Urban Red-winged Blackbird

I was very surprised to discover a Red-winged Blackbird eating from the bird feeder in my backyard this weekend. It spooked when we went outside to watch it, but it came back soon after. My wife and I sat and watched it eat while the kids went crazy playing in the yard. I don’t know how common it is for a blackbird to eat from a feeder, but I’ve never seen it before, so I had to get some pictures to share.

It’s been pretty exciting to watch all the birds come to the feeder through the spring. Among the many House Sparrows that are year round residents in the neighborhood, I’ve also had several White-crowned Sparrows, many Robins, two pairs of House Finches, and (also surpisingly for me) a trio of Common Grackles. Of course there have been many other birds as well, but these are the repeat visitors…

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the Blackbird from the other day. Because of the patchy colors on the wing it appears that this bird is a juvenile (1st summer).

Urban Blackbird

Urban Blackbird

Urban Blackbird

Urban Blackbird

Moonset at Sunrise

Moonset over the Rockies at Sunrise

Every month there is one day, usually a day or two after the full moon, where the moon sets just as the sun rises. If you time it just right, and if it isn’t too hazy or cloudy outside, then you can see the moon looking huge as it drops below the horizon. With the sun coming up on the opposite horizon the moon will glow very brightly in a beautiful shade of orange or pink.

I was out for an early morning birding trip yesterday and I had hoped to be able to make some nice pastoral images of the moon dropping behind the Rocky Mountains with the open fields of the foothills in the foreground. While I did see the sunrise, unfortunately the moon dropped into a cloudbank on the western horizon long before it was low enough for the pictures I has in my minds eye.

Before going to bed last night I told my wife that if our son, who has been sleeping very poorly lately, was awake before 6:30 AM then I would get up and take him with me for another attempt at my moon shot. Of course he woke up right at 6:30, which barely gave me enough time to get get both of us dressed and out the door, get all my gear into the car, and then find a nice location to shoot from… Fortunately we live near a ridge with a good view of the Rockies to the west, and so I went straight there. I had only 5 minutes from the time I parked the car to the time that the moon had fully dropped below the horizon. I managed to make a few images, and this one is one of my favorites of the bunch.

This image isn’t quite the pastoral scene that I had hoped make, but I like it anyway, and sometimes that’s how it goes. You can plan all you want, but if life gives you oranges instead of apples then you might have to make orange juice instead of apple pie! This is only the second time in the last year that everything came together perfectly for me to get my shot, and I have honestly been trying almost every month!