Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly # 22

These are northern pintails found at the Bosque del Apache in November.

Check out some other great bird photos at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time to 'fess up!

I saw this meme on several other blog posts, so I figured it was time to share some personal trivia with the rest of my blogging buddies. So, here goes:

1. Do you like blue cheese? not really

2. Have you ever smoked? no - I'm extremely smoke sensitive

3. Do you own a gun? no

4. What flavor Kool Aid is your favorite? cherry sounds good - I like most flavors

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? no

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I enjoy them now and then - with hot dog relish

7. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? French vanilla flavored coffee

9. Can you do push-ups? no

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I don't like wearing jewelry

11. Favorite hobby? birdwatching

12. Do you have A.D.D? i don't think so

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? glasses

14. Middle name? two middle names: Julia and Theresa

15. Name thoughts at this moment? getting this meme done and posting it

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Crystal Light, herbal tea, French Vanilla coffee

17. Current worry? none

18. Current hate right now? ???

19. Favorite place to be? home

20. How did you bring in the New Year? sleeping

21. Where would you like to go? nowhere in particular

22. Name three people who will complete this? I think all my blogging friends have already completed it.

23. Do you own slippers? yes

24 What color shirt are you wearing? burgandy

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? never tried them

26. Can you whistle? not really

27. Favorite Color? teal ;)

28. What songs do you sing in the shower? usually pieces we've practiced in choir

29. Would you be a pirate? no

30. Favorite Girl's Name? Heidi

31. Favorite boy's name? Tim (Timothy)

32. What's in your pocket right now? nothing

33. Last thing that made you laugh? a .wmv called Psycho Cats -- I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes

34. What vehicle do you drive? Saturn Aura

35. Worst injury you've ever had? The only injury I remember would be when my 6-yr old brother (and I was about 8) was tossing rocks up into the air, and my head was the recipient -- bloody mess -- didn't need stitches, though.

36. Do you love where you live? YES.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? Three (seven computers though)

Wow! After completing all the answers and then reviewing what I wrote my thoughts were: "What a boring individual!" Oh well, it may not look like it, but I still enjoy life. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly # 21

One of the most fun things I look forward to each year is my vacation in New Mexico. And it always includes the Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It's always held the week before Thanksgiving, and the attendance has been increasing every year. Appropriate for this Bird Photography Weekly # 21, I present to you some of my best photos of sandhill cranes taken during the 21st anniversary of the Festival of the Cranes. Be sure to click on any or all of the photos to see a larger image.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skywatch Friday #27

We had a beautiful sunset one evening during the Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Actually, New Mexico has many beautiful sunsets throughout the year. So to see this beautiful sunset while on the refuge was an added bonus to what we had already seen earlier in the evening.
Amazingly enough, I took these photos within a few minutes of each other. But the big difference, as you can see, is in the coloring. The first photo was taken with my Canon Rebel Xsi, and the second photo was taken with my Kodak point and shoot.
Take the time to go visit other posts for Skywatch # 27. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Power Bird

I think this quiz has been going around for a while, but it's fun to repeat it now and then. I think I tried it once before, and I think I had the same result as the last time I tried it. Have you tried it yet?

Your Power Bird is a Cardinal

You believe that each day is precious, and you spend your times as best as you can.

You see the wonder in small things, and you are often content with what you have.

You life an interesting, colorful life - and you bring color to those around you.

Confident and expressive, you believe you know how to live a good life. You're living it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

In flight - Bird Photography Weekly # 20

There are so many beautiful sights and sightings in New Mexico. One of them is watching the snow geese in flight. This photo was taken this past November (2008) during the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Snow geese in flight can show off their colors of black and white against a beautiful blue sky and mountains in the background.
This is my contribution to this week's Bird Photography Weekly # 20
Visit the link and see what others are posting.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday # 26

Under a beautiful blue sky in New Mexico you can see snow geese in flight. This was taken at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in November during the Festival of the Cranes.
Visit other Skywatch Friday posts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bosque del Apache - part 2

Bosque del Apache has to be one of the most easily accessible refuges around. They provide at least 2 auto tour loops and many walking trails. The auto trails provide the ability for one to carry more equipment for photos and for viewing. I'm a lazy sort and don't like carrying too much equipment around with me. But while driving around the loops I had the opportunity to put my spotting scope up on a car window mount. I used it mostly to see the sandhill cranes farther out in the field.

But my favorite activity is to walk the various trails. The ones I walk are very easy. They are all level, and some even have "boardwalks" provided so one can cross over some of the irrigation canals, etc. One of those trails provided not only natural beauty, but also a few of God's creatures. Below is a western grebe floating around the pond all by himself. I guess he wanted some solitude. Don't we all want that now and then?
A little farther down the trail my husband pointed out a few turtles. They blended in with the environment so well that I did not see them at first. I thought these turtles must be out sunning themselves in the beautiful sunny fall New Mexican day. Anybody know what species these turtles are? You can click on any image to enlarge it. The reflection in each of these photos looks like we could reverse them, don't they?

