Carrying on the theme from the last post, I’m back with a shoot summary from earlier in the year. In fact, this shoot was the morning of the same day we made it to Hebron. Linda was running the dogs at a big agility show in Libertyville IL. Knowing the serious downtime that surrounds a dog show, I opted to explore a local park to see what the Northeast part of the state had to offer. After some quick searches on the web, Independence Grove was selected as the destination.
Once again we are taken advantage of by the Chicago leach burbs requiring a $10 fee just to get into the park. Not aware of any alternatives on the spot, the extortion was paid and I found a parking lot capable of holding the Wombat. With Beast in hand I set out to discover a bunch of +1’s. Jumping to the punch line… zero +1’s for the day – make that a punch to the gut. The Grove is a nice park complete with a large lake, bike path, kid’s center and even a nature walk area. Everything you would want unless you were looking for new birds. All was not lost – there were some nice print shots accumulated in the tin. The Mallard shot of the mother and her juvi (above and below) came out pretty nice.
Adding to the print set was this female Red-Winged Blackbird. She was keeping a tight eye on my every move to make sure her prize catch wasn’t going to be taken. At first that green hopper was putting up a struggle, but eventually is succumbed to the higher entry in the food chain.
Hit the jump to see more shots from The Grove
The male was looking on with complete satisfaction. It even feels like it was licking its chops awaiting her tasty morsel to make it on the dinner plate. There was no shortage of the Red-Wingeds there. This is likely why there wasn’t much else there – those Blackbirds are ruthless when it comes to clearing out their territory – just ask the Hawk in the last post.
The Goldfinch below cracked me up. I was actually taking some Sparrow pictures when this pretty specimen showed up about 10 feet away. It was a tad windy that day but not enough to go into full puff ball – just hamming it up for the camera!
That wasn’t the only Goldfinch that wanted to pose for me that morning. There was this one.
and this one which ended being my favorite for the day. Just a gorgeous bird that isn’t too camera shy.
I left two of these shots in because I’m not sure which one I like better. The one above is the more traditional stoic shot you see in the reference books, but the one below has more feel due to the engagement with the glass. Let me know which one you like in the comment – always good to have multiple perspectives when the fair season is upon us.
Here is a bit of a mystery at the moment. It doesn’t seem to fit the Mallard based on the bill coloring, but the overall coloring and eye line are similar. Still tracking this one down actually – thinking it might be a Shoveler – will get back to you when I get it figured out. (update – it might be an eclipse male per Cornell).
There was plenty of Barn Swallows as well. They mainly stayed on the docks picking off pond pests. Not my best execution, but one finally landed long enough to get a bead on it.
The next one up is likely a Great Crested Flycatcher. I failed to get the settings right and had to pull it out of some serious darkness to make it presentable. Shooting in and out of the foliage was keeping me on my toes from shot to shot. At one point I’d be shooting into the bright sky and the next into dense thickets requiring a complete change to the settings. That is what makes birding so fun – the challenge of finding a bird, getting the setting right and taking a decent enough picture to be able to claim you saw it… thank god for Lightroom and Photoshop hehehe.
I saw this Flicker the moment I stepped out of the Wombat. This created a false hope for a great haul for the day. Ended up I should have spent a little more time getting the crispiness dialed in this one instead of running off to the water. It was long gone by the time my time allotment was up and had to head back to the dog show.
Those bearing feathers were not the only targets of my glass that day. The lake had plenty of non-birding activity going on including this scary looking pointy nosed turtle. The Loch Ness of Illinois – maybe that is why they are shaking people down at the gate.
Lastly we have one of my arch nemesis – the ground squirrel. This creature is driving me nuts at home. Apparently the acres and acres of woods isn’t enough for our local chipmunks – nope, it has to take up residence around my house digging holes and annoying the crap out of my dogs. One ended up killing itself in a bucket of screws (don’t ask, but it did end up souping all over my bolts to the point I tossed it all). Fool of me to think that was the only one – now there’s another one that has decided our porch was specifically built as a midget squirrel playground. Good to see other places have an equally bad time trying to keep them at bay.
Cute but annoying as hell. That is all I have for you today. Another shoot processed and in the books. I did get some better shots of the Caspian Tern that were highlighted in a previous post (link here). See ya’ again real soon ya’ll (like my faux Hillary accent she likes to use when she is fleecing the southern voters?)
4 thoughts on “Shooting Independence Grove”
Wow, those are all excellent print-style photographs!! The first two really look like paintings, and I like how the water is almost “not there.” Also, maybe it’s me, I don’t think so, but it’s cool how in analogy of us using our hand to draw a turkey, it looks like the two ducks in the first picture are forming a human hand in their reflection! I say they’re awfully smart.
Most of the other pictures are frame-able and hang-able as well. I prefer the American Goldfinch that’s looking back at us. Also, it’s beak is a little open as if it’s murmuring something to us. As you say, the other one is more like a reference book, but the second one is more interesting.
Also interesting about the eclipse male. Probably an eclipse male Mallard?? Love that chipmunk! AL-VIN!!!
A very nice set of pics. As you say, maybe not any +1’s but some really nice wall-hanging shots that look like exquisitely composed paintings. And I’ve got to find out how you pulled the Flycatcher out of the darkness so well.
(anxiously awaiting the end of the year summary)
Actually, the more I look at the first pic the more it looks like a painting composed specifically to create a human hand reflection cradling the two ducks on the water. I cannot imagine how long it took you to wait for the ducks to get in just the right position. That would be a great entry in next year’s county fairs.
Okay – just to bring me down to earth a bit .. I never noticed the fingers in the water until you astutely pointed it out. Now I like that shot even more than I already did. I will mark this as like the first time this year I might have an image that could bring competition to Linda’s output for next year’s fair events (clearly this will be a tough battle this year with the jury already biased by this point hehehe). I have to agree with the Goldfinch selection but you could have probably predicted that based on my body of work.
I was actually thinking it was an eclipse male Mallard but as always I’m open to alternative options.
Good to know my investment over there produced something worthwhile.
as always, thanks for taking the time to read/comment
What’s kind of interesting is that the whirls at the end of the fingers look like the whorls of fingerprints.
The first two photos look just like Norman Rockwell illustrations, in my opinion, and that’s a real compliment.