A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers are constantly at the backyard bird feeders. A male and a female that seem fairly inseparable. Given all the bird feed they eat all day they must be two of the fattest Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the neighborhood. More power to them. Look! The infamous red plumage on their belly that gives them their name. Mmmm! Lots of good things to eat in here. Looks a bit like a red mohawk. Photos from a rainy day […]
It was clear skies until almost right up to the launch time at 11:05 p.m. on 22 March 2016 when a large, solid cloud moved between me and the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station making for a disappointing time exposure of the launch of an Atlas V rocket on the OA-6 mission to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station. If the launch had gone up five minutes later the offending cloud would have moved […]
Categories: Rocket Launch • Tags: Atlas V rocket, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Commercial Resupply, Cygnus, Cygnus spacecraft, International Space Station, ISS, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, OA-6, Orbital ATK, Port Canaveral, SLC 41, Space Launch Complex 41, United Launch Alliance
The Gray Catbirds in the backyard don’t seem to have any interest in the bird feeders but prefer to forage for insects while keeping to themselves most of the time hidden away in the dense foliage. The only way you know they are there are from their distinctive cat-like cry, hence the name. On this particularly dark and overcast day the Catbirds came out of hiding and, surprisingly, the camera was at hand. Dumetella carolinensis for the masses!
There is not much to say about the Painted Bunting’s appearance anymore that would not sound like a cliche. The male Painted Bunting’s stunningly bright plumage with its mix of color variations can’t fail to impress the casual viewer. And the electric green and yellow of the female Painted Bunting is distinctively unique enough to make her as almost as peerless as her mate. So here are photos of the colorful male Painted Bunting and greenish-yellow females plus possibly a […]
The diminutive Indigo Buntings approach the backyard bird feeders with great stealth and wariness and are prone to disappear in the blink of an eye if anything seems amiss. They perch in the shadows inside the bushes watching, biding their time for when they think it is safe to come out. The males carry the resplendent blue plumage, though when they molt annually they can look very spotty. There are no females pictured in this post, thought they visit the […]
The Northern Cardinal is a frequent visitor to the bird feeders in my mother’s backyard. Not only a beautiful guest but one whose name is so fitting for its appearance. The red plumage of the male Northern Cardinal inspired the comparison to the red robes of Roman Catholic Cardinals making for a far more interesting name when juxtaposed against the less than inspiring names so many other birds are stuck with. And then there is the male’s black “beard,” which […]
The American White Pelican on winter break visits Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This large migratory bird likes to fly in groups. Group behavior is the key, since they are also cooperative feeders, floating around together coordinating driving fish into shallow water where they then scoop the fish up with their large bills. A couple of examples of skimming atop the surface of the water during landing before sinking down onto the surface. Fishing as a group activity.
The eponymous spoonbill and garish pink plumage make identifying the Roseate Spoonbill in the field fairly easy. And finding Spoonbills is also fairly easy at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where all these photos were taken.
Quite a few misadventures when SpaceX finally got the oft-delayed Falcon 9 rocket off the ground carrying the SES-9 satellite into orbit while watching the launch from Blockhouse Beach at Patrick Air Force Base just south of Cape Canaveral. First, the tensioner on one of the tripod legs failed making for some hurried repairs. Then the winter wind was so fierce it tipped over my chair with my heavy camera bag on it dumping everything onto the sand. And then […]
Categories: Rocket Launch • Tags: Blockhouse Beach, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, PAFB, Patrick Air Force Base, SES 9, SLC 40, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Space Launch Complex 40, SpaceX
A late February rain shower associated with a passing cold front caused a rainbow to appear at sunset with one end anchored on Space Launch Complex 41 where United Launch Alliance launches the Atlas V rocket. It was quite a sight considering the equally fortuitous conjunction of events to be at the right spot at the right time to catch this fleeting weather event that appears to show the way to the stars from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After […]
Categories: Space Age Bulletins • Tags: Atlas V rocket, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Crew Access Tower, rainbow, SLC 41, Space Launch Complex 41, ULA, United Launch Alliance, Vertical Integration Facility, VIF