Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2023

National Bird Holidays and Awareness Days- First Quarter

 

Male Finch

Did you know that bird watching is enjoyed by over 73 million Americans?  It is no wonder than that there are many different bird days listed on special days lists.

I count myself as an ardent bird watcher and photographer and on this post, I will share with you some of the national bird days I found interesting.  This post will be part 1 of 4 so I will include bird days in the first quarter of the year.  I will also share photos of birds I have watched and photographed in my backyard. For more information on national bird days check out www.birdtipper.com. 

Jan 5 - National Bird Day

National Bird Day is celebrated on January 5th.  Here is some information that I found on the website nationaldaystoday.com/national-bird-day.
  • According to the US Census more American bird watchers (73 million) than baseball and football players.
  • Birders fund the economy, including feed, supplies, traveling and donations by spending $40 billion a year on their hobby.
  • Worldwide there are 9800 species of birds; 850 are in the U.S.
  • The National Bird Day takes place after an annual survey that tracks American wild birds to get an accurate bird population count at the three weeks long December count.
  • According to Born Free USA, nearly 12% of the world's bird population is threatened with extinction.
Here are just a few of the birds I photographed in my backyard.



Jan 20- Penguin Awareness Day

Penguins are an interesting bird that we all love.  In my part of the world, we have to go to the zoo to see Penguins, but my sister recently traveled to Antartica where she was delighted to see hundreds of Penguins.  Here is a photo she took.



In researching Penguin Day, I found the following interesting Penguin facts.
  1. They kidnap chicks

    When a female emperor penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

  2. They're down south

    There are 17 species of penguins and all of them live in the Southern Hemisphere.

  3. Macaroni penguins rule

    The penguin species with the highest population is the macaroni penguin with 11 million pairs.

  4. The fastest penguin

    The gentoo Penguin is the fastest swimmer — reaching speeds up to 22 mph.

  5. They're all wet (usually)

    An average penguin might spend up to 75 percent of its life in the water — where it also hunts for prey.



Feb- National Wild Bird Feeding Month

I love feeding birds and feed them in my backyard all year long.  In 1994 congressman John Porter announced that February would be National Wild Bird Feeding Month.  This month is one of the hardest for birds to obtain food and the emphasis on this special month encourages people to feed birds and put out water for them.  I encourage you to celebrate this month by helping to feed our wild birds.  They will reward you with many hours of birdwatching and if you are like me, some great models for your photography.   Here are a couple of birdfeeders that I thought look interesting.





Feb 17-20, 2023, Great Backyard Bird Count

Each year in February, bird watchers throughout the world take time to count birds.  Here is a few thoughts on what is involved.

Spend time in your favorite places watching birds–then tell us about them! In as little as 15 minutes notice the birds around you. Identify them, count them, and submit them to help scientists better understand and protect birds around the world.


If you have a few minutes to spare, plan on participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count.

March 20th- World Sparrow Day

Sparrows are everywhere and yet sometimes we fail to appreciate these delightful little birds.  A day was set up to appreciate sparrows and it is celebrated worldwide on March 20th each year.  The Bird Tipper website gives the following tips to celebrate Sparrow Day.


How to Celebrate World Sparrow Day

The best way to celebrate World Sparrow Day is by taking action to help these birds.

One of the biggest threats to sparrow populations is loss of habitat, so consider planting native trees and shrubs in your yard or community garden. You can also put up a birdhouse or two; tree cavities are perfect homes for nesting sparrows.

Also, be sure to keep your cat indoors—birds of all kinds, including sparrows, are killed each year by outdoor cats.

Finally, fill your bird feeder with seeds that sparrows love, such as sunflower seeds and millet, and sit back and enjoy watching these busy little birds at work!

On World Sparrow Day, take a moment to think about one of the most common birds in the world: the humble sparrow. This holiday is a chance for us to learn more about these fascinating birds and take action to help them thrive!

Here are some photos I have taken of sparrows in my backyard. They are all Eurasian Tree Sparrows.





These are but a few of the specified bird days in the first quarter of the year.  You can find a larger list online at www.birdtipper.com.  Stay tuned for future posts on bird days for the rest of the year.  Happy Birding!!



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Thursday, December 22, 2022

Review of Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scene within a Cross

 Nativity sets and scenes are a wonderful part of my Christmas decorating.  They point us to the true meaning of Christmas.  I think they are a wonderful item to pass down to future generations.  In my house I have several nativity sets: one from my grandparents, one that my mother made and another that my daughter purchased on a trip to Bethlehem.  I also have a nativity scene within a cross that I believe is a wonderful reminder of the purpose of Christmas. It shows the Jesus is the reason for the celebration. That cross is depicted in the beginning photo of this article.

Nativity Cross on Amazon

I found a nativity cross similar to mine on Amazon.  I think it would be a great gift for grandchildren.