Also, the plant life in these ponds are typical with their grasses and such. This particular bunch of grass was submerged, whereas most of the grasses were above the water level. Anyway, I thought it was pretty and I wanted to not only remember this form of beauty, but also wanted to share it with my blogging friends.
Now these next two photos of these white birds had me confused. First of all, I thought they were egrets, but I knew they were not snowy or great egrets. And the only other egret I could think of was cattle egret, but I did not remember they would be found surrounded by water. I always thought cattle egrets would be found out in the fields, much farther from a water source this large. And I've never seen cattle egrets at Bosque del Apache before, much less anywhere else. Yes, these are lifers for me. The last photo I'm posting here is to show that white blob to the right of the other two cattle egrets is another cattle egret taking flight. It's obvious that I did not have my camera set to a faster speed to get the bird better focused. But then, mother nature does not wait for us to get our cameras ready for great shots.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Great Blue Heron - Bird Photography Weekly # 19

Found standing at one of the irrigation canals on one of the auto tour loops at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - during Festival of the Cranes, November 2008.
This first photo above shows his feathers very nicely.

And this photo seems to show a very handsome profile.
Be sure to go visit other bloggers' posts for Bird Photography Weekly.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A few more birds ...

Below are a few more photos I took while attending the Festival of the Cranes. These photos were taken at the pond at New Mexico Tech. A couple posts ago I mentioned that I like American wigeons. I not only like their calls, but also like their coloring, both plumage and their bills. Even in their fall plumage these birds are still attractive. I like the behavior description Don and Lillian Stokes give in their field guide. It says: "As early arrivals on their southern wintering grounds, they immediately begin courtship, which lasts until March. ... During courtship, competing males repeatedly give whistling calls..." I guess that's why I kept hearing so many of them calling; I didn't realize they were beginning their courtship. Also funny, they aren't in their breeding plumage yet.
Also seen in the pond were a couple of ring-necked ducks. I find this another attractive duck, and another duck with a multi-colored bill. And you sure can't miss their yellow eyes!
Waddling around on the campus near the pond were several hybrid ducks and geese. Here is one I found interesting with its greenish head and blackish body, and a nondescript bill.
Another unusual looking duck - I think it was a duck. The all white color is quite striking and then it has a bright orange bill. Isn't that a typical color (bill) for mallards? I'm fairly certain it was not leucistic, but nonetheless a nice looking duck.
And here is another photo of another American wigeon. At first I thought this one was a female, but a closer look makes me think this is a male. I wonder if it is a first or second year male since its coloring isn't as striking as the first photo I posted.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area

After leaving the Festival of the Cranes my husband and I wanted to stop at another location while heading back to Albuquerque. I was given a tip to visit Bernardo Waterfowl Managment Area if I wanted to see more Sandhill Cranes and possibly get a closer look at them. Bernardo, New Mexico is about 25 miles north of Socorro on I-25. The waterfowl management area is managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The staff here maintains the crops of corn and alfalfa as well as the irrigation operations. This place is a good spot for wintering ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes. Hunting is permitted, but I'm not sure when that applies, but bird watching is good during the fall and winter months.
We drove down a gravel road/pathway to the first pull-off spot where there was a deck to overlook the area. We could hear the cranes and geese but didn't see any in the fields around us. But I did capture the sight of a hawk. I think this was a Red-tailed - and an uncooperative one at that. He only showed his back, and then the next time I looked he was gone.

Below, I tried to get a panoramic type of photo of the sandhill cranes we saw as we drove on down the gravel road. There were cranes farther back, too. You might be able to see them if you click on the photo to see a larger image.
Here are some cranes in flight. In this photo you can see mountains in the distance. As you can see, this was a really pretty area.
Here is another "in-flight" photo. Isn't it amazing how flat (in a lateral sense) these birds seem to be while gliding in flight? These are such fascinating birds. They make weird gutteral sounds, both in the field and while flying. I find these birds to look so graceful while in flight, yet while they are feeding in the fields they do not appear to be so graceful - at least not like they do in flight.
The lighting here was not beneficial for taking a photo, but then it gives one an eerie feeling, or maybe it's a typical autumn look. Notice the mountains in the distance are quite hazy, yet the pond the snow geese are occupying has quite a glare on it. The birds in flight are a couple of sandhill cranes. And as far as I could tell, all the waterfowl on the pond were snow geese. Anyway, I like this photo - it seems to portray a pastoral feeling to me.


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