faster telephoto lens. I seriously considered both the Canon 400mm ƒ/2.8 and the Canon 300mm ƒ/2.8 lenses. The problem with those lenses for me is their weight. The Canon 400mm ƒ/2.8 weighs in at 12 pounds, and the 300mm ƒ/2.8 weighs 6 pounds, 1/2 the weight of the 400mm ƒ/2.8, but still a heavy lens.

I ended up compromising on speed for lighter weight and bought a 400mm ƒ/4.0 DO lens with Refractive Optics, which enables Canon to put a 400mm ƒ/4.0 lens in the same body as the 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens, shaving 2 pounds off the weight in the process. At 4 pounds, the 400mm ƒ/4.0 DO is easy to handle, and fast enough to get decent images hand held in low light. In the photos of the owls below, we could only see outlines of the owls with our bare eyes like in the first photo, but not nearly as close up. The new lens is able to focus on the owls in relative darkness, through the branches and get an amazing amount of detail.

Spunk loves my new lens

Preening

Spunk’s a lens hugger

Intermission photographed using a Fuji XE-1 with 27mm ƒ/2.8 lens

“Who are you calling a ‘lens hugger?’ Stupid Paparazzo!”

RAW image of the owls before I cropped the image and adjusted the exposure, contrast, color balance, etc.

“Oh my! The paparazzo found us again.”

Mirroring

The streak photographed using a Canon 5Ds with a Canon 70-200mm ƒ/4.0 lens

A little over half a moon on 01/21/21