Life's Little Moments

By dbifulco

...Horace, Moe and Gertie on the Olympic High Beam

American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) my favorite vulture!

Imagine my delight when I went out for a walk around the "perimeter" this morning and saw vultures circling lazily overhead. And the delight turned to excitement when I realized that there were black vultures mixed in with the turkey vultures! I stayed outside with my camera for about 45 minutes and snapped away. There were four black vultures who decided to stop for a bit of a rest on a tree that sits between our property and our neighbor's and it was perfectly situated so that the sun was behind me when I shot. Had to use full zoom for everything, handheld, so the shots are not as sharp as I might have liked. But it was such fun to capture them flying, landing, preening. This is the first time I've ever seen more than two black vultures together.

There are several ways to distinguish these two species of vultures, the first being the face color - blackish grey versus red. The black vulture also has a stronger, more frequent wing beat, almost resembling that of a crow when in flight, contrasting to the turkey vultures' long glides with only some slight rotation of the wings. And the black vulture's under-wing feathers are only light at the tips of the wings. If you would like to read a bit more about these fascinating creatures click here.

And if you would like to see a few more shots from this morning, including the rather comical landing sequence, visit my Flickr Set here.

Thanks for the lovely comments on yesterday's White-throated sparrow - much appreciated. For those of you who asked about the processing, there wasn't any. I used a slower shutter speed than normal to bring out the feathers and subtle coloring on the bird's neck and since the background was snow, it made the image look kind of arsty (or maybe just washed out). I don' t usually fiddle much at all with my images, other than cropping.

It's the weekend - yay! Hubs is off having breakfast with his racing team (plotting and brewing for the upcoming race season) and later we'll head out to Swartswood Lake to see if we can spot the Bald Eagles. They should be on their nest right about now, preparing to lay eggs soon. And if you want to see an AMAZING shot of bald eagles, check out Sefferdog's blip today!

Happy Saturday!

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