Monday, May 25, 2009

More Momma Hummingbird

I had about 3 separate photo shoots with Momma Hummingbird today out at the cottage.  You might think it is easy to get good photos of a bird just sitting on a nest.  Well, it's not!  At least not for me.  I had the hardest time trying to get the nest and the bird in focus together, and I'm still not happy with the quality but they are much better than the ones I got last night.    
I'm really not that close to her when I'm photographing her.  I'm up as high as I can comfortably get on a ladder trying to balance my tripod on one of the ladder steps and I am still a good 20 feet away from her.  She stays right on her nest never taking her eyes off of me.  
Isn't her nest beautiful?  Click on the photo to enlarge for a better look at the nest.  It's made mostly of lichen and lined with spiderweb silk.  
I'll go out again in a few days to check on her.  I don't want to miss the opportunity to see some baby hummingbird beaks peeking over the nest.  
Be safe Momma Hummingbird!  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nesting Hummingbird

I went to a program at Sarett Nature Center this afternoon about the rediscovery of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.  It was AWESOME.  I will devote a post to that program soon.  
As I was leaving the Nature Center I noticed a voice mail on my cell phone.  It was Craig telling me to make sure I stopped and picked up my camera before heading out to the cottage.  He said that he found a nesting hummingbird.  I couldn't believe it!  I've ALWAYS wanted to see/find a nesting hummingbird.  I stopped at the house and grabbed my camera.  As I was leaving the house I noticed this butterfly on a purple flower... a great photo opportunity.  But I almost didn't stop to photograph the butterfly because I was so anxious to get to the hummingbird.  I'm glad I took the few minutes to snap these photos.  They turned out great.  
Anyway... back to the hummingbird.  Sure enough!  There was a sweet little Momma Hummingbird nesting on a branch.  I was disappointed at the quality of my photos.  It was starting to get dusk and I'm hoping to get better photos in brighter sunlight tomorrow.  She was quite high up on the branch and I was standing on a ladder with my telephoto lens to get these shots.  
How did Craig find her?  He said he was standing under the tree and an Oriole landed a few inches from the nest (he didn't notice the hummingbird nest at this time).  Then he noticed a Hummingbird attacking the Oriole.  He said the Hummingbird was actually pecking the Oriole in the head.  After about 4 pokes the Oriole flew away.  That got Craig to thinking, there must be a reason why the Hummingbird did this so he took a closer look at the branches.  Soon the Hummingbird came back and that is when Craig noticed the nest.    
I can't wait to watch her progress.  I'm really hoping that I'm able to get some photos of her feeding the babies in the next few weeks.  How exciting this is for me!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Great weekend.. ending too soon

The weekends always seem to fly by.  But even so... it was a great weekend.  Saturday morning I got up and ran to a yard sale that was advertising antiques.  It was a great sale.  I didn't buy any antiques (although they had some great ones) but I found some wonderful stuff for the camper trailer, among them a camera tripod for $1.  I love a good deal.  I'm keeping it in the camper to use on our travels.  Then my Mom and I went to Sarett Nature Center to a wildflower sale.  Mom bought some cinnamon stick ferns and a Jack-in-the-pulpit.  For the rest of the afternoon I spent time out in the camper cleaning, organizing and dreaming of the fun we will soon be having.  
Today after church we went out to the cottage for dinner and to celebrate Dana and Jon's birthday.  As soon as we pulled up to the cottage the first thing I said was "It feels so good to be out at the cottage!"  You don't realize how much you miss it over the winter until your first time out in the spring.  As soon as we got home I jumped on the lawn mower and mowed the yard for about an hour.  I don't know if I'm weird or not but I LOVE to mow the lawn.  It relaxes me and is soothing.  I listen to my ipod while mowing... tonight I listed to Laura Erickson's "For the Birds" podcasts.  For those of you that like birds/birding and you have an ipod I highly recommend that you download this podcast.  I download it from i-tunes (it's free too).  It's a daily 4 or 5 minute radio program all about birds.  It is so good, easy to understand, intresting....  I save up several weeks worth and then listen to them all at once.

After mowing Josh and Ty came over and we all sat around a fire in the back yard.  I miss the boys and it was so great to have them here!  It was  a great way to end the weekend. 

Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well.   

Quick Post

It's a busy day today so I'm doing a quick post of a couple of bird photos.  A week ago I had 4 or 5 Grosbeaks wandering around the yard.  Haven't seen them much in the last few days.  
And I love the brilliant yellow that the Goldfinches are proudly displaying now.  

Have a great day friends!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good Luck Jordan

Track season is winding down and it's been a great season!  
It's a wonderful time for Jordan and her friends.  She truly loves track.  
Ian, Jordan and Phil
Ian & Jordan
Coach encouraging the girls.  
Regionals are tomorrow and Jordan is very excited to go.  Going into the meet Jordan is ranked 8th in the 100 meter hurdles.  
Jordan... Dad and I wish we could be there.  We will be thinking of you.  Good Luck Missy and have fun.  Love you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Favorite photo of the day

I am in the process of trying to become a better photographer.  It's a slow progress but I am determined to learn and understand more.  One of the things I'm concentrating on is the composition of my photos, not just the subject but the backgrounds and surroundings.  This was my favorite photo from today.  I found a nesting robin in a tree beside the garage.  Granted, I've seen better photos of birds but there are a lot of things that I really like about this photo.  See the nest?  I like how the tree branches seem to be growing out of the nest.  And I like the tree trunk off to the side behind the nest.  I like the green leaves out of focus.  And Momma Robin is awesome to me.  I just love her eyeballs and beak peaking over the nest.  The only thing I do not like about this photo is the bluish/green background (the garage).  I wish there were more leaves in the background.   

