Week 19. A couple of early mornings.

I was down at the Colpoy’s Bay shoreline for the sunrise a couple of times in week 19. As the sun rises around 6 a.m. at this time of year I was down there before 5:30.

The first morning was mostly cloudy with a wind so the water was quite choppy.

A spring sunrise.

The second morning had a mainly clear sky. Less windy so calmer water.

A spring sunrise.

Land, mate, preen.

A sequence of photos taken on the Lake Huron shoreline in the spring.

I was photographing a Common Tern on a rock in the water when a second bird flew in.

Two Common Terns

The second bird landed and approached the one on the rock. By the front birds wing position it was fairly obvious what was going to happen next.

Ready to mate.

The birds mate. I’m guessing that they were a well established pair as the male didn’t bring a fish as a courtship offering.

mating Common Terns

After mating both birds started preening.

Preening Common Terns

Week 19. A Warbler that thinks it’s an Oriole.

A bit of an odd one from me this week for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I have been avoiding photographing birds on feeders for years, or more probably, decades. I got tired of editors picking a bird on a feeder over other shots of the same species in natural settings.

Secondly, this is unusual behavior, which is why I photographed it. A grab shot after I got home Friday afternoon. The bird has been back regularly over the weekend but I haven’t had chance for a second attempt at a better shot.

The photo shows a male Black-throated Blue Warbler coming to the Grape jelly in an Oriole feeder. It didn’t do it once, the bird has been coming to the feeder regularly for three days now.

I did some research and found records of them taking sugar water in Hummingbird feeders but no records of them pretending to be an Oriole and eating Grape jelly.

I submitted a report of the bird and its behavior, including the photo below to one of the Ontario bird sightings websites. The report is being ignored as far as I can tell.

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Polarized light photomicroscopy.

In the early 1980s I was running the photo department at a scientific research establishment. This involved a wide variety photo techniques to record a range of subjects.

However, polarized light photomicroscopy wasn’t used for anything work related. Having seen the results of other people I decided to investigate the technique. In those days that meant researching in literature rather than simply Googling as you would these days.

Now I will admit that I am writing this from memory, I have googled the subject and what I have found matches my memories of the technique.

I applied drops of a Sodium Thiosulfate solution to some microscope slides and left the solution to evaporate so that crystals would form.

I mounted a polarizing filter between the light source of the microscope and the slide stage. Once the Sodium Thiosulfate had crystallized I put one of the microscope slides on the stage and put a second polarizing filter above the slide. When you rotated one of the polarizing filters the colour of the crystals changed.

The first photo shows what I found to be a fairly typical example of the crystals.

polarized light microscopy

This photo shows small patches of colour against a mostly dark background. I’m guessing that this is a result of the orientation of the polarizing filters.

polarized light microscopy

Eat, bath, preen.

A Marbled Godwit on a section of Little Quill Lake shoreline. Taken one spring in the late 1990s in Saskatchewan.

I remember spending some time with the bird but had forgotten how many photos I had taken until going through my slide archives and digitizing some a few years ago.

The bird feeding.

Feeding Marbled Godwit.

After feeding the bird decided that it was bath time.

A bathing Marbled Godwit.

After bathing the Godwit had a long preen.

Preening Marbled Godwit.