a whole lot of feathers

Today somehow seemed to be all about birds….bird-3873First there were these birds I thought might be gulls, but they didn’t look quite right. I’m going with Whimbrel, though they might possibly be Curlews. bird-3637Not even going to try to guess at this other than it’s bound to be a sparrow….bird-3635Not sure why, but it looked like I was being given the ‘stink eye’…bird-3889Then I managed to catch this Great Blue Heron out in the Restored Marshland. bird-3890This was a first, catching any bird out there at all… much less a GBH. Could it be timing, or perhaps the restoration is finally working at bringing in some birds.bird-1877Still some Egrets hanging out in what remains of the flooded fields.bird-2082This Egret looked a bit grumpy.bird-3927Last, but certainly not least… more shots of the Bald Eagle. My timing was perfect for catching such great lighting to make that white head shine.bird-3907I stuck around for awhile again, hoping the female might show up. But left when I lost that wonderful light.bird-3921What’s he looking at?bird-3911I usually try to take a shot of the nest because I can’t get a good look until I download to the big screen. Is it my imagination, or is there a brown shape with a brown head hiding behind the branch a wee bit to the left of center? The young ones don’t get the white head until they’re about four to five years old. I’ve been scouring the interwebs and it seems likely my batch could be approaching the fledgling stage.

I’m adding this a bit late, but here’s a link to some great shots of an eagle fledgling to give you an idea of what you’re looking for in the above image: click HERE to take a look. Be sure to check out the slideshow at this site. This fledgling is a whole lot bigger than I would have expected.


42 thoughts on “a whole lot of feathers

    • Went back today and I think I have a reasonably clear shot of a little brown head with a little beak. Or perhaps I’ve been staring at it for too long… What puzzled me was that neither adult appeared to be anywhere in sight.


    • That light was amazing… almost as though a spotlight was shining on those birds and it didn’t hurt that the rest of the sky was a bit darkish. Best thing yet is I think I have a shot of a dark little head in the nest and there seems to be a beak…. but mom and dad were both gone. I kept peering at a bunch of shots I took of the nest until I was nearly cross-eyed, but I’m pretty sure there’s a fledgling in there… I’ll probably post it tonight or tomorrow! 😀


  1. Wonderful – very birdy! You’re right, the beach guys should be Whimbrels – Curlews are rare. And your sparrow is probably a Song Sparrow, so listen next time yo see him – they have a cool song – very distinctive. I’m jealous of your egret! I mess them – in New York we saw them frequently (yes, even in NYC!) but never up here. Oh, and that light in the eagle shots – delicious.


    • Who would have imagined egrets in NYC? Certainly not me. We get them here mostly in the rainy season when the pastures are flooded. Not sure where they go during the dry summer season. That spotlight on the eagle was outrageous.


    • Actually, though I hadn’t considered it, each bird had it’s own location and habitat. I picked up on the first ones (whimbrel, or?) at the beach. Then, climbing up the stairs to the top of the bluff, the sparrow just sat there and posed for me. Heading just a touch inland, I checked out the progress at the Marsh Restoration project. For well over a year (or more), there’s been nothing, nada…. well, perhaps the ubiquitous gulls. This was the first time I spotted the heron there and a Canada Goose, but I would have been shooting into the sun at the goose getting nothing but silhouette. Further inland the flood plains retain just enough water (thanks to some recent rain) to entice some Egrets (and possibly Herons) to dine. The Bald Eagles nest is on the banks of a huge river that ultimately empties into the sea. I can only spot the nest from the opposite bank of the river. That puts the nest a fair distance from me. The above images were shot with a 300mm telephoto and heavily cropped. There are times when I can’t see if the eagles are there without using the long lens. I certainly can’t see what’s happening in the nest without the long lens and zooming in on the big screen at home.


  2. I envy anyone who can capture clear photos of birds, given their skittish nature. Although your little brown birdie may just be a sparrow, I love how you have captured him with such a lovely blurred background. I do believe you have captured a little one in the nest Gunta…nice job! 🙂


    • I used to suffer envy for those who can shoot birds. Much of it is location and practice and patience… and there’s a thing where you develop an eye for the birds. It’s sort of like the spotting the first deer or antelope when you’re driving along. Once you get that shape in your mind, then you start spotting them a lot easier. Give it a go! 🙂


  3. an excellent series 🙂 my guess is we may see the curlew in Yorkshire but we certainly wouldn’t see the rest 🙂


    • Oh, surely you have sparrows. Your comment had me curious, so I googled the ranges of these birds. It turns out that the Great Blue Heron is a “rare migrant” in Europe and the Egret is seen occasionally in southern Europe. The Bald Eagle, however, seems to stick to North America pretty much!


      • 🙂 whoops 🙂 Yes we have sparrows Gunta my comment proves we have that many sparrows they go unnoticed lol:) Seriously we have three species of sparrow. The house sparrow, Tree sparrow, and Dunnock or hedge sparrow; The one you have here doesn’t look like any we have. I’d say our closest resemblance to this little bird would be a “Dunnock” but the beak is a narrower and more pointed than this one, I have looked on “National Geographic Backyard Bird Identifier” and I see you have many sparrows in the US. I’d id this bird as either a “song sparrow” or “fox sparrow” ( I use this backyard bird identifier often for photos I see of birds and don’t recognise)


        • I’m guessing it’s a song sparrow, too, but there seem to be so many and so similar that I was reluctant to try to specify. I’ll have to give the National Geographic a try. I normally use several real books I have, but back that up with http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ but it’s always good to have another source.


    • Thank you, Sylvia. I was utterly thrilled to see the GBH and Egrets. With our delayed rains, I was afraid we might have missed them, but they seem to be hanging around longer to make up for it. I’m rather certain that I’m seeing a brown bird, so I could be equally fanciful. You can be sure I’ll be making a few more trips over there to see if I can clear up the mystery. Only wish and hope I could get that same sort of spotlight on the birds and nest like the one last night. That was simply wonderful. Now I just need a way to look down into that nest. 🙄


    • Thanks, Jerry. I’m hoping you’ll take a closer look at that nest when you return from your vacation. I finally figured out that my bunch could be fledging right about now and, unless I’m dreaming, I think I do see a rounded shape that might just be a brown head. I’ll have to step up my trips over there, but I doubt I’ll ever have that perfect lighting ever again. There was darker skies to give me the perfect background with the sun peeking through and spotlighting the eagle. It didn’t last very long either. Of course the hole in the clouds moved on.


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