Greetings everyone. A little off my posting pace as we’ve been preparing for another extended exploration. This put me in a bit of a bind with my earlier promise to get you more recent material. Unlike the older queue material, the newer images need to be worked up on the fly which is difficult to do on the road, nor do I really want to take the time to transfer all the data to portable storage. Instead, I’ve been working feverishly in the digital darkroom to finish up some production work to cover posts while we are out and about. All of this while Linda wants my help packing the RV – the nerve hehehehe. While getting all this squared away, thought I’d throw out an older set of images to hold you over.
How about some cute cuddly Tree Swallows to brighten these pandemic days!?! This is actually a sister post to one I made back in July of 2017 when the images were fresh to the month (link here). I needed to work up an image for a photography competition at a local fair (first shot in that previous entry) and grabbed a couple of other random shots to fill out a post. These are additional shots after I had time to go back and look at the entire shoot.
Our feathered twins comes to us from Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana, Illinois. Technically in a place called Goofy Ridge – my brother Ron’s favorite place to visit and I’m sure he could give you quite a descriptive narrative about his first, second, third… impressions of that place. I’ll simply state for the record that some names fit like a glove.
Our featured subjects were hanging out on branch just off the levee. There were a couple more nearby, but Ron and I focused on these two that were perched together. Still fairly young, they were taking in all the sights and sounds of their new surroundings. Soaking in all that Goofy Ridge had to offer and I swear licking their lips .. or at least their beaks .. every time a large insect would have the balls to fly within their vicinity. What I thought was incredible self control, our two specimens kept their composure and simply let them pass by without harassment Almost as if they knew something we didn’t.
“Hey, did you see the size of the abdomen on that one? Sure did, we’d have to hit the lazy boy and put our talons in our beltline to make room after downing that one. Look over there. Where? There, here comes [a greenie] with her boyfriend. Are we in Goofy Ridge, ’cause if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s something going wrong around here. Good one partner, you know your lame ’79 songs. By the way, check out that rump shaker behind you. ”
Something tells me the music was all over the place in whatever nest they came out of. So why such patience and control as tasty morsels paraded in front of them. Well, if you happened to check out the link for part 1, you already know the answer
These kids didn’t need to extend any energy to satisfy their hunger – mommy was still on tummy duty. It was quite humorous as the newbs kept a constant watch on the skies, scanning left, then right, then up awaiting for take out to arrive. When they did spy their parent, they would open their mouths and simply wait for the next course to arrive.
To their provider’s credit, they kept careful attention to the portion allotment. Clearly Ron and I were unable to tell the kids apart, however, I did try to keep tabs on who got fed on each run curious as to whether there was a pecking order, if larger kids got more or perhaps favoritisms because one made a better Mother’s Day gift than the other. Nothing of the sort. Each run, the mother would give her catch to an open mouth progressing equally through these two and the other ones on the nearby branch.
The amazing thing was the parents who were working their asses off to feed their children. The mom .. and dad as you can see below, rarely stopped the entire time we were there. Each would fly through, dispense their prey in an open mouth and then head back out across the waters to pluck another unfortunately insect out of midair. I tried a few times to get that portion of the behavior photographed, but soon realized that was a complete waste of energy and digital space. Usually you can track a bird’s path, extend past it slightly to start the pan and snap away – Tree Swallows are more like weedheads trying to make a decision in the chip aisle – bouncing left and right trying to satisfy their cravings. As soon as these tree swallows see a victim, they turn on a dime and start the aerial acrobatics.
“My turn, just put it right in here”
That was definitely a fun shoot. Quite the workout as well. We’d wait until we saw a parent on the way in and then do battle to keep the focus on it as it approached before hammering on the shutter in hopes of getting the feeding scene in the tin – all handheld of course. We must have looked quite goofy to the locals ha.
Will call it a post there. Hope you enjoyed today’s Tree Swallows. Bear with me as I try to keep the posts up during the travels and apologies as I’ll probably have difficulties keeping up with all the blogs I follow. Good news is there should be plenty of new material to bring your way … and I haven’t even begun to really touch all the tins from our January trip.