A beautiful bird

I found this wonderful creature stalking around at the San Antonio Zoo.  He just looks so regal, don't you think? Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?  I am at a loss for most things bird-related...

This is technically my post for Tuesday, but it's online tonight since I will be out of reach most of tomorrow. Enjoy and let me know if you recognize him please!

Swainson's hawk

While at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, we stopped to watch their Wild Flight show, which had numerous birds of prey flying about and keeping my camera busy.  After the show, they brought out this beautiful bird and let us get up close.  I bolted over there, knowing I could get some good shots before he was surrounded.  I believe he said it was a Swainson’s hawk, but if anyone out there can confirm otherwise I am all ears.  Regardless of the type of bird, I found it to be incredibly beautiful and of course fun to photograph up close!  If you get a chance, I recommend spending some time at the Texas State Aquarium.  There are many exhibits and it’s just fun anyways to check out these things.  Oh, and bring your camera!

My favorite neighbor

So this little guy seems to have taken up residence in a tree (along with his family) just across the street.  I have seen him several times lately, and have tried to get close enough to take his photo - to no avail - until today.  He happened to be eating a worm in the street and was content to just sit there for a bit.  I initially took shots from some distance, assuming he would take flight when he thought I was too close (and eventually he did) but I was able to get within about 20 feet of him!  I kept inching closer and closer, and sat down on the curb and fired away.  

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?  Via a Google search he appears similar to a red-shouldered hawk and also a merlin, but I really have no idea.  Any help on that front is appreciated.  One thing I know for sure - my wildlife photography skills need some work, and I probably need much different equipment.  Either way, it's fun to get pretty close to a creature this beautiful.

Red-tailed hawk

The red-tailed hawk is a beautiful creature, and my favorite bird.  I have seen them a couple of times in the wild, but never had my camera handy.  In this case, we were at a NatureFest of some sort in a small town outside of Austin, and there was a gentleman there who rescued injured birds of prey.  He had an eagle, several hawks and some owls too.  He had actually trained some of the birds and did demonstrations, showing their skills in catching moving objects and things like that.  It was pretty interesting and I was glad to have my camera on me that day. 

Dancing lorikeet

Inside the Lorikeet exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo, there must be a hundred of these colorful guys and gals flying around.  It's kinda weird.  They land on your shoulders and you can buy nectar to feed them.  This guy seemed to know I was taking photos of him, because he looked at me a few times, then started dancing from one foot to the next.  Maybe he was just hyper from all the nectar!

Old friends

Don't these two look like old friends?  I saw them sitting there and just thought of two old guys hanging out, chatting and playing checkers or something.  I believe these are macaws, though I am no bird expert.  I just like the color.  Always looking for color...

Just a flamingo staring at me

Doesn't he seem to be staring at me?  I just liked the picture, nothing too fancy or extravagant to say about it. I took this during my recent visit to the San Antonio Zoo.  I haven't been much into photographing birds until I made this trip.  Having snapped quite a few there, I have a new appreciation for their beauty and now find them much more interesting.  It's funny how snapping a few good pics of a new subject shed a different light on things for you.  Of course, capturing them in the wild is an entirely different animal (no pun intended).

Single image, f/6.3 and an exposure bias of -1.0 ev.  Some minor Contrast bumps in PSE and a little Saturation fix in Aperture...and that's it.

Rainbow lorikeet

I am not much of a bird guy.  My interest has mainly been just around birds of prey, such as eagles and hawks. The red-tailed hawk is my favorite, though I have yet to photograph one in the wild.  But that changed slightly when we recently went to the San Antonio Zoo.  There they have an enclosed area with all these lories and lorikeets flying around.  I really enjoyed it and took quite a few photos.  It is pretty interesting, and made more interesting by the fact that many of them will land on you and you can even buy nectar and feed it to them. It's pretty cool, unless you are bothered by birds landing on your head.  This guy just sat there for a minute or so, and fairly still I might add, as though he knew it was portrait time.  Most of the others were zipping around. I guess when you eat sugar all day you tend to get a bit hyper.

This is a single image taken at f/6.3 with an exposure bias of -0.3 ev.  ISO was 100.  I made some minor adjustments in PSE around Contrasts and that's it!

Wisdom and vision

The Great Horned Owl is a beautiful creature.  I saw this regal fellow at a recent nature event in nearby Bastrop, TX.  The trainer was holding him - you can see the edge of his glove.  I am not skilled at wildlife photography, but I just wanted to share this image since I find this creature so fascinating.  

A resident of Mayfield Park

Mayfield Park, here in Austin, is home to many peacocks.  They just wander around and pose for you - it's pretty cool.  If you get here early in the morning, they are still all aloft in the branches of a big tree, which sort of functions like a peacock hotel of sorts.  They recently dropped their feathers too, which made an early morning visit pretty fun, collecting all these beautiful things.  Though I am not into photographing animals, I have to make an exception when I come across a regal creature like this.