Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Butterfly Love

When someone like me love wild bird so much, I could not help but love everything can fly or lift in the mid of air. I could say I'm mesmerized by anything with "wings", from large aircraft, UFO, to small tiny flying insects. Butterfly is another my "winged collection". You would say who doesn't like butterfly. Sure! I get your point. But, do you know butterfly has very short life? They stay in their egg or chrysalis (pupa) form for a long time to spend over the winter or until the weather condition suitable for them to metamorphose into a butterfly. There is only from a week to one year lifespan during the adulthood.

Paper Kite or Rice Paper ..from Callaway Garden, Pine Mountain, GA
Click image to enlarge
Birth is the happiest moment in most people's life. But not in the case of butterfly. It will take from one to three hours for a newly emerged butterfly to pump blood into their wings and to dry them completely before taking their first flight. This is also the time which is most susceptible to predators. I guess life is not so easy even for something small yet, so beautiful .... This is a poem I'd like to share with everyone:

"From a chrysalis transforms into a Butterfly could be painful
But I learn to endure
Freedom for Love and Friendship has cost me too much
But I will never give up loving" ........................................... By Linda

Feel free to drop me a line or two, I welcome your comment and suggestion :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Atlanta Audubon 2012 Photography Contest Winners

After having a very successful turnout for last year's photo contest, I was asked by Atlanta Audubon photo contest Committee Chair, David Cree, to make another video presentation for all the winners. Language is a barrier and pictures tell a thousand words ... Now please enjoy these beautiful pictures!

I welcome your comment and suggestion and feel free to drop me a line or two. If you missed this year's contest, please remember to submit your images next year. Your submission not only shows how much you love wildlife, you also support Atlanta Audubon's educational and conservation programs. The deadline for sending your photos is in March. Come back to check Atlanta Audubon website for more info. 

--Happy Birding! -- Linda

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Flowers - March Bloom (3)

My 100+ Tulips are coming strong ...I will add more Tulips pictures as they bloom :) Happy Spring and Happy Birding!

Click the links to see other bloom in my garden:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Green Heron

Beautiful things always happen when I'm least expected. Capturing this Green Heron is another example. Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is a not a rare bird and you start seeing more of them from April through October. They breed in Georgia but it's hard to spot them because they often stand motionless and wait for the prey to come by.

On my way home from visiting a friend from Duluth, I saw few Mallards flew and landed in this community lake. Everyone will agree that Mallards are so popular everywhere, most people will not care much about them. I pulled over and just wanted to check around the lake to see if I have any luck finding something interesting. As soon as I took out my binos, I found 9 Ring-necked Ducks (post coming soon). They seemed relaxed and not in a hurry going anywhere. I started slowly walking towards the lake and in the mean time, warming up my camera. Not surprised, these shy ducks started swimming away as soon as they saw me coming. I decided to stay a bit longer and took out my mp3 player and started listening to my favorite song, a piano version of "Someone Like You" sent by my best friend :) Suddenly, a green bird landed in front of me. I wanted to scream, but I kept my cool and could not believe a beautiful Green Heron just touched down about 50 feet in front of me. I thought it's dinner time and I might see him catch his fish. But all he does was relaxing and preening his feathers for a good 20 minutes.

Admitting that I am not a patient person in any way, but when I learn to be patient, the reward for my calm demeanor is not money can buy. So now, I would like to share this Green Heron with all feather lovers like you! -- Happy Birding! -- Linda

See my other posts of Green Heron:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Flowers - March Bloom (2)

Recently I am obsessed with pink and I see this color everywhere, except, there is no pink bird. I'm blessed to live in the south in a way that flowering trees such as peach, cherry and pear just could not wait for spring to wake them up.  I have started seeing bees and flies in early March and that also means hummingbirds and my two tree frogs are returning home soon :)

Peach tree, Captured on March 8, 2012

I have two Camellia bushes in my garden. They both have very light pink flowers. I found a very dark pink flower bud hidden inside one bush. I went to check on the flower bud everyday and just wanted to make sure I don't miss her bloom. It rained few days and I thought it might not come out right. Apparently, my worry was not necessary. I would like to dedicate this flower to my best friend :)
Camellia, captured on March 14, 2012

 Spring is calling and I see sign of life every step I go. How about you? --Linda

Sunday, March 11, 2012

American Robin

I always want to photograph American Robin (Turdus migratorius). But for some reasons I have not had much luck other than seeing them roost high on tree branches or forage on grassy area. Most American Robins are not migratory and they stay at their breeding ground through out the years. During fall and winter, you do see many of then congregate in a large flock and eat mainly fruits and berries. They are not sexually dimorphic however, female is over all duller than the male. They sing the most beautiful songs  (Click to hear their songs) and I am glad to snap this guy with his adorable crest feathers pumped up after 15 minutes of playing "seek and hide" :)

Young fledglings' survival rate is about 25% and the longest lived Robin is 14 years old according to the "Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior". The Robin is considered a symbol of spring as appeared in a poem by Emily Dickinson, " I Dreaded That First Robin So". Do you hear them singing and telling us "Spring is nearly here" !!-- Happy Birding! -- Linda

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day - Northern Cardinal

(Click image to enlarge)
Everyone will agree that wild birds look the most striking in males. Surely I will not disagree you either. But do you know why most females look dull in colors? Because they carry a very important mission, to nest and carry their offspring. I photographed this female yesterday  and I think she is more than a cute bird....she is just gorgeous!!

