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Project 52Martha's First 52

The goal of Project 52 is to take a photo a week. This is an easier pace than the Project 365.
- Start a thread with your name such as, "MyName's 52" or "MyName's Photo-a-Week Project" so other members can easily track your project. Some Posts May Be NSFW. If you intend to post any questionable images, please include NSFW in the title
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Ceropegia
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Re: Martha's First 52

Post by Ceropegia »

TomCofer wrote:Nice bird set Martha


Thanks, Tom

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Post by Ceropegia »

Week 5 (January 29 - February 4, 2015)
Until this week, I had never seen a bald eagle in the wild. Fifty years ago, on a bitterly cold day, I sought them out at a wintering site along the Mississippi River near where I lived in Illinois, but could not spot even one. Ever since, finding one in the wild has sort of been on my bucket list. Two years ago, I went to an area about an hour away from my house where eagles winter and some stay year round, but I got my bearings wrong so again did not find any. This past week, armed with better information, I decided to try once more. I picked a bright, sunny day for my adventure. Before dawn, I packed up some gear, layered on clothes, let Otis out for a few minutes, and headed into the garage only to be foiled by utter stupidity. After taking groceries out of the car the day before, I had left the car door open causing the dome light to drain the battery. The next day, although not promising to be as bright and sunny, I decided, now or never. Early that morning, I traveled about 50 miles to the Guntersville Dam, a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dam on the Tennessee River in Alabama - a well known eagle haunt. After spending almost an hour there both above and below the dam, in weather below freezing, all I had managed to do was scare up three three great blue herons, spot a large number of buzzards and cormorants perched a great distance away on the dam, and see some coots swimming in the water. Chilled to the bone, I was ready to give up until some helpful birders directed me to the location of an eagle nest. They told me one had just swapped with its mate and left the nest. All I had to do was wait 10 or 15 minutes for it to return. However, when it did return, the sun had long since disappeared behind thick clouds making the lighting very poor. Because of that, coupled with the distance that I was from the nest, and my less than optimal equipment, I only managed to get a few not very good shots. But I was still ecstatic! The bird was amazing! I plan on returning again on sunnier days throughout their nesting season. I may even raid my savings for a better lens to try to get some better photos.

Some cormorants preening on the dam
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Cormorants Preening by Ceropegia on Ipernity


The nest
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Bald Eagle Nest by Ceropegia on Ipernity


The eagle
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Bald Eagle on Nest by Ceropegia on Ipernity


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Bald Eagle on Nest by Ceropegia on Ipernity


ImageBald Eagle on Nest by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Post by Onslow »

Martha, well done on finally nailing the Bald Eagle. It really is a majestic looking creature... :)

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Post by TomCofer »

Nice eagle shots Martha. I've seen a few, but only managed to get one shot of them so far.
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Post by Bobby Deal »

Congrats on the Eagle find. They truly are amazing birds. Where I lived in Colorado for years we had several pairs of Bald Eagles that would winter in our area as well as several Golden Eagles that stayed with us year round. At the time I ran a game meet processing plant through the winter big game hunting seasons. I would bring barrels of bones and scrap home and dump it on the hillside about 400 yards across the canyon from my house. I would sit on my porch and watch them through a spotting scope for hours as they would feed on bone piles. They are true Apex predators in the bird world. They would be feeding and the magpies would harass them and try and sneak in and feed on the same piece of meat they were and the eagle would raise up flap its wings and run the Magpie off. It would tolerate these constant intrusions for only so long then it would give in or so it would seem as it would stand still and let the Magpie start to feed. Then with lightning speed it would jump up and come down on the Magpie so hard with its talons that the Magpie would literally go up in a puff of feathers. The Eagle would then quietly return to feeding.

If there is no real need for you to invest ion large tele glass just to capture a few images of the Eagles you might consider renting from Borrowlenses.com. They are a great resource for equipment rental.

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Post by Ceropegia »

TomCofer wrote:Nice eagle shots Martha. I've seen a few, but only managed to get one shot of them so far.

Onslow wrote:Martha, well done on finally nailing the Bald Eagle. It really is a majestic looking creature... :)

Thanks, guys!

