Saturday, May 9, 2015

Orioles and Apple Trees

Puppy Tao has been upgraded, so this post has moved. It will eventually be unavailable at this location.

In early March, Andy and I closed on a new house. It took us almost two months of renovating and cleanup, but we're finally able to relax and enjoy our little place on the river. Our section of the river reverses with the tide, so we have a mixed habitat that supports all kinds of songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and raptors.

Adding to my impatience with the renovations was the rapidly progressing spring and the missed opportunities to shoot great pictures of our wildlife. So you can imagine my disappointment when I finally unpacked my long lens a couple of weeks ago, only to discover that I had broken the focus mechanism in the move. Fortunately, the repair was straightforward—if expensive—and my newly repaired and cleaned lens was returned to me late this afternoon.

Andy was at work, so I decided to take a book, a drink, and the camera down to the apple trees by the water to enjoy the cool evening. I figured I could relax in a chair and read, and if anything interesting happened, I'd snap a few pictures. It seemed a little too late in the day for good lighting, so I didn't have my hopes up.

I caught a glimpse of a Baltimore Oriole right when I sat down, but I didn't get a good picture. I chalked it up to poor luck and caught a few shots of this Tufted Titmouse, who was a bit agitated by another Titmouse a couple of branches over. They got in a bit of a scuffle over whatever it is that Titmice fight about.
A few minutes later, the oriole returned and spent a good half an hour drinking nectar from the blossoms of the apple tree.

Usually, I have to work a lot harder for a good photo, but sometimes the bird just comes to you. I literally didn't have to leave my comfy chair for these pictures.
At one point, he stopped and favored me with a quick song, but mostly he was there to eat. When he really wants to sing, he goes to the high branches of the larger trees, but he rattled off a few bars here and there during dinner.

After a while, I put my camera down and just watched him hop and sing and chide and dip his beak into the apple blossoms. My book stayed on the table, and I spent some time in the fading twilight, sipping drinks with an oriole.

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