A Lazy Saturday Morning

Off to a late start this morning (7:30 ish). As our custom, Molly calls the location for photography on Saturdays. Her target for the day was the peregrine nest on the River Road.

However, Molly and I  first made a leisurely detour through Riverlands and the Confluence to just see what, if anything was going on. Unusual road work on Jones Road…. the new culverts make an odd kind of ‘speed bumps’. Drive it and you will see what I mean. Riverlands had distant pelicans, some blue herons and even one egret. It appears they are drawing down Heron Pond. I suppose it is a seasonal thing and there should be shorebirds coming shortly. Problem for photographers is if they drop it too fast all the shorebird mud will dry up except for the distant center of the pond. May work for bird nerds with 20-60 power spotting scopes but not so good for even long lens and photographers.

After satisfying our curiosity, off to the peregrine nest. We pulled off the road and got the tripods set up. No evidence that “anyone was home”. Just as we thought that it might be a long wait, the male came screaming in and landed on what most of us call the “butcher block”. This is the rock that the peregrines seem to prefer to dismember their prey and feed themselves or their babies. A bluejay was the morning meal and the feathers began to fly. After eating, the male took a short flight over the River Road and went to the old snag with the cactus at the base. He stayed there eyeing the turkey vultures, pelicans and other passersby.

Highlight of the morning was when George Goecken pulled in and enlivened the conversation. He had been up to Swan Lake, Pere Marquette and all the River Road back to Alton. He reported that not much was going on. He declined to photograph citing that he had more than enough peregrine on the tree pictures and his recliner was calling his name. We followed his lead shortly when the male took off and did not return.

Gallery– Photos by Molly

Carolyn Schlueter Wins Elsah Photography Prize

Carolyn Schlueter is one of the most successful photographers Molly and I know. Seems like she is always receiving an award or a cash prize for her excellent photography. Not only is she an excellent photographer but she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

It is nice to have such talented friends ( hopefully some of it will rub off on us  🙂  )

Her latest award is from The Village of Elsah, Illinois.

Rather than re-mix, here is the story…click for full size image

Carolyn Schlueter Wins Elsah Photo Contest


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Song Dogs,Freight Trains and a “Blood Moon”

Just got back from an over night trip to Duck Hollow Farm. I helped DiSalvo finish the work on the hunting cabin. I also wanted to take photos of the full lunar eclipse. The weather was not helping with heavy overcast, rain and snow throughout the day.

Nightfall and the clouds were still heavy but there were a few breaks— enough that I set the alarm for 11:45 pm to see if there was any hope. When I awoke from the ‘cat nap’ at 11:30, there was considerable light coming through the cabin windows. I went out on the cabin’s porch and saw the skies had cleared and there was a very bright full moon.

As I was setting up the tripod and mounting the camera ( Molly’s 40D) and the 600mm with 1.4 extender, a freight train came down the tracks that are about a mile from the cabin. The engineer sounded the horn at the crossing and the coyotes ( aka song dogs) joined in with that lonely sound that only trains and coyotes can make. Hearing it took me back to being a child and staying with my Grandpa and Grandma Coatney. They lived along the Sands Spring Line  and in those days, you didn’t have to go far to find coyotes. My grandfather raised greyhounds and used them to run coyotes off the property during the day.

Like most things in life, the lunar eclipse was a trade-off. I gave up a fair amount of sleep to learn a few things about how to photograph a lunar eclipse……ok, I gave up more than 6 hours :). I dashed off some of the shots and put them on the blog— I still have to work on the better ones but all in all– I’m glad I saw the event. In some ways, it is more dramatic viewing it with the naked eye and you come to realize just how fast the Earth rotates as well as how much light the ‘normal’ full moon puts out compared to the eclipsed moon.

For those of you that might wish to try your hand at a full lunar eclipse, the next one is October 8 of this year. I think Molly will try her hand and hopefully I will get to get a few cat naps in between shots. I know I will always enjoy the freight trains and the coyotes.

a short slide show

Blue Wing Teal and Killdear

I’ve been getting some gear ready for a couple of projects and have not been out and about like I should be. However, I did get out the other day and found some blue wing teal and killdear at Riverlands. My primary purpose for the teal images was to provide some decoy carvers reference material and the killdear…… were ‘collateral damage’ 🙂

Molly and I hope to get out Saturday and find some shore birds even though it might be a bit early.

Cool Beans aka Carolyn Schlueter says I should always put the copyright notice on anything that gets on the internet and since I do not wish to be severely chastised I used an extension that Jeff Kezele found that makes the process easy.


Hope you enjoy the gallery and are able to get out and photograph soon.



Two images

A couple of images Molly’s ETS and my Shoveler