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Post by Ceropegia »

Bobby Deal wrote:If there is no real need for you to invest ion large tele glass just to capture a few images of the Eagles you might consider renting from Borrowlenses.com. They are a great resource for equipment rental.


Thanks for the tip. I have checked out the site and will certainly keep it in mind when I have a short term need. But my desire for a long range lens is not limited to the eagles. I have a passion for taking wildlife photos and most everything worth capturing is usually fairly far away, hence my desire to own one. Surprisingly, I have managed to get some fairly satisfactory, for me, at least, shots from quite a distance with my bridge Canon that has a 35x optical zoom and apparently very good image stabilization. It is the camera I used for the eagle shots. But, the eagles (and now the whooping cranes I tried to photo for this week's 52), are really just a rationalization for finally getting a longer lens.

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Post by Ceropegia »

Week 6 (February 5 - February 11, 2015)
A person I spoke with at the eagle nest site, sent me on this week's quest. He told me that some whooping cranes were wintering at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge about 70 miles from where I live. These cranes are endangered. Only about 600 exist - 400 of them are in the wild. Of those, 300 are in the only naturally migrating flock which is west of the Mississippi and 100 are captive born that are being released into the wild in hopes of establishing another migrating flock east of the Mississippi River. Thirty four of the released birds have been wintering in Alabama, 12 to 14 of them at Wheeler. Along with the whooping cranes, may other water fowl also winter at the refuge, including about 14,000 sandhill cranes. Hundreds of them can be seen from the heated observation building at the visitors center. I was told that a couple of the whooping cranes were with them in that area. Knowing that the birds would soon be headed north, I did not waste any time getting to Wheeler. However, when I arrived, I was told the whooping cranes had moved to another part of the refuge. I was somewhat disappointed, but seeing and hearing the hundreds, perhaps even a couple of thousand sandhill cranes in a field across a slough from the observation center was a treat in itself. As I was leaving, I overheard the lady at the information desk giving directions to where the whooping cranes were. A short ride, and a nice walk later I arrived at the location. No cranes in sight. But as I, and some others, were leaving, we met a party being guided by a refuge ranger. She told us they had spotted 11 cranes some distance up the river. After walking quite far along the river bank we could finally see them, white specks in the distance. Before we got very close, they flew off to join some sandhill cranes farther across the water. They are quite majestic in flight. Before they flew, I did manage one shot. Not the best, but considering how far away they were, I felt lucky I was able to get one in which they were somewhat discernible. Had I not lagged behind the others who were about 100 yards ahead of me, perhaps I could have gotten a little better one. If I really blow the image up, though blurred, I can see some of the leg bands. Each crane has a distinctively colored band. All the eastern cranes have life histories on the internet. When I have time I will try to find the ones I photo'd.

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Whopping Cranes by Ceropegia on ipernity

I took many shots at Wheeler, where I saw my first butterfly of the year. Here are some:

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Sandhill Cranes by Ceropegia on ipernity

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American Widgeons by Ceropegia on ipernity

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Canada Geese by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Female Mallard Duck by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Sleepy Orange Butterflyby Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Post by Ceropegia »

Week 6 (February 5 - February 11, 2015 Continued)

On my way to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge I stopped to check out the bald eagle nest. All the eggs have apparently hatched and the eagles are busy feeding the babies. I only stayed a short time because I wanted to get to Wheeler, but I did manage to see one bring a coot to the nest for the babies and heard them chattering to one another - a charming sound.

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Bald Eagle Delivering a Coot for the Babies by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Bald Eagle Stripping Feathers off the Coot

Other photos from the TVA land where the eagles are nesting
The slough below the pine tree where they have their nest (on the right beyond the photo)
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Slough by Ceropegia on Ipernity

A pond nearby
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A Quiet Morning by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Morning Reflections by Ceropegia on Ipernity

The dam
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Guntersville Dam

A bird
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A Male Cardinal by Ceropegia on Ipernity

Plus two others:
An invasive species (taken in Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge)
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Nandina Berries

And finally, actually the first shot of the week. When I saw it, I couldn't resist, in case it would be the only thing I got. Taken from my driveway.
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Moon by Ceropegia on Ipernity

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Post by TomCofer »

Nice shots and information Martha. Thanks for sharing.
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