Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Addition to the Backyard Bird List

Well I have obviously fallen short on my 2009 resolution to write at least one blog post a week, having let two months slide by since my last post. Yikes! So this is going to be something of a compilation.

Yesterday afternoon I stepped outside and noticed what I took to be a flock of geese flying overhead at first glance. But they were awfully low and their wings looked odd. It dawned on my they were gulls. At least three dozen, of them, in fact, flying in formation. A quick call to birding guru, Mark McKellar, at the Backyard Bird Center, helped me identify them as Franklin's Gulls. Mark says that Franklin's are the type that fly in formation like geese.

They were gone in an instant, so needless to say, no picture. Here, however, is a picture I took at 6:09 am on September 16 from our backyard showing a conjunction of the moon with Venus in the eastern sky.

This is actually a handheld image. I didn't even use a tripod. These digital point and shoot cameras are amazing. (Mine is a Canon S2 IS.) The trick for something like this is to set the ISO speed at something reasonably fast, 200 or 400 ISO, and then significantly underexpose the image.

Here is a fun picture I took of bees on a flower in our neighbor's yard a few days after the conjunction. We sort of skipped October and zoomed right into November in Kansas City, this fall, with temps quickly following into the 40s during the day. Not too many opportunities for fall flower pictures now!

Here is a picture of Basie and me taken in the last few weeks -- on Elly's birthday camping trip to Pomme de Terre state park. Pomme de Terre has become our favorite state park this year (the Pittsburgh side!), followed closely by Arrow Rock state park.

The sunsets were beautiful during our visit.

Here is Basie, enjoying the sunset in his preferred snoozing orientation...

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