Thursday, October 30, 2014

Snowy Owl Ludington 10/30/2014

    For the past month I've been taking on a career change of sorts along with a relocation.  With all this uncertainty I just wish there was some sort of sign that I'm making the right choice.   Until that sign comes I'll continue taking walks along the lake shore with my camera searching for clarity.

Ludington South Breakwater 

Early Date for Mason County per Dave Dister

Bonaparte's Gull

Horned Grebe
    On Sunday I found a couple of Lapland Longspurs mixed with a few Snow Buntings

   Also on Sunday the S. Lakeshore Scissor-tailed Flycatcher gave me a couple of flight-shot opportunities.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Prismatic Sun

  Last week despite driving 80 miles to the east, trying to outrun an encroaching cloud-bank, I still missed out on the sunset partial eclipse.  Although the main event was obscured, my practice shots taken the day before yielded evidence of an interesting atmospheric sunset phenomenon.
  As the sun gets lower in the sky it shines through denser layers of atmosphere.  The thicker atmosphere's refractive properties have a prismatic effect on the Sun, allowing its image to be separated into its component colors.  Meaning the sun's red wavelengths set first and the blue-green set last.  The first image shows the red breaking away at the bottom.

   Later as the solar disk was slipping below the horizon the green wavelengths of light were lingering above the Sun.

   Over the past week a massive sunspot complex, the size of Jupiter has been making its way across the face of the Sun.  Today I noticed that the sunspots could be seen through thickening clouds and was able to get some photos with the clouds acting as a solar filter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Update 10/22/14

  As of late afternoon on Wednesday October 22, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was still present on South Lakeshore Drive in Ludington.  I was finally able to get some photos of it in good lighting.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Snow Bunting Ludington

  Found a Snow Bunting on the beach at the south pier at Ludington Harbor, this afternoon.

   I walked out on the breakwater and talked to a couple of fisherman, who told me they had just seen a small buck jump from the pier into Lake Michigan.  They said the deer swam due west until they lost sight of it.  As I was photographing the Snow Bunting one of the fisherman, starting calling out to me and pointed to the deer swimming back to shore.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Still present in Ludington 10/16/14

  The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was still present in Ludington as of 3:30 PM today.

   It spent much of its time moving from perch to perch among the trees and wires.  But it also put on displays of both scissor-tailing....

.....and flycatching

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Ludington, 10/15/2014

    Exploring my new neighborhood, I headed to the south pier of Ludington Harbor after work.  Saw a few nice but non-blogworthy birds.    As I pulled out of the parking lot and headed south on S. Lakeshore Drive, a bird that flew up to the wires caught my eye.  I had one of those Jack-Buck-1988-World-Series-Game-One moments "I don't believe..... what I just saw".  It was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.   

  In an email from Dave Dister, who's currently working on a book 'The Birds of Mason County, Michigan', this is the second Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ever in the county.  The first one was by Gary Worton, October 14, 1975, 39 years ago almost to the day. 

Here are the birds I saw out on the pier.
Green-winged Teal hen

American Pipit


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lunar Eclipse 10/8/2014

   Left for work over an hour early to try to photograph the lunar eclipse.  Took the first photo as I was loading up the car, before the eclipse started.
5:06 AM
  The first place I looked to set the photo gear was a lakeside park on the shore of America's Great Lake, but 30 mph winds had the beach sand blowing and drifting across the parking lot.  Plan B was to set up a little closer to work, a decision that cost me photos of the beginning of the eclipse, but allowed me to get the more important totality shots right up to the time I needed to be through the gate.
5:32 AM

5:50 AM

6:08 AM

6:10 AM

6:29 AM
  An added bonus to this lunar show was that the planet Uranus was just over a half of a degree from the Moon at the time it was immersed in the Earth's shadow.  It was the first time I was able to photograph the 7th planet from the Sun.  Insert your own middle school joke here.....

   Earlier in the week I took some practice sunset shots for the partial solar eclipse coming up on the 23rd.
leaning light

cropped image

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk up close

   Looks like my new work site is a good place for close-ups of Red-tailed Hawks