I think this photo goes well with my favorite Emily Dickinson poem....

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching, 
or cool one pain,
or help one fainting Robin unto his nest again..... 
I shall not live in vain. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Good Morning. Sorry for my lack of posts this week. Since I have no new photos to post I thought I'd post this video I found on CNN of a Momma Robin nesting on the White House Lawn. I LOVE Spring!

A few other notes..... Craig and I were successful in our quest to find a travel trailer to purchase. We found one up in Holland that someone had posted on "Craig's List". We are official HAPPY CAMPERS now. I'll post photos next week.

And last but not least... HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all my "Mom" friends out there. We will be spending the day with family tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm posting this on my blog to get the word out.  Craig and I are in the market for a used travel trailer.  If any of you local to us are driving around and see a used one for sale beside the road or know someone who has one for sale please let us know.  We are tired of tent camping!  And I have finally talked Craig into the idea of getting a travel trailer.  We do not want a 5th wheel.  We would like it to be 20 to 26 feet, used and in good condition up to $5,000.  Craig is going as a chaperone to ICHTHUS this year... this is another incentive to getting a travel trailer.  Don't know if it will happen before then but we are starting to look.  Keep your eyes open for us.  Thanks!   

Engine Update

Every day I am summonsed to the garage.... "Would you please come out with your camera and take photos of the engine?"  It puts a smile on my face.  Tonight was a special summons... the engine was finally placed in the Jeep.  I wonder when I will get to hear the engine running?  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bird Photography Class

I spent 3 hours in a bird photography class at Kalamazoo Nature Center on Saturday.  The class was taught by Josh and Dave Haas who are nature photographers.  If you have time check out their website and amazing photography (Glances at Nature).  
The class was not about spotting birds in the wild for photo opportunities but rather all the components that go into making your photographs better.  They spent one on one time with us and our individual cameras.  I learned a lot about the manual functions of my camera which was exactly what I was hoping for.  
I have a better understanding of aperture, ISO, etc.  But I am still in the baby stages of learning.  The best thing about this is that now I am excited to learn more.  For the next few weeks I am taking an SLR digital camera class at a camera shop in Kalamazoo.  
We had the opportunity to photograph two birds.  I liked the photos better of the screech owl above the best.  To me the lighting was better.  This barred owl was magnificent but I wished my photos would have shown his eyes better... although, I still like the photos.   

This photo above is my favorite of the barred owl.  I love the way the light is shinning on her face and I love the look of the stump she is perched on as well as the back ground colors.  Click on photo to enlarge for a better look.  
And just so you don't think we walked into the woods and came upon these beautiful owls in the wild I posted this photo for you. These owls live at the nature center and were injured in car accidents.  They both have neurological injuries that do not allow them to be released back into the wild.  They are used in many of the centers teaching programs.  Josh and Dave were kind enough to bring them outside into their natural environments so we could have an amazing photo shoot with them.   

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Caleb & Jordan
I could tell you that we have the most beautiful kids,
and how amazing they all are,
and what a privilege it is to be their parents,
but I will let the photos speak for themselves.
We love them dearly.....
Bethany & Caleb
Jordan & Ian
Jordan & Ian
Maleni & Ty
Jordan & Ty

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I knew it was near time for morels to start popping up but I had almost forgotten about it.  Our family loves morels, especially Caleb and my Dad, but finding them is a challenge.  
The first year we moved to our current home (7 years ago) Jordan and I took a walk into the woods behind the house and hit the jack pot.  We found so many morels that we couldn't even carry them all and had to run back to the house and get bags.  Since that time we have never had so many again.  Some years we barely find one or two.
Yesterday I was out feeding the birds and I spotted one right in the lawn.... an unusual place to find one, so back to the woods I headed to look for more.  I found about a dozen small ones and I'm hoping that more pop up this weekend with the warmer weather coming.  
I told Caleb that I was going to take them over to Pa-Pa (my dad) for a surprise.  Caleb loudly protested "Are you kidding!! These are MINE!".  

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's a new day, a new dawn.....

Momma Robin nesting on my back porch

Everyone at our house is so ready for this week to be over.  Today is the start of a 4 day weekend for me and it is so needed.  Here is what I'm looking forward to this weekend:

1. Jordan's track meet this afternoon.  Going into last Wednesday's meet Jordan personal best time in the 100 hurdles was 18.2.  That day she ran a 17.6!  I'm excited to see what she runs today.

2. My birding photography class tomorrow morning at Kalamazoo Nature Center.  I can hardly wait to see what I learn.  Maybe I'll share some of the secrets that I learn with you all.  

3. Prom tomorrow night!!!!  Jordan will look and feel like a princess.... don't worry, I'll post photos.  And even though Caleb graduated last year he's going this year too with a friend of his that is a senior this year. 

4.  Working in my yard and gardens.  It's been raining most all week but today the sun is out and it's supposed to be a beautiful weekend weather wise. 

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!