Category Archives: Birds

Photos of birds, bald eagles, tundra swans, hawks, waterfowl, wading birds and more.

Male Pine Grosbeak photo, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.


Male Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) perched on a spruce tree, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A male Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator), perched on a small spruce tree in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a photo I took last spring of a male Pine Grosbeak. I had set up a couple of feeders around the Shack and these gorgeous birds would come in every day and have a good ole time. Other regular visitors to the buffet were Black-capped and Boreal Chickadees, Common Redpolls, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Gray Jays and, of course, the effervescent Red Squirrel. Ravens came by, from time to time, but rarely dropped down to the feeder.  The Pine Grosbeaks were my favorite though.

The grosbeaks are actually a finch, the largest of the boreal finches. A group of these birds together is called, wait for it, a ‘gross’ of grosbeaks. They’re such a cool bird, and very tolerant of my puttering around the cabin; they’d generally ignore my comings and goings.

I grabbed a small white spruce sapling that some snow-machiners had run over and destroyed, and used it to set up the perch. For a background I hung a fleece blanket up and positioned it for a nice clean background. It’s a little bit ‘contrived’, but hopefully it works OK. Continue reading

The art of nature

Silhouette of a bald eagle, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.

A bald eagle headshot, silhouetted against a glowing sunset, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska. Click the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

I read a great blog on art yesterday, by Paul Grecian. The subject was a play on the aural equivalent of the old adage, ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it does it make a sound’. Paul takes the viewpoint that art is a human pursuit, and exists only when it has a human audience. “If there is no human to perceive it and translate the experience into an emotion, then there is no art” – I’m not so sure I subscribe to that idea, for a number of reasons.

I think art is a verb; art is something we do. The results of that process might be nice to look at, or not, or nice to listen to, but the essence of art is creating. The act of creating is where art lies, not the products of that process. And we are not at all the sole creators. An American Tree Sparrow calling the tune of the alpine country is as artful as Joshua Bell playing a Beethoven concerto. The dance of the Japanese Red Crowned Crane is glorious. A Bower bird’s building her nest? The song of the wolf pack over the frozen night air is as spell-binding as Aretha or Stevie on a good day, no? What distinguishes human art from the performances of our fellow creatures, other than our own ability (and endeavours) to relate to it?

Art is essentially play. Continue reading

Great Horned Owl Chick, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Great Horned Owl chick (owlet - Bubo virginianus), in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The chicks were just flegding, and learning to fly. This little guy had landed on the grounded, and before long flew off to a nearby white spruce tree in the boreal forest. Great Horned Owl, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Great Horned Owl chick (owlet - Bubo virginianus), in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The chicks were just flegding, and learning to fly. This little guy had landed on the grounded, and before long flew off to a nearby white spruce tree in the boreal forest. Great Horned Owl, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Just a quick photo for the weekend. A Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) chick in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The young owls were just fledging, learning to fly, and this little guy wasn’t quite sure what to make of the weird guy with the camera, laying prone on the ground nearby.

Have a great weekend all.

Cheers

Carl

Bald Eagle photo – Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Bald eagle soaring against mountains, sunset, Kachemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska.

Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) soaring against the mountains of Kachemak Bay State Park, sunset, Homer, Alaska. Click on the image for a larger version.

Hey Folks,

Few creatures express the wild quite like a soaring bald eagle does.

This photo is presented as a memorial to the late Jean Keene, good friend and a dear lady, from Homer, Alaska. Jean’s love for the eagles gave bird lovers, wildlife lovers and photographers from all around the world a lifetime of amazing opportunity, but more than that she showed by example how to care about the creatures with whom we share the earth.

Thank you Jean – may you Rest in Peace.

Cheers

Carl

Black-capped Chickadee Photo.

Black-capped Chickadee, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey folks,

Here’s a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), year-round Alaska resident, perched on a small spruce tree. There’s not a lot of birds in the great north woods this time of year, so it’s always a treat when they stop by. I’ll try to get a photo of his close cousin, the Boreal Chickadee – so far, no luck.

