Brave Leap

First to Leave

In the first video, the largest and strongest Robin chick, the first to fledge, is not quite ready. Maybe I am anthropomorphizing, this individual appears to exhibit the same emotions I feel when approaching a new physical experience, say learning to flip turn, swimming laps in later life. Listen carefully to hear the chick playing the carriage light crown like a bell.

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Here the first chick to fledge screws up the courage, takes a shit, then leaps!! Bon Voyage!!

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I have a lot to learn about making video with this new camera. Color balance is improved in the second video.

Today, the morning after, this nest is not empty. I found the third chick standing, well grown, enjoying the benefits of parental attention. The nest was empty by afternoon, the territorial Robin parents were still terrorizing Blue Jays.

Special thanks to Pam for the heads up on the chicks and for ceding her prime kitchen window spot.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A Tight Fit

We watched the parents build this nest in stages from May to June, at times progress was so slow Pam and I thought the nest abandoned. It is a perfect location for them, safe from predators, sheltered by soffit, above, wall, behind. In front, carriage light crown.

Today the two of three chicks flew the nest. Here they are in the minutes before this big event.

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Here is my first video with the Canon dslr.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglog Slideshow

A May Morning, Early

Every photograph from my recent posting were accepted by Getty IStock. Click this link to visit the photographs on IStock.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Curious Horses

A photographer and his audience

One May early morning two white horses come down from a sloping pasture on Slievenaglogh to view an interloper taking photographs. Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

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Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

This I used the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. It is two shots, the first in horizontal, the second in vertical mode.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Frame

green pastures framed by Whin Bush and Hawthorn windbreak

The road runs high on the shoulder of Slievenaglog peak, the 200 mm lens peers into the next townland over, Ballycoly (or Ballygoley), the valley floor broad, pastured.

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This is the seventh and last of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Here is a recap of recent posts with the 200 and 24 mm lens. Can you tell the difference?

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

“Surfing” Grey Herons

a dedicated predator

Our long beachcombing adventures are enlivened by wildlife. Grey Herons stalking the surf line, the interface between the Atlantic Ocean and the shore, stop us in place, fascinated.

I pack an iPhone sometimes for beachcombing as a lightweight alternative to SLRs. This post features iPhone photographs.

There are two varieties of “surfing” Grey Herons: those looking for a handout from fishermen and independent operators. These photographs are of the latter, active feeders searching the wash for edibles: fish and crustaceans. These progress verrrrryyyyyy slooooowwwwllllyyyy, at a level high enough to avoid breaking waves, low enough for their long legs to be submerged.

A perfect place to stalk the surf

The heron appears to be mesmerized by the waves until, suddenly, the head tilts slightly, the serpentine neck extends quick as a striking rattlesnake, the sharp beak pierces the water to emerge sometimes empty.

Success!!

When successful, the beak holds an improbably large fish. The heron stands there, adjusting the catch with imperceptible head motions, until the victim is aligned lengthwise with the beak and gullet. A quick jerk forward and the catch is propelled into the upper throat, which expands. A few more jerks and it is consumed whole, unchewed. An amazing process to witness and only possible if you take the time for the slow process.

Another element is the heron’s tolerance of human observers. These herons ignore us if we keep an adequate distance. Elsewhere, a heron will take wings at the slightest provocation, as simple as a glance of a human and these will fly, uttering a raucous, rasping goodbye.

These photographs are from morning excursions, the subject is backlit. Afternoons, we do not encounter many stalking herons when the light is better. The individuals looking for handouts are out in the afternoon, generally, after the fishermen has thinned out. Don’t know why that is.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills