Monday, February 21, 2011

Mallard Fight Club

Where: North Chagrin Nature Center / Cascade Park, Elyria, Ohio
When: January 27th 2011

In the morning, we took a visit to the snowy, cold, and blustery North Chagrin nature center. My fingers came close to falling off from frostbite. . . but I did manage a few shots.

Red-bellied Woodpecker:

Jump! goes the Nuthatch:

Annd. . . isn't ironic where these spots are, considering the chickadee belongs to the Tit family of birds? (wink wink, nudge nudge)


Goin' clubbin' with the Mallards. . . .sounds fun, right? Haha, this was one of my most favourite shoots in a while. . . it was cold but I got some wonderful shots! This visit was interesting... I witnessed many fights and matings. The half-frozen pond at Cascade Park is a great place to sit and observe the Mallards up close.

I have a big thing for water splashes in photos. This bathing Mallard supplied lots of them:

And I found this while editing photos: the water splash on the left looks like an icicle!

Then came the fights concerning drakes and females...
This pair might want to check into couples counseling...

"Are you suggesting I have problems?"

. . . .Um, apparently not?
Though she still looks uncomfortable. . .


Exciting, no? :-)
Until next time,
** Peace always,
Kristina **

**Remember to comment if you liked this post!
Thank you so much.**

Gulls are #1!

Where: Washington DC/Alexandria, VA
When: January 1st 2011

Imagine this: your 1st life bird of the year 2011 on the 1st day of the 1st month! It was pretty exciting, especially when I saw this Lifer , a Lesser Scaup as soon as I got out of the car.

We were back at the spot from the previous day (see my post, "Ring"-ing in the New Year ) and of course, so were the Ring-billed Gulls.

When the gulls started getting antsy, I looked all around to find the predator. (Which, I knew there was. I'm just that smart.) Turns out there was an Accipiter (Please don't ask me which species. I just don't know. Dave knows my troubles, and so does any other birder out there!) and it let me get quite close! Didn't have the most desired lighting, but I did get this mediocre photo:

After the Accipiter flew away, the gulls calmed once more and I was able to get a few more shots. I enjoy the subadult Gulls with just a few juvenile feathers left:

And of course, the crazy antics of the gulls. You've got to love them! Even in the dull, cold afternoon conditions, they've got as much spunk as ever.


YYAAWWNN! Everyone's tired on a lazy saturday afternoon.

After a while of not much action, in swoops a Bald Eagle! My dad was ecstatic; he couldn't believe we had just saw an eagle. I was like, "Yep. Eagle. " and went back to my Gulls. *Crazy Gull Freak at 12 o'clock!*

The gulls got pretty nervous after that. . . but it wasn't long until I saw something interesting.
Introducing Oscar the One-legged Gull!!! (Another number 1 for you!)

Oh, and I saw the Accipiter again. . . preening. .. but of course it didn't spread the wing to help in its ID! Typical. . .

Until next time,
** Peace always,
Kristina **

**Remember to comment if you liked this post!
Thank you so much.**

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Ring"-ing in the New Year

When: December 30 and 31st 2010
Where: Washington DC/ Alexandria, VA

Well, here's a tale to be told! We were nearing the last days of 2010...a year that went by as fast as a frightened Mourning Dove!

On the 30th, we went out to a state park (I'm sorry to say I do not remember the name...) where I saw my first Winter Wren. It was a really neat find; I was so excited! I had waited on the boardwalk (going through a small marsh) for a while, knowing that usually if you wait long enough in one spot, you're bound to find something. Suddenly, I heard a loud song and that tiny wren jumped onto the boardwalk, within feet of me! Didn't get a picture of that, but a few minutes later I got this parting shot:

Nothing much after that (the usual Great Blue Heron, Canada Geese, American Black Ducks, Chickadees...) but I did spot a few Bald Eagles waaay out on the ice. Overall it was a nice day, a beautiful sunset and great to get outside!

* * * * * * * *

Suddenly, it was the last day of the year. How time flew! (No pun intended, folks.) Anyways, by chance we found this great spot on the Potomac to watch the gulls... and when I say 'Great spot', I mean it. These guys were everywhere and really cooperative subjects! The lighting was beautiful and they were really active. Gulls are my favourite birds to photograph, hands down. They're charismatic, energetic, and "plain but beautiful". (Why yes, I am one of those crazy 'gull people'. Woo hoo! ) There were a few species: Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, and Greater-black Backed Gulls. I think I also saw a Herring Gull or two. Now, enough talk...let's see some photos!

This immature Black-backed Gull looks needy...

An example of a beautiful Ring-billed Gull in this sunset lighting...

Look at the detail in this guy's eye!

Time to fly...

Is it Dracula, or a "Bat"-backed Gull? (Haha....)

Oh no! Where have your feet gone, good sir?

Pinecones are rather tasty! Or so this Ring-billed Gull thinks...

I absolutely love this photo...

Boys will be boys...

This is MY bread! Do you hear me??

Uh-oh, this adult Black-backed wants the bread...


Geez! The Black-backed's are angry tonight!

And it turns out, in the commotion, a little Ring-Billed Gull gets the bread...

Well, if that's not a great way to "ring" in the new year...than I don't know what is! :)

Peace always, **
** Kristina

**Remember to comment if you liked this post!
Thank you so much.**

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Prepare Yourself

...for something amazing.

I'm talking about the relaunch of Wild at Heart! Finally, I know!
Look at the spiffy new layout, background, and main banner! I've been busy with my photography, as you can see. I hope the new layout looks nice, and you all enjoy it. Please be patient as I begin to upload new photographs and posts!

Looking forward to sharing all my newest adventures with y'all,