Nativity Sets Passed Down to Me

My Grandparents Nativity Set


The photo above depicts the nativity set that was my grandparents.  They would have it under their tree each Christmas. When they passed away it was given to me, the oldest grandchild. 
Mom's Nativity Set
This is a nativity set that my mother made in ceramics class.  She displayed it in her house each year and when she died, I got it.  It now is on my fireplace mantle each Christmas.  It is very special to me since Mom made it.

Right above my fireplace mantle is a window with a shelf, on it I display angel figurines that have been given to me over the years.  I think they make a good addition to the nativity display with the angels all above the manager scene.  


My Bethlehem Nativity Scene

When my daughter was 10 years old my parents took her on a trip to the Holy Land.  When they were in Bethlehem, she bought us a nativity scene. It is very special to us and we display it each year.  


Nativity Sets on Amazon

If you are looking for a special gift for a grandchild or godchild or a special person in your life, you may want to consider a nativity set.  Here are a couple I found on Amazon that I thought would make great gifts.

The set above was made in Bethlehem from Olive wood.  It is a modestly priced set that is still very nice.  There are many other sets from Bethlehem that are listed on Amazon in a variety of sizes and price ranges.




The set above is a beautiful traditional set that comes with a stable and 10 figurines.  It is just one of the many to choose from on Amazon.

May you and your Family have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Review of Favorite Christmas Decoration


 I love decorating for Christmas and after over 50 years of marriage, needless to say, I certainly have more than enough Christmas decorations.  I have gotten to the point where I rotate some of my decorations, so I don't end up with too many for our house.  But still, I enjoy getting a new decoration or two each year.  Last year some friends gave us the delightful snow globe lantern pictured in the photo above.  It can be used with batteries or plugged into any USB port, so I have it sitting on my desk in our family room plugged into my computer.  I love the silver snowflakes shimmering around the Santa, snowman and tree. When it is turned on the light catches the snowflakes, and they glisten as they twirl around inside the lantern.

A Variety of Christmas Lanterns Available

I enjoy my lantern so much that I have purchased several for gifts this year.  They can be found in a variety of styles and different features.
In searching Amazon, I found ones with angels, Santas, trees, snowman, trains, toy and a wide variety of Christmas subjects and scenes.  Here is one similar to mine.


Here is one with snowmen around a tree.  It is a different shape and also plays music.


I love birds so this one with a bright red Cardinal looking through a window is really appealing to me.


Features of Christmas Snow Globes

Some of the features of the snow globes that I find appealing are:
  • Runs on either battery or USB plug in
  • A timer that lets you set the snow globe to be on for 6 hours and off for 18 hours
  • Music that can be turned on or off.  These usually include 8-12 different Christmas themed tunes.
  • A subject or Christmas scene available for every taste.
Because of these great features there is some type of snow globe available for most everyone on your Christmas list.

Enjoy!  Merry Christmas!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Greetings

Thank you, God, for all the Beauty in Nature.
Today, November 24 is the day that we in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is a day when Americans take time out of their daily lives to be thankful for all that has been given to us.  

For this Thanksgiving Day review, I would like to share with you, through my photographs some of the beauty in our world for which I am truly thankful.

The Moon


I love photographing the moon.  Here is a shot I captured back in September of the full moon.

 Special Times with Family and Friends

I am very thankful for my family and friends and the special times we spend together.  We recently all got together for a bonfire at my brother's.

Birds

As any of you know that follow my reviews, I love to watch and photograph birds.  Here are a couple of my recent bird photos.


Flowers

I am always amazed by the intricacies of the many varieties of flowers God has placed on this earth.  




Photo Walks

I love to take walks just to capture the beauty around me on my camera.  Here are some of my latest photos from these adventures.






Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  May you be blessed with a thankful heart.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Review of Suet Nuggets for Birds

 

Nuthatch waiting turn for Suet Nuggets 
One of my favorite wild bird foods to use in our backyard feeders are Suet Nuggets.  These little pellets contain a blend of suet and other high oil content ingredients.  I find them easy to use, less messy than other feed, and the birds love them.  I find them easier to use then the suet cakes and there is less waste with the nuggets.



In my yard they are particularly popular with the Downy woodpeckers, but I have also seen other woodpeckers, nuthatches and even sparrows feed on them.  I have seven different types of bird feeders in my yard, and the one that is most popular is the suet nugget feeder.

In this photo a female Downy is getting the last bits of the nuggets out of the feeder.  Below is a male Downy enjoying the nuggets in the wintertime.


The suet nuggets are designed to attract a wide variety of wild birds.  They are formed into soft nuggets so that they are easy for beaks to break apart.  They may be served alone (as you see I have done in the feeder above) or combined with other feed.  These nuggets are ideal for year-round feeding.  I always have a feeder full of these nuggets in my backyard.

