Saturday, June 29, 2013


Saturn - Canon 60Da, 5x zoom, 30sec VGA movie at 60fps
My first attempt at imaging Saturn since the rings reappeared.  The seeing was not great tonight so the individual frames had very little detail.  I used a Televue 5x Powermate attached to camera's T-adapter with a TMB-130SS refractor.  This gave an effective focal length of 4550mm.  Stacked frames of a 30sec AVI taken at 60fps in Registax v6 followed by a bit of wavelet sharpening. Reduced noise in Photoshop.  Image was not able to take much more sharpening.

Some of the planet's surface coloration can be seen as well as the Cassini division in the rings.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Turkey Vulture on Cell Repeater

I was surprised this morning to find a turkey vulture perched on our cell phone repeater antenna.  Normally, it is a mockingbird that stakes out the top of the antenna pole and chatters away each morning.  This one is a bit bigger!

Turkey Vulture - Canon 60Da, EF 70-200/f4L,  200mm f/8, 1/5000sec, ISO-2000
"Hello, hello, can you hear me .... Sorry, I seem to have a large carrion eating bird on the line."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wilderness Systems Commander 140

Our latest recreation toys are a pair of Wilderness Systems Commander 140 kayaks.  They are actually a hybrid canoe/kayak form and are mostly intended for fishing.  We are using them for birding and general nature viewing.  After testing a number of kayaks, these were by far the most stable for carrying the dog around in. We are able to put both of them on our truck's roof rack.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cardinal Nest in Roses

I have been surprised several times by a female cardinal flush out from one of our rosebushes in the driveway.  I went and took a careful peek and found a nest with three eggs.

Northern Cardinal eggs 2013-06-09 - iPhone 5

Update 2013-06-14 - Two eggs have hatched and baby birds stretching for food but not yet making any noise.  I am not sure exactly when they hatched but they are much bigger than the eggs and look like pictures of week-old birds. I am guessing they hatched very shortly after the first picture.

Northern Cardinal hatchlings 2013-06-14 - iPhone 5

Update 2013-06-16 - Sad news, checked again this afternoon and the baby birds are missing. They were still there yesterday.  I am not sure what critter got into the nest and made off with them but a larger bird is the most likely culprit as the nest itself is intact.