Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Burned Prairie

The guard did a controlled burn at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area today. This will help the native plants reestablish themselves. I can't wait to see the flowers in a few weeks!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

St. Paul Audubon - Urban Birding Festival 2012

I'll be hosting one of the bird walks in the Arden Hills Army Training Site during St. Paul Audubon's Urban Bird Fest.

My walk will focus more on bird photography than the other bird walks. Come join me and bring your camera with the longest glass you can comfortably carry. Good binoculars or a spotting scope will come in handy. There are all sorts of birds we may encounter including: nesting common loons and trumpeter swans and osprey; various woodpeckers; ketrels; harriers; hawks; sparrows; warblers; meadowlarks; bluebirds; turkeys and more. I recently spotted a colony of bank swallows in there. We may have a chance to see beaver and river otters too! I haven't had time to train any of these animals so there are no guarantees. ;-) If you follow my TCAAP WVA blog, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Keep in mind, we'll be walking about a mile or two so you might want to leave the 600 f4 and tripod at home unless you are really fit. There are bathrooms in the Readiness Center and water will be available but I suggest you bring what you need to stay hydrated and a snack, especially if it's really hot.

You MUST BE OVER 18 YEARS OLD TO PARTICIPATE! Although the site is very well cleaned up, it's my understanding that the MN Pollution Control Agency has made this rule. People under 18 years old will not be admitted into the site.

Saturday June 16, 2012
Arden Hills Army Training Site - MN National Guard Readiness Center
4694 Hamline Ave, Arden Hills, MN 55126
Bird/Photo walk begins at 9:30am to 11:00am

We'll meet in the parking lot of the National Guard's new Readiness Center. It's on Hamline Avenue and Ben Franklin Street in Arden Hills a couple blocks north of Ramsey County 96. Take 35W North to the Co Rd 96 exit (the next exit north of 694). Go east on Co Rd 96. Take a left (North) at the stoplight at Hamline Avenue and stay on Hamline until you can't go any further (a gate will stop you). Park in the Readiness Center lot. There will probably be signs.

For details on all sorts of bird walks that weekend visit the websites with each area or

Monday, May 28, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw A Purple Martin

A couple years ago an eagle scout put up a purple martin hotel at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. Since then, the tree swallows have nested there. This year is no different. The tree swallows took over one of the room in the hotel over a month ago.

Today is the first time I saw a purple martin in the area. This martin flew around in circles while the tree swallows (and a couple barn swallows) harassed it for a good hour or so.

Purple Martin_4676.jpg

Purple Martin_4660.jpg

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tonight at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw a Storm Coming

I saw the radar had some red and purple spots headed towards the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area so I grabbed the ultra wide lens and headed out.

This shot was processed in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2.

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw a Flycatcher with Moth

Here is a shot of one of the great-crested flycatchers with a two-spotted forester moth at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw a Couple Great Crested Flycatchers

Bird_3734.jpg by Mully410 * Images
Bird_3734.jpg, a photo by Mully410 * Images on Flickr.
I heard two or three of these great crested flycatchers around the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area this morning. It was mostly cloudy with a storm coming in but I went out anyway.

I knew I had to get close to these birds to fill the frame but they are very skittish. I ended up getting lucky that this one landed on the barbed wire very close to me. I only got about 10 clicks on it before it flew off. The gray haze you see at the bottom of the frame is the bridge in the foreground. This shot is not cropped in post.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Butterflies

I stopped by the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area after work today and found a bunch of butterflies. I've been away from the area for more than a week so it was nice to be back.

Butterfly on Flower_3497.jpg

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nowhere Near the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Mountain Bluebirds

Didn't feel like getting out to the WVA today. Spent some time processing more photos from The Black Hills area. I have lots of eastern bluebirds on the barbed wire at the TCAAP WVA so I figured I'd stop by a mountain bluebird nest box in Custer State Park, SD. Mom and dad were bringing insects to the babies pretty regularly the whole time we were there. This shot is not cropped in post. I was that close.

Here is one of dad:

Mountain Bluebird_2053.jpg

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today Near the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Nesting

This is a red-tailed hawk on nest near the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. She stayed for awhile then flew off to screech at us, as hawks are wont to do.

Red-tailed Momma_9051.jpg

After she flew off, her chick popped its head up for a peak.

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Saw Mrs. Loon on a nest.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Previously at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Coyotes

Coyotes_8386_.jpg by Mully410 * Images
Coyotes_8386_.jpg, a photo by Mully410 * Images on Flickr.
I was up early on Saturday to see what I could see at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. I saw a splash off in the distance and trained the 500mm f4 + 1.4x TC on it. It was two coyotes. One was half in the water, got out and shook itself...just like a regular dog does when it's wet.

The photo on the right, it super cropped to show the coyotes. The shot below is uncropped just to give you an idea of how much I snipped.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw the First Lupine

I was up early to catch the morning light at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. Along with the morning light, there was dew all over everything.

Here is are some shots of the first lupine of the season.

Dew on Lupine_.jpg

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw a Heron with a Big Fish

I've seen a lot of interesting activities at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. Tonight was another unique event. Shortly after this heron landed is speared a big fish. It struggled with it for a while. It looked like it was stabbing it repeatedly but I couldn't see all the action due to the cattails. Eventually, it walked off, took a drink of water and wriggled around. I'm 100% certain it ate the was huge.
I had to crop this a lot to see any detail from the fish so I won't sell you any prints larger than 4"x6".  Here a shot after the alleged meal.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Bluebirds with Dinner

The eastern bluebird pair at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing area were very actively bringing food to the house tonight. They caught may of these worms. I thought it was kind of early to have babies but I guess not.

Bluebird and Worm_7919.jpg

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Swallows Doing It

Not the best photography day at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. It was dark cloudy with high ISO. Regardless, it was a great critter watching day. These swallows did it 4 or 5 times before they flew off for dinner.

I saw a buck with his gigantic antlers starting to grow for the year. The swans were courting. Saw a big group of cedar waxwings again. A handful of palm warblers worked through the grass on the other side of the barbed-wire. I also saw some wood ducks, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds, a mouse, a pair of loons, both osprey and a pileated woodpecker.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Previously at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw Angry Clouds

Angry-D5K4862-.jpg by Mully410 * Images
Angry-D5K4862-.jpg, a photo by Mully410 * Images on Flickr.
Here are a few more shot of the great sunset yesterday at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. These were taken with my Nikon D5000 and a Nikkor 10-24mm DX lens. All handheld.

I used the Nik plug-ins Viveza and Dfine on all the and added Color Efex Pro 4 to the most saturated one at the bottom.

Clouds and Sunset-.jpg

Clouds and Sunset-D5K4823.jpg

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw a Skink

Skink-4842.jpg by Mully410 * Images
Skink-4842.jpg, a photo by Mully410 * Images on Flickr.
This is the third time I've seen a skink at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. It's the first time I got to seen one for more than a fraction of a second and first time I photographed one.

I got a glimpse of it when I leaned over the bridge but it disappeared quickly. This happened a second time so I moved the tripod and setup on the ground. I waited for a while but it didn't appear. After not enough time, I moved back up on the bridge and saw it poking it head out into the sun. That's when I swapped out the ultra wide for the 70-300 and snapped this photo.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Previously at the TCAAP WVA, I Saw The Tree

Here is shot from September 2010 of The Tree at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. The bogs had filled the south end of the lake that day.

Here a shot a few months later:

The Tree D5K-7911-.jpg