Kirsten Tucker: Blog http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Kirsten Tucker kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:10:00 GMT Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:10:00 GMT http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/img/s12/v173/u397231211-o774610753-50.jpg Kirsten Tucker: Blog http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Baltic Cruise http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/baltic-cruise I've been off on adventures and am about to leave on another. But, before I do, I wanted to share a few photos from a recent cruise around the Baltic Sea.

Fancy chess pieces in the Rosenborg Castle museum in Copenhagen, Denmark

Iris Blooms in Copenhagen, Denmark A look up within the Spilled Blood Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It's all mosaics!

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Baltic Denmark Houston Kirsten Tucker Photography Saint Petersburg http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/baltic-cruise Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:10:04 GMT
Spring Babies http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/spring-babies There have been many many baby and fledgling birds to enjoy the last couple of weeks!

Loggerhead Shrike

Blue Jay

Carolina Chickadee

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Blue Jay Caroline Chickadee Kirsten Tucker Photography Loggerhead Shrike Texas bird http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/spring-babies Wed, 03 May 2017 15:30:00 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition, Part III http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/great-horned-owlets-part-iii Owlets doing some bug-watching. One week later, one owlet "branched", climbed from the nest, and explored a tree limb. The second owlet was not so sure this branching thing was a good idea. What walks out on a limb must walk back down the limb; it's a delicate balancing act!

When I last visited, only one owlet remained. The other had fledged and flown off. Owlets tend to remain in the nest area for a while, so there's a chance I may get another photo or two.

What a thrill it's been to watch them grow!

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/great-horned-owlets-part-iii Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:27:16 GMT
Featherfest 2017 http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/featherfest-2017 The first weekend of April I attended Featherfest, an annual birding and nature festival in Galveston, TX.

I'd signed up for few photo sessions and given myself plenty of time on my own to push myself "out of the box" photographically.

I think I had some success!

What do you do to shake things up for yourself?

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Featherfest Galveston Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/featherfest-2017 Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:55:32 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition, Part II http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/great-horned-owlets-2017-edition-part-ii Spent a couple more hours with the Great Horned owlets. They are simultaneously shy and curious. And, they are growing so fast! They actually have a few real feathers now.

Some Bluejays came by to squawk at them; they didn't like that very much. I wouldn't like it either.

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/great-horned-owlets-2017-edition-part-ii Thu, 06 Apr 2017 01:00:00 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/great-horned-owlets-2017-edition I am fortunate again this year to be able to watch a Great Horned Owl nest. Got my first views of the owlets yesterday.

I named the female owl "Minnie", so I guess you can call these guys Mini Minnies!

 

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/great-horned-owlets-2017-edition Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:52:56 GMT
Valley Specialties http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/valley-specialties There are a number of birds that, if you'd like to see them in the U.S., you generally need to venture to south Texas into the Rio Grande Valley. Spring and fall are the best times of year to do this as migrants may also be moving through and the temperatures are still tolerable.

Some of my favorites spots are:

Some of the "Valley Specialties" you may see:

Common Pauraque Curve-billed Thrasher

Olive Sparrow Plain Chachalaca

Great Kiskadee Long-billed Thrasher

White-tipped Dove Green Kingfisher

What specialty birds have you seen in Texas?

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography Rio Grande Texas bird travel valley http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/valley-specialties Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:11:59 GMT
Maps and Mummies http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/maps-and-mummies The Houston Museum of Natural Science held one of their fabulous Pixel Parties on Sunday night. I love these events! They give a chance to shoot in a very different environment (subjects don't generally fly or run away in museums!) and to shoot things that many people are not permitted to photograph.

We had access to a small but impressive collection of maps, covering 400 years of Texas history.

And, there was the "Mummies of the World" exhibit. Wow, just wow!

Egyptian objects A baron who must've really loved his boots! This Peruvian mummy - I was captivated by how the mummy seemed to be smiling but the reflection was entirely terrifying. Honored ancestors A family of mummies - I won't give the story away! And, after all that, I strolled through Wildlife Photographer of the Year and was impressed and humbled.

Hope I'm in town for the next Pixel Party !

