Bird Banding

Raise Banding Nets

Raise Banding Nets

Through the Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI) I enrolled this spring in a course about birds, taught by Charles Clarkson.  We were treated to a wealth of information from evolution to behavior, and song to identification.  This past Saturday (May 9) we were treated to a bird banding demonstration.  Charlie raised the nets in Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, RI.  Although the morning was relatively cool and foggy, we did have some interesting finds.

Once a bird flies into the net it must be released with care.  The rest position for a songbird’s foot is to have the toes closed, so that’s the first thing to do–free the feet.  Then, ever so gently, Charlie works the bird out of the net, one hole at a time.  Once freed, the bird is banded, with a careful notation of the species and the band number.  Then several measurements are taken–the length of the tarsus, the culmen, the wing, and the tail.  Finally, the bird is weighed, sexed, and aged, and then released.  Care must be taken with territorial birds to release them in the same location where they were netted.  Nothing worse for a male house wren defending a territory than to be released into another male’s territory!

Measuring Catbird Culmen

Measuring Catbird Culmen

I stayed for about three hours.  We netted several gray catbirds, a few American robins, a male house wren, a male eastern towhee, and a black-capped chickadee.  The chickadee had been banded by Charlie last fall, so it managed to survive the wicked winter RI experienced this year.  Robins seem to be a magnet for bird diseases, such as avian flu.  Although the ones we netted seemed to be healthy, Charlie did not want to risk contaminating the bags used for weighing the birds, so he released them without banding them.  No shortage of robins in RI anyhow, so no concern about data loss.

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What Do You See?

International Windshield

International Windshield

Photography is about seeing–seeing something that the photographer seeks to communicate to the viewer.  One of my favorite ways of seeing photographs is as abstractions.  Some photographers call this sort of image a pattern shot.  I prefer abstract, as I think of it as lifting, or abstracting, the image from the original source.  In my post “Found On Road, Dead” I promised some abstract images from my junkyard visit, and now is the time!  Here’s a sense of how I came to see these images.

From this original:

Original from International truck

Original from International truck

I saw both of these:

First International abstract

First International abstract

Second International abstract

Second International abstract

 

What do you see in the images in the gallery–a waterfall?–a coastline?–a hand print?–the surface of Mars?  It’s not necessary to see anything specific, and nothing specific is intended.  Just enjoy the images!  I would appreciate it if you would post comments about these images, if you wish.  Just click in the “Leave a reply” box and type away!

NY Botanical Garden

Magnolia Lane

Magnolia Lane

Recently (Apr 26) I had the pleasure of visiting my friend, Anne.  We went to the NY Botanical Garden on a lovely, warm day.  The Garden is right across from the Bronx Zoo and next door to Fordham University.  After riding the tram around the garden we went back to the grove of cherry trees, all in bloom.  We walked around and took photos.  I was using my Nikon CoolPix P330, a fine little camera that fits in my pocket, making it ideal for such situations.  Anne had forgotten her camera, but lucked out by having her new iPad Mini with her.  She managed to get some lovely shots with it.  I’ve always admired Anne’s eye for a creative point of view.

Magnolia Blossom #N452

Magnolia Blossom #N452

Gathering Cherry Blossoms

Gathering Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees were absolutely beautiful and were being enjoyed by several people of all ages, children to seniors.  Other photographers were seriously seeking their shots as well.  Crabapples and magnolias were also in bloom.  We explored the grove of cherry trees, then went in search of a crabapple tree we had seen on the tram ride.  We found it, along with a rather crooked conifer and some beautiful forsythia in bloom.  We then went in different directions, Anne back toward the crabapple trees and I to the magnolias.  After marveling at the beautiful and varied magnolia trees, I joined those waiting for the tram and rode back to the main stop, where I reunited with Anne.

Right near the tram stop is a magnificent old cherry, which even has one branch propped up for support.  The blossoms were dropping petals, making for a magical scene.  Two young girls were fascinated by the falling petals, running about trying to catch them in their hats.

Enjoy this gallery of photos from the NY Botanical Garden, a photographer’s delight.

Gloucester Walk-about

Colorful Post

Colorful Post

The Ardelle Heads Home

The Ardelle Heads Home

Our photo workshop on Cape Ann included a sunrise stop on day two and a walk around the harbor on the final day.  In this gallery you’ll find the sun rising over the marsh and highlighting an unusual sculpture installation called “Flight.”  Harbor highlights include the waiting umbrellas at a local restaurant, “Latitude 43” and some other colorful items.

When I arrived at the harbor “The Ardelle,” a local schooner, was heading out in the fog.  Later that afternoon it returned, illuminated by a brief break in the clouds.  Enjoy!

Rockport, Mass–Part 2

Waiting For Work At Rockport Harbor

Waiting For Work At Rockport Harbor

This post shows more from the photography workshop on Cape Ann in September 2013.  We went to Rockport harbor the evening of the second day for moonrise, then returned for sunrise on the third day.  Yes, sometimes photographers don’t get much sleep!  What we saw ranged from a little girl enjoying ice cream on the rocks to various views of “Motif #1,” seemingly a photographer’s favorite.  This is a rebuilt version of a lobster shack, rebuilt only for show, as it no longer processes lobsters.  It exists for the enjoyment of tourists.  One member of our group is shown here as she takes an interesting shot of her shadow on Motif #1.  Many boats are secured at the harbor, ranging from sailboats and yachts to fishing vessels and colorful rowboats.  Someone living by the harbor seems to have a jump on Christmas decorations.  All activity is supervised by a great black-backed gull, who seems to think he’s the harbor master.  Enjoy!