Cheers

Carl

Pine Grosbeak photo, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Pine Grosbeak, male, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Pine Grosbeak Photo.

[display_podcast]

Hey Folks,

I was listening to this tune the other day, and this little intro just HAD to go with this image. So, here it is.

Sorry for the delay in posts, again. I came in to Anchorage for a few days, and have been sitting, faithfully, at my computer trying to make it start. It locked up during an update, apparently, and then I couldn’t get it to start. I managed to back up most of the data on it, though it took forever. I thought the HD was fried, but it appears no problems there. I’m still working on getting all the programs back up, etc, and it’s taking way too long. I’m about sick of this computer business – I’m ready to head back to the safety of the woods. I’ll take 40-50 below zero temperatures over technology problems anyday. This stuff is too much hassle.

I did manage to take a few bird photos in the park before I came back out. They’re tricky little critters to shoot, but lots of fun. This male Pine Grosbeak was pretty cool, and I managed to get a few images. They’re named a ‘pine’ Grosbeak because they do so love the pine or coniferous forests (I spose Coniferous Grosbeak doesn’t sound so cool a name). Technically, they’re not a true Grosbeak, but a large Finch. The scientific name for the bird is Pinicola enucleator, which is pretty fancy. ‘Pinicola’ translates as ‘pine dweller’. They’re one of the few birds who winter this far north .. all the smarter ones fly south to warmer climes.

For folks such as my father, you have to click the “play” button located directly under the photo to hear the track that goes with this photo. For folks a little more hip than my dad, you get a prize if you know who the author of the track is; composer, track title, and album, please. No googling allowed.

Cheers

Carl

Northern Hawk Owl photo.

Northern Hawk Owl, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Owls rock!

Here’s a Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) taking flight from its perch on the top of a white spruce tree. These owls seem to be much more tolerant of my presence than their larger cousins, the Great Horned Owl. They’re also much more active during the daytime. Northern Hawk Owls tend to live in the boreal forests of the north, but do move south in leaner years when food is scarce. This year it looks like a bumper year for owls up here, so I doubt many of them will head south. Hopefully, that means I’ll get some photos. 🙂

Cheers
Carl

3 Toed Woodpecker photo.

3-Toed Woodpecker on Spruce Tree, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

 

Hey Folks,

Here’s a 3-toed woodpecker (three-toed woodpecker – Picoides dorsalis) from Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

Welcome back, albeit briefly. I’m going to spend the next couple of months recharging a bit, and breaking from the net and blogging and writing and reading and blah, blah, blah. A little quiet time will do me good, I think. Hopefully during that time I’ll pick up some new images and also try to come up with some ideas to write about that will make the blog a little more interesting. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ll try to make a post or 2 along the way. In the meantime, you folks be careful out there.

Cheers

Carl

Bald eagle, Alaska.

Bald eagle, catching a fish, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Just as a head’s up – unfortunately, my posting here is about to slow down considerably. I, apparently, have a great deal of work to catch up on. And I was hoping, if things worked out well, I’d have some good internet time in the next few months .. but that appears to be unlikely now. I’ll try to keep posting here as possible, it’ll be a little slower for a while, I think. Bummer, eh?

In moving along with my ‘showing some older, pre-blog-photo-era images, I thought I’d post a bald eagle image. This is from the winter of 2002. Continue reading

Spruce Grouse

male spruce grouse, Wrangell St. Elias national Park, Alaska.

hey Folks,

Here’s a male spruce grouse that I photographed a week or so ago. These birds are SO cool, and will completely bury themselves under the snow in the winter, blasting up from their hides in a frenzied eruption of snow, feathers and noise when you stroll by – and scaring the hiker immeasurably in the process.

I’ve not had any luck with photographing grouse in the park before, though I have photos from other places, so this one I was glad to catch.

Male spruce grouse, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Cheers

Carl