Magnolia Warbler

I remember it well, that late summer’s eve. Magnolia Warblers and sunshine abound! Ice and snow were the furthest things from my mind that day. So many photos were taken, too many cooperative birds to count. When will I have time to post them all? How about in the dead of winter, when I could really use a little warbletastic warming up from the wayback machine.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Northern Shoveler

I wasn’t expecting much as I slid down the snowy hill toward my favorite spot at the Celery Bog, just ice, gobs and gobs of ice. Imagine my surprise then, when I realized that open water was near, and my shovel buddies were in there! Ten Northern Shovelers face down, paddling in a circle like a crazy little ducknado!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Squirrel Sunday

This little fuzzball joined my squirrel herd a year ago; just walked right up and introduced himself. “How do you tell them apart?” people ask. Well, I can’t always, but in this case: Biggest. Ears. EVER! Also he’s really sweet and waits for me every day by the back door.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Palm Warbler

As wind whipped the treetops and ice bombs pelted the house I needed a reprieve. So I took a little ride in my wayback machine to a much warmer time- the fall warbler migration. There were so many birds last fall that I couldn’t get to them all. Save them for a winter day was my thinking at the time, and it doesn’t get more winter day than this. I think this Palm Warbler would agree.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Downy Woodpecker

As a professional wildlife photographer, my job is to get the shot. Not a feather out of place, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, fastly focused, perfectly perched, good light, and creamy, dreamy, beautiful bokeh. Take this Downy Woodpecker for example, he’s uhh… heh heh, it’s just that err, hmm. Well, I got it half right, but he sure is cute!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Carolina Wren

As I approached the area where I’ve been seeing Carolina Wrens lately, I wondered what it was about this spot in the dead of winter that they liked so much. Food? Shelter? Starbucks? Before I could propose some ridiculous theory, the answer revealed itself. Heat! There in the bank of a small drainage ditch were two tiny wren sized dimples, and I only know that because, right on cue, a wren plopped down in there and practically melted before my eyes!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Squirrel Sunday

The squirrels have gotten so used to me being home that they form a chow line at the back door every morning at sunrise. And at lunch time. And at snack time. And at dinner time. This one knows I’m going back to work soon and she’s begging me to stay. Or maybe she’s eating. Yeah, she’s just eating.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Short-eared Owl

You’re not going to believe this but I’ve actually messed up a few exposures in my day. No, it’s true, and I take full responsibility even though it was probably the camera’s fault most of the time. I’m pretty good at rescuing those photos in post processing too and you won’t believe this either but sometimes I can’t. No no, it’s true, and I’m not trying to deflect blame when I say it was probably photoshop’s fault! The sun had all but set when this Short-eared Owl flew by in the darkness, and while I couldn’t save the photo in the traditional sense, under exposing it further and bumping the highlights revealed the true image of an owl.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Short-eared Owl

About a mile south of those four Snowy Owls, okay fine, ONE Snowy Owl, there was a field so perfect for Short-eared Owls that we just had to stop and check it out. After an hour of waiting and wondering, one approached us unexpectedly from behind. Then, while we were turned around watching him, two more magically appeared out of thin air in the field we had been watching all along! They put on a nice little air show, periodically perching atop fence posts, then moved to the far side of the field to relax. I am now officially hooked on Short-eared Owls, what a hoot! This was such a great location too, owl be back for sure!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Snowy Owl

As the world’s foremost leading expert on Snowy Owls I can say with absolute certainty that it sure seems like there are a bunch of them in Indiana right now. There are a ton of great photos too, so I’ll have to step up my game a bit to try and keep up. I’ve decided the only way I can do that is to scour the state for multiple birds perched side by side, and would you believe that just twenty minutes into my journey I found four of them? FOUR! I feel like I’m forgetting something… oh yeah, did I mention that this is just a quick photoshop job? He wasn’t very interesting to me there all by himself, but I had several shots of him looking this way and that, so I carefully put them all together on that old barn roof, side by side.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Brown Creeper