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) HMNS Kirsten Tucker Photography Mummies of the World Pixel Party Texas Wildlife Photographer of the Year map mummy museum http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/maps-and-mummies Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:09:00 GMT
Happy Valentine's Day 2017 http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/happy-valentines-day-2017 Smile and do something joyful today!

~ Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, October 2016

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography New Mexico balloon heart love travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/happy-valentines-day-2017 Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:26:26 GMT
The Merlin http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-merlin You get up really early, drive an hour and three-quarters to find some lovely birds at Anahuac NWR, and it's foggy. And, it stays foggy for hours.

Your photos are all grain because of the moisture in the air. The Burrowing Owl you went to find is not there. You've seen photos/heard tales of a Merlin that likes to perch on a post, but with the luck you're having... You are seriously bummed out.

I almost drove past him. I had about 30 seconds before he flew off.

Day redeemed. All is right with the world.

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Anahuac NWR Kirsten Tucker Photography Merlin Texas bird falcon http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-merlin Sun, 15 Jan 2017 16:24:30 GMT
Winter Birds http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/winter-birds With today's high temperature predicted to be 79 degrees, it's hard to imagine just how cold it was here in Texas this past weekend. It snowed in Dallas. There were flurries in Houston.

There was ice in Port Aransas, TX (near Corpus Christi) on Saturday morning; I had to give up on one birding spot due to heavy wind plus freezing temps.

Sunday morning was 10 degrees warmer. I was headed out on a boat in search of Whooping Cranes. It was a clear, beautiful morning, albeit a bit windy still. The light was amazing. And, two cranes foraged quite close to the Skimmer. It was worth the windburn.

Whooping Cranes

American Bittern

Green Heron

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) American Bittern Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Green Heron Kirsten Tucker Photography Port Port Aransas Rockport Texas Whooping Crane travel winter http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/winter-birds Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:54:20 GMT
2016 Sixteen http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/2016-sixteen It's that time of year when photographers post "my favorites from 2016" so here's my take on that - Kirsten's 2016 Sixteen! - 2016 photos that make me happy, in no particular order.

Here's to another year of adventure, memories and pixels!


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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Kirsten Tucker Photography adventure travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/2016-sixteen Tue, 03 Jan 2017 18:29:01 GMT
Chase Bird http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/chase-bird It started when someone posted a photo on a Facebook bird group. "Wow, that's a NICE bird," I thought. Two and a half hours away. Hmm...

More photos the next day. Hmm...

More photos a couple of days after that with a note that, "it shows up nearly like clockwork on the hour." Hmm...

I wake up at 5:30 am, toss the binocs and camera equipment into the car and set off west. Destination - Crescent Bend Nature Park in Schertz, TX.

It was dark. "This is a long drive for a bird," my mind tells me.

It gets lighter and at some point the sun rises behind me in my side view mirror. Vultures rise and swirl. Crested Caracara chase each other. My mood improves.

I arrive at the park around 9:15 am and the birder folk tell me the bird is around. Excellent!

15-20 minutes later - there he is!! This is one of the most stunning woodpeckers I've seen. It's a hybrid cross between a Red-naped Sapsucker and a Red-breasted Sapsucker. Camera drives are clicking furiously. The bird stays maybe a minute. We "ooh" and "ahh", congratulate each other on the sighting and show off some shots.

A couple of people must leave and a seat opens up in a good position for when the bird comes back. I sit. It's a chilly day and very windy. The north wind is blowing in my face and I'm only wearing a light sweatshirt over my shirt. I'm cold. But I am not giving up this seat. The bird will return.

Other birds visit the water and seed occasionally. Two hours pass and I'm mentally questioning if the bird is coming back.

"There he is!" I hear. And I realize I'd been hearing him for a few seconds not knowing it was him. Cute sound, almost kitten-like. This bird is pretty AND adorable. More clicking of shutters. For a second he stops on a horizontal branch. Perfectly. My brain is screaming, "Oh, please. Please, let me get this shot."

I walked around the park for a bit then visited a second nearby birding location before heading home.

It got darker and at some point the sun set behind me in my side view mirror. Vultures settled. Crested Caracara chased each other.

