What Is It?

Name this fishing bird (BELOW):

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Many species of birds visit the river behind our apartment building. The one pictured can dive completely under water from a swimming position to catch fish. He swims low in the water and uses his tail feathers as a fanned rudder while he trys to locate his dinner.

His fan tail, hooked beak, and black-webbed feet (not visible in this photo) identify him as a juvenile Cormorant.

 

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Best of A Cold Morning

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Gulls come in flocks and singles around the bend in the Maumee River to the direct East of our apartment building. Such was the case this morning.

I’m on an endless quest to get close-up flying photos of these beautiful white, long-winged birds. They appear to be Herring Gulls, which, according to and as pictured in my “Smithsonian Birds of North America” (2001), are very prevalent in our Ohio area near the Great Lakes.

It’s also interesting to catch these birds cruising along the tree-lined riverbank.

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It’s easy to see the gulls coming down river crossing the East bend along Winter’s bare tree-line in long swoops that bring them closer to the South side, or in tighter angles that take them along the North edge of the water.

Wingspans of these gulls can be nearly five feet, and their pure whiteness is highlighted by black wingtips.

This morning, against a cold, blue Winter sky (brrr… ! ), they photographed quite well with my Canon Powershot ELPH 135:

The fun is catching their wings in different stages of flap and float and soar.

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Any way you look at it, these gulls are like low- and high-flying aircraft. And sometimes they depart from their plane-like behavior to dip low enough to the ground to inspect prospects for lunch.

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The Launch

Since I’m not very mobile and have limited equipment with which to work, I feel privileged to be able to get photos of a variety of birds. My saving convenience is that I live where a portion of the Maumee River passes right along-side the backyard of our apartment building in Napoleon, Ohio. Many birds pass through, too.

This particular photo is of a Great Blue Heron minnow-fishing at the North end of the bridge in Napoleon, then launching into the air. Because of a low cloud bank and a bright sun above it, the bird’s coloration is quite amazingly captured in its true hues, particularly in the launch stage.

Pre-launch: minnow-fishing stances.

Watching for that special minnow to catch!

Watching for that special minnow to catch!

Got the catch spotted...

Got the catch spotted…

Full and thinking of flying to a new location...

Full and thinking of flying to a new location…

Launch… with landing gear still down !!

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Really…Lake Effect Snow Already?

Oh, my! Snowflakes and plows and double-takes! Oh, my… it’s the season’s first Winter snow — but it’s still FALL!

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It started last night,
hinted at morning’s plight.

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This morning’s blowing,
quickly got us knowing
It wouldn’t stop soon,
not even by noon!

It brought us to attention,
early Winter’s gloomy mention.

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The bridge was fine,
but sitting was undermined.

Trees bent very low
and branches were so.

Birds said emphatically “no”;
headed off to otherwise know
a place of sunset’s glow.