Cathy, Dorothy, and I went for a walk at Red Gate Park today. This used to be Red Gate Golf Course but it’s been closed for a while and is now a very nice park with plenty of paved paths (the old cart paths) so you can walk easily even when it’s wet. There is less to photograph in the winter but I took my camera, in any case. I took pictures of a few trees that I think looked interesting. I also ‘processed’ a few of them into black and white images.
I say processed but they are digital, of course, so there’s no processing involved, except for desaturating them. I do my post processing in Corel AfterShot Pro. There are a few annoyances with it but it has the advantage of having versions for both Windows and Linux (and macOS, but that’s not an issue for me). I have both Windows and Linux machines and it’s nice to be able to run this on either one.
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Cathy and I went to Croyden Creek Nature Center for a while today. I sat on a bench and took some photos of birds at the feeders, getting pretty shots of male and female northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), a white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), a downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), a not quite as good shot of a black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), a slightly blurred shot of a white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). This show, of a red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) was taken from near the same place but the bird is not, as you can see, on the feeders. We walked down the remains of Avery Road and did the loop up Croyden Creek. Then we walked around in Rockville Cemetery before returning home.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
We walked in the park around Lake Frank today, hoping to get a glimpse of one of our resident bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). There wasn’t anything visible in the nest but as we continued we met a man walking the other way who said that if we continued along to a particular spot and turned to face away from the lake we might see one near the top of the tallest tree in the area. Sure enough, when we got there, the bird was perched where the man had said. Being very high in the tree I could only get a view looking sharply upwards. It was also difficult to find a view that wasn’t obscured by branches. Still, I think this one does the eagle justice.
We’ve walked the Kengla Trail a few times, always in the winter. We took this trail from Muncaster Mill Road (MD 115), under the Intercounty Connector (a.k.a. the ICC, MD 200) and then up towards Norbeck Meadows Neighborhood Park. There isn’t a lot to see, honestly, although I wish I had brought my long lens, because we had a flock of bluebirds in the trees just in front of us for a little ways, moving further ahead as we got closer. I took a few photos but nothing of outstanding beauty, I’m afraid. I do like the patterns in these fallen branches. There is one point north of the ICC where the trail crosses a side stream where the steam goes between two very large sycamore trees whose roots have grown into a solid mass of wood. I’ve taken photos of Cathy there on each occasion but decided to go with this photo instead this year. We really should come back and walk this trail in the summer, though.
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
I’m still learning when it pays to carry my long (and heavy) lens and when it’s better to take my ‘standard’ lens. The long lens weights 2.1 kg (4 pounds 10 ounces) while the other two lenses I generally use weigh between 531 and 610 grams (1 pound 2.7 ounces and 1 pound 5.5 ounces, respectively). Add to that the need for support with the long lens and it’s quite cumbersome as well as heavy. Anyway, yesterday I didn’t carry the long lens and I had some really good opportunities to get blue bird photos. Today Cathy, Dorothy, and I walked on a trail at the Agricultural History Farm Park and between the talking and faster walking, we didn’t really see any birds at all. I still took a few photos on our walk, but it wasn’t until we came back to the car that I had an opportunity to get a couple shots of this female eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) on a fence post. What I really need to do is go out alone so I can sit somewhere and not feel like there are people waiting for me. But I’m pretty happy with this picture. The girls walked around the old farm house and then watched the chickens. They were nice enough to let me wait for at least one bluebird picture.
Ayam Kampung Rooster
Chickens are thought to have originally been domesticated from the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) native to multiple regions of southeast Asia. The Ayam Kampung chicken is a breed from Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a dual-purpose breed, raised for both meat and eggs. They are considered poor performers in terms of their egg laying ability, providing somewhere under 100 eggs per year. Of course, this one, a male (rooster) won’t lay any eggs at all. He’s a handsome bird, though, I think you’ll admit.
Cathy, Dorothy, and I have been putting together puzzles lately. The first one we’ve done recently was started at the beach over the summer but wasn’t completed. We rolled it up then and it’s been in that state since then. We finished that a while back and put out this as our next. I was pretty challenging. Nevertheless, we made continual progress on it and finally finished it this evening. It’s a 1,000 piece puzzle.
Our family is in the “you don’t look at the box” camp. Yes, that makes the puzzle somewhat harder (and sometimes considerably harder). But it also gives more satisfaction and gratification when the puzzle is eventually completed. I know we were all pretty pleased with ourselves when we finished this one. We have put it away and put out our next one, which promises to be at least as hard. It’s also larger, with 1,500 pieces.
Cathy, Dorothy, and I walked to Blockhouse Point today. I took my long lens with me but didn’t really see any birds today. I took some long distance shots of the river but only a few. I like this picture of a dried stump, though, mostly for its texture. We stopped again at Rocklands Farm and I took a few pictures there, but nothing to speak of. In the evening we celebrated Chinese New Year at Tsai-Hong’s house with the rest of the local family. That was a nice time. We brought Margaret with us, although getting her up the front steps was a bit of a chore. Next time we’ll go in through the garage (fewer steps and better light).