My second premonition on that fine “spring” morning of a few days ago, the day I saw the warbler, involved a Brown Creeper. I was confused as to why I hadn’t seen any yet this winter; they’re fairly common around here this time of year. A brief internal struggle ensued between me, myself, and I and possibly a few other personalities I was unaware of until just now. Recall the whole knee thing? Uhh. Being laid up for six weeks? Hmm. Any of this ring a bell? Oh yeah, I haven’t been birding in a long time! As I celebrated the minor victory over myselves, I heard a tiny chirp from behind the tree I was leaning against and I had to laugh because this Brown Creeper could not have had more perfect timing!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Yellow-rumped Warbler

There was a wonderfully confusing humidity about the air this morning and a Song Sparrow singing in the distance only contributed to my feeling that spring was here. As I entered the woods, thoughts of warblers consumed my imagination. “Good morning,” I said to every squirrel I could find, “have you seen any warblers today?” Then something occurred to me: winter doesn’t even begin for two more days! Now sad, lonely, dejected, I sat at my favorite bench down by the water’s edge, no, the ice’s edge, to wait for the sunrise. Sigh. That’s when I spotted the unmistakable rump of a Yellow-rumped Warbler! It can’t be, can it? Probably just some sparrows messing with me. Photos don’t lie though, it must be spring!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Red-shouldered Hawk

Well hello there little bird, what’s your name? Sharpie shin? Mini Cooper? Chicken Hawk? Oh boy, I think it’s time to spin the magic bird identification wheel. “Clickety clickety tick tick… tick… tock… clunk. Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, I knew it all along!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Pileated Woodpecker

I was admiring my reflection in the nature center window yesterday when my Pileated Woodpecker pal pulled up to the window next to mine. It’s a little thing we’ve been doing since last summer; just two buds appreciating the beauty of nature! Eventually he leaves the window so I can photograph him in his natural environment.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Squirrel Sunday

It was a long, lonely summer waiting for the fall squirrel migration, but when I heard the call, “Cruncha cruncha cruncha!!!” I knew they were back! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a smidge, but I didn’t see many squirrels at the Celery Bog last summer so I was pretty excited to see a young Fox Squirrel whittling on the branch above me.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Gadwall

I made my way to the water’s edge just in time to  witness three Gadwall slowly floating by in perfect formation. It was a little awkward because I was staring and they were staring, then they were like, “Take a picture it’ll last longer” and I was like, “Don’t mind if I do, click!”

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Osprey

I was walking through the woods one day and all was well. The birds were singing and the squirrels were squirreling, when out of nowhere a dark shadow appeared. Slowly downhill toward the water this mysterious shadow oozed and everyone cast a glance; every bird and every squirrel and every world-class wilderness explorer. None were concerned though and quickly resumed their day, all but one. I concluded that, based on the complete non-reaction of the woodland creatures that day, this was no foe to them, perhaps an Osprey. Guys, I gotta go!

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Golden-winged Warbler

They may be long gone from the Celery Bog but they’re never far from my thoughts and I feel like thinking about that Golden-winged Warbler right now! What a treat it was to stand in front of the breakfast bush this little dude was foraging in. Without a care in the world, he’d stop periodically to swallow, and presumably to make sure we were still watching.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!

Belted Kingfisher

The Celery Bog was silent when I heard the battle cry of my nemesis from nearby. She’s right behind me! Before I could swing around she was firing on me, “Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!” With my trusty Canon now in position I returned fire, “Clickety-clickety-clickety-clickety!” “Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!” “Clickety-clickety-clickety-clickety!” The battle raged on for what felt like hours but in reality was only a few seconds and in the end I narrowly escaped with a shot.

Click here to visit Dan Miller, Author / Photographer / World-class Wilderness Explorer, on Facebook!