The nuggets are available in a variety of flavors.  I have tried the sunflower, bluebird and woodpecker varieties but the one I use the most often is the peanut variety.
Red-bellied Woodpecker



As you can see in the photo above even the sparrows enjoy the nuggets.





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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Discover St. Charles in the Fall


 One of my favorite places to visit, is a town that is only a few miles away from me.  It is historic St. Charles Mo.  It has a very vibrant Main Street that attracts visitors all year long.  I have written about this area several times in the past and I will include those links later in this article.  Today I want to review with you some of the photographs I took on a beautiful fall day in October 2022.  First of all, here is a photo I took telling a little bit about the history of the area.


Main Street in the Fall

Main street is a wonderful area with cobblestone streets and sidewalks and lots of delightful little shops and restaurants.  In the fall the shopkeepers do a wonderful job of decorating for the season.  We saw lots of pumpkin displays, colorful leaves and some very imaginative displays.  Here are a couple of the photos I took on Main Street.




Halloween Decorations and Activities

Halloween is a fun time on Main Street.  There are a variety of activities for all ages and the shopkeepers have some wonderful displays for the holiday.




You can click on the QR code in the above photo to find out about the Legends & Lanterns tours that take place on Main Street.


These fun characters are motion activated and you can hear them talk and sing when you pass by.  Below you see some of the decorations around the gazebo, which is a gathering place in the middle of Main Street.




The Riverfront Area

A block down from Main Street is the Missouri river.  This area has a wonderful park that provides some great trails and walks along the river.  There is an old train station, and you can see some train cars on the tracks.

There is a lot of history that took place in this area including a departure spot for Lewis & Clark.




Other Articles about St Charles

Here are four other articles I have written about the area.  The first is about the era when St. Charles was the first capitol of Missouri. Visit Missouri-First Capitol  .  Another article was written on the riverfront area. Frontier Park

A favorite time in St Charles is during the Christmas season.  Here is an article on that. Christmas in St Charles

Several years ago I went on the Worldwide PhotoWalk in St. Charles.  Here is an article I wrote. Worldwide PhotoWalk



Read More about St Charles




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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Reviewing Hawks in my Backyard

Young Cooper's Hawk
I have always enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders in our backyard and have been told to watch out for Hawks because they can kill the birds.  Because of this, I had never really studied much about Hawks and just considered them a bird to avoid.  Recently I have photographed some Hawks in and around our backyard and now I have a new appreciation for the fascinating creatures that they are.  Up in the air they always looked menacing, but when seen up close in a photograph I realized what beautiful details they have.  In this post I will share with you some information on two of the Hawks I have photographed in our yard.  The first is the Cooper's Hawk and the second is the Red-Shouldered Hawk. 

Cooper's Hawk

I have seen Cooper's Hawks or at least what I think are Cooper's Hawks fairly often in our area.  The photo above was taken on our back fence.  It was identified by several people on bird sites online as a young Cooper's Hawk, so I feel fairly confident with that identification.  Sometimes I find hawks colorings are so similar, especially with the differences in adults and juveniles that I am not sure of my identification.  I wrote a review on one of my favorite bird books several months back.  It is the book I used to find the information on the Cooper's Hawk.  Here is a link to that review. What it's Like to be a Bird
Here is what it has to say about the bird.
  • It is a medium-sized hawk at about 16 inches long.
  • They often keep watch at feeders and then swoop in low hoping to surprise the flock.
  • They target mid-sized birds that are slower flyers such as doves and starlings.  These birds are easier for them to grab with their talons.
  • The juveniles have vertical brown streaks on their chests with brown back while the adults will have tight horizontal reddish barring on their chests with gray crowns and backs.  Both have barred tails that are rounded at the tips.
Here are a couple photos that I think fit these descriptions.



 Red-Shouldered Hawk


The photo above is a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  I captured it sitting on the satellite dish on the roof of the house behind ours.  I zoomed in and quickly took this shot before he flies away and then I carefully check my camera settings and tried to wait for him to turn his head, so I get him looking my way.  Before I could get another shot, he took off and I was able to capture him in flight.  I am particularly proud of this shot. It was the first time I had seen one of these hawks.

I looked him up in my guide to backyard birds and found the following information.

  • It is a fairly common, medium to large hawk.
  • The adult has reddish colored upperwing coverts and also densely barred reddish underparts. The wings and tail are dramatically barred in black and white.
  • The juvenile has brown-streaked underparts and a dark tail with many pale bands.
  • They make a loud screaming sound that sounds like (KEE-ahh) which is given in a series.
  • They are widespread and found in well-watered woodlands and suburban areas with nearby wood lots. 
  • They are a perch hunter and feed on frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals.
  • Their nests are located high in trees and are made of bulky sticks.

Here is a link to the book where I got my information.




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