Jason and I headed over to WPBO yesterday for my last visit until maybe October. Ended up being a kind of slow day, but we did have a little bit of everything, which was nice. Jason's highlights were his lifer Whimbrel, Northern Goshawk as a year bird, and a nice juvenile Least Sandpiper around 4 feet away! In addition to those, we had a few shorebirds, nothing new for me, some warblers, and quite a few raptors including all 3 summer falcons and a darkish juvenile Broad-winged Hawk. Other than that, the strong northwest winds and sunny conditions didn't produce a whole lot - other than a jaeger species that may have made 3 passes (or maybe it was 3 different birds?). Either way, it was too far out in the distortion to ID.
Sanderling in the early morning light
juv. Least Sandpiper (this pic at about 8 feet or so)
Yesterday I took two new birders (Lynn and Betty) over to WPBO to see what was around. It was a great day for shorebirds, and a not-so-great day for landbirds due to the weather. A cold front overnight followed by strong north winds dropped a lot of shorebirds at the Point, we ended up with 9 species for the day being: Semipalmated Plover (10+), Piping Plover (1), Greater Yellowlegs (1), Whimbrel (2), Sanderling (30+), Semipalmated Sandpiper (20+), Least Sandpiper (15+), Baird's Sandpiper (10+), and Pectoral Sandpiper (1). 4 of those were new for my year list, putting me at 223. 90+ shorebirds is an amazing day in the Sault, and that doesn't include the flock of 50+ birds that took off before we could get an ID on them. There wasn't much else of note for the day, but the shorebirds and great company made it worth it.
I took an idea from Neil, and started looking at some of the dragonflies that are around at my house, local parks, and at work. I went back through my photos and found a few pics, two of which I'm pretty sure I got the ID right on. I currently only have the beginner's guide to dragonflies and damselflies by the Stokes'.
Common Baskettail at the Locks
Eight-spotted Skimmer in BC The other day, I biked down to Bellevue Park to see what dragon/damselflies I could find there, found a few, but the only one I could get an ID on was this Sedge Sprite, shown here with a meal.
At work there are a lot of dragonflies and damselflies around the water traps and grassy areas, so far I have been able to ID Common Whitetail, Eight-spotted Skimmer, Canada Darner, and Dot-tailed Whiteface. There are also many species of bluets, damsels, spreadwings, meadowhawks, and a few darners, skimmers, and spiketails that I have no idea on. I'll have to get myself a better field guide on these guys.
Well, my Photoshop has been refusing to work properly, so I've decided I'm going to wait until I get all my files uploaded onto my new laptop to try again on the HDR thing. In the meantime, I'm going to post some of the Photoshop techniques I've learned over the past few months. The first one is pretty simple, as Photoshop actually has a tool made just for it. In CS3, you can just click File - Automate - Photomerge, and then choose which files you want merged. If you choose Interactive Layout, you can play around with the positions afterwards. You can then crop and edit to your liking. Here are a few I've made so far. They're downsized a lot, so the quality might not be the greatest.
As the title says, only one month and I will be heading off to university! I've gotten a few necessary things done, but still have a lot more to do... I'm hoping to get over to WPBO once or twice before I leave, as I'm missing a lot of shorebirds for the list along with a few other birds.
Some recent things:
A few weeks ago, went up in a small 4-seater plane with my neighbour. My brother is looking at going into aeronautics, and she is eager to spark his interest, and I got to go along! We flew up the Lake Superior shoreline to Pancake Bay and back, doing a few circles around the more interesting things along the way and photographing parts of the city. I got quite a few shots which I will have to post on here sometime.
Other than that, I've mostly been working. I only have 2 days off from now until the end of my summer job on August 28, and then a couple days to get ready for university. My 18th birthday was on July 25, I had a great day with the family and got quite a few sweet presents, and then had a party at my friend's camp that night.
Not much else to put into this post, I'll hopefully be putting a bunch of stuff up within the next few weeks - so you can look forward to birds, aerial photos, the start of my dragonflying and some interesting shots. For now, I'll leave you with my first attempt at an HDR (high dynamic range) photo, taken yesterday evening. Let me know what you think.