Today is International Women's Day and I would like to share this image of  female Northern Cardinal with you and especially pay tribute to all hard working women, mothers and to those who stand in front of enemy line protect us and our country! Give your loved ones a call and tell her (them) how much you appreciate her/them even is just a "hi", can touch her/their heart :)

I appreciate your feedback,  suggestion and comment :) Happy Birding!! -- Linda

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Flowers - March Bloom (1)

Just want to share some spring flowers with you ...the first one is my favorite color, Purple (bluish purple). Grape Hyacinths (Muscari neglectum)...I will post more flowers in the next few days :)

(Grape Hyacinths)

The next flower is a Yellow one, Forsythia. They bloom in the early spring but this year, two flowers popped up in December and now they fully bloom. Forsythia can grow from 3 to 9 feet tall (1 to 3 meters) and their tiny flowers are about 1 inch (or 2 cm). Not only do they compete with all the daffodils in my garden, their precious flowers decorate our late winter days and provide food for many bees. Forsythia is not cheap to buy but it is so easy to replant them year after year. Just put some dirt over a branch and wait for it to root. Then dig it out  and  plant it to any where you desire.  Not much care except rain water :))


Huh, I am thinking about Pink for the next flower. Let me see if I can find something pink in my garden . Of course, red, white, orange and more flora shots are coming soon!!

See March Bloom (2) here

Monday, March 5, 2012

Horned Lark

Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris) also called Horned Lark, got this name from their unique two black horns. They like mowed ground and eat mainly grass seeds and weed. You can see them at the most parts of country except where I live. There are about a little over 400 species residents and migrants occur in my state. But I have to travel over 60 miles to photograph this bird. For some reasons, these small songbirds found their favorite food at a place called "Bartow County Loop", Cartersville, Georgia, a birding Hot Spot!
The first thing caught your attention is their musical tinkling calls (click to hear their call. BTW, Do you know you can get an app call  iBIRD PRO from Android market and you will be able to hear all 924 North American species) and they sing very loud even when they forage on ground. Just follow the music and you find them. I also want to show you few images of this Bartow County Loop. Frankly I really don't like this place too much because this area has wind speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour during a normal winter day and it's not the best weather for photographing anything. But I have no choice because I love birds too much!!

(Bartow County Loop, scene #1 ..it is really pretty here but just image standing here with wind speed of 30 mph ...I could barely hand hold my camera :DDD )

(Scene #2: Very peaceful place, right?...with a small farm house and mountain is just in your own backyard )

(Scene #3: Ok...actually my birding buddies Iris and Aija pointed this to me.  Do you know what really attract our attention? Not the hay bales but one Eastern Meadowlark :)) Can you see that?)

Finally, this trip could not made possible without my best friend Iris Schumacher's being a patient chauffeur and her great knowledge of birding by ears and, Aija Konrad being our trip guide and leading us through some very confusing country roads where GPS really did not work. Aija's great eyes spotted  three very camouflaged Wilson's Snipes and a road-side Red-Tailed Hawk (image is coming soon).  Iris stopped our car in the middle of the road so many times only for me to snap shots of Eastern Meadowlarks, Redheads and two American Kestrels though she blamed me for making too much noise and scared birds away. Thank guys and we all had a great time! Happy Birding!! -- Linda

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Northern Cardinal

Claiming Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) to be the most abundant and the most beautiful song birds in North America is not an over statement. Male is bright red all over with an orange bill and female and immature are with dull brownish feathers. Most of song birds only males sing. But both male and female sing. You often see female sings and calls when sitting at the nest to send signals for male to bring her food. I snap these pictures few days ago when weather seemed like a spring though it's still winter.

(Northern Cardinal, male)

A friend of mine came visiting me in May and while sitting at deck, she saw these cardinals. She asked me "how beautiful these birds are...what are they?". She has never seen Northern Cardinal in California because this bird only breed in the east. 

Another friend told me once he saw a cardinal in the park but the color was weird. I did not quite understand what he meant. I thought molting sometimes could cause discoloration on feathers. When I saw the picture he sent me...that really cracked me up....OMG! I told him...the bird he saw was actually a female Northern Cardinal! I love newbie birder :) Actually, male cardinal's bright red color is derived from carotenoid pigments appeared in their favorite food,  such as black oil sunflower seeds. Female cardinals just simply lacks the necessary enzymes to breakdown carotenoids therefore appear to be dull brownish. 

Males start fighting territories in the early spring and when male passes food to his loved one, the first brood would be produced in the early April and normally 2 to 3 broods a year. I hope soon I will spot some love nests and share new life with everyone! Happy Birding! -- Linda

** Do you know that Northern Cardinal is 7 states bird? Find out what is your state bird by click this link :))
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