The rest of this set of pictures will be of various birds that I photographed.
Since this little park is called Heron Park, let's start with some of the namesake Great Blue Herons. I took several of this one flying over, and decided to show this one because it's a slightly different angle than the usual.
And here's one wading in the lake, looking for dinner:
For my next subject, let's turn to the red-winged blackbird. These guys are common enough that I think they may be a bit under-appreciated, but I seem to have fallen in love with them this year. Here's one perching on a post on the boardwalk, showing off his striking eponymous wing patches:
Here's a redwing looking perky on a log in the lake:
And finally, here's a shot that I found really striking when I was reviewing the pictures. I'm not sure it really comes through at web resolution, but I see a human look of contemplation in this bird.
Next, I'll turn to one of the most noticeable bird species in the park. Tree Swallows were flying around the whole time I was in the boardwalk area. (Actually, birder2 says that some of the swallows were Rough-Winged, but I think all of the ones I got pictures of are tree swallows. I just might be wrong about this first one.) For as long as I've been carrying a camera around, I've been trying to catch swallows in flight, and I've never been very successful, but I got a couple of pictures that are at least worth looking at at web resolution. These are as good as I've gotten.
In this shot, the iridescent blue of on the back is somewhat visible. This color all depends on the angle of the light.
Finally, I have a picture of one of the little guys while he was stopped, really showing off that shiny steel blue look.
The next picture is a somewhat emotionally significant personal first. which is why I include it even though it's not a great picture. There is a pair of Bald Eagles that nest near Heron Park. (Unfortunately, no longer close enough to see the nest from the tower.) They didn't come close, but one of them did fly over, and I was able to take a few pictures, of which this is probably the best. It's so small because those are all the pixels out of the 8MP image that actually had the eagle on them -- that's how far away he was. But it is recognizably a Bald Eagle! Woo hoo!
Next, here's a pair of House Finches that were nearly posing for a bird book picture, with the male and female next to each other:
In a slightly different part of the same tree as the House Finches at a slightly different time, this Yellow Warbler held still long enough for me to get a picture.
As we near the end of this post, I have another emotionally significant picture. Back when I was but a wee sprat, I often tagged along with birder2 on birdwalks and other Audubon Society field trips. The Red-Headed woodpecker was a favorite of mine, being a striking bird and also one with a distinctive enough appearance that even a little kid could confidently identify him. And they were a common sight in the little patches of woods near Urbana. For some reason, they are much less common today; in fact, yesterday was the first time I can recall definitely seeing one in years. It's the first time I've had a chance to photograph them. I'll share this picture now, because the way I caught the bird in flight looks cool even though it's not that great a picture. I might be able to doctor it up to look better if I put real effort into it in Photoshop -- I need to get the red on his head brighter without the rest of the picture. But I wanted to post today, so I didn't do that now.
Finally, I'll close this post with a picture of the Canada Geese. If you compare with this post, you can see that this year's goslings are growing very fast -- they're as big as adult ducks now!
The astute reader will notice that, even though at the beginning I mentioned that the reason for this park was a breeding colony of herons, I haven't shown any heron nests or baby herons. I do have some, and some other cool stuff too, but those are waiting for the next installment of this report, when we proceed Across the Road. Because if I stay up another couple of hours working on this tonight, I will pay for it tomorrow when my alarm goes off at 6 for me to go take care of tigers. Now it's time for a quick check of email and the friend's page, and to sleep.
EDIT: I had the image size tags wrong on the first red-wing picture, so it was in ThinVision. Take another look, if you care.