Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Blackbird Swamp

At the end of our street is an old landfill site that was covered over in the early 1970's. It has naturalized as a meadow with some swampy areas and each year I have noticed more birds and other wildlife making the area their home. My father just bought a new camera and I decided to give it a try, as the sun was out and the birds were active. Becka and I took the dog (not the best birding assistant) and explored the swampy centre of the field.

There are many Red-Winged Blackbirds nesting here and they topped the shrubs, trees and rushes in spite of our proximity. Dakota had a wonderful time exploring the swamp as I took pictures. This female never left her perch while we watched her quietly from a distance.
We noticed Dakota rolling in something and found the remains of a Red Wing Blackbird who likely met his fate with a hawk, his bright red wing prominent in the pile of feathers on the ground. Becka was not happy with the dog's behaviour, or our discovery, but we had to remember that we had eaten chicken for dinner.

My dad's camera is a Kodak Z650 Zoom with a 10X optical zoom. It was reasonably priced, and is lightweight and very user friendly. I have been using a small HP PhotoSmart R818 for the past year and like the size and convenience it affords. It takes great macro shots and is good for landscape scenes. My newest camera is a Canon PowerShot S3 1S and I am still figuring out the various features it offers. It is a little big and heavy to carry around with me all the time, but the 12X optical zoom is great for identifying birds.
The Kodak camera has an excellent lens and I was pleased with the pictures taken this evening. I have posted three of them on my Flickr page.
Whatever digital cameras are choosen, they offer the user almost unlimited opportunities for that perfect shot.

~Post Script~
I went back to the swamp this afternoon and saw this Red Tailed Hawk flying above the spot where I took the photographs. I have no doubts about what happened to the bird in the last photo.


  1. Wish I could see the Flickr pages, they are blocked by the censors here. So sad :(

  2. Welcome to the Canon Powershot club. That's the kind of camera I have, and I am still learning, too. I do like its macro function, and the zoom is fine too. I am still getting used to that.
    You take such good photos, I can't imagine you'll do anything but continue.

  3. SLB.- Why would UAE censor Flickr and not Blogger? (Maybe I shouldn't ask that question)

    KGMom- Thanks...you have taken some very good photos yourself lately. I haven't figured out how to get good macros on the Canon yet. I really have to take time to read the manual!

  4. Why is it that most of us won't take time to read the manual? While I love the "point and shoot" style, I want more but hesitate to learn.

    Good photos, Ruth! Great shot of the hawk. Sad to see the remains of a RW Blackbird, though. Everyone needs a meal, though...

    Great to have Becka with you! Keep inviting Dakota and maybe he'll catch on :o)

  5. I know what you mean Ruth. My camera does so much more than I know, but it's not readily easy to heave around to have available when you see that once in a lifetime bird! Love the hawk photo!

  6. Mary- I am a hacker by nature and refer to the manual only when in trouble. It is sheer laziness, not skill! Dakota is really quite well behaved in his middle aged years and has stopped chasing everything that moves. The birds don't seem to mind him.

    Jayne- I guess that is why I use my point and click HP so much...fast and easy and at least a 50/50 chance of a good picture.


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