Sunday, May 11, 2008

St Croix National Scenic Riverway Marshland Visitors Center

On our way home from Crex Meadows we stopped at the St Croix National Scenic Riverway Marshland Center. The St Croix National Scenic Riverway is a national park consisting of 252 miles of habitat encircling the St Croix and Namekagon Rivers on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border. The Marshland Visitors Center is only open by appointment but the small grounds surrounding the center as well as the trails following the river are good places to look for passerines. Since Michelle was already tired from our trek around Crex she decided to stay in the car while I took a quick look around.
I did not find anything all that exciting but a few birds did peek out and took their turn in the spot light. This eastern phoebe are sometimes difficult to photograph because of their dark heads. One of the things that I look for when photographing wildlife is to try and get a glint of light in the eye. This helps to make the bird or animal look more life like. When a bird has a dark head the eye often gets lost in the pic. Fortunately it was bright out, which usually helps, and my new lens is much better at picking up light.
Angle of the subject in comparison to the sun is usually important when you are trying to get a shinning eye. The sun light is hitting the breast of the chipping sparrow above and it is not hitting the eye. This makes the eye look flat and two dimensional which does not help the picture to look life like.
When the angle is changed on the chipping sparrow the eye looks more three dimensional and life like.
Unfortunately in wildlife photography you can not control the weather or your subject. You can try and get a perfect angle but sometimes rivers, trees or other things make it difficult or impossible. Try as I might I could not get this field sparrow to pose correctly. This does not mean that the pic is not worth taking, especially since it is the first field sparrow that I have seen this year, some times you just have to be happy with what you get.
There is no use crying over spilled egg. I actually found this egg on one of the hiking trails. I do not know my eggs very well so maybe some one out there can tell us what kind of egg that it is. The small hole in the egg is interesting. I wonder if another bird used its beak to put a hole in the egg to retrieve the contents and then perhaps discarded it when it was finished with the rich yellow protein filled yoke?


Kirk said...

How big is the egg?

Ecobirder said...

The egg was about the size of a small chicken egg, maybe a bit smaller.

Anonymous said...

It appears to resemble a kildeer egg but without black spots. I would guess due to the size it is precocial bird. Nice pic!