Thursday, July 16, 2009

Missing Betty

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

I miss Betty, the red-tailed hawk that so often perched on our roof. We haven’t seen her in months and I think about her frequently. Now keep in mind that we don’t even know if, indeed, our hawk was a Betty, or a Burt. For a little background on how Betty got the name and was assigned a gender, see “Meet Bitchin’ Betty” from Wednesday, July 9, 2008.

The handsome fellow in the photo above has been around a bit lately and does occasionally make use of our roof—sitting in Betty’s spot. But, it’s not the same. Paul Lester posted some observations Tuesday about the way things change no matter how much we wish they wouldn’t. This definitely falls in that category. I had hoped that we would see Betty for many seasons to come, and I catch myself looking for her to return any day now.

Besides, perhaps she will return soon. After all, we saw her most often in late August and through the fall. There may a simple explanation. It's possible that she prefers the hunting elsewhere this time of year. Or, perhaps she has moved on. I don’t want to think about remaining alternatives. Another possibility that I do like is that the handsome fellow who now uses her perch is an offspring. It could be true. I have been told that the hawk I am seeing these days is a young red tail.

Of course, I am romanticizing to avoid unpleasant thoughts. But, I don’t see anything wrong with a little romanticizing now and then to smooth the rough edges of change.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Looking Red Head

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Okay, that title was a cheap shot and I should be ashamed. I am. Sort of.

We see a fair number of these woodpeckers from time to time. Normally, it is
the Husband who spots birds. Almost invariably, I will be fixated on something else and he alerts me. The variety of birds is one of the reasons that I find myself thinking about a 300mm or even 400mm lens. This photograph, (taken with the 200mm f/4L) is cropped quite a bit to provide a closer look.

I love that red topknot. According to our “Encyclopedia of North American Birds” this is an Acorn Woodpecker and that red top is called a “crown”. Not surprisingly, the Acorn Woodpecker prefers woods where oak trees are prevalent. While it isn’t apparent in the photograph, there are plenty of oaks nearby. This fellow appears to be scanning for another part of his diet: unlucky insects.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Caliente Creek Road Revisited

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A while back, Mark Graf wrote about photographs “Rescued from Picture Purgatory”. Periodically, I think about that post. For the last few days I have been under the weather with my crazy digestive system giving me fits. With little energy to get out and about, I spent time revisiting some old folders and tweaking images that I never had bothered to process. Sunday, I found this one in a Caliente Creek Road folder and enjoyed working on it, so I thought I would share it here.