My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flamingos From All Over

I got interested in figuring out flamingo species after spending a couple of days watching two groups of them at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.  There is one group of flamingos with three species in it. Most of the pictures come from that group.  The American flamingos live in the Landing Zone, where you can get within touching distance of them, although separated from them by a fence. It is very hard to get pictures of them without a fence in the background or foreground so I kept just one picture of them.

(Note: click on a picture to see all larger.)

Most of these birds are Chilean flamingos - Bills gray with black tip and pink knees on gray legs and feet. Not sure what the bill bump meant

Think this is a juvenile chilean

More Chileans

Lesser flamingo in front

A Chilean

After I'd taken many pictures of single to multiple flamingos, I started seeing them as art.  I also loved that I could see different expressions in their faces.  I fought to isolate some compositions of them and then tried to fit them into frames as they contorted themselves.  I ended up with lots of pictures of parts of them.

Spotlighted flamingos

American flamingo in a moody moment

Loved those stern expressions - all they are missing is the pitchfork

Same expression with pitchfork

Trying to stuff as much of a flamingo as I can into this picture - may be a juvenile greater flamingo

What great tonality

The only way I could showcase their feet was to take just the feet on those rebar legs

That second guy was not following my stage directions

I think this is a young greater flamingo - love those rebar legs (can't find leg color in juveniles)

A lesser flamingo - see all the black in the bill? And it is more reddish 

Think this youngster is a juvenile Chilean

Flamingos are fascinating to me on many levels.  They are so strange and beautiful.  And was blown away when finding out that their knees are actually their ankles.  Their knees are hidden under their feathers.

And they feed more like  baleen whales and oysters then regular birds. They have horny plates in their beaks which let them strain food from the mud and water. And their bills are upside down and only the top bill is not attached to the skull so only it will move. So, they have to feed with their bills upside down so the top bill can do the dropping and moving.

This guys are filter feeders

Feeding  - they use their bills upside down

 American flamingos used to live in the Everglades,but they were extirpated 100 years ago.  Any flamingos seen in the wild today are believed to be escapees. But now they are reappearing in Central Florida, north of where they once were numerous. Check out that story here, then put it on your bucket list to  add them to your life American birds.

I'm joining Wild Bird Wednesday. For more blogs about birds, click the picture.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Morning Stroll in Manteo

January 11, 2016  Morning

I had to go to the the Gateway visitor center in Manteo for a ten o'clock meeting, so decided to use the beautiful morning to view a little more of Manteo.  I also choose to leave my car in old, downtown Manteo and walk to the refuge headquarters. I found it was  about two miles further than I thought it was and ended up rushing to get there on time.

I spent the first part of the day in Manteo Harbor almost by myself.

Map of Manteo Harbor, showing the location of the lighthouse

The lighthouse has been built on the exterior plans for the old one.  This is a screwpile lighthouse

Loved the stairs inside the lighthouse

I didn't find out what this boat is called

For more information on screw-pile lighthouses, including a list of the ones still surviving, click here.

A cuter than usual double crested cormorant

Red brested merganzer

A fishing net shed.  Fisherman stored their nets in this kind of building

I then started my walk though the streets of the old part of Manteo.

There were many great paint combinations

As well as very diverse architecture styles

Even the bird houses were stylin'

Loved this window (and above door) decoration

Holiday decorations were still up on some houses

Like that gingerbread trim

This was very surprising - and my camera did not like the backlighting

Didn't get to visit this store but enjoyed his sign

A colorful front to a downtown store

Elizabeth II, a full sized model of an old sailing ship that brought the first immigrants

This camillia looked like an oragami flower

I finally had to start hurrying in order to make my meeting on time. But I had to stop and take two more pictures.  These were at the Island Farm, a place you an visit to see old time farming.

With a nose wash, this might just be the most beautiful cow in the world. 

This windmill was used to grind corn.  It is currently inoperative. 

By the time I rushed into my meeting, only ten minutes late,  I had walked 6 miles.  I caught a ride most of the way back and then walked one more mile back to the car.

Then I went to find a new place to enjoy the sunset and ended up with over nine miles on my pedometer. Now I feel energized and am waiting for the mornings to start earlier.  (The sun will be coming up earlier in the morning when this blog comes outAnd yes, you already know about the sunset walk from last Sunday's blog.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Duck, Duck, Goose

One of the visitors to the Pea Island Visitor Center told me about a wonderful place where you can go to enjoy water birds from around the world. That place is Sylvan Heights Bird Park, an important place for waterbird conservation as well as a wonderful place to see waterbirds and other endangered species from around the world.

A beautiful Northern Pintail from America - this species is almost always too far to photograph at Pea Island

    A smew. a kind of merganzer,  from Eurasia

    The endangered white winged duck from southeast Asia

    African Pygmy Goose male

    African Pygmy Goose females

    Radjah shelduck - from Australia

    The mandarin duck - which looks like an egomaniac 

    Red-crested pochard were laid back and drifted around dozing and peeking - from England

    I got a kick out out of this Barrow's goldeneye doing his morning ablutions. I have never seen a bird roll completely over on its back in the water.

    Gotta get spiffed up here

    Working on the chest

    Working from another angle

    All spiffed up

    Hawaiian Nene,  a goose and the endangered state bird of Hawaii

    Common Shelduck - a Eurasian species that may nest in rabbit burrows

    Eurasian Wigeon

    Courting starts early for this species

    For more bird blogs from around the world, Click here.  And Stewart invites writers of all bird blogs to add their links to Wild Bird Wednesday.