Swans of Squaw Creek

Yep, I went back to Squaw Creek today. Because of the mild weather, I suspected that there would be little ice and I wanted to see what might still be hanging around.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a number of swans.

We are not cygnets. We are all grown up!

They are very beautiful in the bright sunlight.  They weren’t too far from shore so getting a few good images wasn’t too difficult. Those pictured above are juvenile. Their parents were right next to them.

Just waking up and needing to stretch

Look who’s walking on water!

Look everyone! I can walk on water!

Beside the swans, there are still a lot of snow geese and mallards hanging around.  The mallards are very nervous. I’m sure they’ve been shot at a number of times by now.  They’d fly away when the car got within 50 to 100 yards of them.  I couldn’t get close enough for a decent image.

Standing Proud!

I always feel luck when I see bald eagles.  I saw 4 mature and 6 immature eagles on my first trip around the lake.  The one above just stayed perched begging to be photographed.

Great example of a very BAD background… I know better than posting an image like this! My photography friends will be disappointed in me!  Neither it nor I could move to get a better background.  I had to post it though because I love its attitude!

I then spied this very old house. I’ve been by it a number of times but had never seen it before today.  I wonder why?

Who lives here?

Talk about planting trees too close!  Is this what’s meant by the saying, “Some people bring the house to the trees”? (Dodge truck commercial)

A Fixer-upper!

All in all, it was a pretty good day.  I hope you enjoyed the swans and perhaps my rambling.

See Ya!  Come back soon.


Snowy Owls in Kansas & Missouri

As just about everyone in the area knows, we are lucky to have snow owls in Kansas and Missouri this year. The one pictured below was on lake side of the dam at Smithville Lake.  I watched and photographed him for about two hours until a jogger got too close and he flew away.  I was very luck to see two of them that day.

Snowy Owl

I sent pictures of this one to ornithologist, Mark B. Robbins of the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. He believes this one to be a juvenile male. In the picture above, he looks as though he’s angry that I’m close by.  He’s actually preening himself which means that he’s not upset by my presence at all.  I stayed quite a distance away so as not to cause him any stress.  In my view, no photograph is worth taking if it causes an animal stress.  I’d rather just watch and enjoy it from afar.

Snowy Owl

Snowys prey on lemmings which is a small rodent.  They eat other small animals as well.  Every three to five years, the lemming population crashes which causes some snowy owls to migrate south.  It must really be bad this year because no one can remember seeing the numbers of snowys that we’re seeing in our area.  Biologists and naturalists have said that many of them will not make it back up to the Arctic in the spring.  They’ll just be too stressed or weak.  Several have already been struck by cars.  Cars, people and trees must be very strange to them. There are none or are very rare where they live.

It’s been a real treat to see them.  I only hope that this one and many of the others in the area find enough food through out the winter to become strong enough to make it back home!  Good Luck Little Buddy!

Can you really take good pictures when it’s cloudy?

Most wildlife and landscape photographers agree that the best light of the day is in the early morning and late afternoon.  I agree but I also like cloudy days.  You don’t have to worry about the deep harsh shadows caused by the sun.  It started out cloudy this morning so I brought my camera to the zoo. The following image is right out of the camera with just a very slight crop and with no color adjustments made. You be the judge.

Lilac breasted Roller

The image could be brightened just a little but I think it’s not bad. Another benefit is that on cool cloudy days, the animals are more active.  As you can see below, the Eland were frisky!

You push me and I'll push you back!

At one time or another, all the giraffes were running. Below, brother and sister, who are both under a year old, were racing. Look out Simitar Horned Oryx!!

Brother & Sister Racing!

The cats were on the prowl!

This is Gi

However, Nakita was content to just lay back and enjoy breakfast.

Nakita having breakfast

All these images were taken in the morning while it was still cloudy. I know people who leave their cameras at home when the sun’s not out but it’s one of my favorite times to shoot.

OK, now for my friends who came here from Facebook. They were asked to identify the image below.

Guess Who!

Congratulations, if you guessed…………………

Labor Day
Labor Day

I mentioned in a previous post that I might get controversial. I do hope that you’ll consider taking pictures on cloudy days.  You might be pleasantly surprised. It just may become one of your favorite times to take pictures too.

Hope you enjoyed the blog. Please come back.