What an amazing day!

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird sapsucker woodpecker http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/chase-bird Fri, 30 Dec 2016 15:40:19 GMT
2016 Birds http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/2016-birds It's that time of year again. Grab a cup o' your favored beverage and sit for a spell to enjoy a video of 2016's birds. I logged 750 species this year! 

Don't worry, the video is only a sample of what I saw, not all of them! ;) Just two songs worth.

Can't wait to see what birds reveal themselves in 2017!

 

 

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Kirsten Tucker Photography bird birding travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/2016-birds Mon, 19 Dec 2016 19:28:36 GMT
Christmas Vacation 2016 http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/christmas-vacation-2016 On average, every other year for the past 12 or so years, I've taken a holiday vacation to the Christmas Markets in and around Germany. Sometimes friends or  the spouse join in. Earlier this year, the spouse said, "Let's take another river cruise to the markets."

OK then!

Why do I go back again and again? It's simple - IT'S MAGICAL!

Here are some shots from this year's Nuremberg to Budapest adventure.

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Austria Christmas Czech Republic Germany Hungary Kirsten Tucker Photography Slovakia holiday lights market night travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/christmas-vacation-2016 Thu, 15 Dec 2016 18:34:52 GMT
Take Your Camera Everywhere http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/take-your-camera-everywhere I recently took a road trip to Florida to care for my mother post hip-replacement. I was able to snap a few photos along the way.

You never know what might be out there, so take your camera everywhere!

Palm Warbler Sandhill Cranes, affectionately referred to as the "Air Force" by my mother White-tailed Deer Little Blue Heron White Peacock Whooping Crane (rehab bird) Royal Terns having a chat Black Skimmer Migrating Monachs The aptly named, Fence Lizard

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Black Skimmer Fence Lizard Florida Kirsten Tucker Photography Little Blue Heron Monarch Palm Warbler Royal Tern Sandhill Crane White Peacock Whooping Crane butterfly deer travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/take-your-camera-everywhere Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:24:59 GMT
Chasing Butterflies http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/chasing-butterflies The last couple of weeks, after the summer birds had gone, before the winter birds had arrived, we had a bumper crop of butterflies. Such an amazing variety! Here are a few favorites.

Fiery Skipper

Long-tailed Skipper

Painted Lady

Buckeye

Gulf Fritillary

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak

Monarch

Giant Swallowtail

Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Houston Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas butterflies http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/chasing-butterflies Thu, 27 Oct 2016 23:42:23 GMT
10/1/16 Balloon Glow Timelapse http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/10/1/16-balloon-glow 500+ shots in 20 seconds!

10/1/16 Balloon Glow at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Kirsten Tucker Photography New Mexico glow hot air balloon timelapse travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/10/1/16-balloon-glow Sat, 15 Oct 2016 15:00:00 GMT
Up Up and Away with Crystal Blue http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/up-up-and-away-with-crystal-blue An amazing ballooning experience! Click for the full balloon ride story...

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Crystal Blue Kirsten Tucker Photography New Mexico balloon travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/up-up-and-away-with-crystal-blue Thu, 13 Oct 2016 20:43:04 GMT
Balloons! http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/balloons I like balloons. I bought a Mickey Mouse balloon inside a balloon at Magic Kingdom a few years back; dragged it around for days until one of Mickey's ears began to deflate.

Hot air balloon ---> the bigger the balloon the better!

There used to be an annual balloon festival near the Space Center here in Houston called "Ballunar Liftoff", but it ceased operations.

Ballunar Liftoff

I was scheduled to take my first ever hot air balloon ride over Bagan in Myanmar a few years back. I arose at the appointed hour very excited. We waited and waited and waited, only to find our launch was cancelled due the presence of a big-wig politician. Grr!!

But, this is my lucky week, I hope. I'm headed to Albuquerque's annual Balloon Fiesta. And, weather-willing, I'll be Up Up and Away this weekend. Wish me luck!

 

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kirsten.tucker@att.net (Kirsten Tucker) Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Kirsten Tucker Photography New Mexico travel http://kirstenpix.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/balloons Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:13:52 GMT