John Hadden Photography

Photography of the Natural World



Bluebirds vs Tree Swallows

We had lots of activity around the two bird boxes in our front field the other day as a pair of bluebirds and a pair of tree swallows battled it out for possession. I first noticed the swallows swooping about, chattering, and occasionally perching on the weather station anemometer:

A tree swallow perches on the anemometer

The swallows would swoop in to check out the boxes:

A tree swallow checks out one of the boxes

At the same time, a pair of bluebirds were busily guarding both boxes—the female taking up positions on one, and the male on another:

The male bluebird guarding one of the boxes

At one point, the more aggressive mail bluebird attacked one of the swallows:

The male bluebird attacks the tree swallow

Things simmered down a bit after this attack. I’m not sure which box the bluebirds finally chose (if indeed they did choose one), and we’ll have to see if the swallows will be taking up residence in the other box (the two boxes are about 60′ apart). Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

The bluebird pair on one of the boxes

Sony A7II, Sigma 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f/8, various shutter speeds


Mourning Dove Chicks

A pair of mourning dove chicks on our barn windowsill

Last week I posted a shot of a mourning dove sitting on the nest built on the windowsill of our barn attic. I checked back in yesterday, and those eggs I’m assuming the dove was sitting on are now a pair a pretty big chicks! According to my “Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior”, mourning doves will have multiple broods of chicks in a season—as many as 4 or 5—laying 2-4 eggs per brood. Incubation lasts 12-14 days, and chicks fledge 11—16 days after hatching.  By the looks of them, these two aren’t that far away from leaving the nest!

Sony A7II, Sigma 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/160″ exposure.

Broadwing Hawk

A broadwing hawk lurking in the trees above Fargo Brook

This morning I heard a bit of bird chatter over by the brook. The chickadees were making their alarm calls, and the pair of hairy woodpeckers nesting in the poplar snag by the brook were alarmed as well. Looking about, I finally noticed the cause of all the tumult—a broadwing hawk in a dead elm above the brook. It was quite patient, allowing me to get some good shots from the balcony on the second floor of our house. After a few minutes, a robin flew in and chased the hawk into the woods.

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @  200mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/200″ exposure.

Fall Bluebird

A fall visitor

We’ve had a pair or two of bluebirds visiting over the past couple of days and feeding on the bright red berries of the magnolia in our back garden. This fellow posed nicely for me on the roof of our woodshed. The fall colors at peak make for a nice background.

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @  300mm, ISO 3200 (hence the grain…) f/5.4, 1/320″ exposure.

Where’s my dinner?

A juvenile osprey shrieks along Otter Creek

We paddled several miles upsteam on Otter Creek yesterday from its mouth at Lake Champlain towards Vergennes. We saw several ospreys (along with other critters) including this juvenile who was perched in a maple above the bank and relentlessly shrieking as we passed by. I took several shots including ones that made the kiddo look pretty noble, but I kind of like the goofy look on its face in this one. We joked that it was hollering for mom or dad to come feed it—”Mom! Dad! Where’s my dinner?”

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @  300mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/1600″ exposure.

Fox Sparrow

A fox sparrow stops by on its way north

We were lucky again this year to have a red fox sparrow stop by on its way north. These large sparrows overwinter in central and eastern North America and breed in the taiga of Canada and Alaska. This fellow came through at about the same time that the white throated sparrows returned.

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @  171mm, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/400″ exposure.


Taking Wing

Grouse tracks and wing marks in the snow

I went for what might be one last ski up on Lion’s Ridge at Camel’s Hump Nordic yesterday. With spring coming on, there was all kinds of activity recorded in the snow. I saw tracks from turkeys, weasels, mice, bear—all going about their early spring businesses. I followed this ruffed grouse track to where the bird took flight leaving the impression of its wings in the soft snow.

Panasonic GM5, Lumix 12-32mm lens @  26mm, ISO 400, f/9, 1/1000″ exposure.

Spring Robin

robin copy
A fresh spring arrival!

We’ve had a couple of robins hanging around all winter (judging by their accents, I’m guessing that they were Canadian…) and they’ve probably headed back north across the border to their summer nesting grounds. I’ve been hearing a lot more robins now, and I’m pretty sure that this fine bird is one of our own migrants returning for the summer. It was quite willing to let me get a good shot as it poked around in one of the apple tree in our front field.

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @  300mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/1300″ exposure.

Who you lookin’ at?

A female cardinal seems to eye me suspiciously…

This female cardinal seemed to know she was on camera, giving me a fine “come hither” look over her shoulder as I snapped several shots. Of course she could also be thinking, “Hey, who you lookin’ at?”

Panasonic GX8, Lumix 100-300mm lens @ 300mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/200″ exposure.

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